Across many works, you will hear the same quotations over and over. These quotes are so well known that most people will recognize them right away, but not all of them will be aware where the quote originated from. Popular sources include William Shakespeare
, historical figures, and classic literature. This will often be because of Small Reference Pools
- either the author isn't familiar with less famous quotes, or they are afraid the the audience won't be
Predictably, they will often be mangled
, both deliberately and not.
May overlap with As the Good Book Says
if the memorable quote is from The Bible
. When used to title a work, it is a Literary Allusion Title
. Not to be confused with Beam Me Up, Scotty!
, which is when a quote is popularly attributed to a source but was never actually said, or played for laughs when a stock quote is misidentified In the Original Klingon
(many of these are also misidentified with the bible quotes when Shakespeare said it first
). See also Stock Phrases
, which can't be attributed to a single source but also show up time and again.
If you want to add a quote to this page, please come up with at least three examples of its use. If you're not sure, add it to the discussion page. Once it has enough examples, it can be moved here.
Not to be confused with numbers relating to the prices of company stocks.
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"He Who Fights Monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
This quote is hardly ever used together. Instead, the first and second parts often appear alone.
- Put on screen before the director's cut of The Abyss; they wanted it on the theatrical cut, but another movie had just used it (the commentary didn't say which).
- Referenced in the Jim Carrey version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!:
The Grinch: The nerve of those Whos. Inviting me down there - on such short notice! Even if I wanted to go my schedule wouldn't allow it. 4:00, wallow in self pity; 4:30, stare into the abyss; 5:00, solve world hunger, tell no one; 5:30, jazzercize; 6:30, dinner with me - I can't cancel that again; 7:00, wrestle with my self-loathing... I'm booked. Of course, if I bump the loathing to 9, I could still be done in time to lay in bed, stare at the ceiling and slip slowly into madness. But what would I wear?
- Something Positive applies it to the internet: "Battle not with stupid, lest ye become stupid, and when you gaze into the Internet, the Internet gazes also into you."
- In Arthur, King of Time and Space, when Lancelot worries that Elaine isn't taking her religious vocation seriously enough, she replies that "When you gaze into the abbess, the abbess also gazes at you". He doesn't look reassured.
"Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war."
- "Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war" is used by General Chang in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country as he's kicking the ass of Enterprise with his cloaked Bird of Prey.
- Kevin Costner delivered this line in The Postman (film version only).
- Lord Humongous of The Road Warrior clearly references this quote, in his sort of pretentious way, as he reproaches the town he's laying to by saying "Look at what you have done! You have made me unleash my dogs of war!"
- Pink Floyd have a song called "The Dogs of War," though it could be a reference to the Forsyth example.
- Disturbed, Indestructible. The band's singer has been known to open concerts with the phrase as well.
- American McGee's Alice: Cheshire says, "Time to raise some havoc. The dogs of war are loose!" when Alice finds her first ragebox.
- Dragonfable has "Cry havoc and let loose the togs of war (I'm sure you'll find some use for them)" on a letter the hero recieves along with a bunch of creatures called togs.
- In later versions of Worms, a worm team using the Thespians sound pack will sometimes say this at the start of a round.
- Cry Havoc has it in the title, then uses parts of it once or twice in the dialog
- The Spoony One uses this quote to mock the heroes' plan to defeat Sin. "If I was assembling a team to go kill God, this is not the force that would make me cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war."
- Megatron used the phrase in an episode of Beast Wars.
- Archer mangled this when about to go on a RAMPAAAGE.
Archer: Cry havoc and let slip the hogs of war.
Lana: Dogs of war.
Archer: Whatever farm animal of war, Lana, sheesh!
"What a piece of work is man!"
- Darian Ashoka, the male lead in Joseph Michael Linsner's Dawn: Lucifer's Halo, at one point misquoted Hamlet's speech, jokingly saying, "The paramour of animals," not "the paragon of animals".
- The speech is quoted during the Other World theater performance in Coraline.
