My favorite scene in Tombstone

Although the movie Tombstone (1993) (Buy it on DVD or Blu-ray) has a lot of historical inaccuracies, it is still a great movie. If you haven’t seen it, you really need to check it out. Here’s my favorite scene from the movie. It involves the first meeting of Johnny Ringo and Doc Holliday in the Oriental Saloon.

Holliday: “Ah, you must be Ringo. Look darlin’. Johnny Ringo–the deadlist pistolier there is since Wild Bill, they say. What do you say darlin’? Should I hate him?”

Kate: “You don’t even know him.”

Holliday: “No. That’s true, but I don’t know, there’s just something about him–something around the eyes. I don’t know. Reminds me of…me. No. I’m sure of it. I hate him.”

Earp: “He’s drunk.”

Holliday: “In vino veritas.” (In wine there is truth.)

Ringo: “Age quod agis.” (Watch what you say.)

Holliday: “Credat judaeus apella, non ego.” (Tell it to someone who cares.)

Ringo: “Iuventus stultorum magister.” (Youth is the teacher of fools.)

Holliday: “In pace requiescat.” (Rest in peace.)

White: “Come on boys. We don’t want any trouble in here–not in any language.”

Holliday: “That’s latin darlin’. Evidently, Mr. Ringo is an educated man. Now I really hate him.

At this point, Ringo draws his gun and puts on a show for the bar which draws Doc to do the same, only he decides to mock Ringo by using his tin cup rather than a gun. I’m not sure if this is a portrayal of any actual events, but I do know that it’s a powerful scene where two big characters establish their tone throughout the remainder of the film.

Here’s the video of the scene:


While on this topic, here’s another favorite scene of mine. You can only see this one if you own the Vista Series version of the film (at the link above) which contains scenes not used in the theatrical release. Anyway, the scene I’m speaking of is right after the two Earp brothers are gunned down and Morgan dies on the pool table. Doc is sitting in his room drunk out of his mind and he says the following:

Holliday: “Weave a circle round him thrice and close your eyes with holy dread. For he on honey-dew hath fed and drunk the milk of Paradise.

This line is from a poem written in 1797 by Samuel Taylor Coleridge called Kubla Khan. It’s the last stanza that Doc is reciting here and it’s said that Kubla Khan (Genghis Kahn’s grandson) had some ten thousand horses on his land to convey his power. Only he and those committing miscellaneous acts of valour were allowed to drink their milk thus becoming the milk of Paradise. In Tombstone, Doc is simply saying that if Wyatt is able to obtain a reckoning for his brother’s deaths, he’ll finally be able to enjoy the rest of his life.

Another note of interest is that the poem was supposedly written out of inspiration from an opium-induced dream. It’s likely that Doc Holliday was also under opium influence during this scene.