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Saw It in a Movie Once

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Yes, Garfield's been lying to you your whole life.

"Hey, check it — whaddaya buyin'? Heh, heard that in a game once."
Rodin, Bayonetta (referencing Resident Evil 4's inexplicably pirate-accented merchant)

A group of characters is in some sort of fix or trouble. One character steps up and:

  • contrives a plan just Crazy Enough to Work
  • or manages a bit of out of character or unexpected badassery
  • or pulls off a clever bit of dialogue that stops everyone in their tracks
  • pulls off some manner of complicated stunt like an old pro

The other people in the scenario, Mooks, Damsel in Distress, and even the villain are impressed by this display of incredible competence and showmanship.

The character who just amazed the crowd shrugs it off modestly, saying simply, "Saw it in a movie once."

Variations include:

  • Saw it on a TV show
  • Read it in a book
  • My dad/mentor/grandfather once told me a story about it
  • Dreamed I did it

Sister trope to both Taught by Television, You Watch Too Much X, and I Know Mortal Kombat. See also Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

    Asian Animation 
  • In episode 6 of BoBoiBoy, Gopal hits two of BoBoiBoy's elemental duplicates on the head with a frying pan to get them to remember who they are, claiming that he saw this technique on a television show once. Ochobot then hits Gopal himself on the head with a frying pan when the latter can't remember which show it was specifically.

  • Steven Wright, to a hitchhiker he'd picked up: "Put your seatbelt on, I want to try something. I saw it in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it."

    Comic Books 
  • Robin: While Tim has some of the best martial arts training available in the DCU, having trained under Batman, Nightwing, and Lady Shiva among others, he still once cheerfully chirps to Bruce that a move he pulled off during a fight was something he "learned from Tom Cruise".

