Merced Life

National news headlines leaving you depressed? Take a break with this movie quiz.

I have been an old movie fan since I was about 10 or so, after being introduced to Oklahoma by my elementary school chorus teacher.

My infatuation with musicals from the 1940s and ‘50s soon turned to an interest in screwball comedies and film noir. I am no film historian — my knowledge of films is entirely rooted in personal taste and luck — but I do know more trivia than most people I run into, and so I have determined that for this column, I’m going to challenge my readers with a movie quotation quiz.

I’m doing this because I am weary of opening up my iPhone hoping to read that Trump has resigned, only to read instead about how another one of my heroes (Charlie Rose! Really?) has lost his job and reputation because someone has accused him of sexual misconduct. Since I suspect that others might feel the same way and be a little depressed by all of the recent sordid revelations, I have decided to focus on something light and kind of fun.

Below, you will find a list of quotations from movies dating to the 1930s. Following the quotations is a list of films. Try to name the movie in which the line was said. The answers are at the bottom of the article. Don’t peek. It’s only a game, for God’s sake, and with all of the cheating that’s been uncovered lately on the national stage, we don’t need any more dishonesty.

I have arranged the films by decades, starting with the 1930s. I should also state that I got the idea for this quiz from a similar game on Facebook.


1. Man: “Is he working on a case?” Woman: “Yes.” Man: “What kind of case?” Woman: “A case of scotch. Pitch in and help him.”

2. Man: “I’m sorry you think more of your diamonds than you do of your soul.” Woman: “I’m sorry you think more of my soul than you do of my diamonds.”

3. Man: “Now, don’t lose your head, Susan.” Woman: “I’ve got my head! I’ve lost my leopard!”


4. “Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need no badges. I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ badges.”

5. “Now get this, you double-crossing chimpanzee. There ain’t going to be any interview and there ain’t going to be any story. I wouldn’t cover the burning of Rome for you if they were just lighting it up.”

6. “You’ll find plenty of vacancies if you boys just use your heads. That came out a little different from the way I meant it.”

7. “We’re working under pressure. After nine years of pressure, we are, as the race track enthusiast might say, in the home stretch. Three more years and our encyclopedia will be finished. Let’s not bog down in the middle of the letter S.”


8. “This isn’t the real Mexico. All border towns bring out the worst in a country. I can just imagine your mother’s face if she could see our honeymoon hotel.”

9. Boy: “That’s you sir.” Man: “Who sir? Me sir?” Woman: “Yes sir. You sir.”

10. “You know, when you’re little you have more strength than God is ever to grant you again. Children are man at his strongest. They abide.”


11. “What’s ‘dude’? Is that like dude ranch?”

12. Father: “Ben, what are you doing?” Son: “Well, I would say that I’m just drafting. Here in the pool.” Father: “Have you thought about graduate school?” Son: “No.” Father: “Would you mind telling me then what those four years of college were for? What was the point of all that hard work?” Son: “You got me.”

13. Daughter: “Mitch, can I bring the birds in here?” Mother: “No!” Daughter: “But Mom, they’re in a cage.” Mother: “They’re birds, aren’t they?”

1970s to Present

14. “I’d like an omelet, plain, and a chicken salad sandwich on wheat toast, no mayonnaise, no butter, no lettuce. Now, all you have to do is hold the chicken, bring me the toast, give me a check for the chicken salad sandwich.”

15. “There is an endless supply of white men. There has always been a limited number of human beings.”

16. “If science teaches us anything, it teaches us to accept our failures, as well as our successes, with quiet dignity and grace.”

17. First boy: “Look, it’s real simple. Whatever mileage we put on, we’ll take off.” Second Boy: “How?” First Boy: “We’ll drive home backwards.”

18. Man: “I sat right here and said I didn’t want any TruCoat.” Salesman: “Yeah, but I’m saying that TruCoat, you don’t get it, you get oxidation problems.”

19. “Now, that is a big trunk. It holds a tuba, a suitcase, a dead dog, and a garment bag almost perfectly.”

20. “If I could, I would have voted for Obama for a third term.”

Choices: Night of the Hunter, Little Big Man, Wonder Boys, Ball of Fire, Fargo, The Thin Man, Five Easy Pieces, Bringing Up Baby, The Graduate, She Done Him Wrong, Houseboat, It Happened on Fifth Avenue, Young Frankenstein, His Girl Friday, Get Out, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The Birds, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Touch of Evil, Easy Rider

Answers: 1. The Thin Man (1932. Best holiday party scene ever.) 2. She Done Him Wrong (1933) 3. Bringing Up Baby (1938) 4. Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) 5. His Girl Friday (1940. No one writes dialogue like this anymore.) 6. It Happened on Fifth Avenue (1947)7. Ball of Fire (1941) 8. Touch of Evil (1958. Starring Merced’s Janet Leigh.) 9. Houseboat (1958) 10. Night of the Hunter (1955) 11. Easy Rider (1969) 12. The Graduate (1967) 13. The Birds (1963) 14. Five Easy Pieces (1970. I know, two Jack Nicolson films.) 15. Little Big Man (1970.) 16. Young Frankenstein (1974) 17. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) 18. Fargo (1996) 19. Wonder Boys (2000) 20. Get Out (2017)

I know this is a completely random list. As I said, I am not a film historian, just someone who enjoys films. I had to leave out a lot of great films.

In any case, I’ll be watching some of these movies again soon. They remind me that even though some of our baser instincts guide us in real life, at least on film there is always a better person to set things straight at the end.

Brigitte Bowers is a lecturer in the Merritt Writing Program at UC Merced.