What’s the actual wording? “A man’s got to know his limitations”

Do you remember the line from the old Dirty Harry movie about a man knowing his limitations?

a good man knows his limitations

 

 

 

I’ve had discussions with lots of mates about what the actual words are.

 

Is it “a good man” or “a man”?

 

Is it: “always knows his limitations” or “man’s got to know his limitations”?

 

Nerdvana

 

 

Anyway, being a real “pop culture nerd”  and “movie line nerd” I’ve researched this  – just in case you ever need to debate what the real words are.

The line is from the 1973 movie Magnum Force where Dirty Harry takes on vigilante cops.

 

His boss tries to keep him off the case – and regards Harry as a risk to society and a risk to proper police and justice procedure.

 

He tells Harry that he (the boss) has never had to take his gun out of his holster.

 

Harry replies with an insult wrapped inside a compliment.

 

“You’re a good man lieutenant. A good man always knows his limitations.”

 

At the end of the movie,  in another confrontation the lieutenant pulls a gun on Harry. Instead of killing Harry, the lieutenant decides to prosecute him.

 

The lieutenant drives off  and his car explodes – and Harry says:

 

A man’s got to know his limitations.

 

So, there are two versions of the line:

 

A man’s got to know his limitations.

 

AND

 

A good man always knows his limitations.

 

————

 

 

 

 

 

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