You Have No Idea Who You're Dealing With
A common Stock Phrase
often spoken to a character who, well...you know.
Can be played for laughs or as a threat (especially when the "who/what" in question is really a Not-So-Harmless Villain
). Someone who can easily mop the floor with the fool who's trying to pick a fight
, but doesn't feel like doing so at the moment, might say this as a final warning to back off.
Can also work with three characters, usually The Villain
, The Hero
, and someone else who's picking a fight with the villain, not knowing who they're dealing with
- while the hero
does, having faced them before, and tries to warn the third character before they get themselves killed.
It can often also be said by those who intend to Screw The Rules
because they have Connections
, or because They Make Them
Occasionally inverted (especially by a Genre Savvy
character) as a bluff, when actually they're nobody the challenger would be impressed with anyway.
See also Actually, I Am Him
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- This lottery commercial plays it for comedy.
Anime And Manga
- Post-time skip in One Piece had the fake Straw Hat crew attempting to hunt down a girl who refused to drink with them and the boy who attacked them with a plant Who happened to be the real Nami and Usopp. The Fake Luffy later "captured" someone who had earlier humiliated him who was none other than the real Luffy himself. Interestingly, none of the real Straw Hats openly broadcasted the fact that they were the authentic ones and when the Fake Straw Hats found out that they had interacted with the real ones, their reactions were appropriately stunned and terrified.
- Also the Straw Hats (minus Robin) when they first met Aokiji didn't fully understand how powerful the Marine's top people could be and how far Luffy and the others had to go before they even remotely stood a chance against one third of the Greatest Military Powers. Not long after that, the Straw Hats meet Kizaru, and then Luffy meets Akainu; those three remain the only ones who have ever made the Straw Hats seriously angry Ė while actually being their enemies Ė and gotten away with it.
- A variant serves as one of the Catch Phrases in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: "Who the hell do you think I am/we are?"
- In Gotham Knights #31, Batman tangles with an elite black-ops team:
Team leader: You don't know who you're dealing with.
Batman: Deren, Robert. Age twenty-three. Gave a kidney to his diabetic sister two years ago. Probably needs the other one.
Wilson, Scott. Thirty-four. Football knee injury.
Kellerman, Dana. Twenty-nine. Took shrapnel in the shoulder during the Gulf War. Still takes pain-killers for it.
Goldman, Eli. Thirty-one. Allergic to penicillin. Joint wounds are slow to heal and prone to infection.
Baithswaine, Gregory. Twenty-eight. Perfect medical record. So far.
- During the "Season of Mists" storyline of The Sandman, the demon Azrael seriously underestimates Morpheus and gets a lecture about it from the Shaper of Dreams for his troubles.
- In the first arc of Garth Ennis' Punisher MAX, Frank's old partner Micro is trying to dissuade a trigger happy CIA spook that, if they want to take Frank alive, swarming him with Special Forces simply won't work.
Man: Some of these guys are meant to be pretty good. Delta Force, I think.
Micro: I don't care if they're God's own anti-son of a bitch special forces. He'll go through them like a buzzsaw.
- A Yakuza Mook tells this to Kyon in Kyon: Big Damn Hero. Since he's time traveling to the past, he already knows exactly whom he's dealing with.
- In Pokemon The Great Adventure, Mew says this to Mewtwo after the latter turns Ash into stone. She doesn't speak about herself, she's talking about the boy's mentor/surrogate father, Silver, who is a massive Papa Wolf and an extremely powerful Ice Aura Master
- Men in Black
Kay: Don't "Sir" me young man, you have no idea who you're dealing with.
- The Deaths of Ian Stone
Gray: You have no idea what you're dealing with here. They can alter reality, control minds. You only see what they want you to see.
- The villain of Red tries this on his captors while he's strapped to a chair, thinking his connections will keep him safe. They quickly prove him wrong.
- Similarly, Cooper is introduced by having a man strung up in a noose and standing on a chair while planting evidence to make it look like a suicide. The victim says, "Don't you know who I am?!" Cooper responds that he does, and kicks the chair out.
- A sex slave broker in the movie Taken tries to use this line verbatim on Bryan. Bearing in mind that Bryan has already torn through half the broker's associates to find him and is currently in the process of shooting out the creep's limbs to disable him, it's safe to say Bryan knows exactly who he's dealing with, and he does not care.
- The Matrix
Lieutenant: I think we can handle one little girl. I sent two units, they're bringing her down now.
Agent Smith: No, Lieutenant, your men are already dead.
- The "little girl" in question? Trinity, a hardcore operative of the Resistance who normal humans are simply out of their league against.
- In the film version of The Musical Little Shop of Horrors, Audrey II sings in "Mean Green Mother From Outer Space":
Ya don't know what you're messin' with.
You got no idea.
Ya don't know what you're lookin' at
When you're lookin' here.
Ya don't know what you're up against,
No, no way, no how.
You don't know what you're messin' with,
But I'm gonna tell you now!
- Happens in Blade II when Blade says, before setting of the light grenade,
"You obviously...do not know...who..you're...FUCKING WITH!"
