The Most Misquoted Movie Lines of All Time
Who doesn’t love a good movie quote? Adored by movie lovers and pop culture junkies alike, some lines are so iconic they seem to be memorized by the public the moment they’re spoken on the silver screen, then immortalized forever through t-shirts, reenactments, Pinterest pins, and more. Unfortunately, the human memory is notoriously fickle, and most quotes you think you know word-for-word aren’t as accurate as you think. Think you know exactly what Dorothy says when she finds herself in Oz? Think again.
We hate to break it to you, but chances are you’ve probably been misquoting a good chunk of these famous movie lines. Find out which ones you’ve been saying wrong for years, and which ones you’ve correctly known all along.
Note: some spoilers may follow.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Misquote: “Run, you fools!”
Correct Quote: “Fly, you fouls!”
Ok, so this one is a bit complicated. In the original theatrical release, the line uttered by Gandalf actually was “Run, you fools!” However, the line was changed to “Fly, you fools!” for the DVD release as it was more faithful to the novel, and in our opinion, it definitely sounds more old-timey and dramatic this way.
Alice in Wonderland (1951)
Misquote: “We’re all mad here.”
Correct Quote: “Most everyone’s mad here. You may have noticed that I’m not all there myself.”
The Cheshire Cat is a bit batty, but you might be the kooky one if you’ve been misquoting this line over and over. However, you would be correct if you were quoting Lewis Carroll’s 1865 novel instead of the film. In the original Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland book, the Cheshire Cat utters, “We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
Misquote: “I want to suck your blood!”
Correct Quote: None.
The famed Dracula actor Bela Lugosi never says anything close to this line. However, the line is said in the 1994 film Ed Wood, when the character Dr. Tom Mason is impersonating Bela Lugosi. Regardless of it not being a part of the original Dracula canon, it’s still a favorite quotable phrase when you’ve donned some fake plastic fangs and a cape for Halloween.
Misquote: “We’re going to need a bigger boat.”
Correct Quote: “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”
When the three brave souls Quint, Brody, and Hooper, board Quint’s boat, they know they’re in for a perilous quest. However, when Brody (played by Roy Scheider) sees the shark face to face, one look at its massive rows of pointy teeth is enough for him to realize that their mission is going to be even more dangerous than they thought.
Gone with the Wind (1939)
Misquote: “Frankly, Scarlett, I don’t give a damn.”
Correct Quote: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
Clark Gable’s Rhett Butler delivers this cutting quote with the perfect amount of poise and ruthlessness. Calling Vivien Leigh “my dear” instead of “Scarlett” or “my wife” also adds an extra layer of tact, as he’s done pretending she’s anything meaningful to him anymore.
Forrest Gump (1994)
Misquote: “My mom always said life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.”
Correct Quote: “My mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
This is definitely one of the most memorable film quotes of Tom Hanks’ long and prolific career, yet most people get it at least partially wrong. It doesn’t help that the subtitles on YouTube versions of the scene often quote Forrest as saying “my mom” when we all know Forrest only ever referred to his mother as “Mama.”
Apollo 13 (1995)
Misquote: “Houston, we got a problem.”
Correct Quote: “Houston, we have a problem.”
While this is probably one of the best space quotes to exist, you never actually want to speak it or hear it in reality. A couple of different versions of the quote exist, in part because it’s said twice. Kevin Bacon (portraying real-life astronaut Jack Swigert) says the initial line “Hey, we’ve got a problem here,” followed by Tom Hanks (portraying Jim Lovell) stating the more famous version: “Houston, we have a problem.”
In case you were wondering, in the original transcript, Swigert said, “Ok, Houston, we’ve had a problem here,” and then Lovell said, “Ah, Houston, we’ve had a problem.” We’re willing to let this slight slip in historical accuracy go because honestly, the movie version is catchier.
The Avengers (2012)
Misquote: “That’s my secret. I’m always angry.”
Correct Quote: “That’s my secret, Captain. I’m always angry.”
Just as he’s about to turn into the Hulk, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner utters this epic line, answering Captain America’s request to get angry. Banner then immediately morphs into the big green fighting machine in one of the most legendary CGI sequences of all time.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Misquote: “Hello, Clarice.”
Correct Quote: “Good evening, Clarice.”
