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[[quoteright:350:[[Webcomic/CyanideAndHappiness http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/cyanide_hapiness_garfield.png]]]]

->''"Hey, check it - [[VideoGame/ResidentEvil4 whaddaya buyin'?]] Heh, heard that in a game once."''
-->-- '''Rodin''', ''VideoGame/{{Bayonetta}}''

A group of characters is in some sort of fix or trouble. One character steps up and:

* contrives a plan just CrazyEnoughToWork
* or manages a bit of out of character or unexpected badassery
* or pulls off a clever [[BondOneLiner bit of dialogue]] that stops everyone in their tracks
* pulls off some manner of complicated stunt like an old pro

The other people in the scenario, Mooks, DamselInDistress, and even the villain are impressed by this display of incredible competence and showmanship.

The character who just amazed the crowd shrugs it off modestly, [[StockPhrases saying simply]], "Saw it in a movie once."

Variations include:
* Saw it on a TV show
* Read it in a book
* My dad/mentor/grandfather once told me a story about it
* Dreamed I did it

Sister trope to both TaughtByTelevision and IKnowMortalKombat. See also CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Lightnovel/FullMetalPanic'': Kaname says this in the first season when she, Sōsuke, and Kurz are trapped by an army of soldiers in a small trench. The movie she remembers? ''Film/ButchCassidyAndTheSundanceKid''. [[BolivianArmyEnding Yeah, not too encouraging.]] They come out alright, though.
* ''Manga/TheWorldGodOnlyKnows'': This is DatingSim {{Otaku}} Keima Katsuragi's schtick. Whenever someone asks him how he could make a [[InsaneTrollLogic bizarre leap of logic]] or [[AwesomeByAnalysis figure out something in an instant]], he replies, "It often goes like this. [[IKnowMortalKombat In games.]]"
* Subverted in ''Manga/NoMatterHowILookAtItItsYouGuysFaultImNotPopular'' where Tomoko Kuroki (Supposedly a {{gender flip}}ped {{Expy}} of the above example) tries to apply almost everything she sees in the internet or in ''[[DatingSim Otome]]'' games in order to gain popularity and get laid. ''[[CringeComedy Horrible]]'' HilarityEnsues.

* Creator/StevenWright, to a hitchhiker he'd picked up: "Put your seatbelt on, I want to try something. I saw it in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it."

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* ''ComicStrip/FoxTrot'': After Jason and Paige spill cola into Andy's computer, Piage urges Jason to fix it. He says he remembers seeing Series/MacGyver do something similar. They need to prise the computer open, clean it out... and then hook it up to bicycle. Or maybe it was a minivan...

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* Examples from Fanfic/{{the Calvinverse}}:
** From ''Fanfic/CalvinAndHobbesIIIDoubleTrouble'':
--->'''Calvin:''' I saw this on that ''WesternAnimation/{{Jimmy Neutron|Boy Genius}}'' movie!"
** ''Fanfic/CalvinAndHobbesTheSeries'' has a young Frank Brainstorm attempting to be a pioneer for this reason. It doesn't end well for him.
** Later, Socrates claims to have gotten the idea to go into a tree from ''WesternAnimation/TheMagicSchoolBus''.
* In ''WebVideo/YuGiOhTheAbridgedSeries'', when Pegasus drops Bandit Keith through a TrapDoor, he says, "I learned this trick from watching ''Manga/ExcelSaga''!"