- The bank manager in The Dark Knight.
Do you have any idea who you're stealing from? You and your friends are dead!
- Although he doesn't say the trope exactly, in No Country for Old Men Carson Wells tries to get the gist across to anyone who asks him about Anton Chigurh. He has mixed success.
Moss: If I was cuttin' deals, why wouldn't I go deal with this guy Chigurh?
- Back To The Future Part II: "Kid, I own the police."
- Mr. and Mrs. Smith say this to each other - after they tumble to the fact that they're assassins for rival organizations.
- "Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry"
- The Avengers - Thor breaks Loki out of the SHIELD Quinjet, hoping to make him see reason and return to Asgard. When Iron Man interrupts his "stop this take-over-the-world nonsense and come home, brother" speech, he's not happy.
Thor: You have no idea what you're dealing with.
Tony: Uh, Shakespeare in the park? "Doth mother know you weareth her drapes"?
- In Pitch Black, Riddick uses this twice.
Fry: You're fucking with me, I know you are.
- And a second time, retroactively, after killing a vicious alien in hand-to-hand combat:
Riddick: Did not know who he was fuckin' with!
- In El Dorado there is an example of the antagonist using this as a caution to one of his underlings after John Wayne's character (a famous gunfighter) shoots the gun out of a mook's hand during a conflict in a Cantina. Wayne approaches the man, taunting him to pick up the gun. As he moves to do so the mook's boss, another infamous gunfighter named Macleod speaks and the following exchange occurs.
Macleod: Don't do it Bill...I can't afford to lose another man.
Mook: You got a lot of faith in me, don't you Macleod.
Macleod: Faith can move mountains Bill, but it can't beat a faster draw. There's only three men I know with his kind of speed. One's dead, the second's me. And the Third Man is Cole Thorton.
John Wayne: There's a fourth.
Macleod: Which one are you?
I'm Thorton (Que the mook with an Oh Crap
Macleod: See Bill? Aren't you glad I didn't let you draw?
- Inverted in Left Behind: The Movie. A Too Dumb to Live Big Bad Wannabe tries to intimidate the wrong person. Bonus points for getting paired with an all-but-literal case of Mugging the Monster and Do Not Taunt Cthulhu.
Do you have any
idea who you're dealing with?!
- The Usual Suspects. The protagonists are doing an armed robbery of New York's Finest Taxi Service.
Cop: DO YOU KNOW WHO THE FUCK I AM?
Robber: (yanks off his badge and nametag) We do now, jerkoff. note
- There is a fairly old joke that goes as follows:
A university class is writing an exam. At the end of the exam period all of the students pass in their exams and leave, except one. He stays there for two more hours finishing his exam before going up to the professor to hand it in.
Professor: You can't hand in your exam two hours late! You get a zero!
Student: What?! This is an outrage! Do you have any idea who I am?!
Professor: Not really, no.
The student then sticks his exam in the middle of the stack and leaves the room.
- In the first novel, after Erast Fandorin is captured by a baddie for the nth time, said bad guy proceeds to explain that the conspiracy Fandorin is targeting is much bigger than he thinks.
- Artemis Fowl - "Stay back, human. You don't know what you're dealing with."
- Gets even funnier in the Time Paradox when Artemis says to his younger self:"Stay back, you don't know what you're dealing with." It didn't work that time either.
- That Artemis. He's just incorrigible, but fans should be happy he ignored this line.
- Discworld - In Thief of Time, Lu-Tze has this done for him by the dojo master.
- In Peter David's Knight Life, when Gwen (Queen Quinevere reincarnated) summons a demon, it tells her that she has no idea what she's screwing with. She says just enough to prove she knows exactly what she's screwing with and then binds it to her will.
- Profesor Moriarty says that to Sherlock Holmes in The Final Problem referring to himself and his organization.
- The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons. A Communist Party official makes the mistake of saying this to Captain Belov, only to end up against the wall with a rifle across his neck while Belov points out that he doesn't know who he is dealing with.
Live Action TV
- Burn Notice - "Fight or Flight"
Bruce Gellman: You have no idea who you're dealing with.
Michael Westen: No, I read the article. Most of it anyway. Scary guys, drugs, guns. Did I miss something?
- Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman - "The People vs. Lois Lane"
D.A. Clemmons: I suggest you keep your emotions in check, Mr Kent. You obviously have no idea who you're dealing with, here.
Clark Kent: Yeah, neither do you.
- 24 - "Day 5: 2:00 a.m.-3:00 a.m."
Bill Buchanan: You have no idea what you're dealing with, you little ass kisser!
- Kings - "The Sabbath Queen"
William Cross: You insist on keeping Andrew in the cold, you'd better learn to live in the dark.
Queen Rose Benjamin: You have no idea what you're dealing with.
- Angel, episode 1:
Cordelia: You don't know who he is. Oh, boy... you're about to get your ass kicked.
Vampire: What the hell are you talking about?
Buffy: Wow. Never heard that one? Okay, how about, "Oh God, my leg, my leg?" (Breaks his leg)
Vampire: Oh God, my leg! Ah!
