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Dialogue Reversal

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"Son of a bitch, he stole my line."

A character says something to another character, and the second character has some sort of snarky retort. Later on the second character says (or paraphrases) what the first character said, and the first character knows what to say back.

A subtrope of Ironic Echo. See also Meaningful Echo and Borrowed Catchphrase.


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    Films — Animated 
  • Toy Story:
    • Buzz thinks he can fly, but Woody calls it "falling with style." Then at the end, Buzz glides with spectacular style to save himself and Woody after getting them loose from Sid's rocket, and they switch up their roles.
      Woody: Hey, Buzz! You're flying!
      Buzz: This isn't flying! This is falling with style!
      Woody: To infinity, and beyond!
    • In the first movie, an exasperated Woody screams, "You! Are! A! TOY!"...You are a child's plaything!" at Buzz while he still believes he's a space ranger. Then, in Toy Story 2, Buzz says the same thing to Woody when he's reluctant to come home.
    • Near the end of the second film, Mr. Potato Head keeps some green aliens from falling out a window. They chorus, "You have saved our lives; we are eternally grateful". Then, at the end of Toy Story 3, the aliens save the other toys, and the Potato Heads say it to them.
  • In FernGully: The Last Rainforest there is this exchange.
    Batty: Are you sure?
    Zach: Positive.
    Batty: Only fools are positive.
    Zach: Are you sure?
    Batty: Positive. [beat] OOOH!! I fell for it!
  • Atlantis: The Lost Empire has at the end Helga Sinclair and Lyle Rourke escaping in a hot air balloon with a priceless treasure they stole. In a bid to go faster, they start tossing stuff they don't need off the edge to decrease weight, and Lyle throws Helga off the balloon with the line "Nothing personal." She survives the fall, and with one last effort she takes a signal flare (or a hand cannon, but the former is more implied) and shoots a hole right in the balloon in revenge. "Nothing Personal."
  • Cats Don't Dance has an exchange between Danny and Max where Danny over-acts a line that just reads "meow." When Max acts Danny "how does the kitty-cat go?" Danny answers "meow?" hesitantly, before Max says "very good," and beats Danny up. Later in the film, just before Danny is about to send Max flying away on a hot-air balloon, the dialogue is reversed, complete with an Oh, Crap! look from Max.
  • Turning Red: Early in the movie, as Mei and her mother are preparing to clean and open the temple, Ming asks "Are you ready?" and Mei answers, "Let's do this!" In the epilogue, just before they open the temple to the public they have the same lines, but swapped: Mei asks "Are you ready?" and Ming answers, "Let's do this!"

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Empire Strikes Back, Leia tells Han, "I love you," to which he answers (in an ad-libbed line), "I know." In Return of the Jedi, Han tells Leia, "I love you," to which she replies, "I know."
  • Played for Drama in Batman Returns, where Batman and Catwoman inadvertently doing this in their civilian identities tips them off as to who the other really is:
    Batman: Mistletoe can be deadly if you eat it.
    Catwoman: But a kiss can be even deadlier if you mean it.
    [Later, out of costume]
    Selina Kyle: A kiss under the mistletoe. You know, mistletoe can be deadly if you eat it.
    Bruce Wayne: But a kiss can be even deadlier... if you mean it.
    [pregnant pause]
    Selina Kyle: Oh my God. Does this mean we have to start fighting?
  • In the film Take the Lead:
    "I've never seen anyone move like that."
    "I'm sure."
  • In the Back to the Future trilogy, Doc is constantly confused by Marty's use of the term "heavy," while Doc is always exclaiming "Great Scott!" In the third film, when Marty realizes he could be shot by Buford Tannen instead of Doc, Marty instead exclaims "Great Scott!" and Doc falls right into place, saying the situation is "heavy."
    • Additionally, the scene where Marty meets Doc at the bar, and reminds him they need to go back to 1985, has almost the exact same wording as a scene from the first movie, in which Doc tells Marty that he needs to take him to 2015.
      Doc: Marty! You gotta come back with me!
      Marty: Where?
      Doc: Back to the future!

