01 July 2023

Another Box of Chocolates (15 Years Later)


Back in 2008, when I and three fellow SleuthSayers (Leigh, Rob, and Janice Law) were posting every week at a mystery bog called Criminal Brief, I wrote a column--a quiz, actually--about quotes from movies, called "Dialogue Is Like a Box of Chocolates." The idea was that fictional dialogue--you really don't know what you're gonna get--can sometimes outlast the stories themselves. It was a long list, and since there wasn't enough space to include some quotes that I really liked, I later came back and posted another one--and caused more trouble, yes, that's trouble, right here in River City.

For anyone--at least any movielover--who didn't see those two posts, here's a reprint of the second one. It includes fifty more quotes from the big screen, about half of them from mystery/crime/suspense movies. So if last night you dreamed you went to Manderley again, or if you woke up screaming STELLA or ADRIAN, or if you just picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue, try your luck at this quiz. Go the distance, make my day, show me the money, use the Force, and do that voodoo that you do so well. If you answer them all, you're king of the world and I'm your number one fan. If you don't, well, no worries, mate, don't flee the interview--tomorrow is another day. And we'll aways have Paris. Any questions, anyone? Anyone?

Okay, here we go. Just remember: As long as you hit that wire with the connecting hook at precisely 88 mph the instant the lightning strikes the tower . . . everything'll be fine.

Answers are provided below--but no peeking. (That means you, Leigh . . .)

1. Tell them Inspector Callahan thinks there's a two-eleven in progress at the bank.

2. That plane's dusting crops where there ain't no crops.

3. If I don't come back, tell Mother I love her. / Your mother's dead, Llewelyn. / Well then, I'll tell her myself.

4. Anybody hear that? It's an impact tremor, that's what it is. I'm fairly alarmed here.

5. And that was the end of Grogan--the man who killed my father, raped and murdered my sister, burned my ranch, shot my dog . . . and stole my Bible.

6. You are in need of a soothsayer. / How did you know? / I'd be a fine soothsayer if I didn't. 

7. This lighter has sixty-two different functions. Sixty-three if you wish to light a cigar.

8. Funny thing is, on the outside I was an honest man. I had to come to prison to be a crook.

9. I'd like to make her look a little more attractive. How far can you pull back? / How to you feel about Cleveland?

10. That's a Smith and Wesson--and you've had your six.

11. Don't open my pantry, Father. I found one of them in there and I locked him in.

12. What if there is no tomorrow? There wasn't one today.

13. The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.

14. You just shot an unarmed man! / He should've armed himself.

15. When you said you chased tornadoes, I thought that was just a metaphor.

16. Travis! Bring your gun!

17. That was the end of my religion period. I ain't sung a hymn for 104 years.

18. I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too.

19. I want Ness . . . dead. I want his family . . . dead. I want his house . . . burned to the ground.

20. Why would a man leave his apartment three times on a rainy night with a suitcase and come back three times?

21. Give me ten men like Clouseau and I could destroy the world.

22. Have you ever killed anyone? / Yeah, but they were all bad.

23. Raise your hands--and all of your flippers.

24. He's in a gunfight right now. He'll have to call you back.

25. I read where you were shot five times in the tabloids. / It's not true. He didn't come anywhere near my tabloids.

26. This was no boat accident.

27. On the day of my judgment, when I stand before God, and He asks me why did I kill one of his true miracles, what am I gonna say? That it was my job? My job?

28. You know, the one thing I can't figure out, are these girls real smart or real real lucky?

29. There's only one rule. Once you go in . . . you don't come out.

30. You can shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit 'em . . .

31. By the authority vested in me by Kaiser William the Second, I pronounce you man and wife. Proceed with the execution.

32. I don't want to get any messages saying that we're holding our position. We're not holding anything. Let the Hun do that.

33. Igor, help me with the bags. / Certainly. You take the blonde, I'll take the one in the turban. / I was talking about the luggage.

34. The next time I say something like let's go to Bolivia, let's go to Bolivia.

35. Every man on that transport died. Harry wasn't there to save them because you weren't there to save Harry.

36. We rob banks.

37. I just noticed that a fancy pilot like Slick over there doesn't have his picture on your wall. What do you have to do to get your picture up there anyway? / You have to die, sweetie.

