Jokes that depend on iconic film scenes

(Mother Goose and Grimm)

To get the joke, you need to be familiar with the famous scene from the film TheTreasure of the Sierra Madre starring Humphrey Bogart.

To the groans of my family and friends, I never hesitate to use the line “We don’t need no steenkin’ badges” whenever the word ‘badges’ comes up in any conversation. Alas, many people have never seen the film and hence I usually just get baffled looks, similar to the reaction I get to the ‘I am Spartacus’ line.

With my immediate family, I have used the badges gag so often that even though they haven’t seen the film, they recognize the allusion. I particularly enjoy using it when the word ‘badgers’ comes up, because the pun and the absurdity of the reference is what makes it funny, to me at least.

I have the sense of humor of a six-year old.


  1. Bruce says

    You’ll never know how many people heard or read your jokes and started enjoying classic movies because of it! I need to watch both of those again. Thanks.

  2. RSimons says

    It’s like quotes from books. I remember someone saying, when they were trying to track a person down, ‘He’s like the bloody Pimpernel’.
    Quoting from memory from The Scarlet Pimpernel, ‘They seek him here. They seek him there. Those Frenchies seek him everywhere. Is he in heaven or is he in hell? The demned elusive Pimpernel!’

  3. Ridana says

    Blazing Saddles loved that line too. 🙂

    Whenever I see someone foolishly going for massive overkill, my go-to line wants to be “Think you used enough ____ there, Butch?” from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. But most of the time, I tend to think better of it, figuring the reference won’t be understood, and if not, that “Butch” could be misinterpreted as a slur or otherwise offend someone.

  4. says

    A friend of mine was once able to use the line unaltered. We were teaching at a supplemental school in the early noughts when the director of the school announced that we all had to get out pictures taken because the following week all the teachers would be required to wear badges while in the school. He didn’t miss a beat and after delivering the line smiled and said, “I have been waiting decades to use that line.”

  5. sonofrojblake says

    “We’re gonna need a bigger boat”
    “Game over man. Game over”
    In fact quite a few lines from “Aliens” -- it has an extremely quotable script.

  6. Stevko says

    Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads.
    Can be used with anything. Even with badges: Badges? Where we’re going we don’t need badges.

  7. DonDueed says

    Ironically, Mano, the line as you used it does not appear in the film. It goes (if memory serves):
    “Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t have to show you no stInkin’ badges!”
    It’s similar to the famous misquote from “Casablanca”, where Rick never actually says “Play it again, Sam.”

  8. John Morales says


    It’s similar to the famous misquote from “Casablanca”, where Rick never actually says “Play it again, Sam.”

    “Elementary, my dear Watson”

    “Elementary, Dear Data” (E3S2)

  9. Mano Singham says

    DonDueed @9,

    You are quite right and I had intended to make that point but forgot. But the misquoted line is briefer and thus more memorable.

    Incidentally, I think it is Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) and not Rick who comes closest to saying the line in Casablanca, saying “Play it, Sam”.

  10. Silentbob says

    @ 10 Morales

    Wrong. A derivative joke means a reworking of an earlier joke, not simply a joke relying on prior knowledge.

  11. John Morales says


    Ah, sure. In your worldview, making an allusion is in no way derirative.

    A derivative joke means a reworking of an earlier joke […]

    This from the specimen who has over the years persistently and consistently and inisistenly insisted I am beyond literral — that I am “hyperliteral”.

    (I am surely not the only one who notices these things)

    […] , not simply a joke relying on prior knowledge.

    Not simply a joke relying on prior knowledge, but simply a joke relying on prior knowledge.

    (Quite a simple distinction, only obscure to simpletons)

  12. Ridana says

    “It’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off for him,” is another favorite for when you see someone doing something amazingly stupid (applies to Gym Jordan quite often). I’ve never even seen Dodgeball (for some reason I always thought it came from Blades of Glory until I looked it up), but I’ve seen the meme so often, I can still get the joke.
    (the link takes you to just before the quote, but the whole compilation is worth watching. It’s a great send-up of inane sports commentary -- they barely needed to rewrite actual quotes.)

  13. rblackadar says

    @Marcus —

    I’m imagining that your jar has this following label:
    — ABNORMAL —

  14. Rob Grigjanis says

    If someone tells me to be sensible, I respond with “I haven’t got a sensible name, Calloway”.

