Famous Film Quotes We Always Get Wrong

We all have our favourite film quotes. But did you realise that most of us get them wrong? Take 'Jaws' for example. Roy Scheider's line when he first sees the monster shark is constantly being misquoted as:


“We're going to need a bigger boat.”

And ever since, people have been repeating that same (wrong) line whenever something turns out to be more difficult or more dangerous than it at first appears. However, Scheider's Brody actually says, “You're going to need a bigger boat.” Seeing as the shark hunt was a 3-man operation, it arguably would have made more sense for him to say 'we're' as opposed to 'you're' but then again, Scheider improvised the line on the spot, so he probably didn't have much time to think it through. Another famous example is from 'Star Wars. Episode Five. The Empire Strikes Back.' None of us could ever forget that shocking moment when Darth Vader says the immortal words:


“Luke, I am your father.”


Well, guess what? Vader actually says, “No. I am your father.” The probable cause of this misquote is possibly twofold. Part of it is the need for context. 'I am your father' is a fairly general phrase, but when someone says. “Luke, I am your father,” it's clear they are referencing Empire Strikes Back. Sticking with the sci-fi genre, the 'Star Trek' franchise has been the source of many a memorable misquote, including the iconic:


“Beam me up, Scotty.”


But the truth is, this is a catchphrase that was never said by anyone. Captain Kirk did indeed say, “Scotty, beam us up,” and he did even say, “Beam them out of there, Scotty.” However, he never uttered the misquoted line in the original TV series or the accompanying films, which just goes to show that this is another instance of a quote being born from a reordering of real quotes.


“Play it again, Sam.”


Even if you've never seen 'Casablanca', there's little doubt that you've seen countless parodies of the film in popular culture. Oddly enough though, every parody seems to get this quote wrong. The exact words, “Play it again, Sam.” are never spoken in Casablanca, despite the phrase's popularity with everyone from Woody Allen to Tony Bennet. Additionally, although the quote is usually attributed to Humphrey Bogart's Rick, the real quotes, which are variations on “Play it,” and “Play it, Sam,” are split between Rick and Ingrid Bergman's Ilsa. And not even terrifying serial killers are safe from the misquotes of millions of film fans all around the world. Clarice Starling's interactions with Hannibal Lecter are among the creepiest moments in cinematic history. But believe it or not, the imprisoned cannibal never said,

“Hello, Clarice.”


The original line from 'Silence of the Lambs' was “Good evening, Clarice.” Which leads us to believe that most people have generalised the greeting to make it easier to reference at any time of the day or night. Okay, so there is a scene in the 2001 sequel where Dr Lecter says, “Well hello, Clarice.” yet it's safe to assume that everyone associates line with the original film. Disney studios have also come in for their fair share of badly quoted lines. 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' is a perennial animated classic. And our introduction to the Evil Queen is equally iconic. As the villain says:


“Magic mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all?”


Why is it then that so many people say, “Mirror, mirror?” Interestingly enough, people are technically getting the quote correct. It's the film which actually got the line wrong. As with many of their fairy tale adaptations, Disney took a number of liberties with 'Snow White', and substituting “Mirror mirror” with “Magic mirror” was one of them. So in this case, everyone is both right and wrong at the same time.


“If you build it, he will come.”


If ever someone needs to foreshadow something in an ominous or bizarre way, this line from Kevin Costner's 'Field of Dreams' is the go-to phrase. In the film, our hero (Ray) builds a baseball field after a mysterious tells him, “If you build it they will come.” At least that's what most people think the voice said. The actual quote is “...he will come,” and the individual the voice is speaking of plays a pivotal role in the film's touching finale. But seeing as how Ray's filed attracts multiple people, we can definitely see why this quote is often misinterpreted.


“Mrs Robinson, you're trying to seduce me.”


'The Graduate' is a seminal film with a lot of iconic moments, including this one. Contrary to popular belief however, Benjamin doesn't ask, “Mrs Robinson, are you trying to seduce me?” The real quote is, “Mrs Robinson, you're trying to seduce me... aren't you?” The misquoted line combines the accusation with the subsequent question, which like a lot of other misquotes, does just enough to get the gist across. Besides getting the particulars of the quote wrong, a lot of people tend to forget that Mrs Robinson denies attempting to seduce Benjamin immediately afterwards.


Lions and tigers and misquotes. Oh my! If ever someone ends up in a strange or unfamiliar place, chances are this reference from 'The Wizard of Oz' will be on the tip of their tongue. Since popular culture has a penchant for paraphrasing, it is often assumed that Dorothy says, “Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore.” Audiences seem to have forgotten that her real line is:


“Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.”


Considering this line made the American Film Institute's list of the 100 Greatest Movie Quotes, you'd think that Dorothy's exact words would be etched into our brains. But even after countless viewings, audiences still can't get it right. But Judy Garland was just another of the many iconic stars to have their lines botched by film fans. Take the powerful crime thriller 'Dirty Harry', with Hollywood tough-guy Clint Eastwood. The titular Harry Callaghan makes and incredibly tense and bad ass speech in his first film and variations of it in several sequels. He caps off the speech by saying, “You've got to ask yourself one question. Do I feel lucky? Well, do you, punk?” Yet whenever anybody paraphrases this immortal line, it always seems to come out as the false, but equally iconic:

“Do you feel lucky, punk?” Which, after reading this article, is a perfectly reasonable question to ask...

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