- Mr. Newberry starts the quote in Grosse Pointe Blank, but loses his train of thought halfway through and opts to go get a beer instead.
- Appears at the end of Withnail and I. In fact, Withnail recites the entire soliloquy. Turns out he's a pretty good actor.
- Rincewind reads the speech in The Science of Discworld II: The Globe, and is amazed it was written by someone in a city that still put its enemies heads on spikes. The title of the chapter is "The Paragon of Animals".
- In the 60s musical Hair, there's a song called "What A Piece of Work Is Man".
The lyrics are the entire quote (in iambic pentameter) from which the stock phrase is taken.
"Shuffle off this mortal coil."
Music & Sound Effects
- The phrase is used verbatim in the dead parrot sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus.
- Stargate Atlantis has a three-parter episode titled "This Mortal Coil", "Be All My Sins Remember'd" and "Spoils of War" in the fourth season. The first two are Hamlet quotes from the same scene, same act.
- Duran Duran used the phrase in their hit, "Breath After Breath".
- "This Mortal Coil" is a series of albums from the British indie label 4AD.
- There's a band called This Mortal Coil.
- There's a "Vortal Coil" chapter in Half-Life 2, a reference to this phrase.
- Ascension, in Kingdom of Loathing, works this way.
- The Council also says "I don't suppose you'd bugger off this mortal coil, would you?" when you're able to ascend.
"Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."
- One of its most famous appearances (the first half anyway) is on Animal Mother's helmet in Full Metal Jacket.
- The Hunt for Red October. Red Oktober's political officer reads this quote from a book owned by Captain Ramius — it's used to imply that the latter might have gone insane and intends to start World War III. Oppenheimer is specifically mentioned as giving the quote.
- The original source is mentioned, as well as Oppenheimer's use of the quote.
- J Robert Oppenheimer's original speech with this line is Used to a Downright haunting effect in the original teaser trailer for Godzilla2014
- A mad necromancer in Baldur's Gate uses a number of quotes, including "I am death incarnate! Destroyer of worlds!" He also quotes Hannibal Lecter.
- God of War II has an Easter Egg/experience bonus about a third of the way through the game, in the area with the ginormous horses chained to the island. By activating a few particular spots where nothing actually seems to happen, the last one by a tree on an island gives Kratos a huge experience boost—while the camera turns skyward to observe "Now I am become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds" writing itself in the clouds.
- And and in an arguably more epic case, in the end of Ghost of Sparta, Kratos stands alone in the Suicidal Cliffs from the first game, having finally killed Thanatos, but lost his brother and his mother, pretty much severing any ties to humanity he had. As he looks down the cliff he tried jumping from the first game, he wonders horrified "By the Gods, What have I become?" once again. The Grave Digger from the first game, who is actually Zeus in disguise, stops digging his brother's grave and answers "Death. The Destroyer of Worlds.
- Reportedly said by J. Robert Oppenheimer after witnessing the first nuclear bomb test.
- In fact many uses of this quote are actually quoting Oppenheimer quoting Gita. The meaning is frequently taken to be "I have the power!"... but that's not what Oppenheimer meant at all. The Bhagavad Gita is a dialogue between the god Krishna and the prince Arjuna, as Arjuna is about to go into battle against his cousins, his guru, the people who raised him, to secure the kingdom. Arjuna questions the rightness of such violence, and in response, Krishna transforms into his terrible, multi-armed aspect, telling him that doing his moral duty is more important than anything else. Oppenheimer felt that he had done a terrible thing, that "the world would not be the same", but he thought of it as his duty.
- The quote appears multiple times, literally or alluded in Mage: The Ascension, both in the Oppenheimer acception (related to atomic bombs or experiments of similar disruptive power, like in the supplement The Fallen Tower: Las Vegas) and in the original Gita meaning (in Tradition book: Euthanatos Revised and in the metaplot-heavy Ascension campaign, in particular)
- Promethean: The Created makes ample use of this line as quoted by Oppenheimer, chiefly as regards the Zeky — the section on "the Nuclear Promethean" in the corebook opens with Oppenheimer's quote including the quote from the Gita, and their chapter in Saturnine Night is entitled, "Destroyer of Worlds." It'squite appropriate.
