My Cousin Vinny hit theaters on March 13, 1992. It would go on to gross a respectable $52.9 million at the box office. However, the comedy took on a life of its own thanks to film rentals and countless airings on cable.
The film was anchored by outstanding performances from Joe Pesci as the titular Vinny Gambini. He is called upon by his cousin Bill (Ralph Macchio) to represent him and his friend, Stan (Mitchell Whitfield), in a trial for a murder they did not commit. Initially, when questioned by police, Macchio’s character thinks he and his friend are being arrested for accidentally stealing a can of tuna from a convenience store. The can of tuna and Bill’s questioning of “I shot the clerk?” is still something that sticks with fans today.
Macchio shared in a retrospective piece on My Cousin Vinny for Rolling Stone that he has signed many cans of tuna for over the years. He recalled one fan interaction involving a can of tuna, “He said to me, “Can you sign it, ‘I Shot the Clerk.'” I said, ‘Only if I can put a question mark at the end of it.'”
My Cousin Vinny would also see standout performances from character actor Lane Smith, who played district attorney Jim Trotter III. The comedy saw Fred Gwynne in his final film role before his death as Judge Chamberlain Haller.
However, the breakout star of the film was Marisa Tomei as Mona Lisa Vito, the girlfriend of Pesci’s Vinny. Her performance would go on to win Tomei an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Tomei’s performance is so iconic it led to a hilarious NSFW scene in the 2022 film Fire Island. (You can watch that scene here, but again, NSFW language ahead.)
For fans, the film is endlessly quotable. Here are just 15 hilarious My Cousin Vinny quotes from the iconic comedy. (Honestly, we could’ve included more, but we exercised restraint.)