Nothing inspires nightmares quite like Anthony Hopkins’ chilling portrayal of fictional serial killer Hannibal Lecter. The misquote “Hello, Clarice” is actually uttered over the phone in the 2001 sequel film Hannibal, with Clarice played by Julianne Moore. However, in the original quote between Lecter and the original Clarice, Jodie Foster, the phrase has been and will always be “Good evening, Clarice.”
Misquote: “Play it again, Sam.”
Correct Quote: “Play it once, Sam.” and then “Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By.'”
Humphrey Bogart’s character says “Play it” at one point in the film, but the correct quote is actually uttered by Ingrid Bergman’s character a few scenes earlier. However, part of the reason so many people get the quote wrong is probably because they remember the title of the 1972 Woody Allen film, Play It Again, Sam.
Misquote: “I always tell the truth. Even when I don’t.”
Correct Quote: “I always tell the truth. Even when I lie.”
Regardless of your feelings about Al Pacino’s explosive character Tony Montana, this is a pretty epic quote by the humble Cuban immigrant turned drug lord. It’s cutting, it’s chock full of symbolism, and it’s the perfect blend of moral ambiguity. We don’t recommend screaming it at a restaurant full of people, though, unless of course you’re performing at a dinner theater.
Misquote: “He’s alive!!! He’s alive!!!”
Correct Quote: “It’s alive!!! It’s alive!!!”
Apparently, no one ever asked which pronouns the monster preferred, so the mad scientist simply referred to his creation as an “it.” Given the creature’s immense size, it’s probably primarily made up of dead men’s body parts, which is why viewers often assume the monster is a “he,” yet Dr. Frankenstein famously cries, “It’s alive!!!” nonetheless.
In case you were wondering, Gene Wilder’s Dr. Frankenstein likewise says, “It’s alive!!!” in Young Frankenstein when referring to his unnatural creation.
Miss Congeniality (2000)
Misquote: “I’m in a dress and have gel in my hair. I’m tired, starving, and armed. Don’t mess with me.”
Correct Quote: “I am in a dress, I have gel in my hair, I haven’t slept all night, I’m starved, and I’m armed. Don’t mess with me!”
Nothing’s quite as badass and fabulous as Sandra Bullock as undercover F.B.I. agent Gracie Hart. Given that agent Hart was up the entire night in the previous scene being plucked and preened into her full pageant queen potential, we’re impressed by Bullock’s convincing, cutting portrayal of an agent that’s still a force to be reckoned with even when completely exhausted.
Wall Street (1987)
Misquote: “Greed is good.”
Correct Quote: “The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good.”
The misquote is definitely the more succinct version, but still incorrect. Michael Douglas’ character Gordon Gekko might have a lizard-based last name, but he’s truly a snake through and through.
Misquote: “I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. But I will find you, and I will kill you.”
Correct Quote: A whole lot longer! It actually goes like this: “I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want,” and then after a few more sentences: “If you let my daughter go now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you. I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.”
Go ahead and try to name a more badass Liam Neeson quote. You can’t! Even some of the film’s promotional materials show various shortened versions of Neeson’s threatening speech, which is probably why none of us can correctly recite this scene from memory. However you attempt to quote it, though, it always sounds tough, menacing, and really, really cool.
All About Eve (1950)
Misquote: “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.”
Correct Quote: “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.”
You might not have watched the movie, but you’ve definitely heard this quote (and in reality, the misquote) more times than you can probably count. Who knew this timeless one-liner could be so easily applied to everything from road trips to a visit with your mother-in-law?
Dirty Harry (1971)
Misquote: “Do you feel lucky, punk?”
Correct Quote: “You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?”
Sorry Clint Eastwood fans, but he never actually says, “Do you feel lucky, punk?” And Jim Carrey doesn’t say it either in his spot-on impersonation of Eastwood in Bruce Almighty.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
Misquote: “Beam me up, Scotty!”
Correct Quote: “Scotty, beam me up.”
We apologize if we’re breaking the hearts of any hardcore Star Trek fans, but Captain Kirk never actually said, “Beam me up, Scotty!” It’s never said in the original Star Trek films or the tv show, though Captain Kirk utters a close iteration in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Regardless, the long-beloved misquote is on countless Trekkies’ t-shirts and bumper stickers to this today. William Shatner has also embraced the commonly loved error, as the line is included in his book, The Ashes of Eden.
