How To Bribe: A Cinematic Guide

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Obviously bribery is very bad. Possibly illegal in some countries. We do not condone it or advise it. Good honest hard work and constant prayer are a far more effective method of getting ahead in life. But, in theory, if you were playing a briber in a local amateur dramatics production or decided to dress up as one for Halloween, how would you go about it? Ironically, as it is the cleanest, most respectful and wholesome industry on the planet, Hollywood can provide some very useful tips on corruption, from the best approach to novel delivery techniques. Watch and learn (but don’t replicate).

THE PIE BRIBE (The Shawshank Redemption)

One of the problems with bribery is actually delivering the contraband to the bribee without raising suspicions. One sure-fire to achieve this is via pies. Sweet pies work better than meat ones (the gravy can get the money greasy) just make sure they are large enough to cover and conceal the cash.

THE DOUGHNUT BRIBE (Strange Brew)

And sometimes you don’t even need the cash, just the dessert will do! As this scene from the little seen classic Strange Brew indicates. So if you are planning to add a little corruption to you life, find out if a doughnut will be enough. It could save you a lot of money.

THE PRO BRIBE (Wolf Of Wall Street)

As expertly illustrated here with Leo and pals, it’s good to know, legally, what actually constitutes a bribe before you start hurling dirty money in the faces of those you’re trying to coerce. Mr. Wolf (aka Wolfie) knows his stuff, so makes his intentions clear without actually getting nicked.

THE UNDERHAND BRIBE (The Other Guys)

When is a bribe not a bribe? Is someone trying to manipulate you or are they just being nice? It’s a dilemma we all face every day. For The Other Guys, they seemed to have reached the third act in a Broadway musical before they realise they are merely someone’s pawn. Well played Mr. Coogan.

THE RECIPROCATED BRIBE (The Naked Gun)

The problem with all this corruption and underhand behaviour is that eventually it takes over your life and you’re bestowing favours upon people merely to get through your day. And once they start doing the same thing back to you, it can get expensive. And confusing. As Detective Frank Drebin shows us.

THE BARGAINING BRIBE (We’re The Millers)

It’s good to get everything right out in the open. Yes, you can couch your terms in all sorts of euphemistic language, but sometimes, the direct approach is the best. And when the first offer isn’t accepted, try another route. Even if it does mean prostituting members of your own family. (WARNING: Clip has rude words in it)

THE PROPOSED BRIBE (The Dark Knight)

One man’s bribe is another man’s blackmail. So when you demand cash to keep your trap shut about the actual identity of the Caped Crusader, it sort of straddles the line between the two. And then when you remember the person you’re planning to involve has a lot of great big bat-guns, bat-bombs and batarangs, you may want to rethink your whole strategy.

THE RHETORICAL BRIBE (The Cable Guy)

An excellent way to discover the corrupt depths of your target is to try the old ‘I had a friend…’ technique. As in, ‘I had a friend who gave someone like you a large amount of money to do something for me. Does that sound nice?’ If they say ‘No it doesn’t’ back away. If they say ‘No it doesn’t, IT SOUNDS BRILLIANT!’ you’re in luck.

THE CLASSY BRIBE (Capote)

It doesn’t always have to be wads of grubby cash hidden under pies or crumpled bills stuffed into policeman’s top pockets. Here we see a classic example of the sophisticated ‘I don’t want to be any bother’ approach. You make yourself the victim as you recount the pain you feel at being such a burden and hope that a large slab of moolah will put things right. Classy.

THE MISDIRECTION BRIBE (His Girl Friday)

Beautiful use here of the tried and tested, ‘Oh, how did this get here?’ method. Suddenly there’s a large denomination bill at the feet of the person whose influence you need to sway. ‘It can’t be mine,’ you continue, ‘it must be yours’. Then you foist it upon them before they have a chance to react. It works every time. Even in black and white.

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