Stinking badges

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"Badges? We don't need no stinkin' badges!" is a well-known, widely quoted (and often misquoted) line from cinematic history.[1] In 2005, it was chosen as #36 on the American Film Institute list, AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes.[2] It comes from a line of dialogue from a novel, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1927) and first appeared in film 21 years later in a movie of the same name, in both cases in a longer form than the one that eventually became popular. The line, in its more popular and abridged form, was parodied in an episode of The Monkees TV show, called "It's a Nice Place to Visit" (1967), in the Mel Brooks film Blazing Saddles (1974), and in many other movies.


The original version of the line appeared in B. Traven's novel The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1927):

"All right," Curtin shouted back. "If you are the police, where are your badges? Let's see them."

"Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don't need badges. I don't have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabrón and chinga tu madre!"

The line was popularized by John Huston's 1948 film adaptation of the novel, which was bowdlerized to meet Hays Code regulations severely limiting profanity in film.[3] In one scene, a Mexican bandit leader named "Gold Hat"[4] (portrayed by Alfonso Bedoya) tries to convince Fred C. Dobbs (Humphrey Bogart)[2] that he and his company are Federales:

Dobbs: "If you're the police, then where are your badges?"
Gold Hat: "Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges. I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges!"

Both a 1967 episode of The Monkees and Mel Brooks' 1974 Western Blazing Saddles misquoted the line as "Badges? We don't need no stinking badges.", and it is this version of the phrase that went on to be quoted, paraphrased, and parodied in a variety of subsequent media.

The song "Medicine Show" (1985) by Big Audio Dynamite sampled the quote by Alfonso Bedoya from the film The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. The song prominently featured quotes sampled from other westerns as well, including several by or making reference to the Eli Wallach character Tuco from the film The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. This association — as well as the similarity of voice and accent employed by both actors in their respective bandito roles — reinforces the common misperception that Wallach delivered the famous line.


  1. ^ Hal Erickson (2010). "Alfonso Bedoya Movies". Blockbuster. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  2. ^ a b "AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes". USA Today. 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  3. ^ "Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The (1948)". 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-21. 
  4. ^ Hal Erickson (2010). "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)". Blockbuster. Retrieved 2010-04-21. 

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