- Buffy also has the First Evil who says this quite a lot.
- Fresh Prince Of BelAir
Police Officer: "Now wait a minute, buddy, who the hell do you think you're talking to?
- Played for Laughs in the Dick Van Dyke Show episode "Buddy, Can you Spare a Job?" as Buddy's replacement Jackie Brewster heckles Mel.
Mel: Listen, do you know who I am?
Jackie: Don't you know who you are?
- Crops up in Doctor Who, especially in the revival.
All those stories you've heard about him? They're
not stories, they're
true! Really, you're not telling me you don't know what's coming?
- Merlin uses variations of this whenever he has to use his powers on people.
Bad Guy: You don't even have a sword.
Merlin: I don't need one.
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: When Ganondorf meets Link for the first time.
- In Max Payne, when Max confronts the cop traitor B.B., the latter keeps repeating that Max "has no idea how huge this is", referring to the conspiracy that Max doesn't even know he is after at that point.
- Team Fortress 2 - The Scout in "Meet the Scout".
- In the Lair of the Shadowbroker DLC for Mass Effect 2, Shepard can invoke this towards a hostage-taker, listing off some of their more infamous accomplishments so far. And the following is the Paragon version of the threat;
Shepard: I sacrificed hundreds of human lives to save the Destiny Ascension. I unleashed the Rachni on the galaxy. So for your sake, I hope your escape plan doesn't hinge on me hesitating to shoot a damn hostage.
- Said in Freelancer by Governor Tekagi, whom Trent thinks is just a corrupt Kusari politician, who suddenly develops a bad case of Voice of the Legion and Glowing Eyes of Doom.
- Said almost word-for-word in Popful Mail when the fake king reveals his true form.
Fake King: You don't know who you're dealin' with! Let me show ya somethin'!
- When Miranda Deegan shows up at the climax of an early arc in Dominic Deegan, the infernomancer sent to kill her boasts that by coming out in the open, she's just signed her own death warrant. She responds that he clearly has no idea just who he's messing with, and quickly shows just why she's considered one of the world's most powerful wizards.
- In a different story arc similar words are spoken to a ruthless gang of cutthroat thieves when they almost without intending to kill Dominic's GF, with a reference the readers will get to this incident as he tells them how they don't want to know what she did to the last person to hurt a family member.
- Epic Rap Battles of History: Justin Bieber Vs. Beethoven.
My name's Beethoven, Motherfucker, maybe you've head of me?!
Hawking: You've got no idea what you're messing with here boy.
- Melvin says a variant of this to Joey while his Millenium Rod turns into a lightsaber in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series.
Melvin: You really have no clue what your fucking with here, do you?
Joey: Uh, yeah, I'll just be getting out of the way now.
Melvin: Yeah thats what I thought.
- And later, after killing his own abusive father in horrible fashion:
Melvin: The man did not know what he was fucking with.
- In Worm, PRT Director Tagg explains to Skitter, who murdered his predecessor and who he ordered attacked in her civilian identity, why she can't win against the PRT, and against him in particular.
Director Tagg: All of this goes someplace. Do you really see yourself making it five more years without being killed or put in prison?
Skitter: I havenít really thought about it.
Director Tagg: I have. Bad publicity fades with time. So do welts and scabs. Five or ten years from now, provided the world makes it that long, nobody will remember anything except the fact that we fought back. Good publicity will overwrite the bad, carefully chosen words and some favors called in with people in the media will help whitewash any of our mistakes. Weíre an institution.
Skitter: So you think you automatically win? Or youíre guaranteed to win in the long run?
Director Tagg: No. They didnít pick me to head this cityís PRT division because Iím a winner, Ms. Taylor. They picked me because Iím a scrapper. Iím a survivor. Iím the type thatís content to get the shit kicked out of me, so long as I give the other guy a bloody nose. Iím a stubborn motherfucker, I wonít be intimidated, and I wonít give up. The last few Directors in Brockton Bay met a bad end, but Iím here to stay.
Skitter: You hope.
Director Tagg: I know. You want to fight this system? Iíll make sure it fights back.
- Beast Wars - "Optimal Situation"
Blackarachnia: No, Bowser Boy. You have no idea what you're dealing with.
- In the Ren And Stimpy episode 'Stimpy's Fan Mail', Ren imagines what it would be like to be president:
"What do you MEAN you don't agree with me?! Do you know who you're DEALING WITH?!"
[slams down 'the Button'
and blows up Australia
, laughing maniacally]
- Invoked by Adam DeCobray in G.I. Joe: Renegades to James McCullan, moments before revealing himself to be Cobra Commander.
- Animaniacs - "Bagdad Cafe"
Sodarn Insain: Do you know who I am?!
Yakko: Why, did you forget?
- During the early 1990s in Britain, a traffic policeman stopped a guy speeding in a Mercedes-Benz SL and before taking the ID papers asked sarcastically: "Who do you think you are, Nigel Mansell?" The driver answered calmly: "No, officer. My name is Ayrton Senna da Silva."