True Romance Beat Sheet

True Romance Beat Sheet

True Romance

Written by Quentin Tarantino
Directed by Tony Scott
Running Time: 117 minutes
Year: 1993
Poster by Matt Ryan


True Romance Story Map

PROTAGONIST: Clarence Worley, 20-something comic shop clerk
CHARACTERIZATION | MAIN MISBEHAVIOR: Heroic, Witty | Reckless Schizophrenic
EXTERNAL GOAL: To sell the cocaine / To restart his life with Alabama in Mexico
INTERNAL GOAL: To love Alabama
MAIN DRAMATIC CONFLICT: Donowitz / The Mob / The Cops
THEME: Love conquers all.
CENTRAL DRAMATIC QUESTION: Will Clarence sell the cocaine and restart his life with Alabama in Mexico?
ENDING: Clarence and Alabama make it to Mexico.


True Romance Story Engines


Comic shop clerk and loner Clarence Worley meets Alabama Whitman in a movie theater. After having sex with him, she confesses that she’s been a call girl, paid by his boss to fuck him, but has unexpectedly fell in love. They get married the following day. He then goes to retrieve her belongings from her former pimp, Drexl. When things take a turn for the worse, Clarence kills Drexl and inadvertently takes a suitcase full of cocaine from the scene.


Clarence meets with his estranged father Cliff, learns that the cops have no leads on Drexl’s murder. Clarence then leaves for L.A. with Alabama to sell Drexl’s coke. Investigating the missing cocaine, Cliff is executed by Blue Lou’s men when he refuses to give up Clarence. As Blue Lou’s men leave, one of them finds Clarence’s address in L.A.


Clarence’s actor friend, Dick, introduces him to Elliot, assistant to powerful movie producer, Lee Donowitz. Elliot helps setup a meeting with Donowitz to sell the cocaine. Before the meeting, one of Blue Lou’s hitmen savagely beats Alabama, but she ends up turning the tables and kills him.


Elliot is arrested with cocaine, offers to wear a wire to avoid jail. He then takes Clarence, Alabama, and Dick to meet Donowitz. After a little song and dance, Clarence convinces Donowitz to buy the coke. The cops then storm in to bust the deal. Tensions rise when the Blue Lou’s hitmen burst in; a Mexican stand-off between the cops, hitmen, and Donowitz’s cop-hating security. The room explodes into gun fire and nearly everyone is killed. Clarence takes a bullet to the face, but survives. Alabama grabs the money and Clarence, and the two escape with Donowitz’s money.


A few years later, Clarence and Alabama now have a son and live in Mexico.

True Romance Story Map


True Romance Full Story Map


Sequence I: Comic shop clerk and loner Clarence Worley meets Alabama Whitman in a movie theater. They hit it off, go for a slice of pie and a fuck afterwards.

True Romance Beat Sheet Opening Image

1-4 – OPENING IMAGE: CLARENCE WORLEY drinks alone at a bar. Next to him is an older lady named Lucy. He talks to her about Elvis and she’s a little charmed with him. But when he asks her to the movies, she declines.


Well, enough about the king, how ‘bout you?


How ‘bout me what?


How ‘bout you go to the movies with me tonight?


What are we gonna go see?


A Sonny Chiba triple feature. The Streetfighter, Return of the Streetfighter, and Sister Streetfighter.


Who’s Sonny Chiba?


He is, bar none, the greatest actor working in martial arts movies ever.


(not believing this)

You wanna take me to a Kung Fu movie?


(holding up three fingers)

Three Kung Fu movies.

Lucy takes a drag from her cigarette.



I don’t think so.

4-6 – Various shots of the Motor City, ending with ALABAMA WHITMAN pulling up in a cab outside a movie theater.


I had to come all the way from the highways and byways of Tallahassee, Florida to Motor City Detroit to find my true love. If you gave me a million years to ponder, I would have never guessed that True Romance in Detroit would ever go together. And to this day, the events that followed all seem like a distant dream. But the dream was real and was to change our lives forever. I kept asking Clarence why our world seemed to keep collapsing and everything seemed so shitty, and he’d say, “That’s the way it goes, but don’t forget it goes the other way, too.” That’s the way romance is. Usually that’s the way it goes, but every once and awhile it goes the other way, too.