38. Down your weapons put.

39. Ain't had no water since yesterday, Lord. Gettin' a little thirsty. Just thought I'd mention it. Amen.

40. That ditch is Boss Kean's ditch. And I told him that dirt in it's your dirt. What's your dirt doin' in his ditch?

41. The last miracle I did was the 1969 Mets. Before that, I think you have to go back to the Red Sea.

42. I'm always frank and earnest with women. In New York I'm Frank, in Chicago I'm Ernest.

43. I asked for a car, I got a computer. How's that for being born under a bad sign?

44. I'd like to report a truck driver who's been endangering my life.

45. Kane will be a dead man in half an hour and nobody's gonna do anything about it. And when he dies, this town dies too.

46. You know anything about a guy who goes around playing a harmonica?

47. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.

48. I once asked this literary agent, what kind of writing paid the best. He said, "Ransom notes."

49. What is your nationality? / I'm a drunkard.

50. Is this coincidence, or are you back on the case? If so, goody goody.


1. Dirty Harry -- Clint Eastwood, speaking into a phone in the cafe across the street

2. North by Northwest -- Man standing in the road, to Cary Grant

3. No Country for Old Men -- Josh Brolin / his wife / Brolin

4. Jurassic Park -- Jeff Goldblum

5. Romancing the Stone -- Kathleen Turner, narrating 

6. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum -- Zero Mostel / Buster Keaton / Mostel

7. Our Man Flint -- James Coburn, to his boss Lee J. Cobb

8. The Shawshank Redemption -- Tim Robbins

9. Tootsie -- director / cameraman

10. Dr. No -- Sean Connery to inept assassin Anthony Dawson

11. Signs -- veterinarian M. Night Shyamalan to former priest Mel Gibson, in front of the farmhouse

12. Groundhog Day -- Bill Murray to Andie MacDowell

13. The Usual Suspects -- Kevin Spacey

14. Unforgiven -- bystander / Clint Eastwood

15. Twister -- Jami Gertz to Bill Paxton

16. Old Yeller -- Dorothy Maguire to son Tommy Kirk

17. Little Big Man -- Dustin Hoffman

18. The Wizard of Oz -- Margaret Hamilton to Judy Garland

19. The Untouchables -- Robert DeNiro to his assembled goons

20. Rear Window -- James Stewart to Grace Kelly

21. A Shot in the Dark -- Herbert Lom to his assistant

22. True Lies -- Jamie Lee Curtis / former governor Schwartzenegger

23. Men in Black -- agent Tommy Lee Jones to alien

24. Under Siege -- Erika Eleniak, on the satellite phone to the top brass

25. The Thin Man -- Myrna Loy / William Powell

26. Jaws -- Richard Dreyfuss, while examining shark victim's body

27. The Green Mile -- Tom Hanks to prisoner Michael Clarke Duncan

28. Thelma and Louise -- Stephen Tobolowski to fellow cop Harvey Keitel

29. Escape from New York -- narrator, describing Manhattan Federal Prison

30. (But it's a sin) To Kill a Mockingbird -- Gregory Peck to his children at the kitchen table

