"Go ahead, make my day."
is a phrase written by Joseph C. Stinson
and said by the character Harry Callahan
from the 1983
film Sudden Impact
. In 2005
, it was chosen as #6 on the American Film Institute
list, AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes
. The "Make My Day Law
" passed in most U.S. states, derives its name from this phrase.
In one scene of the movie, Harry Callahan (played by Clint Eastwood
) goes into a diner for a morning cup of coffee. When Callahan discovers a robbery in the diner, he kills the robbers in a shootout. However, a surviving robber holds the fleeing waitress Loretta (Mara Corday
) at gunpoint, and holds his gun to her head and threatens to shoot. Instead of backing off, Harry points his .44 Magnum
revolver point-blank range
at the man's face and dares him to shoot, saying with clenched teeth and in his characteristic rough grumble, "Go ahead, make my day
". Harry says "Come on, make my day
" at the end of the film just before shooting Mick the Rapist
who aims his stolen shotgun
at Jennifer Spencer
Harry's statement in the movie implies a number of meanings, any one or more of which can be implied in common usage of this phrase: That the robber's "threat" does not scare Harry, that the robber's action would be exactly the excuse Harry needs to retaliate, that whatever harm the man causes to the waitress would not compare to the harm Harry causes to him, that Harry would enjoy the revenge, that Harry simply wants to shoot the robber to make himself feel better, or that the robber's life is worth no more than a daily thrill.
The term is used to describe Castle Doctrine in the US (popularly known as "Make My Day States") in which a person has no obligation to retreat from an attacker before using deadly force.
Influences, spoofs and parodies
- Country singer T.G. Sheppard recorded a novelty song called "Make My Day" in which Eastwood, in character, utters the iconic line at the end of each verse (and, during the song's closing fade, adds other well-known Callahan lines such as "Do you feel lucky, punk?" from the first Dirty Harry film and "A man's got to know his limitations" from Magnum Force). The song appeared on the Sudden Impact soundtrack and was released as a single in 1984, reaching #62 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #12 on the Hot Country Songs chart.
- Technotronic's song Pump Up the Jam includes the lyrics "Make my day", one version of the song includes Clint Eastwood's voice as well.
- U.S. President Ronald Reagan, in threatening to veto tax-increase legislation, said "I have only one thing to say to the tax increasers: Go ahead, make my day.
- In Back to the Future III, Marty uses this line, in conjunction with the famous scene from Taxi Driver, in front of a mirror in his underwear.
- In Weird Science, Lisa says "Go ahead..." and Gary's dad responds questioningly with "...make my day?"
- In Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, Borat goes into a gun shop and examines a handgun, which he then points at the camera and says "Come on and make my day, Jew."
- In the movie Beetlejuice, Michael Keaton says "Go ahead, make my millennium."
- In the Miami Vice episode "Glades", when the two locals Crockett and Tubbs meet take them deep into the Everglades and dumped them there at gunpoint, one of them says, "What did that dude Clyde Eastman say in that movie, Floyd?" With Floyd responding "Go ahead, ruin my day."
- In a Xena: Warrior Princess second season episode titled "A Solstice Carol", Senticles uses the phrase "Go ahead, make my day" to a royal guard before shooting him with a toy weapon, while a brief sample of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly theme is also heard in the background.
- In a segment of Divorce Court with William Keene as the judge, the wife has accused the husband of deliberately using their kids as accident victims in order to collect insurance money. Judge Keene gives the divorce to the wife, along with complete custody of the children. When the husband reacts violently to this in the courtroom, Keene warns him, "Go ahead--make my day!"
- In the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett, the Ankh-Morpork City Watch's current motto is "Fabricati diem, pvnc". This is nonsense in Latin, and doesn't actually mean "Make my day, punk", although it looks as though it ought to; this is the nature of most "Latatian" in the books, and is not unusual. However, Fred Colon insists it means "To protect and serve".
- In the game Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko, Gex parodies Eastwood in one level by saying, "Go ahead, make my lunch."
- In the film Mrs. Doubtfire, the eponymous character says that if she saw Clint Eastwood, it would "make my day."
- In the TV series Babylon 5 Security Officer Lou Welch says to traitorous second-in-command of security while arresting him, "Go ahead, make my fraggin' solar year!"
- In the movie Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Estelle Getty says "Go ahead, make your bed" while pointing a gun to Sylvester Stallone's face
- In The Underground Comedy Movie, in a sketch called "Flirty Harry," the title character of the sketch says, "Go ahead, make me gay."