Go ahead, make my day

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Go ahead, make my day
Hollywood blvd Clint Eastwood.jpg
A concrete relief of a pair of Clint Eastwood's handprints and a writing of "You made my day" at the Hollywood Boulevard
Character"Dirty" Harry Callahan
ActorClint Eastwood
First used inSudden Impact
Voted #6 in AFI's 100 Movie Quotes poll

"Go ahead, make my day" is a catchphrase from the 1983 film Sudden Impact, spoken by the character Harry Callahan, played by Clint Eastwood. The iconic line was written by John Milius,[1] whose writing contributions to the film were uncredited, but has also been attributed to Charles B. Pierce, who wrote the film's story,[2] and to Joseph Stinson, who wrote the screenplay.[3] In 2005, it was chosen as No. 6 on the American Film Institute list AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes.[4]


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!".[5]

The phrase "go ahead, make my day" was written by John Milius. Charles B. Pierce, an independent filmmaker who is credited in the film Sudden Impact with "story by", would often claim credit for this line, going as far as to create a long-winded story about his father having said something similar in his youth. In actual fact, Pierce and fellow writer Earl E. Smith were only responsible for a much earlier script, originally written as a standalone vehicle for actress Sondra Locke. This treatment was subsequently over-hauled by writer Joseph Stinson. It was then re-written during production by John Milius, who was responsible for coining the famous catchphrase. This has been confirmed on several occasions by both Milius and actor/director Clint Eastwood.

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.


Country singer T.G. Sheppard recorded a novelty song with Eastwood titled "Make My Day" which featured Eastwood reciting the line.[6]

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."[7]

The song "Action" by Finnish band LOVEX features the line in its lyrics.

During his speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention, Eastwood ended by referencing the line.[8] 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.[9]


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.[10]


  1. ^ Segal, Gregg (March 2000). "Hollywood Signs". Los Angeles. p. 102. Retrieved July 31, 2022.
  2. ^ Cochran, Robert; McCray, Suzanne (2015). Lights! Camera! Arkansas! From Broncho Billy to Billy Bob Thornton. University of Arkansas Press. ISBN 9781557286727. Retrieved July 31, 2022.
  3. ^ Knowles, Elizabeth, ed. (1999). The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (5th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 311. ISBN 0198601735. Retrieved July 31, 2022.
  4. ^ "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn", AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes, American Film Institute.
  5. ^ "Quotes from "Vice Squad"". IMDb.
  6. ^ Carlin, Richard (2003). Country Music: A Biographical Dictionary. Abingdon, England: Routledge. p. 368. ISBN 9780415938020. Retrieved July 31, 2022.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Transcript: Clint Eastwood's Convention Remarks
  9. ^ 23 Other States Have 'Stand Your Ground' Laws, Too ProPublica March 22, 2012.
  10. ^ [1] (in Italian)

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