In today’s pop culture driven media, it’s pretty common to run into a reference or two from one movie or TV show or another. And when that happens, we’re bound to hear a particular favorite reference. You know what I’m talking about; “that line” you recognize immediately when the characters set the stage for it before hearing the iconic phrase you know by heart. A great many of these iconic phrases are so popular that they pass on from generation to generation, showing that their appeal is everlasting. Further more, they have made their way from the lips of famous characters and actors to the ever entertaining memes we share with our friends. And today that’s what you’ll be getting a list of.
I’m featuring the top fifteen movie and TV reference quotes that you immediately recognize. Even if you haven’t seen the show or movie in a few years that doesn’t mean you forgot “that line” you know and love. Now to give you all a head’s up, some of the fortunate fifteen on this list will describe scenes from various movies and TV shows that you may or may not have seen. So be warned for spoilers! Of course if you’re still reading this list anyway then you either saw the movies/shows already, you like to be spoiled, or you merely don’t care. Either way I hope you enjoy this list as much as I enjoyed making it! Again, these are the 15 Pop Culture References That Everybody Immediately Recognizes.
15. “You can’t handle the truth!” – A Few Good Men
First made as a play by Aaron Sorkin, and later adapted into a film by the same man, the 1992 mystery/thriller classic A Few Good Men starred the triple threat acting legends Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, and Jack Nicholson (as seen in picture above). Tom Cruise played the military lawyer Lt. Daniel Kaffee who was investigating into a serious case involving two Marines that allegedly killed another. But Lt. Cdr. JoAnne Galloway, played by Demi Moore, suggested that the Marines were acting on the order of their commanding officer Col. Nathan R. Jessep. During the course of the trial Lt. Kaffee called Col. Jessep to the stand to question him in the hopes of uncovering the truth. And as the questioning got more and more intense, Jessep shouts “You can’t handle the truth!” It’s no wonder why this line is so famous.
14. “This is Sparta!” – 300
Here we have another movie that took a cue from an already established media format. The 2006 war/fantasy movie 300 was based on the comic series created by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley, the former of whom is already well known for his film Sin City. The movie retold the Battle of Thermopylae with the Persian Wars from a more fictional perspective. At one point in the movie a Persian messenger comes to deliver a message to King Leonidas, played by Gerard Butler, that the God-king Xerxes will spare them in return for their total submission. Leonidas states in no uncertain terms that he will not agree to this and forces the man to back up towards a bottomless pit with no way of escape. “This is madness!” The messenger states to the king, and Leonidas says “Madness? This is Sparta!” before pushing the Persian into the pit.
13. “Who ya gonna call?” – Ghostbusters(1984)
Something’s strange. And I’m all alone. So I better pick up the phone and call…Well, you know how the rest goes! You didn’t think I would make this list and leave out such an iconic line from an equally iconic film, did you? Of course I wouldn’t. After they lose their positions at a university of higher education in New York, four science savvy friends decide to become paranormal investigators. And they end up actually having to kick some ectoplasm ass when they discover a doorway that unleashes literal hell! The original Ghostbusters movie had a handful of cinema firsts for its genre, and it had many famous quotes. One of them was “Who ya gonna call?” which would always be followed by a collective shout of “Ghostbusters!” It’s even part of a theme song that was produced and sung by Ray Parker Jr.
12. “No soup for you!” – Seinfeld
Every couple has gone through that “It’s me or (insert name of object or person here)” moment at least once. But there are cases where the decision should be a no brainer. Take the matter of food and love, for example. When you have to choose between your girlfriend and a bowl of soup it should be obvious that the right choice is girlfriend. Well it wasn’t so easy to choose in Jerry’s case when, in the 116th episode of NBC sitcom Seinfeld, the vendor (or “The Soup Nazi”) played by actor Larry Thomas refused to serve Jerry’s newest girlfriend and stated “No soup for you!” As per usual in the series many outrageous situations followed before Elaine shut down the soup vendor after discovering the recipes for his soup. The episode ended with Jerry hurrying to get some leftover soup, because priorities.
