2019-02-20

Star Wars

“Star Wars” redefined what people could expect from a science fiction movie and from special effects. First released in 1977 as “Star Wars,” “Star Wars: A New Hope” began one of the most enduring franchises to date. It was “The Empire Strikes Back,” however, that gave the films their most iconic line. 

In “Empire,” Luke Skywalker faces off with Darth Vader. In “A New Hope,” Luke was told that Vader murdered his father, Anakin Skywalker, after turning to the Dark Side. Luke wants to avenge his father, but when he crosses blades with Vader, he loses. Cornered, Luke yells that Vader murdered his father to which Vader responds with one of the most iconic lines of all time. “No, I am your father.”

This line is normally misquoted as “Luke, I am your father.” The difference is small, but the misquote would not make much sense in the context of the film. Regardless, the plot twist spawned dozens of similar reveals in other stories, to the point that it has become a cliché. Still, the original moment knocked fans out of their seats because no one saw it coming.

Dirty Harry

“Dirty Harry” is an action crime thriller about a San Francisco Police Department Inspector who attempts to catch a serial killer operating in the city. There are a series of near misses as the protagonist, Harry Callahan, tracks the killer. He eventually catches the killer and tortures him in an attempt to find out where the killer has stashed a hostage. As a result, the killer is set free because his rights were violated. Callahan, however, continues to track the killer. Eventually, the two have a final confrontation where Callahan shoots the killer. 

The killer in “Dirty Harry” is based on a real life serial killer who operated in San Francisco in the 1960’s and 70’s, the Zodiac. Unfortunately, the Zodiac case is still open and does not have the neat conclusion that the Scorpio case in “Dirty Harry” possesses. It is also unlikely that the Zodiac case had the clever dialogue found in “Dirty Harry.”

When Callahan is tracking the killer, he foils a bank robbery. During the shoot-out Callahan claims to lose track of his shots. Callahan then asks the third and final robber if he wants to bet his life on Callahan’s gun being empty. This exchange leads to Callahan’s famous speech which he reprises in the final confrontation with the killer. The speech ends with the lines, “You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do you, punk?” This is often simply shortened by fans to “Do you feel lucky, punk?” even though that line never appears in the film. 

The Godfather

The “Godfather” movies center on the Corleone crime family during the 1940’s and 50’s. The first “Godfather” focuses on Vito Corleone and his youngest son, Michael. The two of them are involved in a series of deadly feuds between the Five Families, the mob families active in New York. Eventually, the feuds break out into open warfare and result in more than one death and several people needing to flee. Michael, for example, flees to Sicily.

Before everything falls apart, “The Godfather” has a scene where Johnny Fontane, Vito’s godson, wants to break into the movie business but is struggling. Johnny seeks Vito’s help. Vito agrees to get Johnny the part and tells the younger man not to worry. When Johnny asks what Vito plans to do, Vito gives one of the most iconic lines of the movie, “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” This line has often been misquoted as “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse” or “I’ll make him an offer he won’t refuse.” Both are close, but neither are the somewhat ominous line of Don Vito Corleone.

Casablanca

“Casablanca” is one of the most beloved movies of all time. The romance takes place in the titular city of Casablanca during World War II. In the movie, Rick Blaine operates a nightclub and gambling den. He comes into possession of letters of transit that will allow two people to travel freely through German held territory and escape to neutral lands. While he has the letters, his old flame, Ilsa Lund, appears with her husband, Victor Laszlo, a renowned resistance leader. When Laszlo is arrested, Rick convinces the Germans to release Laszlo as Rick can frame him for a more serious crime. The Germans agree, but at the end of the movie, Rick double crosses them and gives Lund and Laszlo the letters of transit so that they can escape to America. Rick believes that he will be arrested by Captain Louis Renault, but Renault instead tells the Germans to “round up the usual suspects.” As Renault and Rick walk away and discuss joining the Free French, Rick says “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” The line is often misquoted, and there are several incorrect versions that are commonly used. Two of the most common are “this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship” and “I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship.” 

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