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Shrek}}'': Justified in that Shrek's world is literally a land of fairy tales, and that the book he mentions is specifically the tale about the very princess they are trying to rescue. Not only that, but said book is the one he was reading (and used as toilet paper) at the very beginning of the movie.
-->'''Shrek:''' The princess will be up the stairs in the highest room in the tallest tower.\\
'''Donkey:''' How do you know she's gonn be there?\\
'''Shrek:''' I read it in a book once.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/DemolitionMan'': Lenina (Sandra Bullock) explained away [[IKnowKarate her martial arts prowess]] as being from watching Creator/JackieChan movies.
* In ''Series/TheRedGreenShow'' [[TheMovie movie]], ''Duct Tape Forever'', Harold tries to stop the men after him and Red by dumping gasoline on the road to slip up the limo behind them. The reasoning? He saw it in a James Bond movie once. It works...kind of...just not the way you'd expect.
* Subverted in ''Film/DumbAndDumber'' when Lloyd (Jim Carrey) tricks a group of tough guys they encountered in a restaurant to pay for a meal for himself and Harry (Jeff Daniels), claiming he saw it in a movie. However, it turns out the plan wasn't as foolproof as they thought.
-->'''Harry Dunn:''' That was genius, Lloyd ... sheer genius. Where did you come up with a scam like that?\\
'''Lloyd Christmas:''' I saw it in a movie once.\\
'''Harry Dunn:''' Ha ha! That was incredible! So what happened? So the guy tricked some sucker into picking up his tab and gets away with it scot free?\\
'''Lloyd Christmas:''' No, in the movie they catch up to him a half a mile down the road and slit his throat. It was a good one.
* ''Film/TheGoonies'': Mikey suggests a plan to escape from the pursuing villains in based on a ''Literature/HardyBoys'' story.
-->'''Mikey:''' I saw this on the ''Hardy Boys'' once. We lead a trail of jewels into one cave, and then hide out in another, and when the Fratelli's go into that cave, then we can make a run for it.
* ''Film/TheATeam'':
-->'''Murdock:''' ''[while flying a helicopter]'' Hold on, guys, I'm gonna try something I saw in a cartoon once!
* Hilariously played with in ''Film/TropicThunder'' by one of the protagonists, an actor, slowly going insane from withdrawal symptoms (due to being a junkie).
-->'''[[Creator/JackBlack Jeff Portnoy]]:''' I know this is gonna sound crazy, but in this one film I starred in we had to infiltrate the girl's bathroom of a highschool. So we built a catapult out of women's underwear and launched ourselves over the fence!\\
(Everyone stares at him for a moment before trying to find a more reasonable plan)
* In ''Film/TheReturnOfTheLivingDead'', the GenreSavvy characters who have seen ''Film/NightOfTheLivingDead1968'' try to put a zombie down by RemovingTheHeadOrDestroyingTheBrain, with [[NiceJobBreakingItHero less than satisfactory results]].
-->'''Frank:''' It worked in the movie!\\
'''Burt:'''Well, it ain't working now, Frank!\\
'''Freddy:''' You mean the movie ''lied?''
%%* ''Film/PainAndGain'' :
%%-->''I've watched a lot of movies Paul, I know what I'm doing...''
* ''Film/{{Titanic 1997}}'': When Jack kisses Rose's hand:
-->'''Jack:''' I saw that in a nickelodeon once and I always wanted to do it!"
* In ''Film/BillAndTedsBogusJourney'', after the pair are murdered by the "Evil Robot Uses" (resulting in them becoming ghosts) they try to warn everyone by [[DemonicPossession possessing Ted's dad]]; when Ted asks Bill if he's sure it will work, Bill replies, "It worked in ''Film/TheExorcist'', parts 1 ''and'' 3."
* In the ''Film/ThePirateMovie'', Frederic dropped his sword when threatened by The Pirate King. He hears a voice tell him, "Use the Force, Frederic." The sword blade glows and he calls it back to his hand, disarming The Pirate King, his mentor, The PK asks, "Did I teach you that?" He responds, "No, saw it in movie once." Since the whole reality turns out to be AllJustADream (of Mabel's), it's justified.