  15. lanir says

    Most of these sorts of quotes are from films I’ve never watched. These two in particular I haven’t gotten around to yet. But my friends who have used quotes like this always ended up explaining the quote eventually so that it became an in-joke. To be honest a lot of these come from films that people in my parent’s generation would have watched. Mention of the Casablanca quote about gambling here was what reminded me to watch it.

    I kind of hit a brick wall with Citizen Kane though and it stopped my foray into classic films. Lots of classic films seem to be classics for very good reasons. That one… not so much. Strongly recommend skipping it.

  16. DonDueed says

    Mano, I agree that “Badges? We don’t need no stinkin’ badges” is a great portmanteau of the original lines, and fully deserves to have become the meme. Here’s another great example of the same thing:

    “Beam me up, Scotty!”

    In each case (including the one from “Casablanca”), the shortened meme version gets the point across, in context, even though they’re not literal quotes from the original source.

  17. seachange says

    The wikipedia article includes references to many retellings of this particular meme. Some of them are in sources that are popular. So, it’s not just you and not just that movie Mano.

  18. sonofrojblake says

    I have the sense of humor of a six-year old.

    Me too! It’s in a jar on my desk.

    When I completed a work-mandated hearing test with a remarkably good result, the lady conducting the test said “You have the ears of an eight year old boy.”
    “Yes, in a glass of water by my bed, how did you know?” I replied.
    Fair to say I misjudged that one.

  19. Silentbob says

    @ 21 lanir

    I kind of hit a brick wall with Citizen Kane though and it stopped my foray into classic films. Lots of classic films seem to be classics for very good reasons. That one… not so much. Strongly recommend skipping it.

    This comment is nearly a week old, but I just came across it and I’m still picking my jaw up off the floor.

    For perspective, Citizen Kane has a 99 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes; a perfect 5 out of 5 on All Movie Guide; and is described thusly on Wikipedia:

    Citizen Kane is frequently cited as the greatest film ever made. For 50 consecutive years, it stood at number 1 in the British Film Institute’s Sight & Sound decennial poll of critics, and it topped the American Film Institute’s 100 Years … 100 Movies list in 1998, as well as its 2007 update. The film was nominated for Academy Awards in nine categories and it won for Best Writing (Original Screenplay) by Mankiewicz and Welles. Citizen Kane is praised for Gregg Toland’s cinematography, Robert Wise’s editing, Bernard Herrmann’s music, and its narrative structure, all of which have been considered innovative and precedent-setting.

    It’s quite literally considered one of (if not “the”) greatest motion pictures in history.

    But sure, give it a miss. 😯

  20. sonofrojblake says

    @Soylentblob, 25: You are jaw-droppingly surprised that one person’s taste doesn’t align perfectly with the mainstream?

    Actually, I’m not surprised. How easy it must be to be you.

  21. Pierce R. Butler says

    FTR: Inspired in part by this post, I finally got around to reading the original B. Traven The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

    Last night I reached the scene of the confrontation with the bandits (Chapter 13, section 4), which has it:

    “Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabrón and ching’ tu madre! Come out there from that shit-hole of yours. I have to speak to you.”

    Pretty strong language, for a novel published in 1935, and considering that the protagonist says only things like, “Geecrise!”

    Of perhaps more interest, considering the FtB context, is some narration following a description of the bandits’ violent intentions:

    These men are never at a loss about what to do and how to do it. They are well-versed in their churches from childhood on. Their churches are filled with paintings and statues representing every possible torture white men, Christians, inquisitors, and bishops could think of. These are the proper paintings and statues for churches in a country in which the most powerful church on earth wants to demonstrate how deep to subjection all human beings can be kept for centuries if there exists no other aim but the enlargement of the splendor and the riches of its rulers. What meaning has the human soul to that branch of this great church? No follower of this church in civilized countries ever seems to question the true origin of its grandeur or the way in which the riches of the church were obtained. So it is not the bandits who were to blame. They were doing and thinking only what they had been taught. Instead of being shown the beauty of this religion, they had been shown only the cruelest and the bloodiest and the most repulsive parts of it. These abhorrent parts of the religion were presented as the most important, so as to make it feared and respected not through faith or love, but through sheer terror and the most abominable superstitions. This is why these men were wearing on their breasts a picture of the Virgin or Saint Joseph, and why they go to church and pray an hour before the statue of San Antonio whenever they are on their way to commit a wholesale murder or a train assault or a highway hold-up, praying to the statues before and after the deed and begging the saint to protect them in their crime against the shot the victim may fire at them, and to protect them afterwards against the authorities.

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