A door or area is secured by a lock that uses a sound to open the lock, including a spoken phrase.
The fact that it sounds an awful lot like "Open Says-A-Me"
is a coincidence: the phrase is directly translated from Arabic "Iftaḥ yā Simsim", and the pun doesn't work. The use of "Sesame" ("Simsim" in Arabic) is a just a random word, which makes sense; why would you make the magic words to a secret chamber of riches something anyone could figure out?
For musical passwords, see Songs in the Key of Lock
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Anime and Manga
- The Lupin III (Red Jacket) episode "A Safe Bet" has Lupin desperately trying to open a specially-made safe that contains the antidote to a poison he has been given. After trying every trick he knows, he gets so frustrated he wonders if opening it isn't something as stupid as yelling "Open Sesame!" It is.
- Featured in Magi – Labyrinth of Magic, which has most of its design roots in Arabian Nights to begin with.
- In The Smurfs story "The Smurfs And The Book That Tells Everything", Brainy uses a spell given to him by the book that only allows it to be used when it hears only Brainy announcing his name.
- A Captain America story had a prison breakout story where the con attempt to escape using Cap's shield, but they can't open the main door because they are not aware that it only opens when you say "Captain America" to it. A sequel story was created when that feature's obvious security problem was explored when the cons were gathered in front of that door and accidentally opened it when someone said Cap's name.
- In one Cavewoman mini-series, the phrase needed to open a magical portal is "Oh my God! I don't want to die!". As the portal is guarded by flesh-eating yetis, this has resulted in a lot of intruders accidentally saying the activation phrase.
Films — Animated
- In Aladdin and the King of Thieves, this is naturally the way to open up the entrance to the Forty Thieves' lair. The ocean parts and a stone road running out to a large offshore rock formation forms. And then a crack opens in the rock formation, leading to the lair.
- Used amusingly in WALL•E, when Auto prompts the captain for voice confirmation, he replies "Uhhh..." - which, of course, is accepted.
Films — Live-Action
- A 1950s movie has the wives and daughters of the original Forty Thieves, seeking vengeance for their slaughtered families, living in a cave worked by this means... sort of.
Open Sesame! (door opens, woman enters with friend)
Close Sesame! (door closes, woman picks up a carrot, walks around a wall)
Good girl, Sesame. (gives the carrot to Sesame. Sesame is a trained mule.)
- Sneakers has a voiceprint lock that requires a specific phrase; unlike in Shadowrun, it ends up being possible to beat the lock with a tape recorder.
- The Bourne Ultimatum has Noah Vosen keep all his incriminating documents in a safe with a voiceprint lock. Rather stupidly, the phrase he uses is his own name and he answers his phone in the exact same way.
- At the end of The Hot Rock, Dortmunder finally gets the sought-after diamond after a bank guard was given a hypnotic suggestion. He casually utters the key words "Afghanistan banana stand" to the guard - there's some tension as the guard doesn't act hypnotized, but he does follow instructions and hands over the diamond.
- In The Lord of the Rings, when the Fellowship tries to enter Moria through the enchanted gate.
- Curse of the Crystal Eye naturally uses the phrase to open the 40 Thieves' cave, along with the titular huge diamond.
- The name of this trope comes from the tales of "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves", where the 40 Thieves hide their stolen loot in a cave. The entrance uses a rock that moves only when you say, "Open Sesame" (Ali Baba follows them there).
- In The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, a gate in the Caves of Fire and Night is protected by a spell like this; originally the key was just "open sesame" but the dragons had to keep making it more complicated. The one we hear is a rhyming couplet followed by the word "alberolingarn".
- Atlas Shrugged has Galt saying a phrase to get into the power house.
- In Lord of the Rings, the door to the mines of Moria has one of these, with the inscription, "Speak Friend and Enter".
- Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land. Ben Caxton's apartment had a door lock that opens when a specific phrase is spoken.
- The Battle School lockers in Ender’s Game have voice-activated locks.
- Harry Potter: Want to get into the Chamber of Secrets? Then you'd better know how to speak Parseltongue!
- In The Language of Power, the fourth book in the Steerswoman series, the wizard Jannik has a voice-activated lock on his computer.
- An episode of Mission: Impossible requires the mark the IMF is seeking to open the warhead room by saying the words, "January Suborbital Denomination."
- Doctor Who:
- In "The Invasion of Time", there was a hidden doorway that opened when a particular phrase was spoken. The phrase was "There's nothing more useless than a door with a voice lock."