* Parodied in ''Literature/TheAdventuresOfHuckleberryFinn''. When Tom shows up to help Huck break Jim out of captivity, Huck's pragmatic plans are always dismissed by Tom, because they 'ain't got enough style' and Tom likes to do things that he got out of books, like trying to dig a tunnel with case knives or giving Jim a bunch of pet snakes and rats.
* ''The Golden Rendezvous'' by Alistair [=MacLean=]. The protagonist disarms the BigBad, who has a concealed shoulder holster, simply by yanking his jacket down over his shoulders, immobilising his arms. When the BigBad calmly asks if the protagonist is a professional like himself, he replies "American movies."
* In ''Literature/InfinityBeach'', Solly gets the idea of blowing the alien Shroud out of ''Hammersmith'''s airlock from a movie (implied to be ''Film/{{Alien}}''). Unlike in ''Alien'', it doesn't work.
* In the ''Literature/{{Hoka}}'' stories, by Creator/PoulAnderson and Creator/GordonRDickson, the Hokas--a race of teddy-bear-like aliens--operate entirely on this principle. They absorb fictive universes (essentially, the race is a sponge for tropes), and ''{{becom|ingTheMask}}e'' [[BecomingTheMask them]]. Cowboys, spacemen, SherlockHolmes, ''Literature/TheJungleBook''--they cover a lot of ground.
* Repeatedly used in ''Literature/SonicTheHedgehogInRobotniksLaboratory'' with the key difference being that they saw it on "video". Whether video is just the book showing it's age and referring to Video Tapes or that the Mobius equivalent of TV is called Video, is never made clear.
* ''Literature/TheTerror'': When the situation is especially bleak and crew morale is at a low, one crew member proposes a carnivale to cheer everyone up. He notes he got the idea from some pulp novel he read, but he can’t remember the book’s name or how it ends. [[spoiler:His description makes clear he’s talking about “The Masque of Red Death”, a story by Creator/EdgarAllanPoe about TheBeautifulElite trying to distract themselves from a spreading plague by throwing a party, and it ends with the characters all dying horribly at the hands of a monster. [[TemptingFate Guess what happens at the party the crew throws]].]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{House}}'' parodies this in a third season episode "Lines in the Sand" when he conducts a differential in the lobby:
-->'''Cuddy:''' Is this your master plan? Disrupt hospital business until I replace your carpet?\\
'''House:''' Devious. Saw it in a ''Film/JamesBond'' movie.
* Abed, in ''Series/{{Community}}'', occasionally bursts out with this trope.
* ''Series/{{Psych}}'' episode "Romeo and Juliet and Juliet" has Shawn mention "I saw this in a Creator/JackieChan movie..."
* ''Series/TheATeam'' Season 3 episode "Breakout" has a couple of robbers coercing Murdock at gun point to drive [[CoolCar the van]] to get away. Murdock, normally an AcePilot, breaks out some BadassDriver skills:
-->'''Robber:''' Where'd you learn to drive like ''that''?\\
'''Murdock:''' ''[deadpan]'' I saw ''[[Film/TheCannonballRun Cannonball Run]]'' five times.
* ''Series/{{Heroes}}'': Used very literally with Monica, whose superpower is being able to copy anything she's seen in person or on TV -- carve a tomato into a rose, play the piano, kick a robber's ass with a flashy wrestling move, CeilingCling...
* Garak on ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' often uses variations of this phrase to handwave his impressive abilities or intimate knowledge of things like classified military codes. Since almost everyone knows he used to be an actual spy (and a fairly important one at that), none of the main cast believe his explanations for a second.
* Quoth Series/{{Castle}}, as he's about to do something stupid while being held hostage at a bank robbery: "don't worry mother, I saw this work on ''Die Hard''."
* Tony in ''Series/{{NCIS}}'' is an inveterate film buff. When he comes up with a scheme to override a video feed in order to end a hostage situation, his colleagues automatically assume he saw it in a movie, and in spite of his protests they ultimately pinpoint ''which'' movie (it was ''Film/{{Speed}}'').
* ''Series/{{Blossom}}'': Blossom blinds an intruder (who turns out to actually be her brother) by blowing talcum powder in face. When Six asks her where she learned that trick, Blossom replies "Series/MacGyver". (Also counts as an ActorAllusion as as Blossom's actress Mayim Bialik had played a recurring character on ''Series/MacGyver''.
* ''Series/{{JAG}}'': After getting Harm out of a minefield in Afghanistan (season 7, episode 23 "In Country"), Mac acknowledges that she only learned how to do it by watching movies.
* Doubles as a MythologyGag in the first episode of ''Series/WeirdScience'', where Gary and Wyatt are discussing the creation of Lisa.
-->'''Gary:''' We could do it! I saw it in a Creator/JohnHughes movie once!
* In one episode of ''Dracula: The Series'', the heroes escape from a [[TheWallsAreClosingIn death-trap]] the Count has in his castle because one of them saw how to in a movie. It later turns out the Count only had the trap installed in the first place because he saw the same movie.
* In Season 2 of ''Series/BattlestarGalactica2003'', Starbuck and Helo are stranded on Cylon-occupied Caprica and come across the local resistance movement. The leader, Samuel Anders, asks Starbuck for professional help and support, as the tactics they're using are ones they've seen in movies. We see one of their (literal) HollywoodTactics fail in "The Plan."
* ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise'': While visiting a planet of humans still living in the Old West, Trip says he can ride a horse because he's "seen every Creator/JohnFord western." T'Pol is less than optimistic.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': in ''Gridlock'', Martha Jones persuades the driver of an air car to shut down all systems (including the much-needed air purifier) so that the large monsters in the poisonous fog won't find them.
-->'''Martha:''' I saw it on a film. They used to do it in submarines. The trouble is, I can't remember what they did next.