7-8 – In the middle of the movie, Alabama sits a row behind Clarence, spills popcorn on him. They strike up a conversation and he brings her up to speed on the movie.

9 – Outside the theater, Alabama asks Clarence to get a slice of pie with her. He says yes.

10-11 – Clarence and Alabama chat over coffee and pie at an all-night diner.

11-13 – Clarence takes Alabama to the comic book store where he works.

13-14 – Clarence and Alabama make love.


Sequence II: Alabama confesses that she’s been a call girl for four days and was paid by Clarence’s boss to fuck him, but unexpectedly fell in love. They get married the next day. Clarence becomes obsessed with Alabama’s former pimp, Drexl, and a hallucination of Elvis tells him to kill the man. Clarence has Alabama write down her former address so he can retrieve her belongings from Drexl.

True Romance Beat Sheet Inciting Incident

14-18 – INCITING INCIDENT: Clarence wakes to find Alabama outside his apartment, braving the cold on the walk of a billboard. Deeply emotional, she confesses that she’s been a call girl for four days and was paid by Clarence’s boss to fuck him, but unexpectedly fell in love. In turn, he professes his love for her, she promises to never lie to him again.


Clarence...I feel really goofy saying this after only knowing you one night, and me being a call girl and all, but I think I love you.


Wait a second. Look, I’ve been trying to keep this whole thing in perspective. I mean, you just said you love me. Now, if I say I love you and just throw caution to the wind and let the chips fall where they may and you’re lying to me, I’m gonna fuckin’ die.


I’m not lying to you. And I swear from this moment forth, I’ll never lie to you again.

18 – Clarence and Alabama exit a courthouse, now officially married.

19-20 – Clarence and Alabama tattoo each other’s names to their bodies. He asks about Drexl, whom she confesses was her pimp. While she was only there for four days, she saw him get violent with another call girl. Clarence doesn’t like the sound of him.

20 – COCAINE SUITCASE SETUP: A drug deal goes down between DREXL SPIVEY and BIG DON WATTS. Drexl kills Big Don and his associate, and steals their cocaine.


In fact, I’m gonna show you what I mean with a little demonstration. Big D, toss me that shotgun.

Without turning away from “Bewitched” he picks up the shotgun and tosses it to Drexl.


(to Floyd)

All right, check this out.

(referring to shotgun)

Now, pretend this is Jayne Kennedy. And you’re you.

Then, in a blink, he points the shotgun at Floyd and BLOWS him away.

Big D leaps off the bed and spins toward Drexl.

Drexl, waiting for him FIRES from across the room.

The blast hits the big man in the right arm and shoulder, spinning him around.

Drexl makes a bee-line toward his victim and fires again.

Big D is hit with a blast, full in the back. He slams into the wall and drops.

Drexl collects the suitcase full of cocaine and leaves.

21-23 – Clarence and Alabama watch John Woo’s A Better Tomorrow 2. Clarence is uneasy, goes to the bathroom. There, a hallucination of ELVIS tells him to kill Drexl.


Can you live it?


Live with what?


What that sonofabitch walkin’ around breathin’ the same air as you? And gettin’ away with it every day. Are you haunted?




You wanna get unhaunted?




Then shoot ‘em. Shoot ‘em in the face. And feed that boy to the dogs.


I can’t believe what the fuck you’re telling me.


I ain’t telling’ ya nothin’. I’m just sayin’ what I’d do.


You’d really do that?


He don’t got no right to live.


Look, Elvis, he is haunting me. He doesn’t deserve to live. And I do want to kill him. But I don’t want ta go to jail for the rest of my life.


I don’t blame you.


