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We Have Ways of Making You Talk
"That clock was broken! How did you get it to start working again?"
"I chust looked at it and I sait, 'Ve haf vays of making you tock.'"

This is a Stock Phrase often used by the leader of a faction to assure a defiant captive that they can get the information they want by less than normal means. Usually, pronounced "Vee haff VAYS of making hyu tok!"

Normally, this involves highly unorthodox interrogation and/or torture techniques, but these interrogators can usually spice things up with more extreme or less conventional methods. Note that heroes can do this too, they just tend to use inventive rather than cruel means.

Here are a few variants:

Their method may or may not work, and may or may not be shown onscreen, in which case it probably involves Noodle Implements and Take Our Word for It.

The original given source of this phrase, Lives of a Bengal Lancer in 1935, is actually a case of Beam Me Up, Scotty! — it's not the actual line.

Contrast Too Kinky to Torture. Not to be confused with I Have My Ways. If the Torture Technician does not himself say this, expect him to be nearby waiting to go about his work.


Examples:

Anime & Manga

Comic Books
  • Astérix the Gaul, with a bit more Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness than usual:
    Crismus Bonus: You refused to talk, druid, but perhaps your friend will prove more loquacious under torture tomorrow! (He leaves.) Aut Caesar, aut nihil! (I) 
    (Asterix and Getafix laugh heartily)
    Asterix: I'll be loquacious all right! I'll loquace like no one ever loquaced before! (I) 

Fanfic
  • Said exactly in You Obey, where it is lampshaded briefly.
  • Appears as part of a game in the Star Trek: The Original Series fanfic Insontis. McCoy's roleplay character, Dr. Darkness, tells Captain Sunshine's (kid!Kirk's) captive sidekick (Spock) that "it will be much easier if you tell me what I want to know" — while handling fake torture tools.

Literature
  • In Animorphs, there are allusions to this with Visser Three in his attempts to glean information from Aftran, a prominent member of the Yeerk Peace Movement. She's rescued by Cassie before anything happens, fortunately.
  • Subverted by the Stainless Steel Rat in Harry Harrison's sci-fi spoofs. Captured by the humourless Grey Men, Jim diGriz responds to this line by cheerfully offering to tell everything he knows straight away without the need for torture, as he quite reasonably tells his captors there is nothing that cannot be extracted from an interrogee by a suitably motivated and equipped interrogator. As his cracking under torture is merely a matter of time, he's prepared to speak up now, spare everybody the inconvenience and aggravation, and then we can all have an early night. How about it? The Grey Men then proceed to torture him anyway, because it's in the script and they can't deviate from it. And because they can.

Film
  • Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935): The line originated in this movie.
  • In the 1937 Laurence Olivier film Fire Over England, a Spanish count assures captured English spy Michael Ingoldby: "You English fool, you'll tell everything you know. We understand persuasion."
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark (even in the right accent):
    Marion: I'll tell you everything!
    Toht: Yes, I know you will. (Raises the red hot poker closer to Marion's eyes)
  • The terrorist's torture expert in True Lies.
  • Stated by M in Quantum of Solace, though she doesn't get the chance to follow through: "You will eventually tell us everything about the people you work with, and the longer it takes, the more painful we'll make it."
  • In Toy Story, Sid uses this line verbatim while pretending to interrogate Woody, as a pretext for burning Woody's forehead with a magnifying glass.

Live-Action TV
  • The few times this line is used in Hogan's Heroes, Hogan immediately lampshades it by saying somebody's been watching too much American movies.
  • The line is used, then subverted, in a Muppet Show sketch where a Muppet character says this line to a prisoner who goes soon into an overwhelming stream of babble that gets her free while throttling the interrogators. The Muppet desperately threatens, "We have ways of making you stop talking!"
  • Stated clearly if implicitly by Number Two in the opening sequence of The Prisoner, and paraphrased at least once by the same character in the show itself. True to their word, every single method listed in the trope description above is used at least once. None of them work.
    Number Two: We want information.
    Number Six: You won't get it!
    Number Two: By hook or by crook... we will.
  • In Sherlock, Mycroft does this to Irene Adler but phrases it rather more politely. "I regret to say, we have people who can extract that information from you."
  • The Hannah Montana episode "Bye Bye Ball" parodies this: Jackson (in a german accent) speaks this line right before stuffing Oliver into his repulsive closet.
  • In the Supernatural episode "Devil May Care" (S09, Ep02), Sam and Dean decide to leave Crowley alone to think realizing they are unable to torture the King of Hell.
  • Ilsa from "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody" did this to Maddie to get her to tell her and Mr. Moseby where London and Todd are hiding.
    Mr.Moseby: Maddie have you seen London and Todd?
    Maddie: No, haven't seen them, not sighting, see ya!
    Ilsa: Candy girl we have ways of making you talk!
    Maddie: There's nothing to say
    Llsa: Here Blitzkrieg.
    Maddie: Ok, ok they're on the roof!
  • StarTrekDeepSpaceNine:
    Jaro: No one despises the Cardassians more than I, Major... but we did learn a few things from them. Like how to encourage people to talk.

