"Luke, I am your ... oh wait, I always get that line wrong," says Darth Vader.
You know the line. Or maybe you don't. It's the thing to say when you meet a fellow named Luke, even if he's not a moisture farmer from Tatooine. "Luuuuke ... I am your father." (And if you're a time traveler just visiting us from 1977 ... spoiler alert?)
But as those who know their cinema are already aware, that's NOT the "Empire Strikes Back" line.
"Obi Wan never told you what happened to your father," says the Dark Lord of the Sith.
"He told me enough! He told me you killed him!" young Skywalker spits out.
And then comes the response: "No. I am your father."
So many fans, even those who've seen "The Empire Strikes Back" innumerable times, get that line wrong. It's just so much fun to coo "Luuuuuuke" before launching in to the dramatic revelation. And it sounds dumb to just say "I am your father," but if you sneak the "Luke" in, everyone knows you're quoting the second "Star Wars" movie, and the joke works as well as a repeated-to-the-point-of-nausea line from a 35-year-old movie can.
The Luke line has to top our list of most misquoted movie lines. But here are a few others that we're always getting wrong, and maybe you are, too.
'Do you feel lucky, punk?'
Who hasn't wanted to roll out Clint Eastwood's classic "Dirty Harry" line in the right situation? But watch the film and you'll see that it's delivered just a tad differently. After a shootout, Eastwood's character walks up to an injured criminal and sees he's about to reach for a gun. "I know what you're thinking," Eastwood tells him. "Did he fire six shots, or only five? Well to tell ya the truth in all this excitement, I kinda lost track myself. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question. Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?" SPOILER: He did not feel lucky.
'I don't think we're in Kansas anymore'
Feeling out of your element? Thrust into a fast-moving world you can't identify with? You know the line: "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore." It's on T-shirts, bumper stickers, even coffee mugs. And admittedly, this one is really, really close, but Dorothy actually says, "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore." (Spoiler: They're not.)
'If you build it, they will come'
In "Field of Dreams," Kevin Costner hears a voice whispering to him to build a baseball diamond in the middle of his cornfield. And instead of saying to himself, "Self, what are you doing hearing voices?" he obeys them. Good thing the voices didn't want him to become a serial killer or something. But he really hears "If you build it, HE will come." To be fair, James Earl Jones later tells him "PEOPLE will come," but that's not the line that gets quoted up, down and sideways. (The line we like better is when one character indignantly claims she "experienced the Sixties," and another replies, "No, I think you had two Fifties and moved right into the Seventies.")
'Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?'
The evil queen in "Snow White" is one of Disney's creepiest villains. And we all know what she says into the looking glass on her wall, right? "Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?" Except she doesn't. Instead, she says, "Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?" But the incorrect line became so famous that the 2012 "Snow White" comedy starring Lily Collins even used "Mirror Mirror" as its title.
'You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!'
It's one of the best courtroom scenes ever in movies. Young military lawyer Tom Cruise has Col. Jessup, played by Jack Nicholson, on the stand in "A Few Good Men," and he's backed Nicholson's character up against a wall. The line as quoted by everyone, including Homer Simpson to Marge, is, "You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!" But the actual line is split by dialogue. Snarls Nicholson, "You want answers?" And Cruise replies, "I think I'm entitled." That doesn't please Nicholson, who asks again, "You want answers?" Cruise then explodes, "I want the truth!" And then and only then does Nicholson deliver the zinger, "You can't handle the truth." And then he's off on one of the best speeches in cinema. It's no surprise that the movie, and the play upon which it is based, were written by gifted screenwriter Aaron Sorkin.
First published August 27 2013, 4:24 AM