11. “In the morning, I’m makin’ waffles!” – Shrek
I’ll bet just reading that quote made you hungry for waffles as you played Eddie Murphy‘s voice in your head. This quote is said by Donkey at an early point in the first movie Shrek, starring everyone’s favorite ogre of the same name. Shortly after Shrek saves Donkey from a tough scrap involving some people selling off fairytale creatures, the talking jackass decided to show his gratitude to Shrek by becoming his best friend. Now at the time of the first movie, our lovable ogre was considerably crankier and basically told Donkey to shove off. However, Donkey instead shoved himself inside Shrek’s cottage and said, quote, “We can stay up late, swap manly stories, and in the morning…” – wait for it – “I’m makin’ waffles!” Unfortunately, though, Shrek was still uninterested and tossed Donkey out, but eventually the two became great friends!
10. “That’s so fetch!” – Mean Girls
Nobody likes a mean girl, and there’s no excuse for being one. However we can make an itty bitty exception for the movie Mean Girls. This film was a hit with teenagers both back in 2004 and today. There were many lines said over the course of the movie that have made their way into pop culture. But the one line that really stuck was “That’s so fetch!” as spoken by Gretchen Wieners who was a member of the top girl clique dubbed “The Plastics.” Throughout the entire film Gretchen tried to make her phrase catch on and said it every chance she could. However Regina told her that “fetch” was not going to happen. But despite all the odds “That’s so fetch” has made it to become as popular as all of the other lines, if not more. Now that is very fetch.
9. “Eh, what’s up doc?” – Looney Tunes
This is a particularly famous quote we all know. And as we all know, it’s said by our dear carrot chomping rabbit of Warner Brothers – Bugs Bunny. Since his original debut back in 1940, the famed rabbit’s introduction line has been spread all across the world for many years. Whenever Bugs would find himself in a “wrong place, wrong time” situation he would first start with “Eh…” then pause to chomp on his carrot a bit before continuing with “What’s up doc?” This would follow with the character elaborately introducing themselves, and either shoot at Bugs or simply chase him. Also, in case anyone was wondering, this picture is a screen-cap from the episode “Rabbit Rampage” which puts old Bugs at the bristle end of a paintbrush used by Elmer Fudd as he gives the screwy wabbit a taste of his own medicine.
8. “What’s the sitch?” – Kim Possible
I don’t know if I made a point about this or not on my nostalgic cartoons list, but I have to say that Kim Possible had some of the most popular lines to date. And that’s why the Disney Channel cartoon with everyone’s favorite fashionable teen hero is getting an encore, of sorts. Kim Possible was the girl that every female aspired to be, and though that wasn’t always possible, she was still a great role model. I must say it was hard to pick which line was the best one from the show, but at the end of the day there’s no contest. It’s definitely whenever she gets a call on her Kimmunicator and our dear KP answers with the line “What’s the sitch?” Since then this catch phrase has become a go-to line for everyone, both 90s kids and pop culture lovers alike.
7. “Oh yes, the past can hurt. But you can either run from it, or learn from it.” – Disney’s Lion King
Not a single one of us can say that we didn’t learn most of, if not all of, our morals from Disney movies. Don’t worry though – I’m the same way. And one person who had the wisest morals of all was Rafiki, the enlightened elder mandrill who was a close friend to Mufasa and later become such to Simba. In the first Lion King, Simba runs off after his argument with Nala and runs into Rafiki. The enigmatic elder then starts messing around with Simba before the topic of the past comes up. Rafiki then bonks him on the head with his staff to prove the point of his inspiring quote, “Oh yes, the past can hurt. But you can either run from it or learn from it.”
