How Many Western Movie Catchphrases Can You Remember?



By: Olivia Cantor

6 Min Quiz

Image: YouTube

About This Quiz

If a character can utter one word, and it brings up a movie in your mind, you know it's a winner. Take, "... Pilgrim" for example. How John Wayne delivered this line, his stance, the tilt of his chin, made the movie, "The Man who shot Liberty Valence" famous. Of course, everyone knows where the line "Hi-ho Silver, away!" comes from, but do you know the recent film actor who proclaimed it (Johnny Depp). How can one know whether a catchphrase will catch on once the filming ends?  If it sums up the point of the entire movie or scene, there is a high likelihood it will become one. A somewhat recent example is "I wish I knew how to quit you," from Brokeback Mountain.  

Or, a catchphrase can sum up a character, such as, "The world is what you make of it, friend. If it doesn't fit, you make alterations." It's a piece of advice from Stella, the short and feisty female bartender in the movie, "Silverado." It typifies the character's view of the world. Then there are the hilarious catchphrases like, "You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know ...morons." This line is said in Blazing Saddles and is memorable due to its hilarity. Why not test yourself and recall all the famous catchphrase that made these westerns unforgettable. Start the quiz now!

"When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk."

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly was one of Clint Eastwood's early Western movies. But it was Eli Wallach, playing Tuco, who said this famous line about getting to the point.


"It's a hell of a thing, killin' a man. Take away all he's got, and all he's ever gonna have."

Unforgiven is an unusual Western, since it shows realistic gunfights and how some gunfighters are old men taking up a contract one last time. Clint Eastwood is perfect as a creaky old gunslinger, looking to do one last job.


“Yoo-hoo. I'll make you famous!”

With Emilio Estevez reprising his role as Billy the Kid, Young Guns II became the down-to-earth closure for Billy the Kid as the legend. It was a somewhat different treatment from how the legend was treated in the original movie.


"Hi-ho Silver, away!"

Johnny Depp plays a "slightly" crazy Tonto in the recent remake of The Lone Ranger. When the Lone Ranger shouts his famous line "Hi-ho Silver, away," Tonto throws him a look, and says, "Don’t do that again."


"Alive or dead? It’s your choice."

In For a Few Dollars More was about two bounty hunters teaming up to share the profits. But all isn’t as it seems, even between the two of them.


"Well, there are some things a man just can't run away from."

Stagecoach is one of John Wayne's earliest cowboy movies and was released in 1939. There, he plays The Ringo Kid, and it seems that his character had to face a lot of things.



John Wayne has definitely used a lot of famous cowboy terms, but "Pilgrim," stands out as a catchword. The movie The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is the famous movie that he uses that term frequently in.


"You gonna do somethin'? Or are you just gonna stand there and bleed?"

In Tombstone, Wyatt Earp is played by Kurt Russell. His high-handed lawman character actually slaps a guy around while saying the quote, just to goad the other guy into doing something.


"It seemed to be a good idea at the time."

The Magnificent Seven had many classic scenes, but Steve McQueen had the best line, "it seemed to be a good idea at the time," a nice way of saying that they were in a lot of trouble.


"Now, I don't want to kill you, and you don't want to be dead."

Danny Glover's character, Mal Johnson, in Silverado is a relatively rare African American lead character when it comes to Westerns. The character is trying to get his sister and their family's land away from the bad guys.


"But, as I heard my Sioux name being called over and over... I knew for the first time who I really was."

Dances with Wolves was about a soldier who "goes native." He finds out that the American Indians aren't truly savages.


"Fill your hand, you sonofa____!"

The movie was True Grit, one of the John Wayne movies in the late '60s. In it, a jaded US Marshal and a Ranger help a hardheaded teen track down her father's killer.


"Oh, great. You killed the invisible swordsman!"

Three Amigos is a cowboy comedy movie that plays with the "rescue the village" storyline. In this case, actors are mistaken for actual gunfighters.


"Dyin' ain't much of a living, boy."

The Outlaw Josey Wales was one of the first movies from Clint Eastwood that was more introspective. In it, he played a farmer-turned-outlaw, trying to find peace.


"We'll give you a fair trial... Followed by a first class hangin'."

The 1985 Western Silverado was known for bringing the "classic" cowboy film into modern times. Kevin Kline played an unlikely hero in a town with a rotten sheriff.


"Kill white people and get paid for it? What's not to like?"

When a freed slave becomes a bounty hunter in Django Unchained, he sets his sights on freeing his wife from a plantation owner. And, as the quote suggests, he has some added fun, too.


"Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?"

Robert Redford and Paul Newman play a pair of outlaws who decide it's time to pull up stakes when things get too hot. The quote comes from using enough dynamite to blow up a train in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.


"Only the farmers have won. They remain forever. They are like the land itself."

Magnificent Seven was based on Kurosawa's Japanese film Seven Samurai. But when the old man talks about the differences between gunslingers and farmers, that's pure Western.


“Revenge is in God's hands... not mine."

Leo DiCaprio won an Oscar as a frontiersman trying to survive and get his revenge. The Revenant also had a downer ending, which makes it somewhat unusual for Western movies.


"Nothing can go wrong… go wrong… go wrong…"

Westworld was a sci-fi story about a Western theme park that used androids. When something goes wrong with one of the gunslinger robots, the fakery becomes very real. It was recently rebooted as a TV series.


"When a man's got money in his pocket, he begins to appreciate peace."

Clint Eastwood makes a poncho look cool in A Fistful of Dollars. In it, he plays a mysterious man who plans a town feud for his own ends.


“No matter what else happens, no matter who gets killed, I'm gonna blow your head off."

The 1971 cowboy movie, Big Jake, has John Wayne playing a classic, take-no-prisoners cowboy. And he's hell-bent on saving his grandson from a bunch of kidnappers.


"The world is what you make of it, friend. If it doesn't fit, you make alterations."

Silverado made its mark with some down-home dialogue. In this case, it's a piece of advice from Stella, the short and feisty female bartender.


“You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know… morons."

The plot of Blazing Saddles is simple: A corrupt politician decides to ruin a town for his purposes, by appointing an African American sheriff. But things don’t go according to plan, even if the townspeople really are morons in the film.


"And they'll be murdered by the world's greatest lover."

The 2016 Magnificent Seven remake has Chris Pratt playing Josh Faraday, a fast-talking gambler and gunfighter. And, as you can see in the quote, he's pretty sure about how good he is.


“You see, in this world there's two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig.”

Clint Eastwood became famous for his deadpan and serious statements, and this one from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly was a classic. It also showed that in the end, The Man with No Name (though he was called Blondie) was always a step ahead.


"What would I want with a reputation? That's a good way to get yourself killed."

James Garner stars as a sheriff in it for the money, in the classic cowboy comedy Support Your Local Sheriff. In it, he plays a guy who just wants to draw the pay, with little trouble.


"I won't be wronged. I won't be insulted. I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them."

In The Shootist, John Wayne, plays an aging gunfighter who finds out he is sick with cancer. To deal with it, he figures that he has to find the right way to die.


"How many men will you have to hang, to heal your scar?"

In Hang 'Em High, it's all about an innocent man coming back to set things right against a lynch mob. And with Clint Eastwood playing the lead, you know there's going to be a lot of action.


“Above all, forgive me for the men I’ve killed in anger… and those I am about to."

The Cowboys was a classic movie about getting a herd of cattle to the market on time. Though John Wayne cut a big father figure as the lead character, Roscoe Lee Browne delivers the classic line about being repentant and unrepentant at the same time.


"Move a little strange, you're gonna get a bullet. Not a warning, not a question…a bullet."

It's wintertime, and a bounty hunter and his prisoner find shelter in a cabin filled with questionable characters. That's the premise of The Hateful 8, from 2015, starring Samuel Jackson and Kurt Russell.


"You must pay for everything in this world, one way or another. There is nothin' free except the grace of God."

Jeff Bridges is a long way from The Dude, as he portrays an aging US Marshal, to make sure justice is served. In this remake of the classic 1969 film True Grit, it’s still about each character finding their real strength.


“This is the West, not the East. The sun may rise where we come from, but here is where it sets.”

Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson teamed up in the unlikely cowboy buddy comedy, Shanghai Noon, in the year 2000. There, Jackie plays a clumsy member of the Chinese Imperial Guard trying to rescue a kidnapped princess. He gets involved with Owen Wilson's character, Roy, a small-time cowboy thief who likes to think big.


“A gun is a tool, Marian; no better or no worse than any other tool: an ax, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that.”

In Shane, the movie’s main gunslinger had to reassure his friend’s wife that a gun is really just a tool. She was afraid of guns, and what they could bring.


“You’re a good looking boy; you’ve got big broad shoulders. But he is a man and it takes more than big broad shoulders to make a man. I don’t think you’re going to make it.”

High Noon is about how a town and its various characters react to a showdown between a town marshal and a gang of deadly killers. And through it all, the marshal knows that he must face them. The quote above is how one couple talked about the situation.


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