AMC Network Entertainment LLC

This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.

The Ubiquitous Scream of Wilhelm

What do every Star Wars movie and every Indiana Jones movie have in common with the Judy Garland A Star is Born, Them!, The Passion of the Christ, X-Men, The Fantastic Four, John Ford’s Sergeant Rutledge, and about 120 other movies?

Check it out, then get back to us after the jump:

As reported by ABC News, it’s a sound effect called the Wilhelm Scream, and it’s been showing up in movies since 1951, when it was first recorded for the Gary Cooper western Distant Drums. Its popularity really took off when sound designer Ben Burtt found it while working on the first Star Wars movie in 1977. He went on to use it in many other films he worked on, and it became an in-joke with other sound engineers, who started using it in other films. You’re almost certain to hear it in movies made by real film geeks, like Quentin Tarantino, Joe Dante, and the Pixar Studio.

And who was the original voice of “Wilhelm” (named after the character who uttered it, while being eaten by a crocodile)? Evidence point to none other than Sheb Wooley, veteran character and country singer best known for his 1959 sci-fi novelty song “The Flying Purple People Eater.”

Wanna know more? Look at this clip—but you’ll never be able to watch another sci-fi adventure without listening for Wilhelm!

Read More