Klaatu barada nikto

"Klaatu barada nikto" originates from the Cold War-era science fiction film The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). "Klaatu" is the name of the humanoid alien protagonist in the film. Klaatu commanded Helen Benson (Patricia Neal) to utter the phrase to the robot Gort. In response, Gort desisted from destroying the Earth, and resurrected Klaatu from death.

No translation of the phrase was stated in the film. Philosophy professor Aeon J. Skoble describes the famous phrase as a "safe-word" that is part of a fail-safe feature used during the diplomatic missions such as the one Klaatu and Gort make to Earth. With the use of the safe-word, Gort's deadly force can be deactivated in the event the robot is mistakenly triggered into a defensive posture. Skoble observes that the theme has evolved into a "staple of science fiction that the machines charged with protecting us from ourselves will misuse or abuse their power."

However, Gort would not seem to be misusing his power, but instead beginning to escalate the level of violence as a reasonable response to peace envoy Klaatu having been killed. In this interpretation, the phrase apparently tells Gort that Klaatu considers escalation unnecessary.

Another difficulty with Skoble's theory is that Klaatu in the film explicitly describes Gort's power as being totally unchecked, effectively disavowing the existence of a safe-word. Further, the film does not make it clear that Gort's intention prior to Benson's utterance, while threatening, is to affirmatively destroy the Earth. Hence in context, a more suitable translation of the phrase may be: "Klaatu has been killed, you must save him."

The Robot Hall of Fame describes the phrase as "one of the most famous commands in science fiction and Frederick S. Clarke of Cinefantastique called it "the most famous phrase ever spoken by an extraterrestrial.

In popular culture

Since the release of the movie, the phrase has appeared repeatedly in popular culture.


  • In the novel The Armageddon Rag by George RR Martin. A character jokingly says the phrase to a character named Gort.
  • In the play The Foreigner, by Larry Shue, Charlie speaks the phrase when talking about editing a science fiction magazine.
  • In the sci-fi book Fairyland by Paul J. McAuley (first part, chapter 11; the protagonist said it, with no recognition from his interlocutor).
  • 1994: In the David Ives collection of short plays All in the Timing, the play "The Universal Language" contains a reference to the phrase. The character of Don says "Klaato boddami nikto!" to the character of Dawn. It is implied to mean "You're not bothering me at all!"
  • In the Scholastic book series Animorphs, book #20 "The Discovery," the character Marco uses the phrase while disguising himself as an alien.
  • The protagonist, Walter Bullit, in Jack Womack's Going, Going, Gone, quotes those words near the end of the first chapter to the character Big Girl, a.k.a. Chloe
  • In the sci-fi/fantasy book Mothership (novel) by John Brosnan, one of the 'Elite' characters (those that remember Earths past as opposed to the other characters that do not) uses the phrase to stop a dragon attack. The dragon had been trained by the ruling elite, and when one of the primitive characters asks what language that is, the answer given is that it was a command on the language "Old Hollywood".
  • In the naval adventure novel Killigrew and the Incorrigibles, author Jonathan Lunn has one of the resident cannibals on a South Sea island utter the phrase "Klaatu barada nikto!" to order one of his guests be prepared for dinner (on page 383 of the softbound version published by Headline Books).
  • In the book Jim Rage's Elite Zombie Hunting Manual the phrase is hidden on one of the pages as though it were a stain.
  • In author Harrison R. Bradlow's Imperium Trilogy, protagonist Michael utters the phrase "Klaatu barada nikto" as a spell in a half-hearted attempt to neutralize a heavily spiked and armored metallic Demon. When the spell fails, he remarks, "Well, it was worth a try."


