In the classic 1951 sci-fi film The Day the Earth Stood Still
the alien Klaatu arrives on Earth with a message for the world's leaders. His welcome on arrival was less than warm.
Anticipating that things could go very wrong, Klaatu teaches a human woman this phrase should anything happen to him. Klaatu Barada Nikto
is a now common catchphrase in sci-fi. It was a message to shut down the rampage of the robot
, Gort, that accompanied Klaatu on his mission to Earth. Oddly enough, no known translation has ever been given for the phrase though "Klaatu" can be presumed to refer to the film's protagonist.
The classic status of the film has led to Klaatu Barada Nikto
being hidden in all manner of media
from sci-fi to fantasy to comic books to music.
Despite its appearance in the original and even though Keanu Reeves
insisted on its presence, the phrase was deliberately rendered almost unintelligible in The Remake
Anime & Manga
- Whether a coincidence or not, the phrase shows up in the second episode of the Read or Die OVA when Genjo begins to chant while preparing to chant. It's rendered more like klatu barata niktu and only in the dub, but it can still be heard fairly clearly.
- In Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space this is the standard greeting for a Flying Saucer, but no-one has any idea what it means.
- In the short story "A Sound of Blunder", Klaatu Barada Nicto was the phrase spoken to the Captain Ersatz of the Necronomicon in order to travel through time. Saying it backwards brings one back to our time.
- In one of the volumes of Animorphs Ax is forced to demorph in front of a human (to his andalite form) when his morph is poisoned. Marco, disguised in morph and speaking for Ax using thought-speak, attempts to convince the human that Ax is friendly using this phrase.
- In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, the Nikto are a species of reptilian slaves, while Barada and Klaatu are two of Jabba the Hutt's lackeys.
- In the Stephen King novel, The Tommyknockers, a young reporter, John Leandro, is convinced that something is wrong in a small town called Haven. His colleague, David Bright mocks him from it, saying that it's must be "green men from space" and quotes the phrase. (The town is actually controlled by aliens).
- The Poisonwood Bible gives a brief mention of this phrase when Rachel wants to yell some foreign language at the Congolese villagers, among other options "Bukabuka" or "We like Ike".
- A series called 'The Klaatu Diskos' has the Klaatu, ghostlike beings made from a transplanted human consciousness. By book two, there have been no signs of either 'nikto' or 'barada', but a horse called Gort has showed up.
- The phrase appeared in an episode of The Monkees, when Mickey Dolenz is replaced by an alien-controlled robot.
- One of the three passwords in the Room of the Secret Password in Legends of the Hidden Temple.
- In The Rockford Files, Rockford said it to a rather large chunk of muscle.
- In Two and a Half Men, when Alan starts sleepwalking, he says it to Charlie as he's put to bed.
- In a third-season episode of The X-Files, a man pretending to suffer from stigmata begins faking glossolalia (speaking in tongues); one of the phrases he says is this.
- The band Klaatu is named after the same character. When Klaatu first became known, they were rumored to be the Beatles reunited under a pseudonym.
- Ringo Starr's solo album Goodnight Vienna◊ uses a still from The Day The Earth Stood Still as its cover art, with Ringo's head replacing Klaatu's.
- The Mozilla Firefox "about:robots" page has the title "Gort! Klaatu barada nikto!"
- The play The Foreigner references this. The main character, a science-fiction magazine editor, ends up scaring off the local KKK with a string of frightening-sounding nonsense, including this line.
- Fallout 2 The crashed virtibird robot, in Klamath Canyon, says the line "Gort! Klaatu Berada Nictu!".
- Reunion has a scientist named Klaatoo and a planet named after him with moons called Barada and Nikto.
- The Lost Vikings 2; in the medieval levels, the teleportation spell is always "Klaatu, barada, something". Needless to say they don't work as desired.
- In RuneScape, the magic words "Klaatu Barada Nikto" spoken by a certain character trigger a spell that teleports you a place where you can mine rune essence.
