"Go ahead, make my day" is a catchphrase written by Charles B. Pierce and spoken by the character Harry Callahan, played by Clint Eastwood, in the 1983 film Sudden Impact. In 2005, it was chosen as No. 6 on the American Film Institute list AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes.
|Go ahead, make my day|
|Character||"Dirty" Harry Callahan|
|First used in||Sudden Impact|
|Voted #6 in AFI's 100 Movie Quotes poll|
The phrase "make my day" had already been similarly uttered a year earlier in a lesser-known movie from 1982 titled Vice Squad. In that scene, a detective, Tom Walsh (Gary Swanson), while arresting a pimp named 'Ramrod' (Wings Hauser), puts his gun up to the side of Ramrod's mouth and says "Come on scumbag, make your move... and make my day!".
The phrase "go ahead, make my day" was written by Charles B. Pierce, an independent filmmaker who is credited with "story by" in the film Sudden Impact. The actual origins of the phrase came from Pierce's father Mack, who used to tell him as a child, "Just let me come home one more day, without you mowing that lawn, son just go ahead... make my day".
At the beginning of the movie, Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) goes into a diner for a morning cup of coffee where he discovers a robbery in progress. He kills all but one of the robbers in a shootout. However, the surviving robber grabs the fleeing waitress Loretta (Mara Corday), holds his gun to her head, and threatens to shoot. Instead of backing off, Harry points his .44 Magnum revolver into the man's face and dares him to shoot, saying with clenched teeth and in his characteristic rough grumble, "Go ahead, make my day,'" meaning that if the robber attempts to harm Loretta in any way, Harry would be happy to dispatch the robber. At the end of the film, Harry, again, says "Come on, make my day" just before shooting Mick the rapist, who aims his stolen shotgun at Harry's lover, Jennifer Spencer.
When speaking out against taxes at the 1985 American Business Conference, President Ronald Reagan, himself a former actor, stated "I have my veto pen drawn and ready for any tax increase that Congress might even think of sending up. And I have only one thing to say to the tax increasers. Go ahead—make my day."
The movie Sudden Impact became popular in Kenya in the early 1990s. Kenyan kids pronounced 'make my day' as "Makmende" probably due to influence of the local dialects. Over time, Makmende came to be used by children to refer to those who behaved in a conceited manner. In 2010, Makmende was turned into an Internet sensation all over Kenya's Internet community when Just a Band created a superhero character in the music video of their song "Ha He." The song Action by Finnish band LOVEX features the line in their song lyrics.
During his speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention, Eastwood ended by referencing the line. In February 2015, The Economist featured the headline "Go ahead, Angela, make my day" in reference to the European debt crisis.
"Stand-your-ground" statutes referring to a person's right to self-defense are sometimes referred to as "make my day" statutes.
An Italian version of the phrase, Coraggio... fatti ammazzare (more literally "go ahead, get yourself killed"), was also chosen as the title for the dubbed version of the film and has become a catchphrase in Italy as well.
- "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn", AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes, American Film Institute.
- "Quotes from "Vice Squad"".
- Hendricks, Nancy (September 7, 2010). "Charles Pierce (1938–2010)". Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Central Arkansas Library System. Retrieved October 26, 2010.
- "LRFF: Charles Pierce Makes My Day". Arkansas Times. May 17, 2008.
- Church, George J.; Sam Allis; Barrett Seaman (March 25, 1985). "Go Ahead – Make My Day". Time. Archived from the original on February 20, 2008. Retrieved June 18, 2012.
- "Ha-He". Music Video. Just a Band.
- Zuckerman, Ethan (March 24, 2010). "Makende's So Big He Can't Fit Into Wikipedia". "Makende's So Big He Can't Fit Into Wikipedia".
- Transcript: Clint Eastwood's Convention Remarks
- 23 Other States Have 'Stand Your Ground' Laws, Too ProPublica March 22, 2012.
-  (in Italian)