    Comic Strips 
  • FoxTrot: After Jason and Paige spill cola into Andy's computer, Paige urges Jason to fix it. He says he remembers seeing MacGyver do something similar. They need to prise the computer open, clean it out... and then hook it up to bicycle. Or maybe it was a minivan...
  • Garfield: says that "just because you see somebody doing something in a movie... doesn't mean you can do it" and Garfield wonders why Jon's limping.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • In the climax of Scooby-Doo! and the Witch's Ghost, when Scooby is captured by the titular ghost, Shaggy tries to save him by throwing water on the ghost. The ghost is left wet and angry while Shaggy is surprised she's not melting.
    Shaggy: Like, it worked in The Wizard of Oz.
  • Shrek: Justified in that Shrek's world is literally a land of fairy tales, and that the book he mentions is specifically the tale about the very princess they are trying to rescue. Not only that, but said book is the one he was reading (and used as toilet paper) at the very beginning of the movie.
    Shrek: The princess will be up the stairs in the highest room in the tallest tower.
    Donkey: How do you know she's gonna be there?
    Shrek: I read it in a book once.
  • The Yellow Submarine traverses the Sea of Time where they see a figure whom Ringo mistakes for Father Christmas. John clarifies it's Father Time and quantifies it as he read it in a book.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Aquaman (2018). Arthur finds a way to escape their pursuers: hiding inside a whale's mouth. He states, "It worked for Pinocchio!" while Mera (being from Atlantis) doesn't understand the reference. Later while in Sicily, a child hands her The Adventures of Pinocchio and she's not amused.
    Mera: You risked our lives based on something you read in a children's book?
    Arthur: It's a book? How 'bout that? I got it from the movie.
  • The A-Team:
    Murdock: [while flying a helicopter] Hold on, guys, I'm gonna try something I saw in a cartoon once!
  • In Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, after the pair are murdered by the "Evil Robot Uses" (resulting in them becoming ghosts) they try to warn everyone by possessing Ted's dad; when Ted asks Bill if he's sure it will work, Bill replies, "It worked in The Exorcist, parts 1 and 3."
  • In The Candy Snatchers, Eddy says to his accomplice, "I gotta hand it to you, Jessie. I could never have thought of this." Jessie replies, "Me neither. It was on television."
  • Demolition Man: Lenina (Sandra Bullock) explained away her martial arts prowess as being from watching Jackie Chan movies.
  • Deranged (2012): When the girls try to get past Max the Angry Guard Dog, Mary says she knows what to do because she saw it on The Dog Whisperer. Needless to say it doesn't work.
  • Subverted in Dumb and Dumber when Lloyd (Jim Carrey) tricks a group of tough guys they encountered in a restaurant to pay for a meal for himself and Harry (Jeff Daniels), claiming he saw it in a movie. However, it turns out the plan wasn't as foolproof as they thought.
    Harry Dunn: That was genius, Lloyd... sheer genius. Where did you come up with a scam like that?
    Lloyd Christmas: I saw it in a movie once.
    Harry Dunn: Ha ha! That was incredible! So what happened? So the guy tricked some sucker into picking up his tab and gets away with it scot free?
    Lloyd Christmas: No, in the movie they catch up to him a half a mile down the road and slit his throat. It was a good one.
  • In Falling Down, a random child helps Villain Protagonist Bill operate the rocket launcher he looted off Those Wacky Nazis, walking him through the entire process under the assumption that he's filming a movie. When Bill asks how he knows all this, he casually responds that he saw it on TV.
  • The Goonies: Mikey suggests a plan to escape from the pursuing villains in based on a Hardy Boys story. Unfortunately, the villains have already caught up with them.
    Mikey: I saw this on the Hardy Boys once. We lead a trail of jewels into one cave, and then hide out in another, and when the Fratelli's go into that cave, then we can make a run for it.
    Ma Fratelli: Now that sounds like an excellent idea!
  • In High Heels and Low Lifes, Frances attempts to use a Skeleton Keycard to open Jimmy's door because "it always works on Charlie's Angels". All she manages to do is break every card in her wallet.
  • In The Idolmaker, talent manager Vinny introduces himself to Teen Scene editor Brenda by buying her yellow roses. He explains, "I can't take all the credit. I stole it from Clark Gable. It was in an old movie with Claudette Colbert. She was a magazine editor. And old Clark Gable needed a favor."
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
  • In the The Pirate Movie, Frederic dropped his sword when threatened by The Pirate King. He hears a voice tell him, "Use the Force, Frederic." The sword blade glows and he calls it back to his hand, disarming The Pirate King, his mentor, The PK asks, "Did I teach you that?" He responds, "No, saw it in movie once." Since the whole reality turns out to be All Just a Dream (of Mabel's), it's justified.
  • In The Red Green Show movie, Duct Tape Forever, Harold tries to stop the men after him and Red by dumping gasoline on the road to slip up the limo behind them. The reasoning? He saw it in a James Bond movie once. It works...kind of...just not the way you'd expect.
  • In The Return of the Living Dead, the Genre Savvy characters who have seen Night of the Living Dead (1968) try to put a zombie down by Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain, with less than satisfactory results.
    Frank: It worked in the movie!
    Burt:Well, it ain't working now, Frank!
    Freddy: You mean the movie lied?
  • In Spaceballs, President Skroob decides to take a chance with "Snotty" beaming him down because "what the hell, it worked on Star Trek."
  • Titanic (1997): When Jack kisses Rose's hand:
    Jack: I saw that in a nickelodeon once and I always wanted to do it!"
  • Hilariously played with in Tropic Thunder by one of the protagonists, an actor, slowly going insane from withdrawal symptoms (due to being a junkie).
    Jeff Portnoy: I know this is gonna sound crazy, but in this one film I starred in we had to infiltrate the girl's bathroom of a high school. So we built a catapult out of women's underwear and launched ourselves over the fence!
    (Everyone stares at him for a moment before trying to find a more reasonable plan)
  • Twins (1988): Vincent is stealing a car, but doesn't want his newly found twin, Julius, who just bailed him out of jail, to know how bad a guy he is, so he tells Julius that he's borrowing it from a friend, but that the friend forgot to leave the key in the wheel well. He grabs a hanger to jimmy the lock, telling Julius, "I saw this in a movie once." When it works on the first try, he says, "Whadda ya know, beginner's luck."
  • In Under the Piano, Rosetta attempts suicide by downing a bottle of ammonia because she once saw an opera that ends with the heroine drinking poison from a similar brown bottle.
  • In Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory the children need to sign a contract to go inside the factory, Mike Teavee claims that he "Saw this in a movie once: Guy signs his wife's insurance policy, then he bumped her off."