      Doc: I've lost [Clara], Marty. There's nothing left for me here.
      Marty: Yeah, that's why you gotta come back with me.
      Doc: Where?
      Marty: Back to the future!
  • In the made-for-TV movie El Diablo:
  • In The Princess Bride, during Inigo's duel with the Man in Black:
    Inigo: You are wonderful.
    Man in Black: Thank you; I've worked hard to become so.
    Inigo: I admit it, you are better than I am.
    Man in Black: Then why are you smiling?
    Inigo: Because I know something you don't know.
    Man in Black: And what is that?
    Inigo: I Am Not Left-Handed. *switches hands and gains an advantage*
    [After some more fighting:]
    Man in Black: You are amazing.
    Inigo: I ought to be after 20 years.
    Man in Black: Oh, there's something I ought to tell you.
    Inigo: Tell me.
    Man in Black: I'm not left-handed either.
  • In The Asylum's 2010 Sherlock Holmes movie, Holmes and Watson are having an argument:
    Holmes: I must say, Watson, that sometimes you behave just like a child.
    Watson: And sometimes you behave just like an ass.
    ** Later, Holmes injures his leg and yelps in pain when Watson touches it.
    Watson: Don't be a child, Holmes.
    Holmes: Don't be an ass!
  • In Men in Black, as James Edwards was being initiated by Agent Kay into the titular organization, there was this exchange:
    Zed: Edwards, let's put it on.
    Edwards: Put what on?
    Zed: The last suit you'll ever wear.
    • In Men in Black II, when Kay, reverted back to Kevin Brown, was called out of retirement:
      Jay: Let's put it on.
      Kevin: Put what on?
      Jay: The last suit you'll ever wear... again.
    • Within the first film, as Dee, Kay's first partner, retires from MIB:
      Dee: (looking at the sky) They're beautiful, aren't they? The stars, we don't look at them anymore. I'll tell you, Kay, I will miss the chase.
      Kay: (puts on sunglasses and takes neuralyzer out) No, Dee, you won't.
      (Kay neuralyzes Dee)
    • Later, towards the very end, as Kay himself decides to retire:
      Kay: They're beautiful, aren't they? Stars. I never look at them anymore, but they actually are quite... beautiful. [...] (takes neuralyzer out and points at its controls) Days, months, years. Always face it forward.
      (Kay hands Jay the neuralyzer)
      Kay: See you around, Jay.
      Jay: (puts on sunglasses and aims the neuralyzer) No, you won't.
      (Jay neuralyzes Kay)
  • In Sabrina, when the newspaper shares a story about David and Elizabeth becoming engaged, David and Linus have this exchange:
    David: Did you plant this?
    Linus: Me?! I thought it was common knowledge about you and Elizabeth Tyson.
    • Later, news gets out of Linus and Sabrina fleeing to Paris together, causing him and David to have this exchange:
      Linus: Did you plant this?
      David: Me? I thought it was common knowledge about you and Sabrina.
  • In Avengers: Infinity War Steve Rogers tells Vision that they don't trade lives. Later on, after Vision saves Steve from one of the Children of Thanos, he repeats the line to him:
    Steve: We don't trade lives.
    • After Vision saves Cap during the final battle:
      Vision: We don't trade lives, Captain.
  • In Goldeneye, it's James Bond and the Bond Girl of the film Natalya who get to do this to one another even though they're not directly conversing when they do so. About 2/3 of the way through the film aboard the converted missile train, the Big Bad has Natalya as a hostage and threatens to kill her if Bond doesn't surrender ("Two targets, time enough for one shot. The girl, or the mission?"); he replies, "Kill her. She means nothing to me." Both of them (along with the Big Bad) end up escaping alive. Near the end of the film the roles are reversed in Cuba, where the Big Bad, upon finding out Natalya had managed to change the access codes to the Kill Sat they needed for their plan and had set on a path to deorbit and burn up in the atmosphere, gets desperate and holds Bond at gunpoint to get her to tell them how to regain control; she gets to reply, "Go ahead. Shoot him. He means nothing to me."
  • Rush Hour: During the first film, Carter tells Lee that, as a Hong Kong policeman, he's a Fish out of Water in Los Angeles, saying "I'm Michael Jackson, you Tito.". In Rush Hour 2, the two are in Hong Kong, where Lee tells him "In Hong Kong, I am Michael Jackson, you are Toto.", with Carter responding "You mean Tito! Toto was what we ate last night for dinner.".