If I thought I could get away with it --


Killin’ ‘em’s the hard part. Gettin’ away with it is the easy part. Whaddya think the cops do when a pimp’s killed? Burn the midnight oil tryin’ to find out who done it? They couldn’t give a flyin’ fuck if all the pimps in the whole wide world took two in the back of the fuckin’ head. If you don’t get caught at the scene with the smokin’ gun in your hand, you got away with it.

Clarence looks at Elvis.


Clarence, I like ya. Always have, always will.

24-25 – Clarence packs a snub-nosed .38 in his sock. He convinces Alabama to write down her address so he can retrieve her belongings from Drexl. Though reluctant, she obliges.


Sequence III: Clarence confronts Drexl over Alabama and is beat down, but ultimately gets the upper hand and kills him. Believing it to contain Alabama’s belongings, he inadvertently takes a suitcase full of cocaine home with him.

True Romance Beat Sheet Strong Movement Forward

26-29 – STRONG MOVEMENT FORWARD: Clarence makes his way into Drexl’s living room, letting Drexl know he’s Alabama’s husband and has come for her things. Tension builds as Drexl taunts Clarence over Clarence’s aggressive demeanor. Clarence lays an envelope on the table, saying he won’t pay Drexl a cent more for Alabama. The envelope is empty.

Clarence takes out an envelope and throws it on the table.


I’m not eatin’ ‘cause I’m not hungry. I’m not sittin’ ‘cause I’m not stayin’. I’m not lookin’ at the movie ‘cause I saw it seven years ago. It’s The Mack with Max Julian, Carol Speed and Richard Pryor. I’m not scared of you. I just don’t like you. In that envelope is some payoff money. Alabama’s moving on to some greener pastures. We’re not negotiating. I don’t like to barter. What’s in that envelope is for my peace of mind. My peace of mind is worth that much. Not one penny more.

You could hear a pin drop in the room. Once Clarence started talking, Marty went on full alert. Drexl stopped eating and the whores stopped breathing. All eyes are on Drexl. Drexl drops his chopsticks and opens the envelope. It’s empty.

30-31 – Drexl attacks Clarence, gets the upper hand. With Marty’s help, he beats Clarence into submission.

32 – LICENSE SETUP: Drexl hands Clarence’s license to Marty, instructs him to go get Alabama from Clarence’s place.

32 – Drexl stands over Clarence. Clarence removes the .38 from his sock and shoots Drexl in the balls. Marty rushes Clarence, but Clarence puts a few bullets in his chest before he can hurt him.

While Drexl has his attention turned to Marty, Clarence reaches into his sock and pulls out the .38. He sticks the barrel between Drexl’s legs.

Drexl, who’s standing over Clarence, looks down just in time to see Clarence pull the trigger and BLOW his balls to bits. Tiny spots of blood speckle Clarence’s face.

True Romance Beat Sheet Drexl's Dead

32-33 – Clarence screams at Drexl’s whores to collect Alabama’s things, then executes Drexl. He grabs the first suitcase he sees and leaves.

33-34 – Clarence comes home with food, nonchalantly tells Alabama that he killed Drexl. Alabama breaks into tears, saying what he did “was so romantic.”


Why are you crying? He’s not worth one of your tears? Would you rather it been me? Do you love him?

(no answer)

Do you love him?

(no answer)

Do you love him?

She looks at Clarence, having a hard time getting the words out.


I think what you did was...




I think what you did...




I think what you did...




... was so romantic.

Clarence is completely taken aback. They meet in a long passionate lovers’ kiss.

True Romance Beat Sheet End of Act One Turn

35 – END OF ACT ONE TURN & COCAINE SUITCASE PAYOFF: Alabama opens the suitcase and discovers it’s full of cocaine.


True Romance Beat Sheet Act II-A

Sequence I: Clarence meets with his estranged father Cliff, learns that the cops have no leads on Drexl’s murder, believing it was drug related. Clarence follows Cliff’s advice, heads out of town with Alabama in tow.

36 – CLIFFORD WORLEY drives home from work and finds his son and new daughter-in-law waiting outside his trailer.