6. “And I would’ve gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids!” – Scooby Doo
Our dear ex-magician Bluestone the Great would type this part of the list for me, but as you can see from the picture he’s all tied up. Scooby Doo started solving mysteries in 1969 and from that point onward it became a routine. The gang stumbled onto a mystery. They split up to look for clues. The scary monster pops up. Chase scene happens. Fred comes up with an elaborate plan destined to fail. Yet somehow they manage to capture the culprit. Then just after being arrested the culprit says, “And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids!” Pop culture gave this quote a lot of memes, and like Scooby Snacks, you can’t have just one.
5. “Swear to me!” – Batman Begins
As the years changed, so did comic characters. And like many of his heroic allies, Batman needed to change to keep up with the times. So they tweaked up the nice, Caped Crusader image and made the billionaire gritty and more brooding. And just in time for the debut of his first film in a new trilogy made to order for the pop culture era. Actor Christian Bale would play the role of Batman for the very first time in the 2005 film Batman Begins, and continue to play as the Dark Knight for the two other movies that followed. At a later point in the movie, Batman interrogates crooked cop Detective Arnold Flass and holds the man up from a dangerous height. Flass says he swears to God that he doesn’t know anything, and Batman viciously orders “Swear to me!” Hey, it worked.
4. “You will be different. Sometimes you’ll feel like an outcast, but you’ll never be alone.” – Superman Returns
Now before anyone starts a riot, I’m aware that the 2006 movie Superman Returns didn’t get a very large reception. However, even the more underscored movies have their good points. And we can’t deny that with this film. A soul searching Superman returns to Metropolis after five years to find that the world around him has changed considerably, and Lois is now moving on with her life. So not only does he have to find his place in the world again and reconnect with he woman he loves but Superman must also lock horns with his archenemy Lex Luthor. It takes a lot of trial and error but the Man of Steel comes out on top. As his son, Jason, sleeps he tells him this heartwarming quote just as his father told him.
3. “Today, we cancel the apocalypse!” – Pacific Rim
We always looked to the stars, thinking that new life was out there in the heavens. But in reality that new life was further down, deep in the ocean floor trenches. And from the trenches rose the Kaiju monsters, which served as the main antagonists in the 2013 film Pacific Rim. In the movie, Raleigh Becket, played by Charlie Hunnam, was called back into action by Stacker Pentecost, played by Idris Elba as seen above, to pilot an obsolete version of the giant robots used to fight the Kaijus called Jaegers. As the movie progresses and Charlie gains a new partner in the form of trainee Mako Mori, played by Rinko Kikuchi, Stacker joins his soldiers to fight the Kaiju. And before they go into battle he rallies their spirits with an encouraging speech that included the quote stated above.
2. “With great power comes great responsibility.” – Spider-Man
Every bit the geeky, awkward teenager, Peter Parker was lost in the world. That is until he was bitten by a radioactive spider, and then his whole life changed. But as we all know there is no escaping that inevitable tragedy in a hero’s life. Someone precious gets hurt and you never get them back. Such was the case when Peter learned that his dear Uncle Ben was shot dead by a mugger. And when he hunted the punk down, he realized that he was the same person he let run off after he robbed someone. Had he been more responsible and cut him off then, his uncle would still be alive. And so from then on, Peter has lived by Uncle Ben’s wise final words, “With great power comes great responsibility.” And pop culture makes certain we never forget it.
1. “I see now that the circumstances of one’s birth are irrelevant. It is what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are.” – Pokémon
And as with all lists, we come down to our final item. I’ll bet some of you are probably surprised that such a deep, meaningful quote came from a Pokémon movie of all things. Well it did. This was said in the very first film of the franchise way back when Ash was traveling with Misty, Brock and of course his partner Pikachu. And then he had his fateful encounter/showdown with cloned Pokémon Mewtwo. Then Mew arrived onto the scene and a fierce battle broke out between the Psychic-types. It took Ash to literally throw himself into the middle to make them stop. And from Ash’s sacrifice, and quick revival, Mewtwo finally understood that life matters more.