- In Sacrifice, "klaatu", "barada", and "nikto" are three of the magic words that are combined to form various magical incantations; though not necessarily all three together or in order.
- Mysterio's first appearance in Spider-Man 2, The Game Of The Movie, has him posing as an alien invader, and says this, as well as "All Your Base Are Belong to Us."
- In World of Warcraft, there are three NPCs named Klaatu, Barada and Nikto.
- Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! references this, as a sage in one of the later levels claimed that saying those words would bring Spyro to Dragon Shores (being where he wanted to go at the start of the game). However, he couldn't quite remember the third word, so he dropped the matter.
- There's a series of helms in Dragonfable named after this.
- Spike the Clown from Toon Struck says this in response to being told "I believe the spatula is mine!". Did we mention he's an insane clown?
- In one mission in the RTS Myth The Fallen Lords, a barbarian is sent to say the magic phrase that will awaken Myrdred the Deceiver. Subverted when, even though the barbarian says something like "Clambake Baraka Nictuu", it works anyway... Myrdred wakes up from his thousand-year-sleep, says "close enough", and teleports himself and your troops out of the area.
- When Globox is trying to open the doors in Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc, he can be heard calling out this phrase, among others.
- In Robot Odyssey, it pops up after solving the final puzzle on the city level.
- In the "Ebil Dread" adventure from the AdventureQuest Worlds 2nd Birthday Event, the horde of pink undead summoned up by Beleen can only be destroyed by assembling the George Lowe-onomicon and speaking the magic words. As the adventure in question is a Shout-Out to the Evil Dead series and Army of Darkness in particular (including Artix replacing his possessed pink hand with a chainsaw), one can pretty much guess what those magic words are. And much like Ash, Artix...doesn't quite get that last word right. Poor guy.
- The Peacekeeper in Sword of the Stars, in Pig Latin. It's been nicknamed "Ortgay" as a result.
- Ragnarok Online the quest in the underworld Nifflheim (part of the very long "Sign" quest) where you speak the magic words "Klaatu Barada Nikto" to a ghost named "Ash", this is another Army of Darkness reference as the title character of that movie is Ash.
- Uttered by the Advanced Magic Towers in Kingdom Rush.
- In Poker Night 2 when in the Evil Dead inventory skin, Max will try to say this from the Necronomicon to the first player eliminated, but messes it up (the player is still sucked into the book). Ash even tries to correct Max, but he still messes it up. He later claims he needs his ears checked.
- One of Gaige's phrases when she summons Deathtrap in Borderlands2.
- Jimmy Neutron used these as magic words in a Harry Potter parody. The phrase was also used by Carl in the episode "Time Is Money", when Jimmy met his own parents in the past.
- One episode of the 2003 version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had Michelangelo trying to stop an alien Humongous Mecha this way. It didn't work.
- An episode of the 1980s Turtles series revealed that members of the alien Polarisoid's family had these names.
- An episode of Darkwing Duck has aliens from a literal Planet of Hats invade Earth; their names are Flarg, Barada, and Nikto, but the benevolent alien ruler who comes to apprehend them is named Klaatu II.
- In an episode of Rocko's Modern Life, Heffer, convinced that Filburt is an alien, intent on high-fiving the rest of them to death (just go with it), says the phrase to Filburt, in an attempt to trick him into revealing that he's an alien by way of understanding it. According to Heffer, "It's alien language, I heard it from a sci-fi movie."
- An alien species uses the phrase (actually, "Klaatu Nikto Barada", but close enough) as a greeting in an episode of Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers.
- Bat-Bat turns it into a malapropism in the Bakshi Mighty Mouse episode "Bat With A Golden Tongue." Confronted by a figure who he thinks is not of this world, he chants "Klaatu! Baraga! Nicotine!"
- In Johnny Bravo, Carl used this (amongst other sci-fi catchphrases) to greet an alien.
- In The Simpsons Treehouse Of Horror XVIII Bart throws a ball that hits Kodos, who then "swears" with these words.