37-39 – Inside Cliff’s trailer, Alabama introduces herself as Clarence’s wife. There is tension in the room. Clarence asks Alabama to go on a beer run, leaving him with his father. Though the two have been estranged from some time, Clarence asks for help.

40-41 – Since Cliff used to be a cop, Clarence asks him to see if the police have any leads on Drexl’s murder. Cliff berates Clarence over the predicament, but in the end, it’s clear that Cliff has never been much of a father and that Clarence has asked little of him.

41-42 – TJ HOOKER SETUP: In Los Angeles, DICK RITCHIE auditions for a role on TJ Hooker. The casting director isn’t impressed and dismisses Dick within a few lines of his reading.

43 – FIRST TRIAL & BLUE LOU BOYLE SETUP: After making a call, Cliff informs Clarence that the cops have no leads, believes Drexl’s murder was drug related. Further, he states that Drexl was an associate of Blue Lou Boyle, a notorious gangster. Cliff advises Clarence to leave town with Alabama.

44-45 – CLARENCE IN LA SETUP: Cliff wishes Clarence and Alabama the best, even tells Clarence that he loves him. Clarence hands him Dick Ritchie’s address and number in LA, and leaves town with Alabama.


Sequence II: Investigating the missing cocaine, Coccotti, council for mafia boss, Blue Lou Boyle, executes Cliff when Cliff refuses to give up Clarence. As they leave Cliff’s trailer, one of Coccotti’s thugs finds Clarence’s temporary address in L.A.

46-47 – Clarence calls Dick from a phone booth in the desert, informs him that he’s coming to L.A. with his new bride.

48 – Cliff comes home from work. A gun is put to his head the moment he enters his trailer. A split-second later, someone knocks him out cold.

49 – BLUE LOU BOYLE PAYOFF: Cliff comes-to tied to a chair surrounded by Sicilian gangsters in the employ of Blue Lou Boyle. COCCOTTI informs him of his situation, asks questions about Clarence.


Do you know who I am, Mr. Worley?


I give up. Who are you?


I’m the Anti-Christ. You got me in a vendetta kind of mood, you will tell the angels in Heaven that you had never seen evil so singularly personified as you did in the face of the who killed you. My name is Vincenzo Coccotti. I work as council for Mr. Blue Lou Boyle, the man who your son stole from. I hear you were once a cop so I can assume you’ve heard of us before. Am I correct?


I’ve heard of ‘Blue Lou Boyle.’

50-52 – LICENSE PAYOFF: Coccotti punches Cliff on the nose, informs Cliff that Clarence and Alabama stole Blue Lou’s cocaine and killed Drexl. They would have got away with it had Clarence remembered his license before leaving Drexl’s.

52-54 – Cliff lies to Coccotti regarding Clarence’s whereabouts. Coccotti has VIRGIL slice open Cliff’s palm and pour whiskey over the open wound.

True Romance Beat Sheet Cliff

55-58 – Cliff realizes his fate. He asks for a cigarette and begins a historical, yet contemptuous recounting of Sicilian history, with the Moors invading Sicily and raping all the women, forever changing the bloodline. Coccotti is entertained with the bravado and wit behind Cliff’s story, but still kills him.


You know I read a lot. Especially things that have to do with history. I find that shit fascinating. in fact, I don’t know if you know this or not, Sicilian’s were spawned by niggers.

All the men stop what they are doing and look at Cliff, except for Tooth-pick Vic who doesn’t speak English and so, isn’t insulted.

Coccotti can’t believe what he’s hearing.


Come again?


It’s a fact. Sicilians have nigger blood pumping through their hearts. If you don’t believe me look it up. You see, hundreds and hundreds of years ago the Moors conquered Sicily. And Moors are niggers. Way back then, Sicilians were like the Wops in northern Italy. Blond hair, blue eyes. But, once the Moors moved in there, they changed the whole country. They did so much fuckin’ with the Sicilian women, they changed the bloodline forever, from blond hair and blue eyes to black hair and dark skin. I find it absolutely amazing to think that to this day hundreds of years later, Sicilians still carry that nigger gene. I’m just quotin’ history. It’s a fact. It’s written. Your ancestors were niggers. Your great, great, great, great grandmother was fucked by a nigger and had a half nigger kid. That is a fact. Now tell me, am I lyin’?

