— Chief Brody (to Quint, after seeing the huge shark pop out of the water a foot in front of him), Jaws
A Stock Phrase, usually spoken in response to an emergent situation wherein the speaker suddenly realizes either the sudden absence of a necessity, or that the one in his/her possession is woefully insufficient. They need more.
Context is key here. If someone misreads their cookbooks and buys four eggs instead of six: "I'm going to need more eggs" is not this trope in that context. Someone turning up with six eggs and being told they have to feed cake to eight hundred cranky children and remarking "I'm going to need more eggs" IS this trope. In comedy, the trope can be played with by using it in a situation where no quantity of the specified item would be sufficient to overcome the problem.
A sister trope to More Dakka, when you need a stronger attack; and Tim Taylor Technology, when you need MORE POWER! A subtrope of Dramatic Deadpan, containing that trope's top example.
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The series of commercials advertising action figures featuring characters from the movie Aliens commonly featured the Marines battling the featured ghoulie, and in the case of the flying alien queen they "NEED BIGGER GUNS!"
A Taco Bell commercial cross-promoting the first American Godzilla has the chihuahua trying to catch Godzilla using the old box-stick-and-string trap and calling out to him: "Here, lizard, lizard, lizard, lizard...". When he actually sees Godzilla, he says, "Uh-oh... I think I need a bigger box."
A Babybel advert had a pair of tiny cheese makers standing underneath a cow much, much bigger than them while trying to milk it. One of them says "We're gonna need a bigger bucket."
In Garth Ennis' Preacher, the Saint of Killers — who is functionally immortal — is hit by a nuclear bomb. When the smoke clears, he simply says "Not enough gun".
Upon reading the news of Barry Allen's return in Flash: Rebirth and realizing that The DCU now has three Flashes, one member of Flash's Rogues Gallery (actually called the Rogues in this case) says "We're gonna need more Rogues."
The Body Doubles (a pair of villainous super-hero impersonators) commenting on their latest job; Impersonate Power Girl: "We're gonna need a biggerbra."
In Part Two of the Doctor Who Magazine comic story "A Wing and a Prayer", the Doctor traps an alien insect in his fez and learns it's a police officer tracking another of its kind. When the Doctor encounters the other alien, and finds that it's managed to bulk up to about five times the size of a human, he says "I'm going to need a bigger fez".
In the September 15, 2007 Garfield comic, Garfield's normal Running Gag about crushing spiders with newspapers was interrupted when Jon saw a spider with a hard hat walk by, chuckling to itself. Garfield followed it saying, "I'm gonna need a bigger newspaper".
In Kyon Big Damn Hero, Kyon is drinking milk (a common way for him to calm himself) when he is called by Nagato to her apartment. After he arrives he is told the reason for his summoning: the IDSE decided she's a liability and thus she's going to be deleted in a few hours. Since he realizes he won't be calm no matter how much he tries or how much milk he drinks, he comments, "There isn't enough milk in the world."
In Nightmare Night and Nyx, Ink Spot arrives to pick up Twilight for their Nightmare Night date. When he arrives, Twilight has just used her Butterfly Wing spell on herself, and when Fluttershy opens the door, she erupts with laughter to see him wearing an explorer outfit with a butterfly net on his back and a field guide on his hip. His response: "Heavens, I think I'm going to need a bigger net."
The pirates arrive at Treasure Planet on the RLS Legacy, a commercial starship. When they attain the trove at the center of the planet, and see that it's a small moon covered in gold and jewels, one pirate declares, "We're going to need a bigger boat."
Films — Live Action
Perhaps the most famous example appears in Jaws. The line was actually an improvisation by Roy Scheider, but the scriptwriters and the author of the Book have both said that they'd have given their right arm to write a line that good. It's often misquoted as "We're..."note which ruins the implications, since Brody is simultaneously wishing he wasn't there and lampshading Quint's Captain Ahab tendencies.
Brody: You're gonna need a bigger boat.
The misquote ("We're...") of the Jaws example is used during the "salsa shark" bit in Clerks.
