Greatest
Film Mis-Quotes

Part 3



Greatest Film Mis-Quotes
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Greatest Movie Misquotes
(Part 3)

Greatest Movie Mis-Quotes: Some of the most classic film lines or scenes are really only legendary and/or apocryphal, or they are merely movie misquotes, but after many years of repetition and being misquoted in subsequent films, they have become part of the filmgoing public's consciousness. Many of these examples are film quotes that were either commonly attributed wrongly, or in fact were never actually spoken.

The top 10 most misquoted film lines are marked with an icon #1

There are a number of variations on the famous quote from The Godfather (1972), based on the novel by Mario Puzo. In the book, Don Corleone says: "He's a businessman. I'll make him an offer he can't refuse." The modified line was stated in both The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather: Part 2 (1974), repeated by Don Corleone and his sons Michael and Sonny:

  • Don Corleone (Marlon Brando): "I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse."
    (although it sounds like "I wanna make him...")

    Play clip from The Godfather (1972): The Godfather - 1972
  • Michael (Al Pacino): "My father made him an offer he couldn't refuse."
    Play clip from The Godfather (1972): The Godfather
  • Sonny Corleone (James Caan): "And the promise is that the deal is so good that we can't refuse."
    Play clip from The Godfather (1972): The Godfather
  • Don Corleone (Robert DeNiro): "I make an offer he don't refuse. Don't worry."
    Play clip from The Godfather: Part 2 (1974): The Godfather: Part II
  • Michael (Al Pacino): "I'll make him an offer he can't refuse."
    Play clip from The Godfather: Part 2 (1974): The Godfather: Part II

Steven Spielberg's Jaws (1975) has often been misquoted, when Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) exclaimed to his crewmate Quint (Robert Shaw):

"You're gonna need a bigger boat."
Play clip from Jaws (1975): Jaws

He has been mistakenly attributed as saying: "We're gonna need a bigger boat."

Director Sidney Lumet's brilliant criticism of television journalism (with a satirical script by Paddy Chayefsky) was personified by unbalanced and indignant news-anchorman Howard Beale (Oscar-winning Peter Finch), the "mad prophet of the airwaves." His angry cry became a rallying point in the mid-1970s, and was repeated numerous times in the film.

It has often been misquoted. It was always the same, however:

"I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take this anymore."
Play clip from Network (1976): Network

  • "I'm as mad as hell" - not "I'm mad as hell"
  • and "I'm not gonna take this anymore" - not "I'm not gonna take it anymore."

I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV's while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be. We know things are bad - worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is: 'Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone.' Well, I'm not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get MAD! I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot - I don't want you to write to your Congressman because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you've got to get mad. (shouting) You've got to say, 'I'm a human being, god-dammit! My life has value!' So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, 'I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take this anymore!' I want you to get up right now. Sit up. Go to your windows. Open them and stick your head out and yell - 'I'm as mad as hell and I'm not gonna take this anymore!' Things have got to change. But first, you've gotta get mad!...You've got to say, 'I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take this anymore!' Then we'll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: 'I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take this anymore!'
Play clip from Network (1976): Network (short) Network (extended 1) Network (extended 2)

In Star Wars (1977), Obi Wan Kenobi (Sir Alec Guinness) NEVER said verbatim: "May the Force be with you," but he did say a few other variants:

There were two who spoke the line "May the Force be with you" - to the fliers (including Luke Skywalker and others) just before the big Death Star trench battle:

  • General Dodonna (Alex McCrindle): "Then man your ships. And may the Force be with you."
    Play clip from Star Wars (1977): Star Wars - 1977
  • Han Solo (Harrison Ford): "Hey, Luke, may the Force be with you."
    Play clip from Star Wars (1977): Star Wars - 1977

The oft-quoted line by Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore (Robert Duvall) - a hawkish, lunatic, flamboyant commander, who wears a black horse soldier's Stetson cavalry hat with a cavalry sword emblem, sunglasses, and a yellow dickey, in Coppola's Apocalypse Now (1979) is often inaccurately abbreviated.

It is often stated simply without its full ending, as this shortened line of dialogue:

"I love the smell of napalm in the morning...Smells (or smelled) like... victory."

