Famous misquotations of fictional persons
- "Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him well." –Hamlet, by William Shakespeare [C]
- Actual quote: "Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy."
- "When I first saw you I fell in love and you smiled because you knew." –Hamlet, by William Shakespeare [A] Often attributed to Act 2, Scene 2
- "Where art thou, Romeo?" –Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare [C]
- Actual quote: "Wherefore art thou Romeo?". "Wherefore" means "Why," not "Where." Juliet is literally lamenting Romeo's name (i.e. lineage) asking "Why must you be named Romeo [Montague]?".
- "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" –Perez in Mourning Bride, by William Congreve [C]
- Actual quote: "Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned."
- "Elementary, my dear Watson." –Sherlock Holmes [C]
- The complete phrase "Elementary, my dear Watson" does not appear in any of the 60 Holmes stories written by Conan Doyle. It appears for the first time at the very end of the 1929 film The Return of Sherlock Holmes.
Film and television
- "Fasten your seatbelts; it's going to be a bumpy ride." – from the 1950 film All About Eve [C]
- Actual quote: "Fasten your seatbelts—it's gonna be a bumpy night!" The quote, uttered by Bette Davis's character Margo Channing, was perhaps corrupted as it makes more sense to buckle for a ride somewhere.
- "Just the facts, Ma'am." –Jack Webb as Sgt. Joe Friday on Dragnet. [C]
- Actual quote: "All we want are the facts, ma'am." The famous quote comes from 1953 recording by satirist Stan Freberg – a recording called "St. George and the Dragonet", which was a Dragnet spoof.
- "Lucy, you got some explaining to do." - Desi Arnaz as Ricky Ricardo on "I love Lucy." [M]
- Actual quote: Throughtout the show Ricky never said this line. He just only said "Lucy" every time she did something wrong.
- "Zulus. Thousands of 'em." – from the 1964 film Zulu [C]
- Actual quote: "Sentries have come in from the hills, Mr. Bromhead, sir." (he then has to direct his report Lt Chard and concludes) "The sentries report Zulus to the south west. Thousands of them". It was not said by Michael Caine's character Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead, but by Colour Sgt.Bourne [Nigel Green] to Lt. Chard [Stanley Baker]
- "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do." –John Wayne in Hondo [P]
- Actual quote: "A man ought'a do what he thinks is best."
- "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do." –Alan Ladd in Shane [P]
- Combination of two actual quotes from the film Joe:"I couldn't do what I gotta do if I hadn't always knowed that I could trust ya" and later, Shane: "A man has to be what he is."
- "Me Tarzan, you Jane" – from Tarzan, the Ape Man (1932) [C]
- "Beam me up, Scotty". –William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk in Star Trek [C]
- Actual quote used in Star Trek IV: "Scotty, beam me up," although the misquote had been in circulation for years before that. A number of similar phrases have been said by the various characters, but never in this exact wording. The phrase was finally uttered in this exact form in the audio adaptation of The Ashes of Eden, a 1995 Star Trek novel co-written by Shatner.
- "Damn it, Jim, I'm a doctor, not a...!" Dr. Leonard McCoy on Star Trek [P].
- On the TV series, the expletive damn it was never uttered by McCoy preceding this phrase owing to television censorship guidelines in force in the 1960s. It may have come from aSaturday Night Live parody, "The Last Voyage of the Enterprise." This misquote gained further popularity when Karl Urban used it in J.J. Abrams 2009 reboot – he did use the expletive, but the actual line was "Damn it, man", as it was directed at Spock, not Kirk.
- "Play it again, Sam." –Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine in Casablanca [C]
- One of the lines most closely associated with this film, "Play it again, Sam", is a misquotation. When Ilsa first enters the Café Americain, she spots Sam and asks him to "Play it once, Sam, for old times' sake." When he feigns ignorance, she responds, "Play it, Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By'." Later that night, alone with Sam, Rick says, "You played it for her and you can play it for me," and "If she can stand it, I can! Play it!" The incorrect phrase was later used by Woody Allen as the title of his film Play It Again, Samabout a man who is a huge fan of Casablanca.
- "Oooh, you dirty rat!" –James Cagney [C]
- Actual quote: "Mmm, that dirty, double-crossin' rat," in 1931's Blonde Crazy.
- "Top of the world, Ma!" –James Cagney as Cody Jarrett. [C]
- Actual quote: "Made it, Ma! Top of the world!" from the finale of 1949's White Heat.
- "If you build it, they will come." –The Voice in Field of Dreams [C]
- Actual quote: "If you build it, he will come." In the quote, "he" refers to Shoeless Joe Jackson and later to John Kinsella. The misquotation is possibly a conflation of The Voice's actual words with Terence Mann's line, "People will come, Ray."
- "Badges? We don't need no steenking badges!" – from the film The Treasure of the Sierra Madre [C]
- Actual quote: "Badges? We ain't got no badges! We don't need no badges. I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges!" The misquotation originated on Al "Jazzbo" Collins' show,The Al Collins Show, broadast on San Francisco's KGO, channel 7 in the early 1960s. Most of the guests were made to dress up in bandito costumes and utter the famous misquote in a menacing manner. It was later used in a 1967 episode of the TV show The Monkees, spoken by Micky Dolenz. It also appears in the Mel Brooks movie Blazing Saddles and parodied in the "Weird Al" Yankovic movie UHF, as "Badgers? Badgers? We don't need no steenking badgers!" It was also parodied by The Muppet Show in this manner.
- "Do you feel lucky, punk?" –Dirty Harry. [C]
- Actual quote: "...you've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk?"
- "Throw another shrimp on the barbie" –Paul Hogan in a series of Australian Tourist Commission commercials on American TV. [C]
- Actual quote: "I'll slip an extra shrimp on the barbie for you."
- "Why don't you come up and see me sometime?" –Mae West as Lady Lou in the film She Done Him Wrong. [C]
- "Oh no, Mr. Bill!" –Mr. Bill skit from Saturday Night Live. [C]
- Actual quote: "Oh, no!"
- What makes this corrupted quote strange is that Mr. Bill was the one who always said, "Oh, no!"
- "Fly, my pretties! Fly!" –Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz [C]
- Actual quote: "Fly! Fly! Fly!"
- "And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for those meddling KIDS!!!" –various Scooby Doo villains upon being caught, [C] [P]
- Actual quote: The above is actually a pastiche of various lines from various villains put together. Some villains do not utter any parts of the phrase. Some villains remain silent. The above line was used in a DirecTV commercial using the Scooby Doo characters, however.
- "Dry land is not a myth, I've seen it." –Kevin Costner as the Mariner in Waterworld [A]
- "You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!" –Jack Nicholson as Col. Nathan R. Jessep, A Few Good Men.[C]
- "Luke, I am your father." - James Earl Jones as Darth Vader in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back [C]
- The actual quote, "No, I am your father" is used in this context:
Darth Vader: "Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father."
Luke: "He told me enough. He told me you killed him!"
Darth Vader: "No, I am your father."
- The actual quote, "No, I am your father" is used in this context: