By Brent Swancer
A very strange phenomenon that has been reported by vast swaths of the population is known as the Mandela Effect, which entails a mass misremembering of events, facts, or details. These can involve everything from pop culture to historical events, and often leave those who are faced with a reality much different than they remember in shock or bewilderment. It is an uncomfortable feeling to have the memories and reality you know and remember to be fundamentally different than what one thought, and instances of the Mandela Effect are numerous. One area that has proven to be a wellspring of examples of the Mandela Effect are movies, in many cases ones that are loved all over the world and yet are not as we may remember them to be.
Starting with one of the older movies where the Mandela Effect can be seen we have the iconic The Wizard of Oz, which actually has numerous instances of this in effect. The first is the famous line when Dorothy says to her dog, Toto, “Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.” It is such an iconic line that it is even known by people who have never seen the movie, and it has become a phrase in popular use to signify that things are getting weird. However, Dorothy never says that. She in fact says “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” It is close, but enough of a discrepancy that it drives people nuts.
Also in The Wizard of Oz is the famous scene when the wicked witch commands her army of creepy flying monkeys to “Fly, my pretties, fly!” only she does not say that as you may strongly remember, but rather just says “Fly! Fly! Fly!” This is such a well-known and widespread mistake that the line is often misquoted in popular culture to this day. There is also the line near the end of the film when our ragtag group finally reaches the titular Wizard and Toto pulls back the curtain to reveal an old man at the controls of his machinery, invoking a thunderous voice that many people remember as saying “Pay no mention to the man behind the curtain!” Yet, this is not said. The line is actually “Pay no attention to THAT man behind the curtain.” The Wizard of Oz has even more instances of the Mandela Effect, which we will come back to later in the article.
Another older, but still rather famous line from a movie that is often misrepresented is from the film Oliver Twist, when Oliver asks the evil taskmaster Mr. Brumble for a second helping of porridge. Most will probably remember very well that he says “Please sir, can I have some more?” but what he really says is “Please sir, I WANT some more.” This line is also often misquoted in popular culture, and really rubs people the wrong way when they realize the line they thought they knew is wrong, so convinced are they of this memory.
There are numerous other lines from more modern movies that are persistently remembered wrong by most people, and some of them can be quite jarring when one is confronted with the real line. A very memorable one is the line from the movie Jaws, when the character Brody takes a look at their inadequate boat and tells the grizzled shark hunter Quint “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.” This is the line, right? Because they are a team about to go hunt the shark together and “WE” need a bigger boat, right? You may remember it so intensely, but no, he actually says “YOU’RE gonna need a bigger boat,” which seems to not make sense in this context and is much different than we all think we recall.
Yet another example of an oft-quoted line being wrong comes from the Clint Eastwood starring 1971 action film Dirty Harry. After running down a criminal and having a brief shootout Harry looms over the criminal, points his gun at him, and says “Do you feel lucky, punk?” This is quoted this way again and again, but it is wrong. The real line is “Do I feel lucky?” with the whole line being “You’ve got to ask yourself one question. Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?” This is another very unsettling one when people realize it, because so many remember it wrong in exactly the same way, and this line has become a rather famous example of the Mandela Effect.
Moving on we come to the 1982 Harrison Ford science fiction classic Blade Runner. Every fan of the original worth their salt knows the monologue that the replicant Ray Batty gives at the end just before he dies, right? The one about C-Beams glittering in the dark and those attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. All of these memories will be lost “like tears in the rain.” Many people can probably quote this whole memorable monologue by heart, but they are probably quoting it wrong, because Batty actually never says “like tears in THE rain,” but rather just “tears in rain,” with no “the.” It is enough of a change from what we insist we remember to seem strikingly odd. The famous courtroom drama starring Al Pacino, ...And Justice for All also has the famous and oft-quoted line “I’m out of order? You’re out of order! This whole court’s out of order!” which is not even what he says, but rather the much different “You’re out of order! You’re out of order! The whole trial is out of order! They’re out of order!”
The list of such lines goes on and on. Do you remember in E.T. the Extraterrestrial when ET says “Phone home”? He actually says the off-sounding “Home phone.” James Bond never says “The name’s Bond, James Bond,” but instead says simply “My name is Bond, James Bond.” In the movie The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal Lecter never says “Hello, Clarice,” but just “Good morning,” so where in the world did “Hello, Clarice” come from? The Silence of the Lambs has another such anomalous line when the serial killer Buffalo Bill is giving instructions to his captured prey to apply a lotion to her skin. As he looks on many people will clearly remember him saying “It puts lotion on its skin,” but he in fact says “It RUBS lotion on its skin.” This mistake has also been regurgitated again and again in popular culture in TV shows such as Family Guy and South Park, but it is wrong. As with many of these it’s a small, subtle difference, but one that so many people remember exactly the same wrong way, and which has a way of being a bit weird and of not sounding right on some fundamental level.
There is also the first of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films, The Fellowship of the Ring. After confronting the terrifying, monstrous Balrog the whole place starts dramatically crumbling down around our heroes and the wizard Gandalf, which incidentally is also oddly remembered as being incorrectly spelled Ghandalf by a lot of people, finds himself precariously hanging from a yawning chasm below him. He then commands the rest of the group to, as you may remember “Run, you fools!” However, he really says “Fly, you fools!” which doesn’t even really seem to make sense in this situation, but there it is. Also quite odd is the line from the alien invasion movie Independence Day, wherein Will Smith’s character shoots down one of the aliens and then punches it out while saying “Welcome to Earth!” It is very often remembered that he says this with the pronunciation “Welcome to Earf,” but he very clearly and unambiguously says just “Earth.”
Not even animated films are exempt from this phenomenon. In the film Snow White, what do the seven dwarfs sing during their march? Can you picture that song? It’s “Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, it’s off to work we go!” Right? Wrong. They actually sing “Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, it’s home from work we go!” This is quite an unsettling revelation for many, as it is a song that they remember so fondly from their childhood and which they feel they must surely correctly remember, but the dwarves are not off to work, but rather off to their home. “It’s off to work we go” is indeed said once in the movie, and is almost like a false start, but the main song in the film and its official lyrics have them singing “home from work.” Weird.
The animated movie Alice in Wonderland also has a misremembered line, as the Cheshire Cat never says “We’re all mad here,” as many are sure he says in the movie, but rather “Most everyone is mad here.” The Alice and Wonderland film hosts another example of the Mandela Effect in that the characters Tweedledee and Tweedledum are almost always remembered as having tiny propellors on their hats, yet go back and look and you’ll find that there are no propellors but rather little yellow flags.
There are also the “non-quotes,” which are famous lines everyone distinctly remembers but which never actually even existed at all, such as the “Hello, Clarice” line from The Silence of the Lambs. For instance, picture the science fiction movie The Matrix in your mind. Do you remember when Neo finally confronts Morpheus and is told about the true nature of reality in the “red pill” scene? Morpheus goes into a monologue that begins with “What if I told you…” Right? You can probably totally remember that line and hear that clearly in your head in Laurence Fishburne’s deep voice. The thing is, “What if I told you” is never said in this scene, nor is it uttered in the movie at all. This baffles a lot of people because the line is very strongly remembered and iconic to the point that it is even a meme, but in fact it was never said. Where did it come from and why did it pop into our collective heads so intensely?
Another very famous line that nearly everyone knows comes from the original Tarzan movies from the early 1900s, where everyone knows that Tarzan would say “Me Tarzan, you Jane.” Right? Well, no, he never says that at any point at all. Similarly, anyone who knows the series of films and TV shows Star Trek will probably have the line “Beam me up, Scotty” immediately spring to mind. After all, it is a major feature of Star Trek, isn’t it? Indeed, people who have never even heard of Star Trek probably have been exposed to this line, and it is incredibly pervasive, yet this is never actually said at any point ever. Captain Kirk at no point ever says “Beam me up, Scotty” in any incarnation of the series. Also commonly remembered from Star Trek but never actually appearing is the line “It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it,” which doesn’t exist. One of the most famous of these non-quotes is the line “Play it again, Sam,” from the movie Casablanca, which is not once said at any point in the film. The closest thing we have in the movie is the line “Play it once, Sam. For old times’ sake.”
Movie lines are not the only things that get mixed up and misremembered, and another type of Mandela Effect in films has to do with mistaken details of the films or characters. Some of these have to do with titles of movies, or with character names. For instance, many may remember the famous 1979 Vietnam war movie as being called Deer Hunter, when it is actually “The Deer Hunter.” The famous villainess from the Disney animated movie 101 Dalmations is often remembered as Cruella DeVille, but did you know that the actual spelling is Cruella De Vil? This seems quite wrong to a great many people, but it is correct. The same kind of name mistake can be seen with the movie Gremlins, where Gizmo’s nemesis is fondly remembered as being named “Spike,” when he was actually called “Stripe,” which is totally different.
There are also other details from movies, characters, and even movie posters that people get wrong and which are chalked up to the Mandela Effect. A famous one is that the beloved Star Wars character C-3PO is not all gold, but rather has one silver leg, which is a bit jolting to those who have seen the movies countless times and never noticed it. Also from Star Wars, everyone thinks that Obi Wan Kenobi says “May the Force be with you,” but did you realize that it is actually Han Solo that says that? Coming back to The Wizard of Oz, have you ever realized that in one scene in the film the Scarecrow can clearly be seen holding a silver Magnum 357 handgun? Nobody remembers this having ever being in the movie before, but there it is, clear as day, made even more bizarre in that a handgun never appears in the numerous stage productions based off of the movie, and this further cements the Wizard of Oz as a wellspring of Mandela Effects.
Another quite strange and famous example of a startling and widely misremembered movie detail can be found in the original 1984 The Karate Kid film. Can you envision Daniel’s iconic headband in the movie, which he even wears in the final showdown? What color is it in your mind? How does it look? The majority of people will probably remember it as having a low red rising sun against a white background on it, but this is actually incorrect. Go back and watch it now and the headband features a central black circle with blacks lines radiating out from it, which can be quite a bit of a surprise and looks way different than what we remember. Even weirder is that some people even remember it as being blue. There is an odd detail that every one seems to get wrong in the classic 1973 horror film The Exorcist as well. In the exorcism scene when the possessed Regan is confronted by the priests and tied to the bed, she now has a feeding tube inserted in her nose, a jolting detail considering most people insist that such a tube was never there before.
Even movie posters can’t escape the Mandela Effect. Perhaps the most well-known example of this is the iconic poster for the movie Jaws. It is very often remembered as exhibiting a clear stylized bite mark taken out of the lower portion of the “J,” but in fact this bite mark has never existed in the poster. Another example is the poster for Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which oddly enough is already often misremembered as being spelled “Judgement Day.” In this case, the problem is with the sloping of the letter “A,” which is adamantly remembered as being different and looking very off for quite a few people.
Here we have looked at just a few of the more well known examples of the mysterious Mandela Effect as it pertains to the movies, although there are even more where these came from. What is going on here and why do so many people remember things so differently from the way they are and in exactly the same way? For some this is merely a memory glitch or trick of the mind, mistakes and misinformation that get picked up and spread until it all takes a life of its own and manages to convince people that the error is the way it should really be. We become convinced that the false memory is real and it becomes so lodged in our head that it completely usurps the original memory. The mystery is why is spreads to so many in the same way rather than just being isolated cases.
Others think that this is a hint that at least a portion of the population has shifted between parallel worlds that are very similar but in which certain details don’t quite line up exactly in subtle but noticeable ways. Still others think that it is evidence that reality has been retroactively tampered with somehow, possibly from time travel, and that we have splintered off into an alternate timeline while retaining certain memories from the old timeline. Perhaps even more bizarre still is the idea that we live in a computer simulation and these are either glitches in the program or someone deliberately changing and tweaking our simulated reality for inscrutable purposes. In the end there is no evidence that any inter-dimensional travel or timeline alteration has occurred, nor any real concrete rational answer, but either way the Mandela Effect continues to be an odd anomaly that is weird and entertaining at the very least.
Brent Swancer is an author and crypto expert living in Japan. Biology, nature, and cryptozoology still remain Brent Swancer’s first intellectual loves. He’s written articles for MU and Daily Grail and has been a guest on Coast to Coast AM and Binnal of America. You can follow Brent on Twitter and Facebook.