A Few Good Men (1992)
Misquote: “You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!”
Correct Quote: Instead of the quote belonging solely to Jack Nicholson, it’s actually a screaming match back and forth between Nicholson and Tom Cruise’s characters, and it goes like this:
Nicholson: “You want answers?!”
Cruise: “I want the truth!”
Nicholson: “You can’t handle the truth!”
While you could just shout out all these lines to yourself, if you really want to reenact the scene with the utmost authenticity, you’ll need a willing partner who can also belt one out.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Misquote: “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?”
Correct Quote: “Magic Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?”
This misquote has happened so often that people made the 2012 film Mirror, Mirror starring Lily Collins and Julia Roberts, and no one bothered to correct them. We get that “mirror, mirror” is more catchy, but it also seems kind of redundant for the evil queen to have to call on the mirror twice. The mirror is mounted on the wall, not going anywhere, and is probably bored out of its mind most of the time; we’re pretty sure it’d answer the queen at first mention.
The Godfather (1972)
Misquote: “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse.”
Correct Quote: “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.”
The confusion here results from which Corleone is delivering what line. The “I’ll make him” version of the quote is spoken by Al Pacino as Michael Corleone later in the film. However, the original “I’m gonna make him” quote has always been spoken in the film’s opening scenes by Marlon Brando, aka the mob don Vito Corleone.
Legally Blonde (2001)
Misquote: “Exercise makes you happy. Happy people don’t kill their husbands.”
Correct Quote: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t.”
While it’s not the most rock-solid argument, it’s one of those quotes Reese Witherspoon delivers to perfection as Elle Woods. You can argue the logic or lack thereof all day, but this sorority-queen-turned-Harvard-law-student ended up being exactly right and completely underestimated.
Misquote: “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take it anymore.”
Correct Quote: “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore.”
The film Network is worth the watch here and there, but what will keep this movie in the public conscious for decades to come is this epic quote, taken from a news anchor in the film who’s just about had it with everything and everyone. The best part about the angry line is that the anchor, played by Peter Finch, delivers it via a live temper tantrum while on air.
This is the perfect quote for quitting your job, or just when you’re fed up and need to verbally vent your frustrations to the world. Personally, we do prefer the misquote, as it’s just a little bit easier to scream aloud or into a pillow.
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Misquote: “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, Toto.” or “Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
Correct Quote: “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
Is it just us, or does the correct version of this quote sound completely magical compared to the incorrect ones? A little less magical was the fact that at the time, 17-year-old Judy Garland was supposed to be playing an 11-year-old Dorothy Gale, but Garland still gave the role every ounce of her talent in a film that’s known to this day for being one of the best of her career.
Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Misquote: “Luke, I am your father.”
Correct Quote: “No. I am your father.”
Given that the correct quote is a part of a slightly longer speech where Darth Vader is trying to convince Luke to join the Dark Side, it makes sense why we’ve all shortened the phrase time and time again to “Luke, I am your father.”
While the reveal is considered one of the most amazing movie twists to this day, if you’ve brushed up on your Dutch or German, you might have seen this spoiler coming, as “vader” or “vater” means “father.”
Misquote: “I’m king of the world!”
Correct Quote: “I’m the king of the world!”
As one of Leonardo DiCaprio’s most famous lines, you’d think more people would get this one right. Interestingly enough, DiCaprio admitted that he disliked the phrase and was reluctant to say it during filming. We’re glad he got over it and delivered the truly iconic line, cheesiness and all!
Misquote: “Stay away from her, you bitch.”
Correct Quote: “Get away from her, you bitch!”
One of cinema’s best female badass moments of all time has to be Sigourney Weaver as Lt. Ellen Ripley in this intensely fierce battle scene. No one can pilot a power-loader-turned-battle-suit quite like Ripley. Absolutely no one.
Planet of the Apes (1968)
Misquote: “Get your stinking paws off of me, you damn dirty ape!”
Correct Quote: “Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape!”
Few Charlton Heston quotes are quite as memorable as this one, especially when it leaves a crowd of talking apes absolutely speechless.
Field of Dreams (1989)
Misquote: “If you build it, they will come.”
Correct Quote: “If you build it, he will come.”
