My Cousin Vinny

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My Cousin Vinny is a 1992 film about a street-smart but inexperienced lawyer from Brooklyn defending his cousin in a murder case in Alabama.

Directed by Jonathan Lynn. Written by Dale Launer.
A Comedy Of Trial And ErrorTaglines


Mona Lisa: What?
Vinny: Nothing, you stick out like a sore thumb around here.
Mona Lisa: Me? What about you?
Vinny: I fit in better than you. At least I'm wearing cowboy boots.
Mona Lisa: Oh, yeah, you blend.

Guard: Here. Got somebody for you. (Vinny slips guard a 'tip', and enters the cell)
Vinny: You must be Stan, how you doin.
Stan: Why'd they bring you in here?
Vinny: Well I just got in. I asked where the new guys were, and they brought me in here. Hey, sleeping, huh? Cute little guy. You know, maybe I should start with you. Let him sleep a little bit.
Stan: I don't wanna do this.
Vinny: Hey, I don't blame you. If I was in your situation, I'd want to get through this whole thing as quickly, and with as little pain as possible. So, you know, let's try our best to make this a simple, in-and-out procedure. What's the matter? Hey relax, relax. You know, maybe we should spend a couple minutes together. You know, to get acquainted before we uh, you know, before we get to it. What's wrong with you?
Stan: I don't wanna do this.
Vinny: I understand, but you know, what are your alternatives?
Stan: My alternatives? To what, to you? I don't know, suicide, death...
Vinny: Look, it's either me or them. You're getting fucked one way or the other. (Stan tries to get up) Hey, lighten up. Don't worry, I'm gonna help you.
Stan: Gee, thanks.
Vinny: Excuse me, but I think a modicum of gratitude would not be out of line here.
Stan: You think I should be grateful?
Vinny: Yeah, it's your ass, not mine. I think you should be grateful. I think you should be down on your fucking knees.
Stan: I'm sorry I didn't know it was such an honor to get a visit from you.
Vinny: Hey I'm doing a favor here, you know. You're getting me for nothing, you little fuck.
Stan: Boy, that's one hell of an ego you got.
Vinny: What the fuck is your problem? I did not come down here just to get jerked off.
Stan: No. No, no. I'm not jerking you off. I'm not doing anything.
Vinny: That's it. You're on your own. I'll just take care of Sleeping Beauty.
[Wakes up Bill]
Bill: Vinny. Vinny, bag o' donuts.

Vinny: Is that a drip I hear?
Mona Lisa: Yeah.
Vinny: Weren't you the last one to use the bathroom?
Mona Lisa: So?
Vinny: Well, did you use the faucet?
Mona Lisa: Yeah.
Vinny: Why didn't you turn it off?
Mona Lisa: I did turn it off.
Vinny: Well, if you turned it off, why am I listening to it?
Mona Lisa: Did it ever occur to you that it could be turned off and drip at the same time?
Vinny: No, because if you turned it off, it wouldn't drip.
Mona Lisa: Maybe it's broken.
Vinny: Is that what you're saying? It's broken?
Mona Lisa: Yeah, that's it; it's broken.
Vinny: You sure?
Mona Lisa: I'm positive.
Vinny: Maybe you didn't twist it hard enough.
Mona Lisa: I twisted it just right.
Vinny: How can you be so sure?
Mona Lisa: If you will look in the manual, you will see that this particular model faucet requires a range of 10-16 foot pounds of torque. I routinely twist the maximum allowable torquage.
Vinny: How can you be sure you used 16 foot pounds of torque?
Mona Lisa: Because I used a Craftsman model 1019 Laboratory edition, signature series torque wrench. The kind used by Cal Tech High Energy physicists, and NASA engineers.
Vinny: In that case, how can you be sure that's accurate?
Mona Lisa: Because a split second before the torque wrench was applied to the faucet handle, it had been calibrated by top members of the state and federal Departments of Weights and Measures, to be dead-on balls accurate. Here's the certificate of validation.
Vinny: "Dead-on balls accurate"?
Mona Lisa: It's an industry term.
Vinny: I guess the fucking thing is broken.