When the protagonists of 2012 realize they need to fly to China. "We're gonna need a bigger plane."
In the first American Godzilla movie, when the monster shows up in Times Square, one of the soldiers comments "We need bigger guns."
In the film Calendar Girls: Chris says this to Lawrence, the terrified photographer as he's about to take the first photograph (one of Celia topless behind a pile of iced bun thingys) — "We're going to needconsiderably bigger buns."
In Die Hard, after the helicopter explodes, police chief Duane T. Robinson says, "We're gonna need some more FBI guys, I guess."
In the film Fly Away Home, a father is attempting to build an ultralight craft. His first attempt barely gets off the ground, and crashes spectacularly after a short flight. His two friends, standing nearby, murmur: "We need a bigger engine." "Yeah! Yeah!"
Then there's the old mechanic's joke, "If it doesn't fit, don't force it. Get a bigger hammer."
In the Discworld novel Making Money, when the concept of paper money catches on to a even greater extent than Moist expected, he concludes "We're going to need some bigger notes."
Nightside: When a future version of Tommy Oblivion pops up in the bar and starts haranguing John Taylor for something he hasn't done yet, Tommy yells that he's going to change the course of events next time around. "Next time, I'll have guns! Big, big guns!"
In The Hot Gates, the Rangora manage to jam the main door of the Thermopylae closed. Keep in mind that the main door is the size of a city. Tyler says that "we're gonna need a bigger hammer." Then Granatica (the AI running the station's fabber) provides, building a ship that is essentially a giant hammer.
In Friends, Monica convinces Chandler that taking a bath can be very relaxing. She prepares him a bath and gives him a toy ship to "so it's a boy bath". After a while, Monica comes by to ask whether he likes it:
Cleese: Right, who's got the chest rash? (uncredited buxom woman raises her hand) Cleese: ...I'll have to get a bigger bottle.
Played straight in River Monsters when host Jeremy Wade says this in one episode when he hooks into a giant freshwater stingray so big that it actually starts towing the boat. It later ends up snapping a heavy-duty saltwater fishing rod designed to handle Marlin!
A season 3 episode of The Closer involves somebody emptying several rounds of ammo into the car carrying the notoriously difficult, tempestuous and un-diplomatic (but well-loved among her squad) Brenda Johnson. Flynn writes WHO WOULD WANT TO KILL CHIEF JOHNSON?? on the board in the "murder room" and remarks dryly, "We're gonna need a bigger board."
The Shield, when Mackey and a K9 officer are examining a location where they believe a body can be found:
Dog: Woof woof! Handler: Body! Dog: Woof woof! Handler: Body! Dog: Woof woof! Handler: I'm gonna need more flags.
Bones: Temperance Brennan, when called to examine a head, declares that "I need an evidence bag." When the rest of the body falls from a tree, she deadpans that she needs a bigger bag. This being Brennan, she probably wasn't going for humor.
In one episode of Twin Peaks, Cooper has taken all the files of the local vet to the sheriff's station to search for the file disguised as that of a bird. Turns out the vet's secretary sorted the files by the name of the pets: "We gonna need some more coffee."
In the Medium episode "Attack of the Zombies", Alison was having a dream involving a zombie apocalypse. In her dream, Joe was breaking up furniture to board up the house to keep the zombies out. Joe looked outside to see hordes of zombies coming closer to the house. "We are going to need more wood."
The MythBusters often invoke this trope during their experiments. It usually involves explosives.
Inverted in the myth involving pouring water on a grease fire. At one point, Adam and Jamie attempt to produce a smaller fireball by scaling down the size of the pan, the amount of cooking oil, and the amount of water. After their small-scale fireball turned out far bigger than they expected, Adam remarked:
In an episode, Carter comes up with a plan to capture a small radioactivity-eating blob by luring it out with a stockpile of radioactive material, then grabbing it and putting it back in its container. Too bad for them, it already found the stockpile before they went to place it, and now it's a giant radioactivity-eating blob. Quoth Carter, "we're gonna need a bigger container".