31. The African Queen -- Peter Bull to captives Bogie and Hepburn

32. Patton -- George C. Scott, during speech to troops

33. Young Frankenstein -- Gene Wilder / Marty Feldman / Wilder

34. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid -- Newman to Redford

35. It's a Wonderful Life -- angel Henry Travers to James Stewart

36. Bonnie and Clyde -- Faye Dunaway

37. The Right Stuff -- customer in bar / Kim Stanley

38. The Empire Strikes Back -- Yoda to the opposition

39. The Ballad of Cable Hogue -- Jason Robards, while wandering in the desert

40. Cool Hand Luke -- prison guard Luke Askew to Paul Newman

41. Oh, God -- George Burns, replying to a lawyer's question in court

42. The Long Kiss Goodnight -- Samuel L. Jackson

43. Ferris Bueller's Day Off -- Matthew Broderick to audience

44. Duel -- a frazzled Dennis Weaver, into the phone

45. High Noon -- Katy Jurado to Lloyd Bridges, in her hotel room

46. Once Upon a Time in the West -- Jason Robards

47. The Terminator -- Michael Biehn to Linda Hamilton, referring to Ahhhhnold

48. Get Shorty -- Gene Hackman

49. Casablanca -- German officer / Humphrey Bogart, at a table in Rick's

50. Hannibal -- Anthony Hopkins to Julianne Moore, on the phone

And that's that. Again, I hope some of those brought back fond memories--if so, goody goody. If not, rest easy--I'm about quizzed out. (In other words, ain't gonna be no rematch. Don't want one.)

Anybody up for a toga party?


  1. What a list! I'm reminded of some great movies I want to see again. Great post, John.

    1. Hey Melodie. Thanks so much! My problem is that I do see them again, over and over, and probably too often. Re-watching them is my excuse for owning so many DVDs. (My wife just rolls her eyes . . .)

  2. Love it! Here's one of my faves: "Your friends make me feel like I'm invited for drinks and everyone else is staying for supper." Go on and take a guess!

    1. Judy, I saw this first on Facebook, and posted my answer to you there. I *think* it was Streisand, in The Way We Were. But I can't remember who she said it to. Guess it must've been Redford. Wrong? Right? I better go look on Google.

    2. Right, John. Katie (Barbra) to Hubbel (Redford).

  3. Always liked the earlier Mel Brooks comedies - and the small attentions to detail - frau blücher & the horses.... blücher being German for glue...

    1. John, I LOVE anything by Mel Brooks, even though I remember a few that fell short. I liked 'em anyway. (A wed wose--how womantic!)

  4. Ton of fun, but now I'm upset -- I missed six I darn-sure shoulda got.

    1. Eugenia, I think half the fun in this kind of thing is that even though I can't always identify where I heard one of these or who said it--I usually remember it with crystal clarity after I hear the answer! Movie quotes as always interesting, to me.

  5. Elizabeth Dearborn02 July, 2023 10:54

    We watched "Rush Hour" last night for about the fourth time. Chris Tucker played a cop in L.A. & said his mother was ashamed of him because of his job, & told everyone he was a drug dealer!

    1. Ha! I can usually take or leave Christ Rock, Elizabeth, but I liked him a lot in that one. Same goes for Jackie Chan. I can't think of that movie without singing "War." Remember that scene?

    2. Sorry--Chris, not Christ. A little Sunday influence, there.

  6. Overwhelmed...and I thought I watched a lot of movies...and had a good memory. Won't tell how many I knew....one side outnumbers the other. But what Fun! You had me at hello...

    1. Hi Ann! Thanks so much. I mentioned to someone once, after one of these quizzes, that it's easy to answer them when you're the one who came up with the questions. Not so easy the other way around. (And yes, I really should've included one of the many from Jerry Maguire.)

  7. I've not seen some of those, so I'd lose points there. For some, I could picture the actors, the scene, but not remember the darn title! The only thing I'd add is that Julianne Moore took over Jodie Foster's role in "Hannibal."

    1. Anonymous, she certainly did!!!! No excuse, since I have seen both those movies (Silence and Hannibal) several times each. And actually, I thought Moore did a good job as Clarice.

      I've also seen the other three movies in the franchise (if you cound Manhunter), and didn't much like either Red Dragon or Hannibal Rising.

      Thanks so much for the correction!


Welcome. Please feel free to comment.

Our corporate secretary is notoriously lax when it comes to comments trapped in the spam folder. It may take Velma a few days to notice, usually after digging in a bottom drawer for a packet of seamed hose, a .38, her flask, or a cigarette.

She’s also sarcastically flip-lipped, but where else can a P.I. find a gal who can wield a candlestick phone, a typewriter, and a gat all at the same time? So bear with us, we value your comment. Once she finishes her Fatima Long Gold.

You can format HTML codes of <b>bold</b>, <i>italics</i>, and links: <a href="https://about.me/SleuthSayers">SleuthSayers</a>