  • In the Donald Duck comic Attack of the Hideous Space-Vitamins by Don Rosa, Donald attempts to communicate with some aliens by saying the famous phrase while doing the Vulcan salute.
  • In Issue 2 of the Marvel Comics mini-series Ultimate Secret, Captain Marvel, a member of the Kree alien race, is asked by Nick Fury why his race stays off-world. Captain Marvel sarcastically answers that his kind "are frightened of you savage humans and your atomic bombs. Klaatu barada nikto."
  • In Avengers West Coast #68, while stopping a giant Gort controlled by Ultron 13 at the Pasadena Rose Parade, Iron Man says: "I think it will take more than saying 'Klaatu barada niktu' to stop this particular Gort!"
  • In the DC Comics mini-series Formerly Known As the Justice League, the Elongated Man says the words "Klaatu barada nikto" in an attempt to communicate with and/or disarm robotic sentries stationed outside of the Super Buddies headquarters.
  • In the webcomic Elf Only Inn, Barbivine gives LOD a macro to bind a player to the resurrected monster. The macro is leet speak for Klaatu barada nikto (/setplayer_KL44TU$B4R4D4$NIK2).
  • Freefall, a science fiction webcomic in which robots figure extensively, created by Mark Stanley, made a reference to the sentence in its episode 01372 on January 22nd.
  • 2000 and/or 2001: in the webcomic Bob and George, the author uses this phrase to resurrect Dr. Light after being shot and again later uses variations on the phrase, first to revive George and then to summon a taco. It is worth noting, however, that neither is actually "Klaatu Barada Nikto"; both phrases use "Klatu" instead of "Klaatu" and "Verada" instead of "Barada," and the second uses "Taco" in the place of "Nikto".
  • in the #5 print issue of PvP volume 1, the phrase is the password used by a game store employee to buy the Xboxes and Gamecubes which he stockpiled.
  • In the 4th issue of Star Wars Tales of the Jedi: Knights of the Old Republic the Hutt Bogga's ship Enforcer One is crewed by a "ruthless lot" composed of Klaatu, Weequays, Niktos, and Baradas.
  • The online comic strip Sinfest for Monday, August 18, 2008, used the famous phrase in an incantation.
  • In a Simpsons-Itchy & Scratchy crossover, Bart Simpson is offered any last words before he dies (klattu barrata nikto, Man?)right before the Scarlet Whimpernal(Milhouse)rescues Bart from Kang and Kodos.


