100 Greatest Scenes Number 14: “That’s not a Knife!”

Views from the Sofa’s 100 Greatest Scenes is a list of the 100 greatest moments in the movies. This could be long introductions, moments of action or great dialogue between characters. The scenes are in no particular order and come from many different types of movies.

There are so many different moments in Crocodile Dundee which demonstrate the clash between the American and Australian culture but few do as memorable a job as this scene. It is the epitome of Crocodile Dundee, showing everything the movie is about in only a short, three minute scene, but it is so effective that is usually the one scene people can quote, even if they haven’t seen the movie.

Greatest Scene Number 14: Crocodile Dundee – “That’s not a Knife!”

The scene starts so innocently and demonstrates the friendly, trusting and decent nature of Paul Hogan’s Mick Dundee. When the mugger asks for a light, Mick doesn’t think twice to oblige but you can see the initial mistrust on Linda Kozlowski’s face. Of course, she is right to be mistrustful and the now iconic exchange occurs.

It is also a great showcase for the charm and confidence that makes Crocodile Dundee such a great character. Kozlowski’s Sue tells Mick to “give him your wallet” but Dundee is never fazed. He just wryly smiles and with that excellent Australian twang, delivers the killer line: “That’s not a knife. That’s a knife!”

The mugger dressed in classic 80s garb helps sell the scene

You can tell Hogan has a background in comedy because the timing of the delivery is great. It works because of the knife reveal and then the cutting-up of the young man’s jacket. At no time is there any real danger, menace or malice in what Dundee is doing. In fact, he even finishes the moment with “Just kids havin’ a laugh.” Anyone else would be terrified, Dundee sees the innocence in it all.

It is easy to forget that Paul Hogan wrote the movie and although the ending doesn’t quite live up to the central joke, the small exchange between Mick Dundee and Sue is a sweet one, with her giving in to her attraction which has been simmering for the whole movie so far.

No comparison

It isn’t about the love story. Nobody would be able to tell you how this scene really ended. They just remember the line that is oft quoted at Hogan and has been parodied hundreds of times since (including very well by The Simpsons below).

Overall, this scene is the most memorable from all three of the Crocodile Dundee movies and is a great summation of the character. It shows his charm, his comedy, his naivety but also his brawn as he dispatches three muggers with just one killer, oft quoted, line.

 

 

 

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