The full quotation is:

"You smell that? Do you smell that?...Napalm, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for twelve hours. When it was all over I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' dink body. The smell, you know, that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smells (or smelled) like - victory. [A bomb explodes behind him.] Some day, this war's gonna end."
Play clip from Apocalypse Now (1979): Star Wars - 1977

In the courtroom drama ...And Justice For All (1979), defense lawyer Arthur Kirkland (Al Pacino) did not yell out to Judge Rayford: "I'm out of order? You're out of order! This whole court's out of order!", but he did shout:

"You're out of order! You're out of order! The whole trial is out of order! They're out of order!"
Play clip from ...And Justice For All (1979): ...And Justice For All - 1979

#1 The startling revelation of fatherhood by Darth Vader (David Prowse, voice of James Earl Jones) to young Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) in Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) was not:

"Luke, I am your father.

Instead, it was:

Darth Vader: "No. I am your father."
Luke (in horror): "No! No! That's not true. That's impossible."
Play clip from Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980): The Empire Strikes Back - 1980

However, the trilogy's most famous line was never actually delivered by Vader - on the set. Scottish-accented David Prowse really said: "Obi-Wan killed your father," but the line was secretly over-dubbed later.

There are at least two misquotes or mis-statements of the famous line, both spoofs:

  • In Tommy Boy (1995), the line was spoken by the title character Tommy (Chris Farley) as he goofed off in front of an electric fan:
    "La, la, la, Luke, Luke, I am your father...."
    Play clip from Tommy Boy (1995): Tommy Boy - 1995
  • In Toy Story 2 (1999), Buzz Lightyear (voice of Tim Allen) was confronted in an elevator shaft and told by arch-enemy nemesis Emperor Zurg (voice of Andrew Stanton):
    Emperor Zurg: "Surrender, Buzz Lightyear. I have won."
    Buzz: "I'll never give in. You killed my father."
    Emperor: "No, Buzz, I am your father."
    Buzz (in anguish, screaming): "Nooooo!"
    Play clip from Toy Story 2 (1999): Toy Story 2 - 1999

In Mommie Dearest (1981), Faye Dunaway (as Joan Crawford) screamed out at her young daughter Christina (Mara Hobel) for having wire hangers in her closet:

"No - wire - hangers. What's wire hangers doing in this closet when I told you - No wire hangers EVER! I work and work 'til I'm half-dead, and I hear people saying 'She's getting old.' And what do I get? A daughter who cares as much about the beautiful dresses I give her as she cares about me. What's wire hangers doing in this closet? ANSWER ME! I buy you beautiful dresses, and you treat them like they were some dish-rag. You do! $300 dollar dress on a wire hanger! We'll see how many you've got hidden in here. We'll see. Get out of that bed. All of this is coming out. Out! Out! Out. Out. Out. You've got any more? We're gonna see how many wire hangers you've got in your closet. Wire hangers! Why? Why? Christina, get out of that bed. Get out of that bed. You live in the most beautiful house in Brentwood [picks up hanger and begins to beat Christina] and you don't care if your clothes are stretched back from wire hangers. And your room looks like a two-dollar-a-week priced room in some two-bit backstreet town in Oklahoma. Get up. Get up. Clean up this mess."
Play clips from Mommie Dearest (1981): Mommie Dearest (short) Mommie Dearest (extended)

She never said: "No more wire hangers, ever!"

Many assume that Mr. T's main catchphrase originated in The A-Team TV series, airing during five seasons (and 98 episodes) from 1983 to 1986:

"I pity the fool."

However, the line was first (and only) used by Mr. T. (as Rocky’s boxing opponent James 'Clubber' Lang) in the third Rocky film, Rocky III (1982):

"I pity the fool."

The line was truncated from its full length in the film. During an interview, 'Clubber' was questioned and asked off-camera by an interviewer (Mario Machado): "Do you hate Rocky?" He responded:

"No, I don't hate Balboa. But I pity the fool, and I will destroy any man who tries to take what I got!"
Play clip from Rocky III (1982): Rocky III - 1982

In James Cameron's action sci-fi sequel Aliens (1986), Warrant Officer Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), with a determined look on her face inside a power loader, screamed out at the hostile Alien Queen beast, while maternally protecting young Newt (Carrie Henn):

"Get away from her, you bitch!"
Play clip from Aliens (1986): Aliens

She has been incorrectly quoted as saying: "Stay away from her, you bitch!"