  • Parodied in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. When Tom shows up to help Huck break Jim out of captivity, Huck's pragmatic plans are always dismissed by Tom, because they 'ain't got enough style' and Tom likes to do things that he got out of books, like trying to dig a tunnel with case knives or giving Jim a bunch of pet snakes and rats.
  • The Golden Rendezvous by Alistair MacLean. The protagonist disarms the Big Bad, who has a concealed shoulder holster, simply by yanking his jacket down over his shoulders, immobilising his arms. When the Big Bad calmly asks if the protagonist is a professional like himself, he replies "American movies".
  • In the Hoka stories, by Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson, the Hokas — a race of teddy-bear-like aliens — operate entirely on this principle. They absorb fictive universes (essentially, the race is a sponge for tropes), and become them. Cowboys, spacemen, Sherlock Holmes, The Jungle Book — they cover a lot of ground.
  • In Infinity Beach, Solly gets the idea of blowing the alien Shroud out of Hammersmith's airlock from a movie (implied to be Alien). Unlike in Alien, it doesn't work.
  • The Murderbot Diaries. There's a Running Gag of Murderbot watching a space opera called The Rise and Fall of Sanctuary Moon. Murderbot befriends a sentient spaceship and shows it some episodes. Later when Murderbot has to kill or injure some corporate goons, the spaceship uses its drones to remove any traces of Murderbot from the shuttle, which is then sent on autopilot to a different destination. This, of course, was in "Episode 179".
  • Repeatedly used in Sonic the Hedgehog in Robotnik's Laboratory with the key difference being that they saw it on "video". Whether video is just the book showing it's age and referring to Video Tapes or that the Mobius equivalent of TV is called Video, is never made clear.
  • The Terror: When the situation is especially bleak and crew morale is at a low, one crew member proposes a carnivale to cheer everyone up. He notes he got the idea from some pulp novel he read, but he can’t remember the book’s name or how it ends. His description makes clear he’s talking about “The Masque of Red Death”, a story by Edgar Allan Poe about The Beautiful Elite trying to distract themselves from a spreading plague by throwing a party, and it ends with the characters all dying horribly at the hands of a monster. Guess what happens at the party the crew throws.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The A-Team Season 3 episode "Breakout" has a couple of robbers coercing Murdock at gun point to drive the van to get away. Murdock, normally an Ace Pilot, breaks out some Badass Driver skills:
    Robber: Where'd you learn to drive like that?
    Murdock: [deadpan] I saw Cannonball Run five times.
  • In Season 2 of Battlestar Galactica (2003), Starbuck and Helo are stranded on Cylon-occupied Caprica and come across the local resistance movement. The leader, Samuel Anders, asks Starbuck for professional help and support, as the tactics they're using are ones they've seen in movies. We see one of their (literal) Hollywood Tactics fail in "The Plan".
  • In Black Books Fran applies a cold compress to poorly Manny's forehead. When Bernard asks her why she's doing it, she responds: "They do that in the films."
  • Gaz in Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps attempts to stop baby Corinthian from crying by shouting: "Silencio!" When it doesn't work, he mutters irritably that it worked for Harry Potter.
  • Blossom: Blossom blinds an intruder (who turns out to actually be her brother) by blowing talcum powder in face. When Six asks her where she learned that trick, Blossom replies "MacGyver". (Also counts as an Actor Allusion, as Blossom's actress Mayim Bialik had played a recurring character on MacGyver (1985).)
  • In Broad City, Lincoln takes up trapeze flying because he saw it in an episode of Sex and the City.
  • Quoth Castle, as he's about to do something stupid while being held hostage at a bank robbery: "don't worry mother, I saw this work on Die Hard."
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Gridlock": Martha Jones persuades the driver of an air car to shut down all systems (including the much-needed air purifier) so that the large monsters in the poisonous fog won't find them.
      Martha: I saw it on a film. They used to do it in submarines. The trouble is, I can't remember what they did next.
    • "The Tsuranga Conundrum": Graham cites having seen every episode of Call the Midwife as his expertise when asked to be one of Yoss' birth partners. Unfortunately, he always had to look away at the squishy bits...
  • In one episode of Dracula: The Series, the heroes escape from a death-trap the Count has in his castle because one of them saw how to in a movie. It later turns out the Count only had the trap installed in the first place because he saw the same movie.
  • Heroes: Used very literally with Monica, whose superpower is being able to copy anything she's seen in person or on TV — carve a tomato into a rose, play the piano, kick a robber's ass with a flashy wrestling move, Ceiling Cling...
  • House parodies this in a third season episode "Lines in the Sand" when he conducts a differential in the lobby:
    Cuddy: Is this your master plan? Disrupt hospital business until I replace your carpet?
    House: Devious. Saw it in a James Bond movie.
  • JAG: After getting Harm out of a minefield in Afghanistan (season 7, episode 23 "In Country"), Mac acknowledges that she only learned how to do it by watching movies.
  • Kenan & Kel: Subverted in "Fenced In", when Kel tries to push Kenan's head out of a metal fence using butter and motor oil.
    Kel: Okay, now this has to work. I saw it in a movie once. Wait, no I didn't.
  • Married... with Children: Al is trying to catch a rabbit invading his garden, so Kelly says she saw a documentary on rabbits and how to catch them. (She was describing a Bugs Bunny cartoon.)
  • Tony in NCIS is an inveterate film buff. When he comes up with a scheme to override a video feed in order to end a hostage situation, his colleagues automatically assume he saw it in a movie, and in spite of his protests they ultimately pinpoint which movie (it was Speed).
  • Psych episode "Romeo and Juliet and Juliet" has Shawn mention "I saw this in a Jackie Chan movie..."
  • Garak on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine often uses variations of this phrase to handwave his impressive abilities or intimate knowledge of things like classified military codes. Since almost everyone knows he used to be an actual spy (and a fairly important one at that), none of the main cast believe his explanations for a second.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise: In "North Star", while visiting a planet of humans still living in the Old West, Trip says he can ride a horse because he's "seen every John Ford western." T'Pol is less than optimistic.
  • Doubles as a Mythology Gag in the first episode of Weird Science, where Gary and Wyatt are discussing the creation of Lisa.
    Gary: We could do it! I saw it in a John Hughes movie once!