The poem The Second Coming
, by William Butler Yeats
, is frequently quoted, particularly the last line:
"And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?"
- At least one issue of a Batman mini-series is subtitled The Widening Gyre.
- Batman also has a miniseries with the same title, written by Kevin Smith.
- The poem is quoted in both X-Factor 70 and Incredible Hulk 425, both written by Peter David.
- Keith Giffen's last arc on Justice League Europe, the individual issue titles were taken from Yeats' "Second Coming", at least the first stanza: "Turning and Turning", "The Widening Gyre", "Things Fall Apart", et cetera.
- In Neon Exodus Evangelion, the two chapters "Ceremony of Innocence" and "The Blood-Dimmed Tide". The entire poem is also quoted in its entirety as the trailer for Chapter 2-8, Dies Irae.
- The Angel episode "Slouching Towards Bethlehem".
- Babylon 5 (by G'Kar about the coming of the Shadows)
- Battlestar Galactica ("The Plan"). The nonsense babbled by a Hybrid as they're about to nuke the 12 Colonies includes the line, "The centre holds; the falcon hears the falconer." (the actual Yeats line is "the centre cannot hold" and "the falcon cannot hear the falconer"). Presumably a statement that, for the Cylons at least, their plan is coming together, as opposed to things falling apart (which happens later on).
- Heroes. Mohinder recites this at the end of the episode titled, appropriately, The Second Coming.
- Bonus points for doing the whole poem, and not skipping the first two lines (as people are wont to do). See Battlestar Galactica, below.
- The first episode of Millennium
- Referenced in Bright Eyes' 'Four Winds'
- Stephen Reyes of Shadow Unit quotes the line "Things fall apart; the center cannot hold," and the other characters fill in the next few lines for him.
"And behold, a pale horse, and he who sat on it, his name was Death. And Hell followed with him."
- Used in the film Dawn of the Dead
- In the Clint Eastwood film Pale Rider, it is quoted near the beginning of the film, as Eastwood's character is shown riding into the camp.
- The title itself is likely a reference, though not a quote.
- Used several times in Tombstone, either all or part.
Music & Sound Effects
- Appears (though not as an epigraph) in "The Big Game," the Super Bowl episode of Criminal Minds.
- The title of the episode "The Fourth Horseman" in Stargate SG-1.
- Referenced in the Supernatural episode "Death Takes A Holiday", where the demon Alistair tells Sam and Dean he got the magical sickle from "a friend" who "doesn't actually ride a pale horse, but he does have three amigos..."
- In the episode "Lord John Marbury" of The West Wing, Bartlet is trying to remember this quote as he feels it pertains to the India-Pakistan crisis. Lord John comes out with it at the end of the episode all on his own, simultaneously tying up the loose end that was left dangling for him and signifying his character's worthiness to be adopted into POTUS's crack team of allusion ninjas.
- Used in the Johnny Cash song "When the Man Comes Around."
- The soundtracks for Halo and Halo 3 have songs titled "On a Pale Horse" and "Behold a Pale Horse" respectively.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
"When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."
"Abandon hope, all ye who enter here."
by Dante, written on the gates of Hell
- Cloak & Dagger (1983) has Cloak telling some drug dealer: "All of eternity is contained within my cloak of darkness! Abandon all hope if you chance to enter it!"
- Spoofed in an issue of The Simpsons comic book where Homer is sent to prison: "Abandon shivs all ye who enter here!"
- A TMNT comic involving the turtles fighting skeletal pirates
- In The Sandman issue, "Hope in Hell", Morpheus goes to hell to reclaim one of his artifacts of power. When he ends up in a shapeshifting/reality-warping contest of wits with the demon who has his property, he tricks the demon into becoming a universe-ending force and beats him by becoming "Hope" (the only thing that can remain after such a force). The assembled devils and demons agree that Morpheus has won the duel and even allow him safe passage out after he threatens to remove the only hope remaining to those in hell (specifically the ability to dream of heaven).