Vinny: My clients were caught completely by surprise. They thought they were getting arrested for shoplifting a can of tuna.
Judge Haller: What are you telling me? That they plead not guilty?
Vinny: No. I'm just trying to explain.
Judge Haller: I don't want to hear explanations. The state of Alabama has a procedure. And that procedure is to have an arraignment. Are we clear on this?
Vinny: Yes, but there seems to be a great deal of confusion here. You see, my clients--
Judge Haller: Uh, Mr. Gambini? (motions for him to approach the bench) All I ask from you is a very simple answer to a very simple question. There are only two ways to answer it: guilty or not guilty.
Vinny: But your honor, my clients didn't do anything.
Judge Haller: Once again, the communication process is broken down. It appears to me that you want to skip the arraignment process, go directly to trial, skip that, and get a dismissal. Well, I'm not about to revamp the entire judicial process just because you find yourself in the unique position of defending clients who say they didn't do it. The next words out of your mouth better be "guilty" or "not guilty." I don't want to hear commentary, argument, or opinion. If I hear anything other than "guilty" or "not guilty", you'll be in contempt. I don't even want to hear you clear your throat. Now, (enunciating) how do your clients plead?
Vinny: (enunciating) I think I get the point.
Judge Haller: No, I don't think you do. You're now in contempt of court. Would you like to go for two counts of contempt?
Vinny: Not guilty.
Judge Haller: Thank you.

Stan: Why didn't you ask them any questions?!
Vinny: Questions? Ask who questions?
Bill: You knew you could ask questions, didn't you Vin?
Stan: Maybe if you put up some kind of a fight, you could have gotten the case thrown out!
Vinny: Hey, Stan. You're in Ala-fuckin-bama. You come from New York. You killed a good old boy. There is NO WAY this is not going to trial.

Vinny: Look, maybe I could have handled the preliminary a little better, okay? I admit it. But what's most important is winning the case. I could do it. I really could. Let me tell you how, okay? The D.A.'s got to build a case. Building a case is like building a house. Each piece of evidence is just another building block. He wants to make a brick bunker of a building. He wants to use serious, solid-looking bricks, like, like these, right? (puts his hand on the wall)
Bill: Right.
Vinny: Let me show you something. (he holds up a playing card, the ace of spades, with the face toward Billy) He's going to show you the bricks. He'll show you they got straight sides. He'll show you how they got the right shape. He'll show them to you in a very special way, so that they appear to have everything a brick should have. But there's one thing he's not gonna show you. (turns the card, so that its edge is toward Billy.) When you look at the bricks from the right angle, they're as thin as this playing card. His whole case is an illusion, a magic trick. It has to be an illusion,(Flips the card back over to show a Joker) 'cause you're innocent. Nobody, I mean nobody, pulls the wool over the eyes of a Gambini, especially this one. Give me a chance, one chance. Let me question the first witness. If after that point, you don't think that I'm the best man for the job, fire me then and there. I'll leave quietly, no grudges. All I ask is for that one chance. I think you should give it to me.

[Vinny has just slept through the prosecutor's opening statement and is asked to give his]
Vinny: Uh, everything that guy just said is bullshit. Thank you.
Jim Trotter: Objection, Your Honor, counsel's entire opening statement is argument.
Judge Haller: Objection sustained. Counsel's entire opening statement, with the exception of "thank you," will be stricken from the record.

[Vinny is cross-examining a prosecution witness]
Vinny: Is it possible the two defendants entered the store, picked 22 specific items off of the shelves, had the clerk take money, make change, then leave... Then two different men drive up in a similar - [sees Tipton is already shaking his head] Don't shake your head. I'm not done yet. Wait till you hear the whole thing so you can understand this now... [continues] Two different men drive up in a similar looking car, go in, shoot the clerk, rob him, and then leave?
Tipton: No. They didn't have enough time.
Vinny: Well, how much time was they in the store?
Tipton: Five minutes.
Vinny: Five minutes? Are you sure? Did you look at your watch?
Tipton: No.
Vinny: Oh, oh, oh, I'm sorry. You testified earlier that the boys went into the store, and you had just begun to make breakfast. You were just ready to eat, and you heard a gunshot. That's right. I'm sorry. So obviously, it takes you five minutes to make breakfast.
Tipton: That's right.
Vinny: So you knew that. Uh, do you remember what you had?
Tipton: Eggs and grits.
Vinny: Eggs and grits. I like grits too. How do you like your grits? You like 'em regular, creamy or al dente?
Tipton: Just regular, I guess.
Vinny: Regular. Instant grits?
Tipton: [chuckles] No self-respecting Southerner uses instant grits. I take pride in my grits.
Vinny: [Walks over to Jury, as he prepares his next question] So, Mr. Tipton. How could it take you five minutes to cook your grits, when it takes the entire grit-eating world twenty minutes?
[Tipton falls silent for a moment. Mona Lisa smiles excitedly, and the entire courthouse stares at Tipton apprehensively, realising Vinny has him stumped]
Tipton: [nervously] I dunno. I'm a fast cook, I guess.
Vinny: I'm sorry, I was all the way over here. I couldn't hear you. Did you just say you're a fast cook? That's it!? Are we to believe that boiling water soaks into a grit... faster in your kitchen... than on any place on the face of the Earth!?
Tipton: [faltering] I don't know.
Vinny: Well, perhaps the laws of physics cease to exist on your stove! Were these magic grits? I mean, did you buy them from the same guy who sold Jack his beanstalk beans!?
D.A Trotter: Objection, your honour.
Justice Haller: Objection sustained. You can ignore the question, Mr. Tipton.
Vinny: [advancing on Tipton] You sure about five minutes ?
Tipton: I don't know.
Vinny: Are you sure about that five minutes?
Tipton: I don't know!
Justice Haller: [banging his gavel repeatedly] I think you made your point.
Tipton: [embarrassed] I may have been mistaken.
Vinny: I got no more use for this guy.
[Justice Haller looks shocked by the exchange, while Mona Lisa gives Vinny a proud look, and someone in the public gallery applauds. Stan turns to his public defender]
Stan: You're fired. [gets up and points at Vinny] I want him!