  • In The Bat, Cornelia notices a fresh trail of candle grease, and tries to follow it, saying, "Do you remember how Mr. Gillette, in Sherlock Holmes, when he—" This is later subverted:
    Brooks: Is this something else you saw Mr. Gillette do?
    Cornelia: I'm using my wits! I never saw any man do that.

    Video Games 
  • Action Taimanin: In the Intimacy Event of Maika's support version, she blurts out to Kotaro that she read in a girl's magazine that rubbing suntan oil on a girl's back is something couples do, which Kotaro himself is currently doing on Maika's back.
  • In Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus and Butterfly, Amanda, an alien, tries taking their first order by yelling at the Barista to "pour [them] a stiff one!" They then claim it's what their research on Earth etiquette said, but Lua points out that they must've gotten the idea from Orc Westerns.
  • Chuck Greene from Dead Rising 2 can learn new combo weapons by, among other things, looking at movie posters. Namely movies by Clint Rockfoot.
  • In LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, Mister Fantastic carries the rest of the Fantastic Four safely to the ground by stretching himself into a parachute. He admits that he saw the same thing happen in a movie, referencing a similar scene with Elastigirl in The Incredibles.
  • Life Is Strange: Max can guess the access code of the Dark Room by only trying the faded numbers on the keypad, causing her to exclaim, "Yes! I thought that only worked in the movies!" However, the player can also guess the passcode by recalling the three-digit number written in red on Nathan's code sheet, making Max's remark a bit nonsensical.
  • At the end Leon's B campaign in Resident Evil 2, he compliments Sherry's heroic actions on the train; she mentions seeing someone do it on TV once.