* In ''Theatre/TheBat'', Cornelia notices a fresh trail of candle grease, and tries to follow it, saying, "Do you remember how Mr. Gillette, in ''Theatre/SherlockHolmes'', when he--" This is later subverted:
-->'''Brooks:''' Is this something else you saw Mr. Gillette do?\\
'''Cornelia:''' I'm using my wits! I never saw any man do that.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Chuck Greene from ''VideoGame/DeadRising'' can learn new combo weapons by, among other things, looking at movie posters. Namely movies by Creator/{{Clint|Eastwood}} [[Wrestling/TheRock Rockfoot]].
* Max in ''VideoGame/LifeIsStrange'' mentions this when she successfully gains access to the Dark Room by only trying the faded numbers on the keypad.
-->'''Max''': Yes! I thought that only worked in the movies.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* Subverted in ''VisualNovel/CrossChannel''. In two different scenes, Taichi insists he can drive cars because he's seen how it works in manga. Naturally, this leads to hilarious results.
* Played straight but justified in ''VisualNovel/UminekoWhenTheyCry''. Trying to interpret the game board's story as a mystery rather than a fantasy story, various characters use knowledge gained from reading mystery novels.
* An exchange between Jessica and Anna in ''VisualNovel/AtomGrrrl'' at a casino:
-->'''Anna:''' Hey, by the way, where did you learn to play roulette?\\
'''Jessica:''' Oh, yesterday. I figured, "hey, why don't I check out a Man Ketsudaira movie?"