Coccotti looks at him for a moment then jumps up, whips out an AUTOMATIC, grabs hold of Cliff’s hair, puts the barrel to his temple and PUMPS three bullets through Cliff’s head.

True Romance Beat Sheet Midpoint

59 – MIDPOINT & CLARENCE IN LA PAYOFF: Before Coccotti and crew leave, they find Dick Richie’s address on Cliff’s fridge.


True Romance Beat Sheet Act II-B

Sequence I: Clarence’s actor friend, Dick Ritchie, introduces him to Elliot Blitzer, assistant to powerful movie producer, Lee Donowitz. Elliot helps them setup a meeting with Donowitz to sell the cocaine.

59-60 – Clarence and Alabama make it to Los Angeles, arrive at Dick’s house.

62-64 – Clarence takes Dick back to his hotel room, shows Dick the cocaine. Dick isn’t optimistic about lining up a single buyer for all of it, but mentions his connection to an assistant of a powerful movie producer. Clarence has Dick line up a meeting with the assistant.

65-66 – Clarence meets ELLIOT BLITZER, discusses the cocaine over a roller coaster ride. Clarence lies to Elliot, saying that he’s fronting for a cop who stole the coke from the evidence room.

68 – Clarence coerces Elliot to approach movie producer Lee Donowitz with an offer: $200k for $500k of cocaine.

69-72 – ASSUMPTION OF POWER: Elliot calls LEE DONOWITZ. Donowitz berates Elliot for discussing the deal over the phone, but before he can hang up, Clarence takes over the call. Clarence gives Donowitz the hard sell and Donowitz agrees to meet on Wednesday.


Sequence II: One of Blue Lou’s hitmen, Virgil, savagely beats Alabama, but she ends up turning the tables and kills him. Clarence arrives after the fact and helps her escape. It’s clear they now have the mob on their ass.

72-74 – Virgil, one of Blue Lou’s hitmen, shows up at Dick’s house. Dick’s stoned roommate FLOYD gives away the hotel where Clarence and Alabama are staying.

74 – Clarence drops Alabama off at the hotel, goes to grab some food.

True Romance Beat Sheet Alabama and Virgil

75-77 – Alabama enters the hotel room, finds Virgil calmly sitting in a chair. Alabama tries to play cool, acting as if he’s not a threat. Virgil toys with Alabama, delicately touching her before unloading a vicious punch to her face. She refuses to tell him about the cocaine or Clarence’s whereabouts and suffers more punishment.

78 – Clarence orders a couple burgers from a hamburger stand.

78- Alabama suffers more abuse at the hands of Virgil, but remains silent.

79 – At the burger stand, Clarence makes small talk with man reading a Newsweek article on Elvis.

79-82 – In midst pontificating on his desensitization of human life, Virgil discovers the cocaine stashed under the bed. He then pulls out his gun to execute Alabama. Bloodied and bruised, she grabs a corkscrew off the ground in an effort to defend herself, which Virgil admires. He lets down his guard and she buries the screw in his foot. As he screams in pain, she breaks an Elvis statue over his head, but doesn’t knock him out. He just looks at her and smiles.

83 – Clarence drives back to the hotel.

83-84 Virgil shoves Alabama through the glass shower door. She distracts him, clubs him over the head with the toilet tank lid. As he gets up to draw his gun, she sets his face on fire with hairspray and a lighter. He then falls back into the main room. As he attempts to put out the fire, she pumps a few rounds of shotgun shells into his body.

True Romance Beat Sheet End of Act Two Turn

84 – END OF ACT TWO TURN: Clarence arrives, grabs Alabama and the coke, and flees before the cops can arrive.


True Romance Beat Sheet Act III

Sequence I: Elliot is arrested with a sample bag of Clarence’s cocaine, offers to wear a wire for the cops to avoid jail. As Clarence tends to Alabama’s wounds, they make a pact to start their lives over in Mexico.