In the second episode, when they're planning on tracking a ghost, Carter asks about Henry's omni-remote's ability to scan electromagnetic frequencies, the remote that went haywire in the cemetery, where Henry had to pull the battery. Henry's response, "We're gonna need a bigger battery."
The Jaws example is quoted for humorous effect (but in a nevertheless serious situation) by Xander in the first half of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 3 finale, "Graduation Day, Part 1". Giles has found a picture in a Tomes of Eldritch Lore of the demon Olvikan that the Mayor is going to change into. Giles and Xander stare at the unseen picture, then fold it out, again and again as if Olvikan was the centerfold in the May issue of Playdemon.
Another Whedonverse example: when the Angel crew first see the fearsome Beast, Lorne (holding a crossbow) remarks that he's gonna need a bigger arrow.
This is inverted to comic effect when Captain Nathan Bridger (played by the same person who said the line in Jaws) is searching for someone infected with a virus on the titular submarine. He says "We need a smaller boat."
And then he says it again in the season 1 finale, after said submarine is blown up while trying to close a seafloor fault line: "We're going to need a new boat." Roy Scheider certainly got his money's worth out of that line.
In the Charmed episode "The Devil's Music", Phoebe plans to defeat a soul-eating demon by feeding him a balloon full of a potion that will force him to regurgitate all the souls she's eaten. When she actually encounters the demon, her reaction is, "We're gonna need a bigger balloon."
Major Sheppard gets the Jaws quote right in the second episode of Stargate Atlantis, when confronted with a huge Energy Being they're trying to trap back into its Ancient confinement artifact.
Sheppard: I think you're gonna need a bigger boat. McKay:(over comms) Size doesn't matter. Sheppard: That's a myth.
In Jonathan Coulton's song You Ruined Everything, he mentions that he's going to need more money.
Mr. Lizard's Catch Phrase in Dinosaurs? "We're gonna need another Timmy!" Typically, it is assumed that they broke the current/former Timmy, a kid dinosaur. He asks Mr. Lizard a question, Mr. Lizard explains the answer then suggests a demonstration as he ducks behind cover.
A variation in the Return of the King game: When the oliphants show up, Gimli quips, "I don't have an axe big enough for this one."
In Baldur's Gate II, when Minsc's weapon isn't powerful enough to affect his enemy...
The Heavy flips it: You're gonna need much bigger guns! Also, if the Heavy blocks the other team from capturing a capture point or moving the payload cart forward, he'll yell "I think you need more men!"
Inverted with the Engineer's Gunslinger, a robotic arm that deploys mini-sentries "Sometimes you just need a little less gun"
The Bubblegum Club's spoof of I'm a celebrity, get me out of here! Known as I'm a bubblegum bod, get me out of here! There's a scene where there's a volcano erupting nearby, and they want to stop it so they don't get hurt. They catapult a rock into the volcano to try to plug it up, but it falls into the crater. Someone says, "We may need a bigger rock," to which the reply is, "Like, duh!"
Artix Entertainment's game Dragon Fable has a moment where Artix and the player see a giant undead with a BFS almost as big as he is (and he towers over both Artix and the player). The player then says "I think we're going to need something bigger." Artix then picks up a giant hammer. Subverted in that in the actual fight the hammer gets replaced with the his sword via a glitch.
Mass Effect contains a fantastic "gonna need a bigger trope" moment when the party gets their first look at the Thorian, including — depending on party members and dialogue tree choices — the words, "We're going to need bigger guns."
Mass Effect also includes the phrase "We're gonna need a bigger boot."
Medal of Honor 2010: When the operators realize they are facing a much larger force than their intelligence lead them to expect, one of the characters makes the classic reference to Jaws... with the classic misquote.
To quote Ebeneezer Von Clutch from Crash Tag Team Racing: "When in Doubt, Build a bigger Tank!" (he was also quoting his father).
In RPG World, Hero invokes this trope when faced with the gargantuan "Tough Dragon".