    Visual Novels 
  • An exchange between Jessica and Anna in ATOM GRRRL!! at a casino:
    Anna: Hey, by the way, where did you learn to play roulette?
    Jessica: Oh, yesterday. I figured, "hey, why don't I check out a Man Ketsudaira movie?"
  • Subverted in CROSS†CHANNEL. In two different scenes, Taichi insists he can drive cars because he's seen how it works in manga. Naturally, this leads to hilarious results.
  • Played straight but justified in Umineko: When They Cry. Trying to interpret the game board's story as a mystery rather than a fantasy story, various characters use knowledge gained from reading mystery novels.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • A less modest version happens in Ben 10: Alien Force. Julie does the "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight with her pet, Ship and when Ben is surprised she pulled it off, she says, "You're not the only one who's seen 'Brain Stealers from Outer Space'."
  • Earthworm Jim: In "Bring Me the Head of Earthworm Jim", after his suit gets swapped with a powerless version, Jim tries different ways to repower himself he found in a pile of "reference materials", which Peter quickly points are his comic books.
    Jim: So? Are you suggesting they are less than completely factual?
  • The Flintstones:
    • In "Dino Disappears", while being chased by the police, Fred tries to lose them by ducking behind a rock, telling Barney he saw it in an old movie. At first, it looks like it worked, but then the police circle around the rock and crash into them, prompting Barney to quip that they must've seen the same movie.
    • In the episode "Fred's Second Car", Fred and Barney are trapped in a gangster's hideout and Fred gets the idea for them to tackle a mook and grab his gun when he walks in, saying he saw it in a gangster movie on TV. However, the mook dodges the attack, and he taunts "I watch TV too, fellas".
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: In "Cookie Dough", Bloo tries to help raise money to fix the roof of the titular home by starting a lemonade stand, claiming that he's seen people do it in movies. While a lemonade stand is actually a pretty good idea to raise money, Bloo ends up doing it on a cold/rainy day in the middle of the winter.
    Mac: Was it summer in those movies? You know? Summer? The season that people usually drink lemonade in...
    Bloo: It seems so obvious now that you say it.
  • In an episode of Freakazoid!, Cosgrove tells the audience to Clap Your Hands If You Believe (and throw in some Hugbees) to save Freakazoid's life after having seen it work in a movie once.
  • Futurama:
    Professor Hubert Farnsworth: It came to me in a dream. And I forgot it in another dream.
    • In "Law and Oracle", Fry manages to pull off a trick on a light cycle, and when asked where he learned it he replies "Sunny D commercial."
    • In "Parasites Lost":
      Zoidberg: We can escape through the nasal capillary into the sinus!
      Hermes: Strange. Usually, you don't know anything about human anatomy.
      Zoidberg: I learned it from a decongestant commercial. "Soothing action, action, action, action..."
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: In "The Firebird Sweet", Grim suggests that he and Mandy enter Eris's factory through the sewer pipes, claiming that he saw it in Drums Along the Mohawk.
    Mandy: I don't remember that being part of the movie.
    Grim: was the director's cut.
  • The Hair Bear Bunch: The Bunch is rehearsing for a scene in a revisionist version of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears". Twinkles Sunshine, the movie's star and revisionist of the script gives the bears instructions when the evil prince arrives.
    Twinkles: When the three bears see the evil prince, they grab him and throw him out of the window.
    Square Bear: I saw that on television wrestlin' last night!
  • On Jimmy Two-Shoes, Jimmy slaps Lucius with a glove in order to accept a challenge because he saw it in a movie.
  • Almost any time Stumpy from Kaeloo does something intelligent, it's because he saw it in a movie.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • In one of Friz Freleng's cartoons featuring two Mexican cats, the smart cat uses a trick to catch Speedy Gonzales, saying he'd seen it in a Bugs Bunny cartoon.