#6 The multi-part sci-fi Star Trek TV and film series (first telecast as a one-hour TV show in 1966 and lasting until 1969 before syndication, and inspiring numerous feature films, beginning with Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)), popularized the common phrase, "Beam me up, Scotty."

It is imagined to be spoken to chief engineer Montgomery "Scotty" Scott, when a landing crew needed to be transported back to the Starship Enterprise. The "beam" quote referred to the ship's teleportation device and the affectionately-regarded ship's chief engineer and second officer, Lieutenant Commander Montgomery Scott (often played by James Doohan).

Contrary to popular belief, Captain Kirk (William Shatner) never uttered the line: "Beam me up, Scotty."

The closest Kirk ever got to saying the exact line was in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), as he was transported onto the stolen Klingon Bird of Prey vessel parked in the late 20th century in Golden Gate Park (San Francisco).

"Scotty, beam me up!"
Play clip from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986): Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

Throughout the years, however, there have been a number of variants:

  • In the first season episode "This Side of Paradise" broadcast in 1967 in the TV series, Star Trek: The Original Series (1966-1969), Spock (Leonard Nemoy) commanded Capt. James T. Kirk (William Shatner):
    "Ready to beam up, Jim."
    Play clip (excerpt): Star Trek: Original
  • In the second season episode "The Gamesters of Triskelion" broadcast in 1968 in the TV series, Star Trek: The Original Series (1966-1969), Kirk (William Shatner) ordered:
    "Gentlemen, I suggest you beam me aboard."

    Play clip (excerpt): Star Trek: Original
  • In the third season episode "The Savage Curtain" broadcast in 1969 in the TV series, Star Trek: The Original Series (1966-1969), Kirk (William Shatner) said: "Scotty, beam us up."
  • A command was voiced by Captain Kirk (voice of William Shatner) in Gene Roddenberry's and TV's Star Trek: The Animated Series (1973-1974), in two 1973 episodes:
    "The Lorelei Signal" - "Beam us up, Scotty."
    Play clip (excerpt): Star Trek: Animated
    "The Infinite Vulcan" - "Kirk to Enterprise. Beam us up, Scotty."
  • "Beam me up, Scotty" was spoken by Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) in one of the episodes of the TV series, Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994), with 7 seasons of episodes.
  • In the feature film Star Trek: Generations (1994), Capt. Picard (Patrick Stewart) said in the film's final lines:
    "Picard to Farragut, two to beam up."

    Play clip (excerpt): Star Trek: Generations
  • In the feature film reboot Star Trek (2009), Capt. Kirk (Chris Pine) yelled out to the Transport Chief:
    Kirk: "Beam us up!"
    Transport Chief: "I'm trying. I can't lock onto your signal."
    Kirk: "Beam us up!"
    Transport Chief: "You're moving too fast!"
    Kirk: "Beam us up!"

    Play clip from Star Trek (2009): Star Trek - 2009

Additional references:

  • In the animated Fox-TV series Family Guy, in a 1999 episode (Season 1, Episode 2) titled "I Never Met the Dead Man," William Shatner (voice of Seth MacFarlane) showed up at the Griffin family's house, fell down, and said:
    "Beam me up, God!"

    Play clip from TV's Family Guy (1999): Family Guy - 1999
  • James Doohan, the actor who played Scotty, used the phrase as the title of his 1996 autobiography, titled: Beam Me Up, Scotty, subtitled: Star Trek's "Scotty" In His Own Words.
  • William Shatner spoke the exact phrase in his audiobook adaptation of his 1995 novel, Star Trek: The Ashes of Eden.

The misquote was heard in a number of other non-Star Trek films:

  • Night of the Comet (1984)
    Samantha (Kelli Maroney): "Beam me up, Scotty."
    Play clip from Night of the Comet (1984): Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
  • For Queen & Country (1988, UK)
    "Beam me up, Scotty."
  • Armageddon (1998)
    Rockhound (Steve Buscemi): "While I don't share his enthusiasm, you know me. Beam me up, Scotty."
    Play clip from Armageddon (1998): Armageddon - 1998

Detective Joe Friday (Jack Webb) in the 50s NBC-TV classic police series Dragnet never said: "Just the facts, ma'am," although there were variations, such as: "All we want (or know) are the facts, ma'am, "We just want to get the facts, sir."