Tabletop Games
  • The Imperial Inquisition of Warhammer 40,000 has multiple ways. One of them is describing those ways in detail, giving the accused a chance to talk before the inquisitors really get started.

Theatre
  • In The Consul, the Secret Police Agent says this to Magda:
    "We have strange ways to make people talk. Oh, not at all the way you may think. All we have to do is to quicken the beat of your heart."

Web Comics
  • In Drowtales, Sillice does this to Chrys. Particularly disturbing when you recall that technically Chrys is Sillice's niece.

Video Games
  • The Hairmeister from Kingdom Of Magic will sometimes say, if Thidney bothers him too much, "Ve haff vays to make you talk... I just vish ve haff vays to make you SHUT UP!"
  • In Tales of Monkey Island, though not spoken by Guybrush, the player can choose the line "I have ways of making you talk!" to frighten Bugeye in Chapter 3. The result is:
    Guybrush: Tell me where I can find the Tongue of the Manatee or it's time for Tibetan Tickle Torture.
  • Referenced in XCOM: Enemy Unknown. South America's continent bonus is "We Have Ways," and it allows the player to complete all autopsies of dead aliens and interrogations of live ones instantly.
  • Used as a Kick the Dog moment for Rolff Stone-Fist on your first visit to Windhelm in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. A thoroughly racist Jerkass who hates Dark Elves, he accuses Suvaris Atheron, one such Dunmer, of being an Imperial spy, and threatens to "pay her a visit" later, stating "we have ways of finding out what you really are."
  • Uttered to the word by Walton Simons in Deus Ex when interrogating a prisoner at the Unatco HQ. Wasn't a bluff either.

Western Animation
  • When asked how they got Danger Mouse to be their producer, Murdoc responded word-for-word in a Gorillaz interview.
    "We haff vays of making you vork!"
  • Spoofed in the opening scene of Archer:
    Russian Agent: ...and it may be old cliche, but... *holds up electrified jump cables* ve have vays of making you talk.
    Archer: ...What, your little go-kart battery?
    Russian Agent: Golf-cart!
    Archer: Whatever! And would you pick an accent and stick with it?
  • In South Park while playing "Americans vs Bosnians", Cartman pins Kenny down and gives the stock phrase. And then he farts on him.
  • Gargamel says this to Clumsy in The Smurfs episode "The Chief Record Smurf" after Clumsy is given photographic memory and is able to perfectly recall Papa Smurf's invisibility formula.

Other
  • And of course there's the Incredibly Lame Pun about the German clock maker.
    "Ve hav vays of making you tock!"
  • There is a legend of two policemen who interrogated a gullible suspect by putting a colander on his head, wiring it to a copy machine, and copying the message HE'S LYING when they thought he was. The man thought it was a real polygraph and confessed. This originated from David Simon's book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets which depicted a year's work in the Baltimore City PD homicide division, later adapted into the TV series Homicide: Life on the Street.
  • Larry Niven played with this during an awards dinner that was running long — interrogating his lobster: "Now, wretched bottom-feeder, you will tell us of your troop movements!" He was afterwards nicknamed "Speaker-to-Seafood". The other half of the joke is a reference to the Kzin Ambassador, Speaker-to-Animals, who has a large role in the Ring World series.

  • World War II Luftwaffe interrogator Hans-Joachim Scharff became famous for being extremely successful and getting useful information out of Allied airmen who were taken prisoner by Germans. His method was borne out of his actual character: he was a genuinely nice guy who really cared about the well-being of the captives in his charge and did what he could to accommodate their wishes and needs while making small talk. (He supposedly arranged for an Allied pilot to take a joyride alone in a German fighter!). Prisoners of war would end up unintentionally letting slip important information during ordinary conversations, which Scharff and others would pick up and incorporate into their body of knowledge.
    • There's a story about the Al Qaeda operative who was defeated by cookies. A new interrogator noticed that the uncooperative prisoner wasn't eating what he'd been given, because he was diabetic and couldn't have sugar. When they provided sugar-free cookies, he started talking.


Torture TechnicianA Tortured IndexWhat a Drag
The Villain Knows Where You LiveThreatening TropesWe Will Meet Again
We Gotta Stop Meeting Like ThisStock PhrasesWe Need to Get Proof
Virtual Reality InterrogationPerp Sweating    

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