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/LeastICouldDo'' has Rayne bust out a BigNo at goofing a chance with a girl. She calls him on being [[{{Narm}} a bit dramatic]] and he says he Saw It in a Movie Once.
* ''Webcomic/CyanideAndHappiness'' got that guy with a cat, and he [[http://www.explosm.net/comics/1812/ did read]] this [[ComicStrip/{{Garfield}} comic]]...
* In ''Webcomic/TheInexplicableAdventuresOfBob'' many of [[GadgeteerGenius Molly's]] engineering feats are inspired by pop culture. [[http://bobadventures.comicgenesis.com/d/20111101.html When she activated her]] {{transforming|Mecha}} {{snow|lems}} [[SiegeEngines ballista]], she managed to include [[ShoutOut shout-outs]] to ''Tom Corbett: Space Cadet'', ''Anime/{{Robotech}}'', ''Anime/BattleOfThePlanets'', ''Franchise/SailorMoon'', and ''Series/{{Ultraman}}''.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TaleSpin'':
** In the episode "Citizen Khan", Clementine Clevenger attempts to escape a locked room with a BedsheetLadder while saying "This always works in the movies." Unfortunately, the knots get undone and she falls with her noting, "So much for the movies!" Luckily, she has a soft landing in a horse trough.
** Another ''Tale Spin'' example: Baloo uses this line almost verbatim in "The Road to Macadamia".
* ''WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles1987'':
** One episode has Donatello attempt to save an alien in a crashed vessel thus:
--->'''Donatello:''' Quick, boil some water!\\
'''Raphael:''' We're not delivering a baby, dumbo!\\
'''Donatello:''' ...I heard it in a movie once...
** Michelangelo and Donatello are tied up back to-back in chairs with a bomb next to them. Mikey reveals that he has seen a scene like this before on TV and, following his direction, the two rock back and forth to tip over onto the floor. However, when Donatello asks what to do next, Mikey realizes that he doesn't know -- at the time, he'd gone to get popcorn before the scene had finished.
* A less modest version happens in ''WesternAnimation/Ben10AlienForce''. Julie does the IKnowYoureInThereSomewhereFight with [[spoiler: her pet, Ship]] and when Ben is surprised she pulled it off, she says, "You're not the only one who's seen 'Brain Stealers from Outer Space'."
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBros'', after fighting one of Wide Wale's henchmen offscreen Brock is asked where he learned a jump move and replies "Achilles in ''Film/{{Troy}}''".
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'':
-->'''[[MadScientist Professor]] Hubert [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} Farnsworth]]:''' It came to me in a dream. And I forgot it in another dream.
** In the episode "Law and Oracle" Fry manages to pull off a trick on a light cycle, and when asked where he learned it he replies "Sunny D commercial."
** In "Parasites Lost"
-->'''Zoidberg:''' We can escape through the nasal capillary into the sinus!
-->'''Hermes:''' Strange. Usually, you don't know anything about human anatomy.
-->'''Zoidberg:''' I learned it from a decongestant commercial. "Soothing action, action, action, action..."
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Freakazoid}}'', Cosgrove [[NoFourthWall tells the audience]] to ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve (and throw in some [[InherentlyFunnyWords Hugbees]]) to save Freakazoid's life after having seen it work in [[Disney/PeterPan a movie]] once.
* In the pilot episode of ''WesternAnimation/StormHawks'', Aerrow briefly breaks the fourth wall when he tells a rightfully worried Radarr that "it's okay, I saw this before in a cartoon" right before jumping off his Skimmer to perform a Franchise/FinalFantasy-esque stunt.
* On ''WesternAnimation/JimmyTwoShoes'', Jimmy [[GloveSlap slaps Lucius with a glove]] in order to accept a challenge because he saw it in a movie.
* The ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerry'' cartoon "Fit to be Tied" features Spike, while beating Tom, doing something he claims to have seen on TV.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** One episode features Homer trying to stop an animal stampede by yelling "Film/{{Jumanji}}". After it fails, Homer wonders if there is anything from movies worth learning.
** Another episode has Homer trying the camera trick mentioned in the ''NCIS'' example, "citing" the film ''[[Film/{{Speed}} The Bus That Couldn't Slow Down]]''.
** And in another he sees someone get what he wants by slapping people in the face with a glove. He instantly adopts this and succeeds -- until a "Southern gentleman" accepts his challenge to a duel. He also tries it with Jimmy Carter and has to flee the ex-president.
** In one episode (9x13), Homer is being questioned by the tax department about his falsified tax return. When they threaten him with a prison term, he says "No sir, please - I can't go to prison! They pee in a cup and throw it on you! I saw it in a movie!" to which the interrogating agent responds "You won't be seeing any prison movies where you're going - prison!"
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/PinkyAndTheBrain'':