  • 1987: In their Showtime special, Penn & Teller's Invisible Thread, Penn uses the phrase when greeting the aliens the government has confined in the warehouse.
  • 1968: In the episode The Monkees Watch Their Feet of the TV series The Monkees, an alien robot who has replaced Micky Dolenz cries out, "Gort! Veringa! Gort! Veringa!! Klaatu barata nikto! Klaatu barata nikto!
  • 1978 (poss.): in an episode of the TV show The Rockford Files (possibly "Local Man Eaten By Newspaper," December 8 1978), James Rockford utters the phrase to a very large thug standing watch next to a doorway. The thug doesn't get the joke.
  • In an episode of The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers (1986), "Klaatu Nikto Barada" is a greeting used by the freedom fighters of Wolcab.
  • 1990: In the Halloween episode of Growing Pains.
  • 1992-1993: in two episodes of Darkwing Duck (Battle of the Brainteasers, 1992 and The Revenge of the Return of the Brainteasers, Too, 1993), the villains are mind-controlling aliens from the planet Fez who resemble hats. Their leader is named Flaarg, but his two lackeys are named Barada and Nikto. Klaatu2 appears briefly as a leader of the "Gurlest Revolutionaries" who arrives to arrest Flaarg and his minions.
  • 1993-2002: in the TV Series, The X-files, Agent Mulder has this phrase pinned to the wall of his office.
  • 1989: in the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon series episode Invasion of the Turtle Snatchers, a family of three aliens encountered by Donatello and Rocksteady are named Klaatu, Barada and Nikto. Klaatu is the father, Barada is the mother and Nikto is the little boy. In this version, Klaatu, Barada and Nikto come from a planet orbiting the star Antares.
  • 1994 and/or 1995: in the game show Legends of the Hidden Temple, it was used as one of the passwords in "The Room of the Secret Password" in Season 3 (1995) and part of Season 2 (1994).
    • In the sitcom Grace Under Fire episode "Memphis Bound", Russell (played by comedian Dave Thomas) mentions it while in Memphis.
    • In the Rocko's Modern Life episode, "The High Five of Doom", Heffer says the phrase to Philbert, whom he suspects to be an evil alien, and explains to a confused Rocko that "It's alien language. I saw it in a sci-fi movie."
  • One of the short episodes from Season 1, Episode 6 of Johnny Bravo is titled "The Day The Earth Didn't Move Around Very Much". In this episode, Carl uses the famous phrase.
  • The sentence was used in episode 37 of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show. In this episode, Diane Szalinski goes through a mid-life crisis. At a museum, a druid gives her the spell and promises her eternal life. When she uses it, she awakens an evil princess, the druid's mummy lover.
  • In Hercules, The Legendary Journeys episode, "City Of The Dead" Ramses speaks this phrase as an incantation.
  • In the Sci-fi series Farscape episode I Shrink Therefore I Am, John Crichton mocks the alien bounty hunters that invaded Moya by repeating the phrase - which of course makes no sense whatsoever to them.
  • The phrase is also spoken by Lt. Frank Bartholomew Parker in the television show Seven Days as he enters a recovered suspected alien space craft.
  • In the cartoon series, The Simpsons S14E04 - Large Marge, a similar line was used as a cultural reference to the quote.
  • In the TV show The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius episode Lights! Camera! Danger, where a big shot producer comes to Retroville and makes a movie with Jimmy and his friends, Jimmy says it as a magic spell in a scene of the "movie" whose place is Pigpimples, a name punning Hogwarts. In Time is Money Jimmy travels back in time to meet his hip 70's parents. Jimmy's friend, Carl Wheezer, says the phrase as they encounter Jimmy's parents.
  • In My Doctor Has a Cow Puppet, episode 22 of the comedy series Two and a Half Men, the character Alan utters the phrase cryptically during a sleepwalking bout.
  • In Episode 4 of Season 3 of Super Robot Monkey Team Hyper Force Go!, Gibson reads "Klaatu barada nikto" from a spellbook, in an attempt to stop a demon, but instead a flower sprouts from his head.
  • In the 2007 Simpsons' Treehouse of Horrors, after getting hit by a ball thrown by Bart, an alien hiding in the Simpsons' "butane shed" blurts in pain "klaatu barada" (but does not add "nikto"). Bart asks the alien if that is the alien's spacename. The alien replies that, no, Bart's baseball hit him in his seven hundred testicles.
  • In the 2008 Code Monkeys episode "Dave gets Boobs", Todd says the spell after challenging Dave to a test of his power which Dave wins by flashing his boobs.
  • In Johnny Bravo, Karl says this (as well as other science fiction phrases) while meeting The Alien.


  • 1977: in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind there is a high-level shot of an area subdivided into the offices of various people working on contacting alien beings. The phrase appears on a large banner pinned to one of the office walls.
  • 1982: the words are seen in the film Tron, posted on a sign hanging in Alan Bradley's cubicle (27:20).
  • 1983:
  • 1992: in the film Toys, the character Leland Zevo speaks the phrase to stop a rampaging robotic sea creature he calls the "Seaswine". He also screams it out before meeting his fate in the final battle.
    • In the film Army of Darkness, the third installment of the Evil Dead trilogy, Ash has to speak similar words in order to retrieve the Necronomicon. He fails to remember it properly ("Klaatu. .. Verada. .. Necktie...Nectar...Nickel...It's an "N" word, it's definitely an "N" word") When he cannot recall what the word is, he attempts to fool the Necronomicon by speaking "Klaatu Verada N-" and then coughing and thus awakens a horde of malicious Deadites. The ending that was chosen for the final edit of the film has him speaking the words again after consuming a potion, allowing him to return to his era. The words were altered from their original use, because of confusion about what they actually were in The Day The Earth Stood Still.
  • Midway through the movie Men in Black, Agents Zed, K, and J observe "surveillance video" of a number of celebrities who were surprisingly (or not) identified as undercover space aliens. On being asked by a journalist for his reaction, one of the fingered celebs, Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming, replied, "Klaatu barada nikto!"
  • In Galaxy Quest, the aliens who recruit Jason Nesmith come from the planet Thermia located in the "Klaatu Nebula".
  • in the anime Read or Die the character Genjo Sanzo uses the phrase as part of a mystic chant to part the ocean.
  • In the short film Bjam Man vs The World the phrase is written on the classroom wall.
  • 2002: In the Star Wars fan film 'Conspiracy' two alien races, the Nikto and the Klaatuinians, are mentioned.