However, the inaccurate line was reinforced in the collective memory in numerous ways:

  • Milton Berle, on his NBC-TV show parodied the show in a classic spoof
    Play clip from The Milton Berle Show: The Milton Berle Show
  • Comedian Stan Freberg made fun of the show in one of his skits in the early 1950s: "St. George and the Dragonet"
    Play clip from St. George and the Dragonet: Stan Freberg
  • Dan Aykroyd (as Detective Joe Friday) uttered the line in the updated film Dragnet (1987):

"Just the facts, ma'am."
Play clip from Dragnet (1987): Dragnet - 1987

References to the "Greed is Good" speech truncate the actual words of the lengthy quote, spoken by Oscar-winning Michael Douglas (as ruthless stockbroker Gordon Gekko) in Wall Street (1987). The actual line was:

"The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit..."
Play clip from Wall Street (1987): Wall Street - 1987

One of the most mis-quoted lines of all time was in the film A Cry in the Dark (1988). The actual line in the film was delivered by distressed mother Lindy Chamberlain (Meryl Streep), referring to her 9-week-old baby Azaria Chamberlain that was carried off by a wild dingo (dog) from their campground tent in 1980:

"The dingo's got my baby."
Play clip from A Cry in the Dark (1988): A Cry in the Dark - 1988

She was convicted of murdering her baby but later acquitted when new evidence suggested that the baby was, in fact, killed by a dingo.

The phrase has often been mangled in The Simpsons, Seinfeld, and a few films, such as: "A dingo ate my baby." The line was spoofed in "The Stranded" episode (Season 3, Episode 10, in 1991) of the TV sit-com Seinfeld by Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), who used a mock Australian accent to humor a woman who claimed her fiancee had disappeared:

"Maybe the dingo ate your baby?"
Play clip from Seinfeld (1991): Seinfeld

In The Rugrats Movie (1998), a news-reporter asked Didi Pickle (voice of Melanie Chartoff) about her missing baby:

"Is it true a dingo ate your baby?"
Play clip from The Rugrats Movie (1998): The Rugrats Movie

Alpa Chino (Brandon T. Jackson) also inaccurately referenced the line in a conversation with Kirk Lazarus (Robert Downey, Jr.) in Tropic Thunder (2008):

"I'm sorry a dingo ate your baby."
"You know that's a true story? Lady lost her kid."
Play clip from Tropic Thunder (2008): Tropic Thunder

#8 "If you build it, they will come" was NOT what the voice said in Field of Dreams (1989). Instead, it was:

"If you build it, he will come."
Play clip from Field of Dreams (1989): Field of Dreams - 1989

The misquoted (or repeated) line was heard in a number of films, including:

  • The Cable Guy (1996)
    "If you build it, he will come."
    Play clip from The Cable Guy (1996): The Cable Guy - 1996

  • How High (2001)
    Character Whispering on TV: "If you build it, they will come."
    Field of Dreams Guy (Tracy Morgan): "Whatcha mean, 'If you build it, they gonna come?' Who are these people that are gonna come to a f--kin' cornfield? You know, who gonna cut the grass?"
  • My First Mister (2001)
    "If you listen very carefully, you can hear it."
    "What do you mean? Like, 'If you build it, they will come'?"

  • Eight Legged Freaks (2002)
    "If you build it, they will come."
  • Racing Stripes (2005)
    Reggie (Jeff Foxworthy): "If you build it, they will come."
  • The Benchwarmers (2006)
    Mel (Jon Lovitz): "If you build it, nerds will come."
    Play clip from The Benchwarmers (2006): The Benchwarmers  - 2006
  • The Comebacks (2007)
    Lambeau "Coach" Fields (David Koechner): "Yeah, this is great. In the middle of nowhere, how am I gonna find an All-American quarterback?"
    God (voice of Rodney Saulsberry): "If you build it, he will come. If you build it, he will come..."
    "Coach" Fields: "Who will come?"
    God: "Your father. Your dead father."
    "Coach" Fields: "My father's not dead. I just spoke with him this morning."
    Play clip from The Comebacks (2007): The Comebacks - 2007

A "misquote" of sorts - relating to a wrongly-attributed photograph for Home Alone (1990) that was used to prominently advertise the film. It's often assumed that Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) has his hands up to his face and is screaming at the realization that he's been left "home alone" or abandoned. In fact, he's screaming because he has just applied too much after-shave to his cheeks.

