open/close all folders
- In All the President's Men, Ben Bradlee gets pretty wound up about the fact that everyone Woodward and Bernstein have interviewed is always on Deep Background or Off-The-Record: "Goddammit, when is somebody going to go on the record in this story? You guys are about to write a story that says the former Attorney General, the highest-ranking law enforcement officer in this country, is a crook! Just be sure you're right."
- In Thank You for Smoking, Nick Naylor thought most of the information he gave a reporter was in confidence. It wasn't.
- In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, April O'Neil asks the police chief for information about who or what caused the damage in downtown New York, and then uses this phrase. The attempt was unsuccessful; the police chief refused to divulge any information.
Chief: Miss O'Neil, my record, on-the-record, clearly shows that I have no off-the-record record. Make a record of that.
- At the end of The Life of David Gale, after the video proving Gale's innocence is revealed to the public, the female protagonist receives a videotape proving that he framed himself and was part of a conspiracy to undermine capital punishment. Naturally, it's marked "Off The Record". Given an earlier conversation with him in which she promises to keep "off the record" statements off the record, it's implied that this video will never reach the public.
- In Patton, George is fond of making controversial claims to large groups of reporters "off the record".
- In Death: Eve Dallas and Nadine Furst use this trope many times. It is a testament to Nadine's integrity that she always adheres to her agreements with Eve and is willing to hold onto sensitive information until Eve gives her the go-ahead to take it public - and it's because Eve knows that she can trust Nadine to do this that she bothers to work with Nadine at all, when normally she has little but scorn for the media. Nadine says at one point that she ought to pay professional stylist Trina a thousand bucks to tattoo the words "Off The Record" on Eve's ass.
- Happens several times in The Millennium Trilogy. The greatest example is when at the end of Dragon Tattoo, Blomkvist decides not to publish anything about what he uncovered about the Vanger family.
- In Arthur Hailey's Overload, a reporter on a bus with the others covering the opening of a power plant asks if there's any booze at the meal the electric company is providing. The public relations flack on the bus asks all the reporters if that item will be off the record, and they all agree. Basically, if the electric company can afford to give reporters free booze, it might look (to the public) like they are spendthrifts when it comes time to ask for a rate increase, so they have to ask the reporters to keep that point about the availability of booze to themselves.
- A beautiful example in Trail of Glory.
Bryant: I was sure deploying militia outside the U.S. was illegal in peacetime?
Shreve: That ain't no militia! Jes' Crittenden's boys!
Bryant: Freebooters, then. Can I quote you to that effect?
Shreve: You sure as Sam Hill can't! If they find out, my life ain't worth spit!
Bryant: Even better! "A knowledgeable local source, who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals from the butcher Crittenden and his band of renegades, who would stoop to anything to conceal their depredations...."
Live Action TV
- CSI: This trope makes an appearance in almost every episodes, many times more than once
- Veronica Mars: She is the school's reporter, so much of her information comes in the form of this trope
- Supernatural: Sam and Dean sometimes pose as reporters to gather information about possible cases. Off the Record is an easy way for them to get the cop/victim/coroner/etc. to admit something they wouldn't otherwise say for fear of public humiliation -Which, given some of the strange and demented ways the monsters in the Supernatural Verse kill, isn't all that ridiculous.
- The West Wing makes regular use of this trope, normally in the person of White House Press Secretary C.J. Cregg.
- Yes, Minister. After being doorstopped by journalists on the way to Number 10, Bernard tries this after he's already answered their questions, and is smugly told it doesn't work after the event. Hacker tells Bernard off and lists several better ways of fobbing off the Press.
- Torchwood: Children of Earth. The British government is trying to conceal from the rest of the world that they've had prior dealings with 456, so use this quote when asking to speak to the alien privately despite an agreement not to do so without foreign delegates present. This becomes an Ironic Echo when 456 reveals why it wants the children. It then plays a recording of the "off the record" discussion to the rest of the delegates.
- Lois Lane seemed to ask for "off-the-record" quite a lot in Superman: The Animated Series.
- The musical I'd Rather Be Right had the song "Off The Record," in which President Roosevelt drops many revealing tidbits about himself and his administration, always being careful to add, "Don't print that — it's strictly off the record." (This number was also featured in the Bio Pic Yankee Doodle Dandy.)
- As explained by Officer George Bruch about 12 minutes into this video, when speaking to a police officer, "Off The Record" is like the Unicorn: it does not exist.
- The mistake exists partly because of a misunderstanding of Miranda Rights: everyone has the right to remain silent, and anything they say can be held against them, whether or not they are under arrest at the time.
- Bottom line: "Off the record" applies only to journalists and those in a similar line of work. Nobody else.