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Referenced By / The Maltese Falcon

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References to the book, and more commonly the film adaptations thereof produced in 1931 and 1941.

  • An Australian radio add for Spillane's nightclub had a private eye meeting the Fat Man there because he wanted to talk about a Maltese Falcon. "I suggested he try an ethnic car dealer."

Films — Live-Action

  • Brick: The line "Oh, now you are dangerous" is taken verbatim from The Maltese Falcon (1941), as is the "long short long short" warning signal.
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  • Guardians of the Galaxy: In prison, Peter states the Orb has a "Ark of the Covenant, glowing briefcase, Maltese Falcon-esque vibe."
  • Space Jam: A New Legacy: A Maltese Falcon world is among the many planets of the Serververse.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Eddie Valiant has the Falcon in his office; he hangs his hat on it when returning after the scene with Roger at Maroon's office.
  • The Cheap Detective: Lou Peckinpaugh is essentially Sam Spade drawn into the plots of Casablanca and The Big Sleep combined with The Maltese Falcon. His partner, whose wife he's been sleeping with, has been murdered, a mysterious dame who constantly changes names comes to him with a fishy case, and an international gang on the trail of a fabulous treasure pull him into the chase. They include a fat ringleader, a foreigner distinguished by a strong scent, and a very young and ineffectual gangster.


Live-Action TV

  • Castle: In "The Blue Butterfly", besides the general Noir style, Castle makes an explicit reference at the end, calling the titular Blue Butterfly "the stuff that dreams are made of". This also references the fact that the butterfly is a fake.
  • Farscape. The episode "The Maltese Crichton" has everyone searching for John Crichton after he's turned into a statue (for plot-related reasons) which is then stolen, with various murders and scheming involved. The statue ends up being a fake after another character volunteers to take Crichton's place as the statue.
  • Forever Knight. In "My Boyfriend is a Vampire", Vachon has to pose as Tracy Vetter's Mysterious Informant. While pretending to give her the word on the street he says that, "The Fat Man had his guys ice Thursby and then he took off with the bird." One of the people listening in on the conversation says it sounds strangely familiar.
  • Sherlock: At one point in "A Scandal in Belgravia", John Sherlock and Irene are in 221B, and Sherlock says that he put her phone into a safe-deposit box. John's suggestion that "Molly can get it, and then have one of your homeless network members bring it here" is reminiscent of the final act of The Maltese Falcon, when Sam Spade leaves the titular artifact in a safe-deposit box, mails the ticket to another box, and then calls his secretary to get first one then the other, and bring it to his office, where he and the other principal characters are waiting. And then Sherlock immediately subverts the whole situation by pulling the phone out of his pocket.


  • The Adventures Of Sam Spade was a radio serial in the mid-to-late 1940s, taking place after the movie.

Web Original

Western Animation

Alternative Title(s): The Maltese Falcon 1941, The Maltese Falcon 1931