Hero: Hm... We're gonna need a bigger sword.
Early in El Goonish Shive, Elliot realizes that a net is probably not the best item for catching sentient goo. Tedd's answer...
Also in Complacency of the Learned: "We're going to need more wands."
Early in DM of the Rings, the player playing Gimli is busy frantically sketching out his best estimates of Moria on graph paper, realizes it doesn't fit, accidentally tears a hole in the paper, and then...
Gimli: Uh oh. I'm going to need a lot more graph paper.
In "The Isle of the Ployees", which is a kind of absurd satire of corporate jobs, Riff is expected to tame a huge monster by whacking it on the head with a small stick.
"I'm going to need a bigger stick."
"We don't have a budget for that."
"Dangerous Days Ahead", when the heroes and anti-heroes are laying siege to the bad guys and the literal Killer Rabbit Bun-bun fights an alien killing machine and actually starts losing (for about the first time ever in the comic).
Dr. Schlock: "Riff? We're going to need a bigger bunny."
In "Freelance Bums", in a reversed parody of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, a bunch of the guys need to make a gay man look like he's straight and his boyfriend is his straight roommate. When they see the boyfriend (called "Sparkles"), Riff comments "We might need a bigger team." When he sees the immaculately decorated apartment, he says "We need a bigger team."
Inverted Trope in Kevin & Kell: When word gets out that Fenton's mother is a vampire bat, people start making excuses not to come to Fenton and Lindesfarne's wedding. Kevin comments "We're gonna need a smaller church."
Played straight during Danielle's pregnancy, when Kevin's mother commented that the only other time a member of her family had had a single baby was when she gave birth to him and then dryly added "You're gonna need a bigger crib."
Axe Cop: We need another job. Dinosaur Soldier: Our gun bill is really high.
In the BIONICLE web serial "Federation of Fear", Vezon nearly quotes the Jaws line upon seeing the massive dragon form of the original Brotherhood of Makuta leader his team was assigned to free, before being cut off by Brutaka who replies: "A bigger boat. I know."
In RWBY, whatever Roman Torchwick is planning, he's going to need more men.
The source of the title, "I'm gonna need more rope!" is one of the few lines the Freakazoid! villain Candle Jack ever sand gets everywhere. Even the places it shouldn't logically be able. Especially the places it shouldn't logically be able to.
She also invokes this trope when the Titans throw her a birthday party for the second time. She surveys the scene and remarks, "We're gonna need more ice cream."
In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episode "April's Artifact", Raph grabbed a stick to swat a "lousy little gnat". Leo informs him "You're gonna need a bigger flyswatter" just as a Giant Enemy Bug shows up.
An episode of Tiny Toon Adventures had Elmyra grabbing a goldfish net in order to catch the fuzzy animal she sees. She gets a better view of the animal and sees it's about on par with common perception of Bigfoot size-wise... she goes back inside to grab a butterfly net.
In The Simpsons episode "Lisa's Rival", Homer attempts to fix Marge's camera using an electric drill in a somewhat unconventional manner: he uses it in lieu of a chisel, striking it with a hammer. When this fails, destroying the camera entirely, he remarks "I'm going to need a bigger drill."
In Danny Phantom during the episode "Public Enemies," a massive group of Walker's goons invades Amity Park. Danny pulls out his thermos and remarks, "I'm gonna need a bigger thermos!"
He then gets quickly taken out and his friend Tucker adds: "And a paramedic!"
In W.I.T.C.H., at one point, the titular team is about to go out for ice cream when the Psycho Rangers show up. Irma says "we're going to need more spoons."
In Sofia the First episode "The Shy Princess", the students of Royal Prep were paired up and each pair had to make a model of their dream castle. Prince James and Prince Zandar made a cannon with a castle on it. When they lost, the believed that should have made a bigger cannon.
The Life and Times of Juniper Lee: In "Welcome Bat Otter", the fear of bat otters made some magical creatures hide inside a cave. Seeing the size of some of the magical creatures seeking shelter made her believe a bigger cave would be needed.