85-86 – Elliot is pulled over while getting a blow job from a coke whore. As the cops approach the vehicle, he pleads with her to hide his cocaine. When he forces it on her, she attempts to slap him but hits the bag of coke instead, and covers his face in peruvian marching powder.

86-87 – Elliot is grilled by Detectives NICHOLSON and DIMES in an interrogation room. They let him know he’s facing hard time, rattling him to his core.

True Romance Beat Sheet Nicholson and Dimes

87-88 – Nicholson and Dimes approach CAPTAIN KRINKLE with Elliot’s confession. They tell the captain about Clarence’s fictional dirty cop, the $500k in uncut coke, and the plans to sell it to Donowitz. Further, Elliot is willing to wear a wire to plea out. The captain okays the sting operation, gives Dimes and Nicholson the collar.

89-90 – MEXICO SETUP: Outside of the airport, Clarence tends to Alabama’s wounds. He remembers living near the airport in Dearborn and wishing he could leave, but not having the money to do so. They make a pact to start their lives over in Cancún.


Sequence II: Clarence, Alabama, and Dick meet Elliot in the lobby of the hotel. In the elevator, Clarence puts a gun in Elliot’s face, accusing him of a setup. Elliot breaks down, but doesn’t give anything up. In turn, Clarence relents, apologizes.

91 – TJ HOOKER PAYOFF: Clarence, Alabama, and Dick are on their way to meet Elliot when a Dick receives a phone call and learns he got the part on TJ Hooker.

92 – In a hotel room, Blue Lou’s men — LENNY, LUCA, MARVIN, and FRANKIE — ready their arsenal. They’ve come to kick ass.

93-94 – Nicholson and Dimes ease Elliot’s nerves as his mic is tested, assure him of his safety. They then remind him he must get Donowitz to admit he’s buying coke on tape or face jail time himself.

95 – Clarence, Alabama, and Dick pull up outside the Beverly Ambassador. Dick’s uneasy with Clarence carrying a gun. Clarence reasons that he’d rather have a gun and not need it than need a gun and not have it.

True Romance Beat Sheet Point of No Return

96-98 – POINT OF NO RETURN: Clarence, Alabama, and Dick meet Elliot in the lobby of the Beverly Ambassador. In the elevator, Clarence removes his gun, stops the elevator, and demands Elliot get on his knees. Clarence presses his gun against Elliot’s forehead, demands to know what he’s walking in to. Elliot panics, cries for someone to save him. At first, Nicholson and Dimes believe Clarence is bluffing, yet when Clarence doesn’t let up, they think otherwise. Clarence ultimately puts away his weapon, apologizes to Elliot, much to the humor (or relief) of all who are listening in.

With the .45 up against Elliot’s head, Clarence puts his palm over the top of the gun to shield himself from the splatter. Alabama and Dick can’t believe what he’s gonna do.

Elliot, tears running down his face, starts talking for the benefit of the people at the other end of the wire. He sounds like a little boy.


I don’t wanna be here. I wanna go home. I wish somebody would just come and get me ’cause I don’t like this. This is not what I thought it would be. And I wish somebody would just come and take me away. Just take me away. Come and get me. ‘Cause I don’t like this anymore. I can’t take this. I’m sorry but I just can’t. So, if somebody would just come to my rescue, everything would be alright.


Nicholson and Dimes shake their heads. They have a “well, that’s that” expression on their faces.


Clarence puts down the gun and hugs Elliot.


Sorry, Elliot. Nothing personal. I just hadda make sure you’re alright. I’m sure. I really apologize for scaring you so bad but, believe me, I’m just as scared as you. Friends?

Elliot, in a state of shock, takes Clarence’s hand. Dick and Alabama are relieved.


