From Our Listeners

Correction: 'Stinking Badges' and Movies

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

It turns out that when we cited a famous movie line, we neglected a predecessor to Blazing Saddles.


So Madeleine, I hate to bring this up.



SMITH: But we got a bunch of e-mails yesterday, taking issue with something we said in yesterday's show.

BRAND: I know. I think it's the most amount of mail we have ever received on this program, or at least it seemed that way. In - it was a story about honorary police badges and we quoted the line, badges, we don't need no stinking badges.

And I think I said it came from the movie "Blazing Saddles."

SMITH: And while that's technically correct, we did ignore the phrase's rich cinematic history. Stinking badges came from a 1927 book, "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre." And 21 years later it appeared in the movie version with Humphrey Bogart.

(Soundbite of movie, "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre")

Mr. HUMPHREY BOGART (Actor): (As Fred Dobbs) If you're the police, where are your badges?

Mr. ALFONSO BEDOYA (Actor): (As Gold Hat) Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges. I don't have to show you any stinking badges.

BRAND: And in 1974, Mel Brooks used a shorter version of the line in "Blazing Saddles."

(Soundbite of movie, "Blazing Saddles")

Unidentified Man (Actor): (As Bandit) Badges? We don't need no stinking badges.

SMITH: And that's the form that became pop culture gold. On TV, all you have to do is place the word stinking in front of a noun and it brings the funny. John Belushi used it on "Saturday Night Live" as a trick-or-treating bee.

(Soundbite of show, "Saturday Night Live")

Unidentified Man (Actor): (As character) Here's some candy and who has the Unicef box?

Mr. BELUSHI: (As Gigantic Bee) We don't have no stinking Unicef. We are the killer bees!

(Soundbite of applause)

BRAND: And to all those people who wrote in demanding we apologize for the error, forget it.

SMITH: Corrections? We don't need no stinking corrections.

BRAND: You did it. You said it. It's so over.

SMITH: Okay, we won't use it anymore.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.

Related NPR Stories



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from