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Mumbling Brando

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They coulda been a contender. They coulda been somebody more original, instead of being imitations of Marlon Brando, which is who they are not.

A Mumbling Brando will tend to speak in a hesitant drawl, with a few non-verbal grunts thrown in.

Compare The Ahnold, Bruce Lee Clone, Charlie Chaplin Shout-Out, Elvis Impersonator, Freddie Mercopy, Hoax Hogan, Mr. Alt Disney, Shirley Template and Trumplica for other parodic depictions of real-world celebrities.


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  • An advert for throat lozenges had the Godfather ordering his henchmen to get a packet of Soothers from the store, and getting annoyed that they couldn't tell he had a sore throat from the way he was talking.

  • The Latin American dub of Crayon Shin-chan adapted Principal Takakura's speech this way. It's even lampshaded as Shin-chan calls him "El Padrino" (lit. "The Godfather").


  • Alan Moore was sure to include a caricature of Marlon in D.R. & Quinch Go to Hollywood.
  • Done in MAD's parody of "The Godfather" ("The Odd Father") where someone says: "I can't believe it's Brando." Brando then mumbles, whereupon the other character: "NOW I believe it's him..."

     Film - Animated  

     Film - Live Action  

  • Evoked with Stellan Skarsgård's portrayal of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen in Dune.
  • Marlon Brando really did talk like this, especially in his early films like A Streetcar Named Desire and especially On the Waterfront. In The Godfather he went the extra mile by stuffing cotton balls into his mouth. Of course, he was perfectly capable of precise diction when he needed to be, like when he played Mark Antony in the 1953 version of Julius Caesar.
  • Done with that very intention in Muppet Treasure Island. During the song "Professional Pirate", many of the pirates list jobs they coulda had. One guy says "he coulda been a contender" in a very familiar sounding voice.
  • Jokingly justified in Robin Hood: Men in Tights, where the Brando-analogue Don Giovanni has cotton balls in his mouth (which, incidentally, was the reason Brando had his distinctive mumble in The Godfather).
  • The movie Ricky 1, reviewed by The Angry Video Game Nerd, has a direct spoof of Don Corleone from The Godfather who ONLY talked in grunts.
  • Andy Garcia's character in City Island does a particularly silly Brando impression.
  • Sleeper - Woody Allen is undergoing a deprogramming - something goes wrong and he assumes the persona of Blanche du Bois from A Streetcar Named Desire. To give them time to sedate him, Diane Keaton plays Stanley Kowalski, seen here.
  • Revenge of the Pink Panther. While infiltrating the French Connection, Inspector Clouseau dresses in his Godfather disguise, consisting of an overly-padded pin-striped suit and stuffing cotton balls in his cheeks. While drinking a toast with a genuine Mafioso, he accidentally swallows a cotton ball and starts choking.

     Live Action TV  

  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In the episode "The Bard", actor "Rocky Rhodes" is a Brando-esque guy played by Burt Reynolds(!).
  • Spitting Image: Done in a sketch where Rod Steiger and Marlon Brando mimick their famous scene from On the Waterfront. Steiger complains how he never became a big star like Brando. Brando starts talking to Steiger, but takes a very long time to end his sentence. Finally it turns out that he scolds Steiger because "you... never... never, never... knew ... how... to make one sentence last... for minutes."
  • A first-season skit on Saturday Night Live featured Peter Boyle and John Belushi as "Dueling Brandos", trading Brando quotes interspersed with Dueling Banjos musical phrases.
  • Full Frontal. In a parody of The Godfather, Don Corleone decides to pass on the torch to Sonny... by willing him the cottonballs he stuffs in his cheeks.
  • Adrien Brody's Luca Changretta in Peaky Blinders also speaks in a muffled, lispy, Godfather-ish voice. He obviously doesn't much resemble Marlon Brando, however.
  • The short-lived sketch comedy show Hollow Men parodied this with the Advanced Brando Syndrome skit. Young men would do mumbling impersonations of Don Vito Corleone and then they would get stuck in the routine of impersonating him, even going so far as to dress up like the Don with no means of stopping. It's treated as a life-threatening epidemic spreading across the country.


  • Stan Freberg's parody cover of "Sh-Boom" has a Brando-alike with an assistant named Stella telling the singers to mumble like he does, since rhythm and blues numbers are supposed to have Indecipherable Lyrics. It ends with a Stella Scream.
  • A stammering Brando was one of the impressions Sammy Davis Jr. did during his rendition of "Because of You", along with Cary Grant and James Stewart.


  • In Bells Are Ringing, Blake Barton is an aspiring actor who talks like this all the time. Ella finds him in a whole Malt Shop filled with Brando imitators lounging around in motorcycle jackets and jeans. She herself enters this place with a leather jacket, flat shoes, and a bunch of marbles which she keeps in her mouth just long enough to introduce herself with a Stanley Kowalski-like cry of "Hey, Fellaaaa!" Her message for Blake is to stop mumbling and buy a suit if he wants to get the part.

     Video Games  

  • The Squidfather in Freddi Fish and the Case of the Missing Kelp Seeds is very similar to the Godpidgeon below.

     Visual Novels 

  • Winfred "Big Wins" Kitaki in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney is a rare Japanese example, down to his Face Framed in Shadow and his limited speech animation to denote mumbling. At the end of his featured case, it is revealed that the shadows covering his eyes are actually his eyebrows, and they were just covering his Black Bead Eyes because he was so stressed. He also speaks more clearly after the happy ending.

     Web Video  

     Western Animation  

  • The Godpigeon from the Goodfeathers segments on Animaniacs; he actually requires a translator (Or, in the shorts when a translator isn't around when he's talking, subtitles).
  • The Simpsons: Done in an episode where the Truckasaurus speaks in a Brando voice, only to be followed by a disclaimer: "voice of celebrity imitated".
  • When Ren and Stimpy are stranded on a tropical island, Stimpy is befriended by a Brandoesque native (who at one point mumbles "ack, I swallowed a bug").
  • Pinky and the Brain depicts Napoleon in this manner, in a nod to Brando's role in the 1954 movie Desiree. He caps off returning to France with a Big Word Shout of JOSEPHINE!
  • The Critic includes regular cameos by Brando, although he is not specifically named. His voice is impersonated by Maurice LaMarche in this style.
  • Done for a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of Brando in the The Weekenders episode "Party Planning", where the girls obsess over a 1950's heartthrob actor named Nick Vance. His attractive "mysteriousness" comes entirely from the fact that he mumbles all of his lines, and nobody can understand a single word he says.
  • South Park: Geneticist Dr. Mefisto, along with his colleagues in the North American Marlon Brando Lookalikes Association (who unfortunately share an acronym with that other NAMBLA).
  • Sylvester And Tweety Mysteries had one episode with a No Celebrities Were Harmed Brando who owned an island in the South Pacific, with the mumbles subtitled (except the final one, where he speaks right but the subtitles are mumbled)