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Klaatu Barada Nikto

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In the classic 1951 sci-fi film The Day the Earth Stood Still, the alien Klaatu arrives on Earth with his robot companion Gort and a message for the world's leaders. His welcome on arrival is less than warm. Anticipating that things could go very wrong, Klaatu teaches a human woman the phrase "Klaatu barada nikto," and tells her to use it should anything happen to him. It's later used to shut down Gort's rampage.

Since then, Klaatu Barada Nikto has become a common sci-fi catchphrase. It's been referenced in all manner of media, even outside sci-fi — fantasy, comic books, music, whatever. Although there's no known translation for the phrase, it's safe to assume that "Klaatu" refers to the film's protagonist.

Despite its status as a classic sci-fi reference, and despite Keanu Reeves' insistence on its presence, when it came time for The Remake, the phrase was deliberately rendered almost unintelligible.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Whether a coincidence or not, the phrase shows up in the second episode of the Read or Die OVA when Genjo begins to chant. It's rendered more like klatu barata niktu and only in the dub, but it can still be heard fairly clearly.

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Army of Darkness, Ash needs to say these three words when acquiring the Necronomicon, or else something bad will happen. And of course when it comes time to say them, he forgets what the third word is. Twice.
    Ash: Klaatu... verata... niCOUGHtCOUGH!
  • Some of the subsequent allusions to this phrase (including some listed on this page) refer to Army of Darkness, which has overshadowed The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) to some extent. Extremely obvious in Germany. In Army of Darkness's German dub version, the line was "Klaatu Verata Nikto", so every German dub afterwards that considered AoD to be the origin of the reference will have the "Verata" line.
  • In Galaxy Quest, the Thermians come from the Klaatu nebula.
  • In Star Wars, Klaatu the Nikto and Barada of the planet Tatooine were two of Jabba's guards in Return of the Jedi.
  • In the Robin Williams movie Toys, the Big Bad tries to deactivate his experimental killing machine with this in the climax.
  • In TRON, a plaque that reads "Gort, Klaatu Barada Nikto" can be seen on the wall of Alan Bradley's cubicle. Oddly appropriate for a programmer on a system like ENCOM's grid.
  • In Chopping Mall, one of the characters says this when trying to pacify a killbot.
  • Dr Robotnik shouts it at the aliens who come through the portal before Knuckles in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

  • In the short story "A Sound of Blunder", Klaatu Barada Nicto was the phrase spoken to the Captain Ersatz of the Necronomicon in order to travel through time. Saying it backwards brings one back to our time.
  • In one of the volumes of Animorphs Ax is forced to demorph in front of a human (to his Andalite form) when his morph is poisoned. Marco, still in morph and using thought-speak to speak for Ax, tries to salvage the situation by saying <Greetings, Earthling! Klaatu barada nikto! I come in peace!>
  • In Diary of a Mad Mummy, one of the possible phrases which can be used to pacify the titular mummy is "Klaatu Barada Nikto". It doesn't work.
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, the Nikto are a species of reptilian slaves and the Klatoonians are another race, while Barada and Klaatu are two of Jabba the Hutt's lackeys.
  • In the Stephen King novel The Tommyknockers, a young reporter, John Leandro, is convinced that something is wrong in a small town called Haven. His colleague, David Bright mocks him from it, saying that it must be "green men from space" and quotes the phrase. (The town is actually controlled by aliens.)
  • The Poisonwood Bible gives a brief mention of this phrase when Rachel wants to yell some foreign language at the Congolese villagers, among other options "Bukabuka" or "We like Ike".
  • A series called 'The Klaatu Diskos' has the Klaatu, ghostlike beings made from a transplanted human consciousness. By book two, there have been no signs of either 'nikto' or 'barada', but a horse called Gort has showed up.
  • Leeloo says "Klaatu Barata Nikto" shortly after getting into Korben's cab in the novelization of The Fifth Element.
  • In The Armageddon Rag by George R. R. Martin, there is a character named Gort. The protagonist greets him with "Klaatu Barada Nicto, Gort." Gort is sick of hearing it, and makes no secret of this.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Farscape. In "I Shrink Therefore I Am", John Crichton, who is The Nicknamer with a habit of using pop culture references to aliens who've no idea what he's talking about, dubs the Villain of the Week "Gort" and inevitably uses the line.
    "Why don't you come down here and find me, Gort? Klaatu Barada Nikto!"
  • The phrase appeared in an episode of The Monkees, when Micky Dolenz is replaced by an alien-controlled robot.
  • One of the three passwords in the Room of the Secret Password in Legends of the Hidden Temple.
  • In The Rockford Files, Rockford said it to a rather large chunk of muscle.
  • In Two and a Half Men, when Alan starts sleepwalking, he says it to Charlie as he's put to bed.
  • The X-Files: In the episode "Revelations", a man pretending to suffer from stigmata begins faking glossolalia (speaking in tongues); one of the phrases he says is this.
  • In a last season episode of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, this phrase is pronounced as Klaatu Varada Nictu as part of a spell from the Egyptian Necronomicon, a.k.a. The Book of the Dead.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In "Alien Radio", Stan Harbinger quotes the line to mock the Believers.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "Chameleon", Gerald Tyson quotes the line during a discussion about The Day the Earth Stood Still with Crew Chief Brady Simmons.