-->'''Pinky:''' Zounds, you're a good driver, Brain.\\
'''Brain:''' I've watched a lot of ''Series/TheDukesOfHazzard''.
* On ''WesternAnimation/RockyAndBullwinkle'', Bullwinkle describes a situation with a lot of $50 words. When Rocky asks what it's supposed to mean, Bullwinkle says "I dunno...I heard it on ''Meet The Press.''"
* ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'':
** In one of Creator/FrizFreleng's cartoons featuring two Mexican cats, the smart cat uses a trick to catch Speedy Gonzales, saying he'd seen it in a WesternAnimation/BugsBunny cartoon.
** In Frank Tashlin's "The Major Lied at Dawn" (1937), the Major -- after suffering a beatdown against an army of jungle animals -- pulls out a can of spinach, saying "By jove, if it's good enough for that [[WesternAnimation/{{Popeye}} sailor man]], then it's good enough for me."
* ''WesternAnimation/TheHairBearBunch'': The Bunch is rehearsing for a scene in a revisionist version of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears". Twinkles Sunshine, the movie's star and revisionist of the script gives the bears instructions when the evil prince arrives.
-->'''Twinkles:''' When the three bears see the evil prince, they grab him and throw him out of the window.\\
'''Square Bear:''' I saw that on television wrestlin' last night!
* In ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'' after being stranded in the middle of nowhere in "Pizza Delivery", Spongebob tries to get himself and Squidward back home by using tactics from old pioneers which he says he "saw in a movie once." Most of them worked albeit their progress was constantly hindered by Squidward.
* A ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' episode set in the cold of the Canadian winter, "The Iceman Ducketh", sees Bugs Bunny trying to evade Daffy Duck, who is chasing him on skis. Bugs comments [[AsideComment to the audience]], "I saw this in a toothpaste commercial once," before tossing a bucket of water in front of Daffy, which instantly freezes into a wall of ice.
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'' sees the Decepticons' warship overrun with dark energon zombies. Knockout tells Starscream to aim for the head, as he's seen done in human horror films. It doesn't work.
* In a second season episode of the ''WesternAnimation/{{Rugrats}}'' called "Tooth or Dare", Angelica comes up with various ideas to pry out Chuckie's prominent front teeth in order to get money after hearing the story of the Tooth Fairy. One of the attempts she makes is something that she tells Chuckie and her cousin, Tommy, she [[TitleDrop once saw in a movie]]. [[RealityEnsues When the plan inevitably fails]], Angelica claims, "Well, it worked in the movie!"
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones'' episode "Fred's Second Car", Fred and Barney are trapped in a gangster's hideout and Fred gets the idea for them to tackle a {{mook}} and grab his gun when he walks in, saying he saw it in a gangster movie on TV. However, the mook dodges the attack, and he taunts "I watch TV too, fellas".
* Almost any time [[TheDitz Stumpy]] from ''WesternAnimation/{{Kaeloo}}'' does something intelligent, it's because he saw it in a movie.
* ''WesternAnimation/FostersHomeForImaginaryFriends'': In "Cookie Dough", Bloo tries to raise money to buy the house a new roof by selling lemonade, claiming he saw it in movies. However, he does it on a cold, rainy day in the dead of winter.
-->'''Mac:''' Was it ''summer'' in those movies? You know, summer, the season people ''drink'' lemonade?!
-->'''Bloo:''' It seems so obvious now that you say it.
* ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'': In "Off Colors", Lars suggests that he and Steven stand still, saying that Yellow Diamond's robonoids won't see them if they do. He turned out to have WrongGenreSavvy, and the two barely avoid getting blasted.
-->'''Lars:''' I think that movie...was about [[Film/JurassicPark dinosaurs]].
* ''WesternAnimation/TheGrimAdventuresOfBillyAndMandy'': In "The Firebird Sweet", Grim suggests that he and Mandy enter Eris' factory through the sewer pipes, claiming that he saw it in ''Film/DrumsAlongTheMohawk''.
-->'''Mandy:''' I don't remember that being part of the movie.
-->'''Grim:''' [[BlatantLies Uh...it was the director's cut.]]