  • 1969: The American rock band Creedence Clearwater Revival named their concert touring operation Gort Functions, Co. after the robot in the band's favorite science fiction film. Their bright yellow and black company logo with the likeness of Gort and the words "Klaatu Barada Nikkto" was seen on all of the band's equipment, as well as on their Lear jet wing tip tanks. Gort also made a miniature cameo appearance on the cover of the band's final studio album, Mardi Gras.
  • 1972: On the album School's Out by Alice Cooper the words are uttered at the end of the song "My Stars."
  • 1974: While the line itself is not used, Ringo Starr appears dressed as Klaatu coming out of his ship on the cover of Goodnight Vienna.
  • 1976: A group of Canadian session musicians called "Klaatu" releases their first album. The following year, a journalist starts the rumor that the band is actually The Beatles reunited under an assumed name.
  • 1991: the song "Come In Piece" was released by Doubting Thomas on their album The Infidel. It contains samples from the movie The Day the Earth Stood Still, also the one from the scene where "klaatu barada nikto" is first spoken.
    • In the song "Rescue Me" by Bryan Ferry on his album Taxi. It contains samples from the movie The Day the Earth Stood Still.
    • In the end of the song HMH2 (Horror Movie Hero 2) by the Pirate Band The Jolly Rogers on their album Cutlass, Cannon and Curves
    • Dead To Fall release their 4th full length album Are You Serious?, which features a track called "The Future" about a man who goes into the future to save the world from a mechanical takeover. He wins the battle in the future by saying, "Klattu Anauj I Ram Barada Om Nikto." In reward, the man has an orb shoved into his head by the Mayor of the Future which contains the song "The Future" itself. The man takes this song back to the present time for all to enjoy.
  • 2003: Belgium industrial band This Morn' Omina uses the sample "klaatu barada nikto" in their song "The Immutable Sphere".
  • 2008: Brazilian Surf Music band The Fung-Ku's releases the song "Klaatu Barada Nikto" under Creative Commons licensing using samples from "The Day the Earth Stood Still".


