Matthew McConaughey’s “All Right, All Right, All Right”

Photo: Rick Kern (Getty Images)

When he first started his acting career, Matthew McConaughey didn’t really take himself all that seriously. Then again, why would he? He mostly took the roles of hot guys on a quest to save the world or love interests of a female protagonist in sappy romantic comedies. It’s a good life, but McConaughey obviously wanted something more, which is why he started taking on more and more demanding roles, eventually leading him to his first ever Oscar. Now, besides his brilliant acting, people also got to know him for his distinct Southern relaxed attitudes and catchphrases that overpassed him in popularity like the famous “All Right, All Right, All Right.” You’ve probably heard that somewhere before, but do you know how it came to be?

Dazed and Confused

It might come as a surprise to you that Matthew McConaughey actually started his film career in 1993 when he appeared in Richard Linklater‘s Dazed and Confused. He played Wooderson, a fun-loving stoner who still hangs out with high school students because he doesn’t want to grow up, basically. One of his most memorable lines from the film that clearly define him is “That’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.” Considering how naturally he carried out this role, it’s hard to imagine that this is his first on-screen appearance ever. It is in that very first scene he appears in that he said his famous “All right, all right, all right.”

Origin of the Phrase

Obviously, whenever McConaughey does an interview for a movie or a show, he gets asked about the origin of this phrase and, somehow, he never gets tired of telling the story. It happened as he was getting ready to shoot his first scene ever for Dazed and Confused. He was sitting in the car and the radio was playing a live recording of a Doors concert. At one point, Jim Morrisson exclaimed “All right, all right, all right, all right,” and it got Matthew thinking. He was driving a cool car, listening to some exceptional music and there were hot girls everywhere, so when the camera started rolling he just said one “all right” for each of those blessings and a legendary line was born.

Later Usage

Though he might have snuck a couple of “all rights” into his later films, it is mostly on live talk shows and interviews that he gladly repeats the phrase to get the audience going. Oddly enough, he also used the phrase in his amazingly touching Oscar speech in 2014 showing just what a classic he’s become. By the way, he earned his Oscar for a magnificent performance in Dallas Buyers Club where he played Ron Woodroof, a straight man in the 80s diagnosed with AIDS, who smuggled in untested medications from Mexico to treat both himself and other people who needed help, forming the so-called Dallas Buyers Club. Considering he lost 47 pounds for the role and became a hauntingly skinny figure, it’s only natural that he should earn an Oscar.

Bonus Spelling Lesson

By the way, if you’re a fan of the phrase, you might as well know how to spell it properly. This is not something that will save your life (probably unless there are some angry grammar Nazis around), but it doesn’t hurt to know. So, you might be accustomed to writing “alright” as one word, but that’s grammatically incorrect and can be only informal, on a day-to-day basis. The proper way to write the word is “all right,” and it is the only officially recognized form. Therefore, when someone asks you in the future to write down your favorite phrase from a movie, you won’t write “alright, alright, alright,” but “all right, all right, all right.” As they say, God is in the detail.

Not including the “all right, all right, all right,” what is you favorite movie quote ever? Let us know in the comment section below.