better with each passing day (UNCLASSIFIED)

Jeff Prucher jprucher at YAHOO.COM
Tue Sep 14 21:51:34 UTC 2010

----- Original Message ----
> From: "Mullins, Bill AMRDEC" <Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL>

> >
> > I saw Casablanca the other  day, for the first time in years. And I was
> > blown away, again, and for  the umpteenth time. Every line gets better
> > every time I hear it. Even  the lines that aren't in the movie, like
> > "play it again, Sam." Has any  movie shaped the language more than
> > Casablanca? When was the last time  that a classic movie, the locus
> > classicus of dozens of phrases and  idioms, was made?
> I think you could make a strong case for  Caddyshack.  Yes, it's not as
> good a movie (Casablanca is pretty much  the best movie.)  But for a big
> chunk of my generation of American  males, no other movie is as quotable
> and quoted as Caddyshack.  I, and  many of my friends, have memorized big
> pieces of this movie.  We didn't  do so intentionally -- it's just that
> the movie holds up to repeated watching  of snippets:  as you channel
> surf, if you land on Caddyshack you will  stay a while.  And as you
> watch, lines of dialog will stick with you in  ways that many other
> movies  don't.

In terms of lexemes, rather than idioms or quotations, one shouldn't overlook
Star Wars (the original one), which gave us droid, Jedi (Knight), arguably dark
side (as in "go over to the"), "star wars" itself (referring to the SDI), death
star (AT&T's logo), and most likely a few more, like escape pod, which are
mainly used in science fiction.

For me, the locus classicus of movie quotes is Monty Python and the Holy Grail,
woefully omitted from the AFI list due to flagrant nationalism. My entirely
unscientific impression is that Holy Grail is the move I hear quoted most, other
than (possibly) Casablanca. (But this likely reflects who I hang out with, or at
least eavesdrop upon, more than anything else.)


The American Dialect Society -

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