- In "Battlefield", the door is keyed to the Doctor saying "Open up — it's me."
- Played with in "The Doctor's Wife", where Amy and Rory are told that the key to a door is "crimson eleven delight petrichor", but saying it doesn't work: the door has a telepathic interface, and the key is to think the meaning of each word in turn.
- An episode of Leverage has a safe with a voice activated lock. The thieves get in by being able to record every possible sound from the safe's owner by getting him to say the name of a very complicated French dish, then have him drop the F-bomb when he realizes it's raw shrimp.
- An episode of The Muppet Show has a sketch involving Fozzie Bear trying to get into Ali Baba's cave. "Open Sesame" is repeatedly invoked, and eventually results in a whole bunch of Sesame Street characters emerging from the cave.
- In one episode of Stargate Atlantis trhe door to a scientist's hidden lab is activated by tapping three light sconces, each of which emits a different tone.
- Occurrs in Charmed, like many other magical tropes.
- In the opening episode of UFO, Alex Freeman activates the lift to SHADO's Elaborate Underground Base by doing a Large Ham recitation from Romeo and Juliet into a receiver disguised as a humidor case. Once his voiceprint is verified, the office starts sinking into the ground.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The lift to the Initiative's Elaborate Underground Base is activated by a similar method, which causes problems when demons steal the voices of everyone in Sunnydale. Two Initiative soldiers enter the lift and can't give voiceprint verification, causing the lift to fill with Deadly Gas. Fortunately the scientists down below realize what's happening and get them out in time, silently pointing to the sign saying IN CASE OF EMERGENCY USE STAIRS.
- In the Shadowrun Tabletop RPG, voiceprint locks are designed so simply tape recording and using the voice of an authorized person won't work.
- In the BattleTech universe, the standard activation sequence for a 'Mech involves a voiceprint match followed by a code phrase.
- Sonic tries this phrase in Sonic and the Secret Rings to try and enter Erazor Djinn's Final Boss room. Given he's in the Arabian Nights, it'd qualify as a Genre Savvy move, but it doesn't work as the door requires the seven World Rings to open.
- The PC adventure King's Quest V has a treasury used by a band of thieves open with the very same phrase as the title of this trope, most likely as a shout out to Arabian Nights, given the series' tendency to reuse fairy tales in their plots.
- "Opensesame" is the Cheat Code in Deus Ex to unlock any door you target.
- In Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia, Lyner attempts this and several variations in the Musical Corridor, and the door opens... because someone was coming through in the other direction.
- In Phaeton the door to the Dungeon of Flames is opened with "Open Sesame", no matter what language it is spoken in. The dungeon is also implied to be the former cave of the forty theives.
- The Looney Tunes short Ali Baba Bunny involves Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck accidentally tunneling into the cave of a wealthy sultan. When the sultan's guard, Hassan sees this, he tries to invoke the phrase in order to open the cave and capture them, but finds that he's forgotten the proper word:
Uh...Open, sarsaparilla? Open, Saskatchewan? Open, septuagenarian? Open, saddle soap?
- Occurred in Denver the Last Dinosaur which also require a dance.
- In one episode of Dexter's Laboratory, the titular laboratory only opens when you use the spoken password "Star Wars". Any other phrase, such as omelette du fromage, won't work and will only increase the security around the lab including the self-destruct.
- Mr. Krabs used a voice-activated lock in one episode of Spongebob Squarepants, "Jellyfish Hunter", on the enclosure with all the jellyfish he had Spongebob capture. However, while telling Spongebob about the lock he says "The door is voice-activated, and will only open if I say 'open'." You can guess what happens next.
- The Arabian Knights cartoon on The Banana Splits Show. The entrance to the title characters' cave was covered by a rock that slid aside when one of them said "Open Sesame!"
- In Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves, Popeye pursues the Forty Thieves when they kidnap Olive and Wimpy to their cave and has some difficulty remembering the magic word he overheard them use to open the door. Later, when Popeye is beset with the thieves and can stands no more, he takes out his spinach can and says to it, "Open, says me!" and it magically opens.
- In the Scooby-Doo episode "Go Away, Ghost Ship" a hidden warehouse is guarded by a (mechanical) talking skull that demands a password. Since this is an episode with ghost pirates, Velma tries "Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum," which doesn't work. Shaggy tries "Yum yum yum and a liverwurst a la mode" as a joke and it does.
Shaggy: Wow, some password!