[Vinny is trying to dress properly for a hunting trip]
Vinny: What about these pants I got on? You think they're okay? Ho!
Mona Lisa: Imagine you're a deer. You're prancing along. You get thirsty. You spot a little brook. You put your little deer lips down to the cool clear water...bam! A fucking bullet rips off part of your head! Your brains are laying on the ground in little bloody pieces! Now, I ask ya, would you give a fuck what kind of pants the son-of-a-bitch who shot you was wearing?!

Vinny: Hey, Vincent LaGuardia Gambini--
Lisa: His name's J.T.
Vinny: J.T., I believe you and Lisa played a game of pool for two hundred dollars, which she won; I'm here to collect.
J.T.: How 'bout if I just kick your ass?
Vinny: Oh, a counteroffer. That's what we lawyers, I'm a lawyer, call that a counteroffer. Let me see, this is a tough decision you're giving me here. Get my ass kicked or collect two hundred dollars. Hmm, let me think. I could use a good ass kicking, I'll be very honest with you. Nah, I think I'll just go with the two hundred.
[The people in the room laugh]
J.T.: Over my dead body.
Vinny: You like to renegotiate as you go along, huh? Okay then, here's my counteroffer: do I have to kill you? What if I were just to kick the ever-loving shit out of you?
J.T.: In your dreams.
Vinny: Oh, no, no, in reality. If I was to kick the shit outta ya, do I get the money?
JT: (contemplates this) If you kick the shit outta me...
Vinny: Yeah?
J.T.: ...then you get the money.
[Some people weakly laugh. Vinny looks at a guy who's in a neck brace.]
Vinny: What happened? Rear-ended?
Guy: No, I fell.
Vinny: Oh. Okay, lets see if we agree on the terms. The choice now is: I get my ass kicked, or, option B: I kick your ass, and collect the $200. I'm goin with option B, (takes his coat off) kicking your ass and collectin' two-hundred dollars.
J.T.: Are we gonna fight now?
Vinny: Yeah, first let me see the money.
J.T.: I have the money.
Vinny: All right, show it to me.
J.T.: I can get it.
Vinny: You can get it? All right, go get it. Then we'll fight.

Vinny: What's the matter with you?
Mona Lisa: I don't know.
Vinny: You're acting like you're nervous or something.
Mona Lisa: Well, yeah, I am.
Vinny: What are you nervous about? I'm the one that's under the gun here. Trial starts tomorrow.
Mona Lisa: You wanna know what I'm nervous about? I'll tell you what I'm nervous about. I am in the dark here with all this legal crap. I have no idea what's going on. All I know is that you're screwing up and I can't help.
Vinny: You left me a little camera, didn't you?
Mona Lisa: Oh, Vinny! I'm watching you go down in flames, and you're bringing me with you, and I can't do anything about it!
Vinny: And?
Mona Lisa: Well, I hate to bring it up because I know you've got enough pressure on you already. But, we agreed to get married as soon as you won your first case. Meanwhile, ten years later, my niece, the daughter of my sister is getting married. My biological clock is (stamps foot three times) ticking like this, and the way this case is going, I ain't never getting married!
Vinny: Lisa, I don't need this. I swear to God, I do not need this right now, okay? I've got a judge that's just aching to throw me in jail, an idiot who wants to fight me for two hundred dollars, slaughtered pigs, giant loud whistles. I ain't slept in five days. I got no money, a dress code problem, and a little murder case which, in the balance, holds the lives of two innocent kids, not to mention your (stamps foot three times) biological clock; my career, your life, our marriage, and let me see, what else can we pile on? Is there any more shit we can pile on to the top of the outcome of this case?! (Stares upward to indicate him thinking of anything else) Is it possible?! (looks up again)
Mona Lisa: Maybe it was a bad time to bring it up.