Sequence III: After a little song and dance, Clarence convinces Donowitz to buy the coke. Nicholson and Dimes overhear it, storm in with the cops to bust the deal. Tensions rise when the Blue Lou’s hitmen burst in; a Mexican stand-off between the cops, hitmen, and Donowitz’s cop-hating security. The room explodes into gun fire and nearly everyone is killed. Clarence takes a bullet to the face. Alabama rushes to his aid. She grabs the money and Clarence, and the two escape with Donowitz’s money.

98-99 – Blue Lou’s hitmen, guns drawn, walk in on Floyd smoking a bowl. Completely baked, Floyd finds humor in his situation, gives up Clarence’s location without a thought.

99-103 – MONTY, one of Donowitz’s armed security guards, lets Clarence, Alabama, Dick, and Elliot into Donowitz’s suite. Monty and BORIS, another armed guard, begin searching the guests for weapons. Clarence reveals his weapon before they get to him. Boris approaches Clarence the moment Donowitz enters. Clarence offers to hand over the gun, but Donowitz, calm and welcoming, doesn’t feel it’s necessary. They sit down, make small talk. Clarence and Donowitz hit it off.

103 – Donowitz segues from the small talk, asks Clarence to see Doctor Zhivago, implying cocaine. Overhearing their conversation, Nicholson and Dimes are pumped — they’re close to a bust.

104 – Blue Lou’s hitmen enter the lobby of the Beverly Ambassador.

104-105 – Donowitz samples the coke. He compliments its quality, but believes the deal’s too good to be true. He leads Clarence out to the patio garden for a one-on-one,out of range for Elliot’s wire. Nicholson and Dimes comment that if Donowitz doesn’t bite, all they have is possession.

True Romance Beat Sheet Clarence and Donowitz

105-106 – Clarence admits to Lee that he’s selling it cheap because he doesn’t know what he’s doing. When Donowitz questions him over the dirty cop he’s fronting for, Clarence simply says that he bullshitted the man into believing he could sell it for him. Donowitz gets a good laugh. He escorts Clarence back inside, where Elliot’s wire is able to overhear him tell Monty to get the money.


If you don’t know shit, why does he think you can sell it?


I bullshitted him.

Lee starts laughing.


That’s wild. This fuckin’ guy’s a madman. I love it. Monty, go in the other room and get the money.

106 – Nicholson, Dimes, and the rest of the cops suit up for the bust.

107 – Clarence uses the restroom while Alabama counts the money. There, Elvis complements him on the sale.

108 – The cops bust in, surprising everyone in the room, except for Elliot. Tension rises when Monty and Boris refuse to drop their weapons. It’s a standoff between Donowitz’s guards and the cops.

True Romance Beat Sheet Mexican Standoff

109 – Blue Lou’s hitmen — Lenny, Marvin, Luca, and Frankie — burst in the rear door. Now there’s a Mexican Standoff: cops versus the guards versus the hitmen.

109 – Elvis assures Clarence that he was genuine with Donowitz.

110 – Elliot asks to Dimes if he can leave and Donowitz puts it all together. Donowitz explodes with anger, tosses hot coffee in Elliot’s face, startling Nicholson’s uneasy trigger finger. Nicholson unloads a few rounds into Donowitz and the room explodes into gunfire.

For Elliot, this has been the worst day of his life and he’s about had it.


Officer Dimes? Officer Dimes?

Dimes looks at Elliot.


This has nothing to do with me anymore. Can I just leave and you guys just settle it by yourselves?


Elliot, shut the fuck up and stay put!


(to Elliot)

How did you know his name? How the fuck did he know your name? Why, you fuckin’ little piece of shit!


Lee, understand, I didn’t want to --


Shut the fuck up!


Well, I hope you’re not planning on acting in the next twenty years ’cause your career is over, as of now. You might as well burn your SAG card! To think I treated you as a son! And you stabbed me in the heart!

Lee can’t control his anger anymore. He grabs the coffee pot off the table and flings hot coffee in Elliot’s face.

Elliot screams and falls to his knees.

Instinctively, Nicholson SHOOTS Lee twice.

Lee flops backwards over the couch and onto the floor.

111 – The room ignites like a power keg. Nicholson and cops get mowed down. Elliot gets pumped full of lead from both sides. Lenny takes a blast to the chest.

