There are many great films that have a memorable protagonist or actor.
From the most iconic and perfect storm people like James Bond and Indiana Jones to more recent and deeper characters like Scarface’s Tony Montana, there are plenty of film heroes with desirable traits.
But one particular scene in film history has transcended all of these major players: Al Pacino’s “Hoo-ah” speech in the 1973 movie “Scent of a Woman”.
Here is why it was chosen as the best moment in film history.
Myth of the Hoo-ah
It all started with a famous line from fictional Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade. It’s said that in his time in service, his troops could always hear him coming from far away.
Not because of his boots or even due to the sound of his home-made wooden leg but rather, it’s because he would say “hoo-ah” as he approached.
As a result, it was eventually used by the troops to call out whenever something impressive happened that should be recognized by others.
For example, if a soldier hit a particularly difficult target or if someone performed an outstanding act of heroism on the battlefield, they call out “hoo-ah!”.
From then on, the Hoo-ah became a national phenomenon that was adopted by the American military.
What is “Scent of a Woman”?
A film released in 1992, “Scent of a Woman” starred Al Pacino as Frank Slade, an aging former Army officer who is also blind. The film earned Pacino a Golden Globe for Best Actor and three Academy Awards. It chronicles the experiences of Slade after he was hired to tutor a young man named Charlie Simms, who’s in prep school but whose life is full of problems.
The film featured other notable actors and actresses like Chris O’Donnell, Philip Seymour Hoffman, James Rebhorn, John Wood and Gabrielle Anwar.
Moral of the Hoo-ah
As time passed by, the “Hoo-ah” call eventually found its way to pop culture.
It’s now used in different ways like when you’re trying to prove that you’ve accomplished something or to rally your followers in the workplace or even to answer direct questions that require a yes or no.
Hoo-ah has then transcended into different fields and is now used as a greeting among military members and fans of the “Al Pacino Hoo-ah” speech as well as non military personnel.
The Hoo-ah is now used in the movies, American Pie and Three Kings or even in hit songs by Jason Derulo and Lil Wayne.
Even gamers have adopted the Hoo-ah when trying to rally their teammates in the World of Warcraft PVP battlegrounds for example.
And then there’s Pacino himself who repeated parts of his famous line in several other films like “Scarface”, “Carlito’s Way”, “Bobby Deerfield” and many more.
Here is a complete list of films Pacino’s in where he used “Hoo-ah”!
But perhaps the greatest achievement of the Hoo-ah call is that it has started a new trend in movies and pop culture.
It’s been used several times since 1992 like in Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds”, “Sleeping Dogs Lie” by David Duchovny, “The Simpsons Movie” by Homer Simpson and even on Lip Sync Battle!
Why do we say Hoo-ah today?
And then there are the more subtle reasons why this Hoo-ah became so popular with its simplicity and strong sound effect.
Perhaps one of the most powerful reasons is that it has a lot in common with our national anthem “The Star Spangled Banner!”.
In fact, our national anthem is also based on a battle cry or battle cry of victory. One is the “Hoo-ah” and the other was “Hail Columbia.”
And both are very similar in their design and sound to one another. Maybe it’s because of this similarity that the Hoo-ah has become an important call for US military personnel and new recruits.
Hoo-ah, in film and culture today
As a result of this speech, Al Pacino has now made the Hoo-ah one of the most memorable lines in film history.
It’s a line that has transcended from our military to pop culture and is now used in movies, television shows and even video games!
One example is the “Al Pacino Hoo-ah!” joke on “The Simpsons”.
Here is a video uploaded by YouTube user TheFineCulture where he demonstrated how Al Pacino quotes one of his most famous lines.
Another interesting fact about the Hoo-ah is that many people have adopted parts of it and have acted out this scene in tribute to their favorite actor.
Perhaps the most memorable example was when Pacino’s character in “Carlito’s Way” would repeat this line whenever Carlito would perform good deeds for him.
And then there was the classic “Hoo-ah” chant that James Rebhorn used during his final scenes of the television series “The West Wing”.
And even gamers are starting to use this Hoo-ah as a rallying call among teammates in World of Warcraft’s battlegrounds.