Vinny: Is it possible that the two youts--
Judge Haller: Uh, the two what? Uh, uh, what was that word?
Vinny: Uh, what word?
Judge Haller: Two what?
Vinny: What?
Judge Haller: Did you say "yutes"?
Vinny: Yeah, two youts.
Judge Haller: What is a yute?
Vinny: Oh, excuse me, Your Honor, two youths.

Judge Haller: You're a dead man.
Vinny: I'm a dead man?
Judge Haller: That's right. I just faxed the clerk of New York and asked him what he knew about Jerry Gallo and do you want to know what he replied?
Vinny: Did you just say Gallo?
Judge Haller: Yes, I did.
Vinny: Gallo with a G?
Judge Haller: That's right.
Vinny: Jerry Gallo's dead!
Judge Haller: [hold up fax] I'm aware of that!
Vinny: Well I'm not Jerry Gallo! I'm Jerry C-allo! "C-A-LLO"
Judge Haller: Alright. Let's get this cleared up right now.

[picks up phone, dials] Hello. This is Judge Chamberlain Haller. Can I speak to the clerk? OK, I'll be here.

Judge Haller: [hangs up, returns to Vinny] He's going to call back after 3. Which gives you a "stay of execution". Unless, by some miracle you happen to win this case in the next 90 minutes. Why don't you go to lunch.

Vinny: Ms. Vito, you're supposed to be some kinda expert in automobiles, is that correct? Is that correct?
Judge Haller: Would you please answer the counselor's question?
Lisa: No, I hate him.
Vinny: Your Honor, may I ask your permission to treat Ms Veto as a hostile witness?
Mona Lisa: You think I'm hostile now? Wait till you see me tonight.
Judge Haller: Do you two know each other?
Vinny: Yeah, she's my fiancée.
Judge Haller: Well, that would certainly explain the hostility.

Vinny: What the hell was that all about back there?
Lisa: I had a friend send a fax to the judge, confirming the very impressive legal stature of Jerry C-allo!
Vinny: What friends you got in the clerks office?
Lisa: Your friend.
Vinny: My friend?
Lisa: Judge Malloy.

[pause] So what's your problem?

Vinny: My problem is, I wanted to win my first case without any help from anybody.
Lisa: Well, I guess that plan's moot.
Vinny: Yeah.
Lisa: You know, this could be a sign of things to come. You win all your cases, but with somebody else's help. Right? You win case, after case, - and then afterwards, you have to go up somebody and you have to say- "thank you"! Oh my God, what a fuckin' nightmare!

Judge Haller: Mr. Gambini, didn't I tell you that the next time you appear in my court that you dress appropriately?
Vinny: You were serious about that?

Vinny: Does that freight train come through here at 5:00 A.M. every morning?
Hotel Clerk: No, sir, it's very unusual.
Vinny: [the next day, after Vinny was awakened by the train] Yesterday you told me that freight train hardly ever comes through here at 5:00 A.M. in the morning.
Hotel Clerk: I know. She's supposed to come through at ten after 4:00.

Jim Trotter: Now, uh, Ms. Vito, being an expert on general automotive knowledge, can you tell me... what would the correct ignition timing be on a 1955 Bel Air Chevrolet, with a 327 cubic-inch engine and a four-barrel carburetor?
Mona Lisa: (scoffing) That's a bullshit question.
Jim Trotter: Does that mean that you can't answer it?
Mona Lisa: It's a bullshit question, it's impossible to answer.
Jim Trotter: Impossible because you don't know the answer!
Mona Lisa: Nobody could answer that question!
Jim Trotter: Your Honor, I move to disqualify Ms. Vito as an "expert witness"!
Judge Haller: Can you answer the question?
Mona Lisa: No, it is a trick question!
Judge Haller: Why is it a trick question?
Vinny: (to Bill) Watch this.
Mona Lisa: 'Cause Chevy didn't make a 327 in '55, the 327 didn't come out till '62. And it wasn't offered in the Bel Air with a four-barrel carb till '64. However, in 1964, the correct ignition timing would be four degrees before top-dead-center. [Vinny sits back, contently crossing his arms]
Jim Trotter: Well... um... she's acceptable, Your Honor.


  • A Comedy Of Trial And Error
  • There have been many courtroom dramas that have glorified The Great American Legal System. This is not one of them.


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