5 most iconic lines from Tommy Shelby on ‘Peaky Blinders’
(Credit: BBC)

Editor's Choice

5 most iconic lines from Tommy Shelby on 'Peaky Blinders'

Trailblazing Irish actor Cillian Murphy has garnered immense acclaim for his iconic role as Thomas Shelby in the popular BBC and Netflix show Peaky Blinders. Despite his vast filmography that blends mainstream and independent cinema, this Golden Globe-winning actor is best-known for playing this well-known Birmingham crime lord. 

Created by Steven Knight, this 2013 series is a  period piece set in between the two Great Wars, the success of which ended up changing the course of British crime dramas. 

With its moody and dark palette, Peaky Blinders revolves around the various escapades of the Black Country gang who are notorious for their riveting tendency to sheathe dangerous razor blades in their peaked caps as well as for their dangerous infamy. It closely chronicles the character development of the handsome and eloquent, Thomas Shelby whose cunning and courage reek of growing ambition.  

Cillian Murphy is perfect as the cold, calculative, scheming and enigmatic Tommy Shelby. He has managed to grab the audience’s attention with his meaningful lines, brilliant on-screen presence and distinguished haircut. 

While the show has come to an end with its sixth season (which will premiere on Netflix in June), a film is on its way. Starring Murphy, Tom Hardy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Sophie Rundle, Paul Anderson, Sam Claflin, Finn Cole, Amber Anderson and Stephen Graham, the sixth season is “intense and heavy”. 

Take a look at the five most iconic lines by Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby on Peaky Blinders

5 most iconic Tommy Shelby lines

“I’m guessing you people all decided that the only person who could ever kill Tommy Shelby, is Tommy Shelby himself.” 

Spoiler alert for the finale, Tommy Shelby did not have Tuberculoma, after all, Mosley simply wanted to exterminate Tommy. The devilish politican thought that such a revelation would drive the man to suicide; however, Tommy is quick to figure it out and come back better and stronger. 

This is an extremely important line in the show, especially in the finale, as it sums up Shelby as a person. He is intelligent, charismatic and highly observant. He has an edge over his opponents and manages to outdo them despite their status, riches or power. Shelby’s arc in the story comes to a proper end and it will be interesting to see if Steven Knight prevails the truth of this statement in the film as well.   

“Everyone’s a whore, Grace. We just sell different parts of ourselves.”

Perhaps one of the most oft-quoted lines from the show, this iconic line has become a sensation. Before he fell for Grace Burgess, Thomas Shelby wanted to use her charms to win over Billy Kimber and lure him. 

Offended by his true intentions of inviting her to the race, Grace is visibly miffed and asks if he takes her for a “whore” when Shelby makes a comeback with this quip. The line is pretty ominous and foreshadows several compromises he makes as the seasons progress; having been a war veteran, he has sold his body like any other soldier in service. 

“Whiskey’s good proofing water. Tells you who’s real and who isn’t.”

The Birmingham men love their fair share of violence, peaked caps and a good glass of whiskey. Throughout the series, pubs and familiar glasses of expensive scotch make an appearance. Shelby, an avid whiskey-lover, knows how to loosen people’s inhibitions and get them to spew the truth – by getting them drunk. 

Since they tend to talk a lot in their booze-induced haze, Shelby’s truthful observation makes its way into this list of some of his most iconic ejaculations. However, this quote did lead to legal trouble regarding trademarking and licensing. 

“Good taste is for people who can’t afford sapphires.”

After receiving sapphires from the Russians as payment, Shelby goes on to make a beautiful necklace for Grace. However, Grace is sceptical about donning the necklace at a charity event they are invited to when the crime lord dispels her thoughts with this statement. 

A man who does not believe in pretence, Shelby is not a people pleaser. He only believes in doing what makes him happy. To induct Grace into his way of lifestyle and help her get used to it, he is soft and romantic while asking her to be unapologetic about their wealth and viewing it from a different perspective. Arthur and Tommy share some excellent exchanges throughout the series, this being one of the best. 

“I think, Arthur. That’s what I do. I think so that you don’t have to.”

Arthur questions Tommy Shelby’s abilities and desire to take on Billy Kimber alone. However, Tommy Puts him in place by indicating how they must leave the act of thinking to him, given how intelligent and calculative he is. 

Tommy is a brilliant judge of character and realises that Arthur is not as quick-witted as he is strong and impulsive. Since his brother is not a very good decision-maker, Shelby pays no heed to his ideas and concerns. Shelby’s derivations are proven true when Arthur’s impulsiveness and careless nature get him arrested by Inspector Campbell.