    • In Frank Tashlin's "The Major Lied at Dawn" (1937), the Major — after suffering a beatdown against an army of jungle animals — pulls out a can of spinach, saying "By jove, if it's good enough for that sailor man, then it's good enough for me."'
    • "The Iceman Ducketh" sees Bugs Bunny trying to evade Daffy Duck, who is chasing him on skis. Bugs comments to the audience, "I saw this in a toothpaste commercial once," before tossing a bucket of water in front of Daffy, which instantly freezes into a wall of ice.
    • Bugs gives himself away to a WW2 Japanese soldier in "Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips" by eating a carrot. The soldier says he saw Bugs in a "Walner Blothers-Reon Schresinger-Mellie Merodies cartoon picture."
    • "Porky Pig's Feat" climaxes with Porky and Daffy locked in their hotel room for not paying their bill. Porky comments "Boy, if only Bugs Bunny were here," as he and Daffy recount what they saw Bugs do in one of his cartoons.
  • In the OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes episode "TKO's House", KO summons a machine in his mindscape, along with some techno-suits, saying he saw them in a movie.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • In "Nerdy Dancin'", Doctor Doofenshmirtz's trap for Perry the Platypus is the same one used against James Bond in Goldfinger, strapped down with laser to split him in half. Doofenshmirtz comments that he didn't get to see the rest of the movie, but noted that it "seemed pretty foolproof". Naturally, being Doofenshmirtz, he did not tighten the restraints properly and Perry escapes.
    • Inverted in the Halloween Episode "Night of the Living Pharmacists" with Vanessa's punk/hipster friends, who apparently only watch foreign expressionist films and are utterly Genre Blind when a Zombie Apocalypse breaks out. The more Genre Savvy Candace never references any particular movies, but notes a background in American horror movies may have done them some good.
  • In an episode of Pinky and the Brain:
    Pinky: Zounds, you're a good driver, Brain.
    Brain: I've watched a lot of The Dukes of Hazzard.
  • The Rocketeer: In "Save the Statue", Harley believes she can fly a plane because she saw somebody doing it in a movie.
  • On Rocky and Bullwinkle, Bullwinkle describes a situation as an "ethical dilemma which is fraught with portents. When Rocky asks what it's supposed to mean, Bullwinkle says "I dunno...I heard it on Meet The Press."
  • In a second season episode of the Rugrats called "Tooth or Dare", Angelica comes up with various ideas to pry out Chuckie's prominent front teeth in order to get money after hearing the story of the Tooth Fairy. One of the attempts she makes is something that she tells Chuckie and her cousin, Tommy, she once saw in a movie. When the plan inevitably fails, Angelica claims, "Well, it worked in the movie!"
  • The Simpsons:
    • "Marge Simpson in: "Screaming Yellow Honkers"" features Homer trying to stop an animal stampede by yelling "Jumanji". After it fails, Homer wonders if there is anything from movies worth learning.
    • "Milhouse Doesn't Live Here Anymore" has Homer trying the camera trick mentioned in the NCIS example, "citing" the film The Bus That Couldn't Slow Down.
    • And in "E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)", he sees someone get what he wants by slapping people in the face with a glove. He instantly adopts this and succeeds — until a "Southern gentleman" accepts his challenge to a duel. He also tries it with Jimmy Carter and has to flee the ex-president.
    • In "The Trouble with Trillions", Homer is being questioned by the tax department about his falsified tax return. When they threaten him with a prison term, he says "No sir, please - I can't go to prison! They pee in a cup and throw it on you! I saw it in a movie!" to which the interrogating agent responds "You won't be seeing any prison movies where you're going - prison!"