111 – Clarence walks out of the bathroom and Dimes shoots him before he can draw his gun. Alabama sees it happen, army crawls to Clarence’s aid.

111 – Boris gets shot up. Marvin takes out Monty. Frankie escapes.

111 – Creating a diversion, Dick throws the cocaine into the air. Luca blasts it with the shotgun, showering the room with cocaine, seconds before Marvin is shot to hell by the cops. Dick takes it as his cue and gets out alive.

112 – Alabama reaches Clarence, wipes away the blood that has pooled in his eye socket.

112 – Dimes and Officer WURLITZER have Luca pinned behind a couch. Luca tosses his shotgun, but when he stands to surrender, fires a handgun, hitting Wurlitzer in the gut before Dimes can kill him.

True Romance Beat Sheet Is Clarence Dead?

113 – Alabama cries for Clarence as Dimes checks in on Wurlitzer.

113 – Cops close in on the Ambassador. Surrounded by cops in the lobby, Frankie attempts to make his way out with a hostage.

113-114 – Boris begs Dimes for an ambulance, but Dimes executes him. Alabama then grabs Clarence’s gun and unloads a few rounds into Dimes’ rib cage.

114-115 – Clarence regains consciousness and Alabama helps him up. She grabs the money and they leave the room.

115 – With all the cops focused on Frankie and the hostage, Alabama guides Clarence through the lobby undetected.

115 – The cops kill Frankie, save the hostage.

True Romance Beat Sheet Climax

115 – CLIMAX: Alabama and Clarence make it to the car, get away with the money.


True Romance Beat Sheet Epilogue

Sequence I: A few years later, Clarence and Alabama now have a son and live in Mexico.

116 – Alabama drives. Wearing a bandage over his eye, Clarence rests his head on her shoulder.

116 – MEXICO PAYOFF: Years later, Alabama watches Clarence, now donning an eye patch, play with their son on a Mexico beach. She takes a moment to enjoy the sight, joins them.


A little boy with nappy black hair and striking blue eyes runs into his mother’s arms. His mother is Alabama. Next to her is Clarence, wearing an eyepatch. They pick the little boy up and walk down the beach, their pants rolled up, the water lapping at their feet, and the warm wind blowing in their hair.


And sometimes Clarence asks me what I would have done if he had died. If that bullet had been two inches more to the left. To this I always smile as if I’m not going to satisfy him with a response. But I always do. I tell him of how I would want to die, but that the anguish and want of death would fade like the stars at dawn. And that things would be much as they are now. Perhaps. Except, maybe, I wouldn’t have named our son... Elvis.

True Romance Beat Sheet Closing Image

117 – CLOSING IMAGE: A setting sun off the ocean.

117 – THE END.

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William Robert Rich
William Robert Rich

William Robert Rich is a story analyst, screenwriter, and co-author of Story Maps: The Films of Christopher Nolan. He's currently based in Austin, Texas.

Articles: 120


  1. In Tarantino’s script, Clarence dies. He even said in an interview, that in Tarantino’s universe, Clarence is dead. What would the movie’s theme be if the director kept Tarantino’s original ending? Love doesn’t conquer all? Doesn’t feel right.

    • That’s true — Tony Scott did change the ending. I read Tarantino’s draft from March ’91 and August ’92, the latter being closest to the movie. In the March ’91 draft, it ends with Alabama contemplating suicide after Clarence’s death. She glances at the “You’re So Cool” napkin with the gun in her mouth and decides to live. You’ll probably remember that she writes on the napkin for him in the movie, but in this draft, she writes the text and he draws an arrow through the heart. Tarantino comes back to the napkin at the end to emphasize that love gives you courage. Doesn’t matter that he’s dead; she’ll still love him until the day she dies. Clarence’s love for her gave him the courage to face Drexl, leave Detriot, and sell the cocaine so they can both start their lives anew. Her love for him gave her the courage to face life without him.

      Anyway, that’s my two cents. Hope it helps.

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