Remember: Kevin Cosner’s character, the Iowan farmer Ray Kinsella, never actually says this iconic line, as it’s always spoken to him. First, it’s mysteriously whispered to him as he’s walking through his cornfields, and then it’s repeated near the end of the film by Ray Liotta’s character, Shoeless Joe Jackson.
The Treasure of the Sierra Modre (1948)
Misquote: “Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges!”
Correct Quote: “Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need no badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges!”
Probably the biggest reason this quote is misquoted so often is because it’s referenced in Blazing Saddles, where the line is in fact: “Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges!”
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Misquote: “I love the smell of napalm in the morning. It smells like victory!”
Correct Quote: “I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed for 12 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. Smelled like…victory.”
Robert Duvall’s character Lt. Colonel Bill Kilgore may think napalm smells like victory, but to a normal person, we’re pretty sure it just smells like a gas leak or a malfunctioning lawnmower: gross.
King Kong (1933)
Misquote: “T’was beauty that killed the beast.”
Correct Quote: “Oh no, it wasn’t the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast.”
In case you were wondering, in the 2005 remake, Jack Black’s character says almost the exact same line: “It wasn’t the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast.” Originally, the quote was supposed to be delivered in a cameo by one of the original 1933 cast members, Fay Wray, but she died before filming began.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
Misquote: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t look, you could miss it.”
Correct Quote: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
If you can’t remember this quote correctly, we don’t know how to help you. Matthew Broderick says the line twice, at the beginning and the end of the film, so if you keep forgetting it, watch the movie again!
The Graduate (1967)
Misquote: “Mrs. Robinson, are you trying to seduce me?”
Correct Quote: “Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me…Aren’t you?”
Dustin Hoffman has had a very long and successful career, and it can all be traced back to this one simple line uttered by a flustered and disillusioned college student.
Sunset Boulevard (1950)
Misquote: “I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.”
Correct Quote: “All right, Mr. DeMille. I’m ready for my close-up.”
Gloria Swanson might not be the household name she used to be, but this line is forever iconic. Most of the time, people are actually quoting Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire, who paraphrases the line by stating, “I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.”
Back to the Future (1985) and Back to the Future Part II (1989)
Misquote: “Where we’re going, you won’t need any roads.”
Correct Quote: “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”
Since the ending scene of Back to the Future is repeated almost beat for beat at the start of Back to the Future Part II, it’s no surprise that Christopher Lloyd (aka Doc Brown) delivers this iconic line word for word between the two films. However, you’d probably be the most unobservant person of the year if you missed the fact that the character Jennifer, played by Claudia Wells in the original film, was recast as Elisabeth Shue in the sequels.
Cool Hand Luke (1967)
Misquote: “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”
Correct Quote: “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”
The Captain (played by Strother Martin) isn’t the most well-spoken man, but his words are the perfectly ironic mix of foolishness and professionalism in this tense scene.
Misquote: “Dionne and I were both named after former great singers who do commercials now.”
Correct Quote: “Dionne and I were both named after great singers of the past who now do infomercials.”
Alicia Silverstone portrays Cher as perhaps the most likable and fashionable fictional rich girl in history, and it’s quotes like these that show us why. Cher is quippy, classy, and decades later, somehow still 100% relevant when it comes to pop culture know-how.
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
Misquote: “Well, that escalated quickly.”
Correct Quote: “Boy, that escalated quickly.”
We’ve seen (and used!) this hilarious quote from Will Ferrell countless times in memes and on posters, but each time it’s been wrong. Awkward.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Misquote: “I was born in the darkness. Raised in it, molded by it.”
Correct Quote: “You merely adopted the dark; I was born in it, molded by it.”
Admit it: you may or may not have quoted this scene yourself when turning off the lights and attempting your best maniacal villain chuckle.
Tom Hardy’s Bane delivers this iconic line while kicking Batman’s caped-crusader butt. Hardy’s fascinatingly eerie (while sometimes unintelligible) speech patterns in the film were based on the Romani Gypsy accent. Whether it makes you laugh or sends shivers down your spine, it’s definitely one of the more memorable villain voices of the 21st century.
Misquote: “We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup.”
Correct Quote: “We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns, and syrup.”
Who knew there was more than one type of candy corn? We sure didn’t, and while there are countless memorable lines from this classic Christmas movie starring Will Ferrell, this particular quote sets up a host of hilarious sugar-filled incidents throughout the rest of the film.