  • In the computer game Robot Odyssey this phrase appears upon solving one of the puzzles, that disables a sentry robot.
  • In Dave Platt's 550 point version of Adventure, "Klaatu" is one of the magic words that either opens the vault or summons the Rover-like blob.
  • In the PC game Sam & Max Hit the Road, Sam uses the phrase as one of the game's gag responses.
  • The Maxis game SimCity 2000 Network Edition features a different spelling, 'Klaatu Verata Nictu' as a cheat code, and plays the original sound clip from the movie of the character Klaatu speaking the line, "You must go to Gort. You must say these words: Klaatu Verata Niktu."
  • In the Microprose game Grand Prix 2, the phrase appears in a Globo TV billboard, in the Interlagos circuit.
  • In the SNES video game Lost Vikings II, variants of the phrase were used (such as "Klatu, Veratu. .. Hadouken!") as teleport spells at the end of a series of levels. Like the misspoken version in Army of Darkness (see above), they do not work quite as desired, though the correct version is eventually remembered.
  • In the video game Duke Nukem: Time to Kill, Duke utters the phrase after reading from a book. .. This is likely a reference to Army of Darkness (see above 1993).
  • In the video game Myth II: Soulblighter, The Deceiver is revived with the words "clambake veratus nicktoo.
  • In the MMORPG EverQuest, players must speak the phrase "utalk adarav otcin" (a phrase almost reversed compared to the original) to Kizdean Gix as a password to receive a secret note used to anger the Skeleton Llrod in Befallen for a quest.
  • In the PC game X-COM: Interceptor, the alien base in the alternate universe at the end of the game is called Barada Klaatu.
  • In Spyro the Dragon 2: Ripto's Rage, these words are used at the end of Cloud Temple. However the wizard who gives Spyro the orb for the level doesn't remember the last word as in The Army of Darkness.
  • The words Klaatu, Barada, and Nikto are used as spell incantations in the game Sacrifice by Shiny Entertainment.
  • In the MMORPG Ragnarok Online, a vengeful spirit can be found in the town of Nifleheim. One available conversation tree leads to the player choosing "Klaatu Barada Nikto" or "Klaatu Barada Necktie" in order to send his spirit to rest. Also, an NPC in Niflheim states that, "To break a curse, tell Gort, 'Klaatu Barada. .. oh dear, I've forgotten the last word.'" These are both intended to reference Army Of Darkness rather than The Day the Earth Stood Still, besides the reference to telling the phrase to Gort to stop a catastrophe from occurring.
  • In the PC game Rayman 3 Globox says the words "Klaatu barada nikto" in attempt to open the secret door.
  • 2004:
    • Steve Jackson Games' card game Star Munchkin 2 - The Clown Wars contains a card "Klaatu Barada Necktie" which enables you to use as many armors as you like at the same time. This may, however, be a direct reference to the allusion in Army of Darkness (see above).
    • In the video game Spider-Man 2 Mysterio says these words in the burning theatre scene.
    • In The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy (video game), Irwin reads "Klaatu barada nikto, yo!" from his spellbook as his mojo meltdown.
    • In World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, two NPCs exist together named Klatu and Barada. One named Nikto hasn't been sighted yet.
    • In the video game Guild Wars: Factions, characters who are under the influence of a Lunar Blessing's "Spiritual Possession" effect may mutter the phrase at random.
    • In the MMORPG Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, players must speak the phrase "Utaalk Ataraav Utkin" as a secret password to gain admission to Riftseeker's Torrent.
    • In the MMORPGCyber Citizens, the phrase was uttered by the President of that cyberverse, Dibzannia, in a discussion of the Pontifical Swiss Guard of the Cyber Citizens Catholic Church.
    • In a DragonFable quest, you can get one of three helms that are named 'Klatu's Skullhelm', 'Baradaa's Skullhelm', and 'Nickto's Skullhelm'.
    • A character in DragonFable is known as Klatu Klatu, Baradaa and Nickto are three Necromancer brothers who founded Necromancer University, with Klatu being the youngest brother, Baradaa the middle brother, and Nickto the eldest brother.


    • The web browser Mozilla Firefox 3 uses the phrase as the title of the page about:robots.
    • The web browser Orca uses the phrase as the title of the page about:robots but also in about:blank
    • On the December 23rd episode of Car Talk, a caller was asking about a mysterious flash of light in her Ford Explorer and was jokingly asked if she had heard the famous phrase when the flash happened.
    • The June 7, 1994 edition of the defunct supermarket tabloid Weekly World News reported that 12 U.S. Senators were aliens from other planets. The Associated Press ran a follow-up piece which confirmed the tongue-in-cheek participation of Senate offices in the story. Senator Alan Simpson's (R-WY) then-spokesman Charles Pelkey, when asked about Simpson's galactic origins, told the AP: "We've got only one thing to say: Klaatu barada nikto."
    • Jan 15, 2008, economist Richard Daughty choose to title his editorial "Klaatu barada nikto" in reference to the monster that he asserts the US economy and its "management" by the US government and Federal Reserve has become.
    • In the "Thirteen Moon Peace Calendar White Lunar Wizard Year" pocket 13 Moon calendar distributed by the Jose Arguelles-connected Foundation For The Law of Time, the final line of the "Prayer of the Seven Galactic Directions" on page 1 ends with the incorrectly spelled "KLATU BARADA NIKTO!" and translates this as "The Galactic Federation Comes in Peace".
    • The open source web server scanner Nikto derives its name from the phrase


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