- The Boondock Saints: Printed on the wall over the entrance to a strip club after the Saints and Rocco go to kill Vincenzo Lapazzi, one of "Papa Joe" Yakavetta's underbosses.
- In Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical, there is the chant "Open the gate and abandon hope! We're the ghosts of the kids that got hooked on dope"
- The film adaptation of Jarhead has this printed, humorously, on the human waste disposal bin that Private Swofford has to burn and stir.
- This quote in full is the opening line to the novel American Psycho.
- Used in Piers Anthony's Bio Of A Space Tyrant, where a character named Hope uses "Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here" as a message to himself.
- In Howliday Inn, Howard spots a sign outside pet hotel Chateau Bow-Wow, and Chester sarcastically asks if it says "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here."
- Spoofed in the XXXenophile short "Demonstration of Affection". The main character uses magic to enter hell. A background sign reads "Abandon all dope, ye who enter. A drug-free hell is a happy hell".
"I am Legion, for we are many."
- In I Am Legion, Legion is a child who is able to control the minds of men.
- In Spawn, the hero Spawn absorbs the souls of thousands of murdered people, who thereby become Spawns themselves, and he utters the phrase, "I am Legion, for we are many."
- In New Mutants, Professor Xavier's son Daniel, a mutant with several distinct personalities, each one controlling a separate mutant power, calls himself Legion in reference to this quote.
- In Ghost Rider, when Blackheart reads the contract of San Venganza, he absorbs all 1,000 of the damned souls who signed their names to the contract. After the process is complete, he proclaims, "My Name... Is Legion, For We Are... Many."
- Referenced in Thief of Time with the line "We are Myria LeJean."
- Quoted in Stephen King's It, when a character says she heard this quote from her sink during the 1957 incident.
- In fact, many of Stephen King's baddies ends up quoting that or just simply call themself Legion. Examples include Randall Flagg, Leland Gaut, Pennywise the Clown, and many more. When The Dark Tower started to bind all the universes together many speculated that all these creature were in fact different aspects of one being. They were sadly Jossed.
- Quoted in The Exorcist.
- And is the title for the next novel by the same author.
- Alluded to in John Dies at the End when the character Dave is confronted by a human, Justin, whose body is being controlled by a swarm of tiny, supernatural parasites. When Justin rejects his old name and Dave asks what he should call him instead, his reply is "Just call me 'Shitload.' Because there's a shitload of us in here."
- In The Taking by Dean Koontz, an extra-terrestrial being utters the lines "Yimaman see noygel, see refacull, see nod a bah, see naytoss, retee fo sellos. "My name is Legion, is Lucifer, is Abbadon, is Satan, eater of souls.
- My Name Is Legion by Roger Zelazny, in which the protagonist is a secret agent with an inexhaustible supply of false identities.
- Declare by Tim Powers. The dijinn at Ash Shaq says "My name is legion. Worship us."
- In the series finale of Angel, Marcus Hamilton uses the quote, "We Are Legion. We are Forever." to describe himself.
- In Millennium in the episode "The Judge", a serial killer employs delinquents and ex-convicts to brutally murder, and carry out his "justice". When arrested and interviewed by former FBI Agent Frank Black, he follows Frank's question of "What should I call you?" with "My name is Legion".
- Legion appears in Red Dwarf in the episode "Legion". He is a being composed of many separate minds like the biblical text and also uses the biblical quote "My Name is Legion, for we are many".
- "I am Legion, for we are many" is also quoted by one of the demons of the Seven Deadly Sins in Supernatural.
- In the series Witchblade a suspect named Edward Noland yells in the alley, "My name is Legion, for we are many."
- The Greek band Rotting Christ has a song on its album "Genesis" entitled "Under The Name of Legion."