  • The band Klaatu is named after the same character. When Klaatu first became known, they were rumored to be the Beatles reunited under a pseudonym, with the following example as one of the "clues".
  • Ringo Starr's solo album Goodnight Vienna uses a still from The Day The Earth Stood Still as its cover art, with Ringo's head replacing Klaatu's.
  • The Alice Cooper song "My Stars" is about being stranded on a distant planet and going on a rampage (probably. The lyrics are a bit ambiguous), and ends with chanting of "Klaatu Barada Nikto".

  • In one episode of the German Comedy Series "Sataan - Die Serie", the titular character tries to use the phrase "Klaatu Verata niktu" (see the Army of Darkness example) to bring the end of the world.

  • The play The Foreigner references this. The main character, a science-fiction magazine editor, ends up scaring off the local KKK with a string of frightening-sounding nonsense, including this line.

    Video Games 
  • In Fallout 2 the hostile Mr. Handy robot guarding the crashed Enclave vertibird in Klamath Canyon says the line "Gort! Klaatu Berada Nictu!".
  • Reunion (1994) has a scientist named Klaatoo and a planet named after him with moons called Barada and Nikto. The manual mentions he is a fan of old SF films and the discoverer of the planet Klaatoo. The moons get discovered much later, though.
  • The Lost Vikings 2; in the medieval levels, the teleportation spell is always "Klaatu, barada, something". Needless to say they don't work as desired.
  • In RuneScape, the magic words "Klaatu Barada Nikto" spoken by a certain character trigger a spell that teleports you a place where you can mine rune essence.
  • In Sacrifice, "klaatu", "barada", and "nikto" are three of the magic words that are combined to form various magical incantations; though not necessarily all three together or in order.
  • Mysterio's first appearance in Spider-Man 2, The Game Of The Movie, has him posing as an alien invader, and says this, as well as "You have no chance to survive, make your time."
  • In World of Warcraft, there are three NPCs named Klaatu, Barada and Nikto.
  • Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! references this, as a sage in one of the later levels claimed that saying those words would bring Spyro to Dragon Shores (being where he wanted to go at the start of the game). However, he couldn't quite remember the third word, so he dropped the matter.
  • There's a series of helms in Dragonfable named after this.
  • Spike the Clown from Toon Struck says this in response to being told "I believe the spatula is mine!". Did we mention he's an insane clown?
  • In one mission in the RTS Myth II: Soulblighter, a barbarian is sent to say the magic phrase that will awaken Myrdred the Deceiver. Subverted when, even though the barbarian says something like "Clambake Baraka Nictuu", it works anyway... Myrdred wakes up from his thousand-year-sleep, says "close enough", and teleports himself and your troops out of the area.
  • When Globox is trying to open the doors in Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc, he can be heard calling out this phrase, among others.
  • In Robot Odyssey, it pops up after solving the final puzzle on the city level.
  • In the "Ebil Dread" adventure from the AdventureQuest Worlds 2nd Birthday Event, the horde of pink undead summoned up by Beleen can only be destroyed by assembling the George Lowe-onomicon and speaking the magic words. As the adventure in question is a Shout-Out to the Evil Dead series and Army of Darkness in particular (including Artix replacing his possessed pink hand with a chainsaw), one can pretty much guess what those magic words are. And much like Ash, Artix...doesn't quite get that last word right. Poor guy.
  • The Peacekeeper in Sword of the Stars, in Pig Latin. It's been nicknamed "Ortgay" as a result.
  • Ragnarok Online the quest in the underworld Nifflheim (part of the very long "Sign" quest) where you speak the magic words "Klaatu Barada Nikto" to a ghost named "Ash", this is another Army of Darkness reference as the title character of that movie is Ash.
  • Uttered by the Advanced Magic Towers in Kingdom Rush.
  • In Poker Night 2 when in the Evil Dead inventory skin, Max will try to say this from the Necronomicon to the first player eliminated, but messes it up (the player is still sucked into the book). Ash even tries to correct Max, but he still messes it up. He later claims he needs his ears checked.
  • One of Gaige's phrases when she summons Deathtrap in Borderlands 2. In Gaige's case, however, it's to unleash a robotic rampage, not to stop one.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons Online, the Daelkyr Lord of Eyes, Belashyrra, chants the phrase 'Utaalk Adarab Otkin' in order to close a portal to the Plane of Madness during the quest Acute Delirium.
  • Wizard101: Yevgeny Nightcreeper says this when he summons Khrulhu.
  • In Mystery Case Files: Huntsville, the alias of Doris Blevins, a hoaxer that disguises herself as an alien to terrorize the locals, is Klatu Barrada Nikto.
  • The enemy robots in Robo Recall sometimes say this upon death.
  • In Mutant Football League, players on the all-alien Galaxy Chaos team are mostly named after famous aliens from movies. Barada Clawtu is the 3rd string QB, and there's also a defensive lineman named Klaatu.
  • In Postal 2: Paradise Lost, when the Vend-A-Cure XJ-2s immediately go berserk upon learning what their job is, one of the scientists tries to shut them down by uttering the phrase. Doubling as a reference to Army of Darkness, he's forgotten the last word, and instead says "klaatu barada something" before he's torn apart.


