View Full Version : Using Movie Quotes in Context

03-05-2012, 06:00 AM
My main character is a big time movie buff and frequently references and quotes famous movies - its the latter that concerns me. I'm not sure how far fair use extends and hoping someone here might be more informed than I am.

Looking back over the MS, she uses six different quotes in all, pulled from movies from a variety of eras. ('Show me the money' - Jerry Maguire, 'You can't handle the truth' - A Few Good Men, 'Come with me if you want to live' - Terminator, 'My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father, prepare to die' - The Princess Bride, and 'Live fast, die young, and leave a beautiful corpse.' - Knock on Any Door. Oh, and 'I'm Batman', but that's self-explanatory).

My MC says each of these quotes directly, but there is ZERO attempt made to pass it off as my own dialogue. The text always immediately clarifies either through her dialogue or internal thoughts that she's quoting a movie, and which one. Altogether, the quotes account for forty words out of a roughly 80K manuscript, with the longest quote still being only twelve words. Also, none of them are exactly obscure quotes, they're all from famous movies or cult classics and have made it into the pop culture lexicon. Additionally, The Princess Bride and Knock On Any Door of course were books before they were movies, so not sure if that changes things. And none of them are exactly new movies.

So are my bases as covered as they can be, or should I still be operating under the assumption that to publish as is I would still have to work out some kind of agreement with the rights holder of each property?

03-05-2012, 06:14 AM
Premeditated has a guy who does the same thing (only with more obscure movies). No one's mentioned any problems with the set-up (at least not yet). And considering your quotes are all of the sort people actually use in daily conversation, I doubt there's a problem with one line here or there, so long as the origin is obvious.

03-05-2012, 06:19 AM
Awesome! I thought as long as they were treated as pop culture references there'd be no problem, but you can never be too safe. Thanks Cyia!