  • Between Pedro Tercero and Esteban in The House of the Spirits:
    I came to get you outta here.
    [Blanca/Alba] asked me to.
    Go to hell.
    Well, that's were we're going. You're coming with me.
  • Appears in the Sword of Truth novel Stone of Tears between Richard and Sister Verna
  • In Shadow of the Conqueror, whenever Ahrek questions Daylen about his past beyond the basics of his story, Daylen immediately tells him "None of your business." Later, when Daylen asks Ahrek what items he keeps hidden with his Lightbringing powers, Ahrek tosses the line right back at him, to Daylen's amusement.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus "An argument isn't just saying 'No it isn't!'" "Yes it is." "No it isn't!"
  • In an episode of Stargate SG-1, the team repeats the same few lines of dialogue regarding their eventual rescue, but who says which line changes.
    "Hammond will find us."
    "I'm confident."
    "Me too."
    "As am I."
  • The Golden Girls:
    Sophia: "You know, Rose, I'm really enjoying this. You and I having a quiet cup of coffee together."
    Rose: "Me too, Sophia, because you —"
    Sophia: "I said quiet!"

    Rose: "I'm really enjoying this. Sitting here, just the three of us, having a quiet cup of coffee together."
    Sophia: "Me too, because you know —"
    Rose: "I said coffee!"
    Rose: "So, how does it feel?"
    Sophia: "Shame. I feel shame."
  • Smallville. Tess Mercer (in disguise) and Checkmate agent Lott try to lure Green Arrow into a trap. She's there when the other two banter, including:
    Green Arrow: Think about your wardrobe choices.
    Edward Lott: You're one to talk.
    Green Arrow: Oh, don't get me wrong, I love black on black, it's just really hard to pull off.
    Edward Lott: It's easier than you think.
    • Later, at a party when Tess (out of disguise) meets up with Oliver (Green Arrow, of course, but in a black suit with matching shirt):
      Tess: Black on black, that's hard for you to pull off.
      Oliver: Well, it's easier than you think. (pauses)
      Tess: (pauses) Green Arrow.

  • During an Avengers Academy game in the Crinoverse, Katniss, Whisper and Renamon face off against Moonstone. Katniss says they got this, and Whisper, a little worried, agrees. Moonstone punches him and says "Yeah, right." But his sonic shields block any damage, so he replies "Yeah, right."

  • Guys and Dolls:
    ("I'll Know")
    Sky (sings): Mine I leave to chance and chemistry.
    Sarah (spoken): Chemistry?
    Sky (spoken): Yeah, chemistry.
    ("If I Were A Bell")
    Sarah (sings): Ask me how do I feel, from this chemistry lesson I'm learning...
    Sky (spoken): Chemistry?
    Sarah (spoken): Yeah, chemistry.
  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead: Early in the second act, Rosencrantz, feeling the situation has got even further out of their control, replies to Guildenstern saying things will make sense when they reach England with "England? That's a dead end. I don't believe in it anyway," Guildenstern retorts "Just a conspiracy of cartographers, you mean?" and Rosencrantz snaps "I mean I don't believe in it!" This then leads to a bit of roleplay in which Guildenstern is himself and Rosencrantz is the King of England. At the end of the play, Guildenstern is now the one uncertain about what happens next and says he doesn't believe in England, prompting Rosencrantz to make the same response, get the same reaction, and even redo the roleplay in reverse.