#5 Serial killer Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), in Best Picture-winning The Silence of the Lambs (1991) has often been misquoted as saying "Hello, Clarice" to young FBI agent trainee Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) when she encountered him in a massive, temporary iron cage during one of her later meetings with him in the middle of the Historical Society Room on the fifth floor.

However, his real words were:

"Good evening, Clarice."
Play clip from The Silence of the Lambs (1991): The Silence of the Lambs

The quote was also found in Hannibal (2001), which had two references:

  • The original quote was repeated:
    "Good evening, Clarice. Just like old times."
    Play clip from Hannibal (2001): Hannibal
  • Then, in a phone conversation, the line was stated differently:
    "Is this Clarice? Well, hello Clarice..."

    Play clip from Hannibal (2001): Hannibal

In The Cable Guy (1996), the title character Ernie "Chip" Douglas (Jim Carrey) imitated and mis-quoted Hannibal Lecter, while placing pieces of chicken skin over his face:

"Check this out. Silence of the Lambs! Hello, Clarice. It's good to see you again."
Play clip from The Cable Guy (1996): The Cable Guy

A minor misquote has often plagued the title character's (Tom Hanks) most famous line of dialogue in Forrest Gump (1994) about what his mother told him, spoken in the past tense, not present tense. It should be:

"My mama always said, 'Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get'."
Play clip from Forrest Gump (1994): Forrest Gump

Variations include: "My mama always said, 'Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get'."

The line wasn't in the novel by Winston Groom -- the closest it came was the novel's first line with reversed meaning: "Let me say this. Bein' an idiot ain't no box of chocolates."

In the film Apollo 13 (1995), the entire conversation surrounding the crisis, involving astronaut Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks) as he communicated with Mission Control, was:

Astronaut Jack Swigert (Kevin Bacon): "Hey, we've got a problem here."
Astronaut Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks): "What did you do?"
Swigert: "Nothin'. I stirred the tanks."
Mission Control: "Whoa! Hey! Uh, this is Houston. Uh, say again please."
Lovell: "Houston, we have a problem."
Play clips from Apollo 13 (1995): Apollo 13 (short) Apollo 13 (extended)

[The line has often been misquoted as: "Houston, we've got a problem." Some of the film's posters emphasized and reinforced the misquote, since they were printed with: "Houston, we have a problem."]

The actual message during the original mission was first delivered by astronaut Jack Swigert who said:

Astronaut Jack Swigert: "Hey, Houston, we've had a problem here."
Mission Control: "Uh. Say again, please?"
Astronaut Lovell: "Ah, Houston, we've had a problem."

Play clip: Apollo 13 (The real Apollo 13 mission)

Another of the most mis-quoted lines was from James Cameron's blockbuster Titanic (1997). The line spoken by Leonardo DiCaprio's character Jack was:

"I'm the king of the world!"
Play clip from Titanic (1997): Titanic - 1997

It was NOT "I'm king of the world."

In Peter Jackson's first film in the trilogy, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) did not command: "Run, you fools!" Instead with his final known words before he was dragged into the abyss by the Balrog called Durin's Bane, he urged others to fly ("flee"):

"Fly, you fools!"
Play clip from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001): The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring - 2001

Note: In the original theatrical release, Gandalf's line was modernized to: "Run, you fools!" However, when the DVD was released, the line was changed to more faithfully reflect the novel.

In the opening song lyrics of the 23rd official James Bond film Skyfall (2012), some of the chorus of Adele's "Skyfall" revealed a plot spoiler - a clue that Bond's childhood home was Skyfall, a location in Scotland where the action film would end. The lyrics of the main chorus were: "Let the sky fall," referring to the opening scene in which Bond (James Craig) literally fell from the sky after being shot from a moving train and plunged several hundred feet into a body of water.

After the chorus was repeated, however, it ended with "At Skyfall." Skyfall was revealed not to be a past mission or code word, but a geographic place.

Let the sky fall
When it crumbles
We will stand tall
Face it all together
At Skyfall

Play clip from Skyfall (2012): Skyfall - 2012




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