    Web Original 
  • That Guy with the Glasses:
  • In the "Ouija/Domino Rally" episode of Board James, James tries to say the phrase while doing his Ouija ritual, but has a fit of coughing before he can complete saying "nikto".
  • If you attend our forums with some frequency, you certainly noticed that the text box has a random phrase before you start writing on it. One of these is "[USERNAME], Barada Nikto! ...Oh well, it was worth a try."

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius uses these as magic words in a Harry Potter parody. The phrase is also used by Carl in the episode "Time Is Money", when Jimmy meets his own parents in the past.
  • One episode of the 2003 version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had Michelangelo trying to stop an alien Humongous Mecha this way. It doesn't work.
  • An episode of the 1980s Turtles series revealed that members of the alien Polarisoid's family had these names.
  • An episode of Darkwing Duck has aliens from a literal Planet of Hats invade Earth; their names are Flarg, Barada, and Nikto, but the benevolent alien ruler who comes to apprehend them is named Klaatu II.
  • Phantom Investigators: Jinxy opens a portal to the Nether-realm in the "Were-Dog" episode by chanting Klaatu Barada Nikelready.
  • In an episode of Rocko's Modern Life, Heffer, convinced that Filburt is an alien, intent on high-fiving the rest of them to death (just go with it), says the phrase to Filburt, in an attempt to trick him into revealing that he's an alien by way of understanding it. According to Heffer, "It's alien language, I heard it from a sci-fi movie."
  • An alien species uses the phrase (actually, "Klaatu Nikto Barada", but close enough) as a greeting in an episode of Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers.
  • Bat-Bat turns it into a malapropism in the Bakshi Mighty Mouse episode "Bat With A Golden Tongue." Confronted by a figure who he thinks is not of this world, he chants "Klaatu! Baraga! Nicotine!"
  • In Johnny Bravo, Carl used this (amongst other sci-fi catchphrases) to greet an alien.
  • In The Simpsons Treehouse Of Horror XVIII Bart throws a ball that hits Kodos, who then "swears" with these words.
  • In the pseudo-Crisis Crossover episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, "Billy and Mandy Moon the Moon", Billy says this right before beating the stuffing out of a group of lunar aliens.
  • in LoliRock, Mephisto uses (or rather try to use) these words to control a monster he created. It doesn't work very well against the princesses.
  • In the very first Rocky and Bullwinkle episode as our heroes crash land on earth from the moon (long story), the phrase isn't actually used as their arrival was mistaken as an alien invasion, but when Rocky tells Bullwinkle that the government welcoming party thinks they're moon men, Bullwinkle turns to them and says "Take me to your President!"

    Real Life 
  • The Mozilla Firefox "about:robots" page has the title "Gort! Klaatu barada nikto!"
  • In its June 7, 1994 edition, the tabloid Weekly World News "reported" that 12 US Senators were aliens from other planets. Several of the senators or their spokespeople played along, "confirming" the story. The Associated Press soon ran a follow-up piece in which a spokesperson for Senator Alan Simpson said, "We've got only one thing to say: Klaatu barada nikto."