    Video Games 
  • In Mass Effect 2, when Shepard finds out Cerberus has revived him/her, s/he can respond "I don't care what they did, or what you say, I am not working with terrorists," which is marked 'I'll never work for Cerberus!' on the dialogue wheel. Shepard quickly discovers that, like it or not, Cerberus is the only group trying to find out why human colonies are disappearing. Eventually, Shepard meets up with one of his/her crew, who is thoroughly disturbed at Shepard's new employer. If you ask them to come with you, they say, "I'll never work for Cerberus!"
  • In Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, when Kaz informs Snake that Amanda is demanding to fight despite needing crutches:
    Big Boss: If that's what she wants, let her go.
    Kazuhira: I'm really not in the mood for jokes, Snake.
    Big Boss: I'm serious. Let her go.
    Kazuhira: Why? So she can come back in a body bag?
    Big Boss: (Beat) I'm really not in the mood for jokes, Kaz...
  • In Metroid: Other M, Adam was known to end any order he gave to Samus with "Any objections, Lady?". Whatever the fans may have thought about him, especially compared to his Metroid Fusion persona, at one point he goes missing with the Deleter presumably on his tail. At one point, Samus reaches a bridge, only for someone on the other side to raise it and render her unable to cross it... whereupon she decides to self-authorize the Space Jump and Screw Attack.
    "Any objections, Adam?"
  • In Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, when the trio climbs to the top of Mount Brrr, King Bob-omb halts them from interfering any more and threatens to blow them all up, including the operation.
    King Bob-omb: Relax.
    Starlow: I'm sorry, but this is NOT a very relaxing situation! So this is where all that paper terrain has been coming from...
    King Bob-omb: Initating countdown... Self-destruct sequence... initiated. No one can know about this operation. Soon we will all explode together!
    Starlow: Hold on a second! Can't we just relax and talk about this?
    King Bob-omb: I'm sorry... (Beat) ...but this is NOT a very relaxing situation.
  • Happens in Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World with the whole "Light frog"/"Nazdrovie" thing.

  • In Rice Boy, during an encounter with a strange personage:
    Rice Boy: Are you following me?
    Personage: No. I am going where you are going.
    Rice Boy: I see. Where will I go next?
    Personage: Into Skortch.
    • Later, lost in the mountains:
      Personage: Are you following me?
      Rice Boy: No. I am going where you are going.
      Personage: I see. Where will I go next?
      Rice Boy: To the home of Parod.
    • This means that Rice Boy has passed Parod's Secret Test of Character and is allowed to see his face.

    Web Original 
  • Subverted in Season 6 of Arby 'n' the Chief, when Chaos Theosis assults the TOSERS's main server. Arbiter and Adam confront one another and exchange threats and insults at one another.
    Adam: "I wouldn't shoot if I were you!"
    Arbiter: "No? Is that because you're an idiot? That only gives me more incentive."
    • Then when Adam has Claire hostage:
      Arbiter: "If you even think of lifting your finger off the trigger you're gonna be real sorry, pal."
      Adam: "Don't tempt me. Your empty threats are only giving me more incentive!..."

    Western Animation 
  • Beast Wars, Bad Spark, Silverbolt and Blackarachnia
    Silverbolt / Blackarachnia: Are you damaged?
    Blackarachnia / Silverbolt: Just enough to make me...interesting.
  • The Pinky and the Brain episode "Welcome to the Jungle"
    Pinky: Brain, Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering??
    Brain: We eat the box?
    Pinky: No, Brain. We build a boat, and then we eat the box.
  • Occurs in Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars. Phineas saves Candace from a Literal Cliffhanger.
    Candace: Why would you save me? You're a rebel!
    Phineas: You were in trouble. I couldn't just leave you hanging...literally.
    • Later, Candace returns the favor by helping Phineas defeat his brainwashed brother.
      Phineas: Wait! Why are you helping me? I'm a rebel!
      Candace: You were in trouble. I couldn't just leave you hanging.
  • In the X-Men: Evolution episode "Power Surge", when Scott is trying to talk Jean down, he tells her that he knows her better than anyone ever has or ever will, and he knows she can do this. Later, returned to normal, Jean casually comments, "That's what I like about you, Scott. You know me better than anyone else ever has or ever will."


Video Example(s):


"See about a girl."

Sean tells Will the story of how he meet his wife, missing an important Red Sox game to talk with her, telling his friends "I have to go see about a girl." In the final scene of the film, Will throws away his job to reunite with Skylar, leaving Sean a letter requesting he tell the professor, "I had to go see about a girl." After reading this, Sean says "Son of a bitch. He stole my line."

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / MeaningfulEcho

Media sources: