Rock Dirt

Rock Dirt

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.'”

RELATED: Ben Stiller 'Tanked' Audition for 'My Cousin Vinny', Says It Still 'Haunts' Him

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.)

  • 'Oh, yeah. You blend.'

    Ah yes, because Vinny’s cowboy boots will help him fit in in Alabama. This is one of many instances we side with Mona Lisa Vito throughout the movie.

  • 'You're in Ala-f---in'-bama. You come from New York. You killed a good ol' boy. There is no way this is not going to trial!'

    Vinny has a point here. Fortunately, he more than redeems himself by the end of the film.

  • 'It's got protein! We need protein!'

    The fact that this has led to Ralph Macchio signing countless cans of tuna over the years is priceless. Plus, his character Bill was well ahead of the curve on the importance of protein in one’s diet.

  • 'Breakfast?'

    Honestly, this whole scene just makes us hungry for grits. No, we’re not talking about instant grits either.

  • 'Now, Mrs. Riley...and only Mrs. Riley...'

    The interaction between Joe Pesci and Fred Gwynne in this scene is simply perfection. It’s truly a masterclass in line delivery and facial expressions.

  • 'What is a 'Yute'?'

    The word “youths” has never been the same after My Cousin Vinny. Of course, it would take another turn thanks to Schmidt (Max Greenfield) on New Girl, but that’s another list for another day.

  • 'Now I ask ya: Would you give a f--- what kind of pants the son of a b---- who shot you was wearing?'

    This monologue alone made Marisa Tomei an Oscar contender. It’s perfectly delivered and certainly makes you think twice about deer hunting season.

  • 'I could use an a good ---kicking; I'll be very honest with you.'

    Joe Pesci should teach a class called “Smart Ass-ery 101.” Put it online and charge a fee. It’s definitely a “Shut up and take my money!” opportunity.

  • 'You were serious about that?'

    Again, the polar opposite dynamic between Vinny and the Judge is one of the many hilarious parts of the movie. Also, “You were serious about that?” is a great comeback for a superior if you ever feel like getting in trouble, but still want to remain a badass.

  • 'So, it's either wear the leather jacket, which I know you hate, or this. So, I wore this ridiculous thing for you.'

    You have to give Vinny credit for trying to play by the rules, even though he faced a number of obstacles. Also, who hasn’t been in a situation where they were forced to wear something they hated?

  • 'Are you sure about that five minutes?!/I've got no more use for this guy.'

    A fast cook? Real grits take much longer than five minutes to cook. Any self-respecting Southerner knows that.

  • 'You got it honey! You did it! The case cracker: Me in the shower!'

    Repeat: Pesci needs to teach “Smart Ass-ery 101.” His line delivery here is just outstanding!

  • 'However, in 1964, the correct ignition timing would be four degrees before top-dead-center.'

    The misogynistic tone from D.A. Trotter takes a turn when Mona Lisa Vito absolutely schools him. Plus, the tone of her “However” gives the impression that she’s been questioned about her automotive knowledge by some ignorant man before. 10/10, no notes.

  • 'My biological clock is ticking like this!/Lisa, I don't need this...'

    The dueling dialog between Pesci and Tomei is incredible. Their chemistry is off the charts, and this scene alone shows that.

  • 'No, the defense is wrong!'

    And with this scene, Marisa Tomei became an icon. Plus, it’s another example of how well Fred Gwynne emotes throughout the entire movie.

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