    • At the beginning of "The President Wore Pearls", the school has a charity casino night, with Martin Prince saying he got the idea from an episode of Saved by the Bell. When the adults ransack the place after learning they haven't been winning real money, Martin moans he should've seen it coming, as the same outcome occurred on Saved By the Bell.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • After being stranded in the middle of nowhere in "Pizza Delivery", SpongeBob tries to get himself and Squidward back home by using tactics from old pioneers which he says he "saw in a movie once." Most of them worked albeit their progress was constantly hindered by Squidward.
    • When SpongeBob and Patrick believe that they are cornered by a monster at the edge of a cliff in "A SquarePants Family Vacation", Patrick remembers a solution he saw in a movie: jump off the cliff. Mid-falling, Patrick admits to SpongeBob that he doesn't remember the rest of said movie, so they just keep falling until they land on a conveniently bouncy sea anemone.
    • In "Greasy Buffoons", when a hose is backed up, SpongeBob shows Mr. Krabs something he "saw in a movie once". He then sucks on the hose, which causes it to start working.
    • In "Food PBFFT! Truck", SpongeBob sets a trap by covering a hole with leaves. He tells Squidward he saw it in a Junglefish comic.
  • Steven Universe:
    • In "Barn Mates", Steven suggests that Lapis and Peridot split the barn in half, saying he saw it in a sitcom once. Peridot is all for it but Lapis, who is in no mood to forgive Peridot and doesn't want to live with her, shoots that idea down.
    • In "Off Colors", Lars suggests that he and Steven stand still, saying that Yellow Diamond's robonoids won't see them if they do. He turned out to have Wrong Genre Savvy, and the two barely avoid getting blasted.
      Lars: I think that movie... was about dinosaurs.
  • In the pilot episode of Storm Hawks, Aerrow briefly breaks the fourth wall when he tells a rightfully worried Radarr that "it's okay, I saw this before in a cartoon" right before jumping off his Skimmer to perform a Final Fantasy-esque stunt.
  • TaleSpin:
    • In the episode "Citizen Khan", Clementine Clevenger attempts to escape a locked room with a Bedsheet Ladder while saying "This always works in the movies." Unfortunately, the knots get undone and she falls with her noting, "So much for the movies!" Luckily, she has a soft landing in a horse trough.
    • Baloo uses this line almost verbatim in "The Road to Macadamia".
    • In "The Bigger They Are, The Louder They Oink", when Baloo and Kit are trapped in a tree by a lion, Baloo tries to get them out by Vine Swinging, saying he had seen it in a movie once. Unfortunately, they end up being too heavy and the vine snaps, causing them to fall to the ground, prompting Kit to ask if that's what happened in the movie. Baloo tries to pass it off by saying it went exactly that way.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987):
    • One episode has Donatello attempt to save an alien in a crashed vessel thus:
      Donatello: Quick, boil some water!
      Raphael: We're not delivering a baby, dumbo!
      Donatello: ...I heard it in a movie once...
    • Michelangelo and Donatello are tied up back to-back in chairs with a bomb next to them. Mikey reveals that he has seen a scene like this before on TV and, following his direction, the two rock back and forth to tip over onto the floor. However, when Donatello asks what to do next, Mikey realizes that he doesn't know — at the time, he'd gone to get popcorn before the scene had finished.
  • The Tom and Jerry cartoon "Fit to be Tied" features Spike, while beating Tom, doing a wrestling move he claims to have seen on TV.
  • An episode of Transformers: Prime sees the Decepticons' warship overrun with dark energon zombies. Knockout tells Starscream to aim for the head, as he's seen done in human horror films. It doesn't work.
  • In an episode of The Venture Bros., after fighting one of Wide Wale's henchmen offscreen Brock is asked where he learned a jump move and replies "Achilles in Troy".


Video Example(s):


Raise the Oozy Scab

Carl utilizes some dramatic acting he saw from a soap opera once.

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Example of:

Main / SawItInAMovieOnce

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