- The black metal band Marduk wrote a song entitled "Legion" using the line "My name is legion, for we are many in here."
- The quote 'My name is Legion' and two lines later 'We are many' is used in the song 'Ghost in the Firewall' by Progressive Rock band Arena.
- "My Name is Legion" is a song by Electric Hellfire Club from the album "Witness The Millennium". There is a line stating, "My name is Legion: for I'm many".
- The death metal band Arch Enemy made a song called "Nemesis" with the line "We are legion, Voice of anarchy This is revolution Creating new disorder"
- In a Black Sabbath song called "I" appears a line, "I am Legion, strength in numbers a lie, the number is one"
- The Demons & Wizards song "Crimson King" contains the line, "I am Legion."
- Breakage released a song entitled 'The 9th Hand' which contained the sample, "My name is Legion, for we are many."
- Power metal band Hammerfall has a song titled legion, in which Joacim Can sings; "My name is Legion, for we are many spirits inside of one."
- All That Remains has an album entitled For We Are Many.
- In Warhammer 40,000, the race of undead alien robots called Necrons have a quote in their Codex source book: "Their number is legion, their name is death". The warriors of Thousand Sons legion of Chaos Space Marines, essentially possessed suits of armour, have a special rule called "we are legion", indicating their lack of individuality. Chaos Daemons have a daemonic gift called "we are legion", which represents the daemon having multiple souls trapped inside its body, and allows it to fire at multiple targets.
- In Manhunt 2, a gang named The Legion, sometimes say "Our Name is Legion, for we are many", this can also be heard in the beginning of one of the trailers for the game.
- In TimeSplitters: Future Perfect the Prometheus model robots, from the robot wars level, say the phrase "We are legion."
- In Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Kain states: "But each of us is so much more than we once were. Do you not feel with all your soul how we have become like gods? And as such, are we not indivisible? As long as a single one of us stands, we are legion..." It is requoted in the Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2 introduction movie.
- In the Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars Expansion Pack, Kane's Wrath, the player plays the role of an AI called LEGION who, in the third act of game is ordered to command army of cyborgs. Kane states (a double entendre): "You are LEGION"
- The Legion is the name of the alien race and main antagonists of the video game Epoch Star. Whenever the player engages Legion forces, they will say, "We are the Legion, for we are many."
- In Dawn of War, when the player chooses to use the Chaos Space Marines, selecting a Chaos Marine squad may result in the response "We are legion" as the squad's aknowledgement of the player's selection - this is a double reference as following the Horus Heresy loyalist Space Marines were divided into Chapters, whereas Chaos Space Marines have retained their original designations of "Legions".
- In Animal Crossing: City Folk, while playing hide and seek with townsfolk, after finding one, they might say "We are legion, for we are many." Given the otherwise idyllic nature of the games, this is a little disturbing.
- In Mass Effect, the Character Sovereign (the vanguard of a race of sentient machines bent on wiping out all organic life) declares "We are Legion."
- In Mass Effect 2 this is also how the geth squadmate Legion receives its Appropriated Appellation - upon being asked its name, it replies simply "geth," and futher explains that it is a robotic platform containing slightly more than eleven hundred individual geth. This prompts the ship's AI to pipe up with the quotation, and the construct immediately recognizes and acknowledges Mark 5:9 as an appropriate metaphor for its state of existence.
- In BioShock 2: Father Wales, when locking one of the doors in Siren Alley, shouts 'We are Legion' before summoning a horde of splicers.
- Anonymous intentionally mutated this to become their heralding phrase: "We are Anonymous. We are Legion."
- The title of the episode "Legion" from Gargoyles is an allusion to the Biblical quotation. The episode features a cyborg (Coldstone) possessed by multiple spirits of dead Gargoyles.
- The third season premiere of Justice League Unlimited is titled "I Am Legion". The episode sees the first appearance of the multi-villain team, the Legion of Doom. Also, during the episode, Lex Luthor appears to be sharing his body with Brainiac – effectively making him possessed.
"O, brave new world that hath such people in it."