Ernest Goes to Jail

1990 film directed by John Cherry

Ernest Goes to Jail is a 1990 Touchstone Pictures comedy film directed by John R. Cherry III and starring Jim Varney. It is the fourth film to feature the character Ernest P. Worrell.

Ernest P. Worrell

  • I've never been inside a restaurant that doesn't have a drive-thru window before.
  • [To Nash's lawyer as he's being taken to the chair] You pal, you're not getting anymore of my business!
  • [Finds Rimshot in the trashcan] What kind of person would throw away a perfectly good dog?
  • Real men are not intimidated by physical threats against their personal selves, and, ironically, neither am I.
  • Look, I'm not this guy Nash!

Felix Nash

  • This guy is better off in jail.
  • Is everyone who works here a moron?
  • Here, I'll help you up!
  • Don't worry about that diet, tubby. Once I set this fuse, you'll lose all that weight.
  • This is pathetic.

Charlotte Sparrow (Miss Sparrow)

  • (Thinking Nash is Ernest) You are slime Ernest P. Worrell!
  • Pull on it! Pull on it, Chuck!


  • Ernest, we're late for work!
  • We're sorry, Ernest, Bobby didn't know the mace can was loaded.
  • This guy is in love! L-U-V! Ernest is in love. Ernest and Charlotte sittin' in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G, first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Ernest pushing a baby carriage!

Warden Carmichael

  • Nash, I said the let the hostages go!
  • Now, Nash, you'll never get away with this!


Ernest P. Worrell: Mr. Poodle-Smurf is lucky to have me. One day, I'm gonna walk into his office and I'll say: 'Oscar Babe'.
Oscar Pendlesmythe: WHAT?!
Ernest P. Worrell: Oh good morning Mr. Poodle-Smurf, Puddle-Smit, Smiddle-Poot...
Oscar Pendlesmythe: "Pendlesmythe," you idiot!

Charlotte Sparrow (Miss Sparrow): Ernest, Ernest are you all right?
Ernest P. Worrell: [After removing a metal lid that clung to his face, even though the lobster is still stuck to his face] I recommend the lobster. (laughs)

Ernest P. Worrell: Oh, I'm sorry, I don't think our table has any steak sauce!
Guard: [crossly] Get up!
Ernest P. Worrell: Oh, I'm sorry, where are my manners, I should have waited for the others!
Guard: (blows whistle) Eat, Greaseball!
Ernest P. Worrell: I didn't order a "grease ball."

Charlotte Sparrow (Miss Sparrow): [thinking Nash is Ernest] What happened to your voice? You sound different.
Felix Nash: Oh, I got a little laryngitis.

Charlotte Sparrow (Miss Sparrow): [Thinking Ernest is Nash] Do you think you let me get near me after what you did to Ernest? He was the kindest man who was ever loved in my whole life.
Ernest P. Worrell: Gee, Charlotte, I'm touched!

Warden Carmichael: Nash, lawyer's got somethin' to tell you.
Rubin's attorney: I'm afraid I've got some bad news, Mr. Nash. Our last appeal was turned down. It was our final hope. I'm afraid there's nothing more we can do.
Warden Carmichael: Come on, Nash. Let's go.
Ernest P. Worrell: Go? Go where?
Warden Carmichael: You're goin' to the row.
Ernest P. Worrell: The row? What row?
Rubin Bartlett: As in "death", you know, "death row."
Ernest P. Worrell: Oh, well, I... [realizes what they're talking about] Death row? You mean like the chair?! The hot seat? Dead meat, deep 6, it's over pal, you're outta here bub, the groundhog's are bringing you your mail, you're picking turnips with a step ladder? Like, the no-tomorrow row? That kind of row? Oh no! The row?! You gotta tell him who I am, fellas! [Rubin exchanges looks with his lawyer] I'm Ernest P. Worrell! I'm not Nash, I'm Ernest!
Warden Carmichael: Zip it up, Nash. [turns to the guards] Get him outta here.
Ernest P. Worrell: [the guards begin dragging Ernest from his cell to death row] Warden, you're gonna feel terrible when you find out what a big mistake you made. And, you, pal, you're not getting any more of my business. I'm not Nash, I tell you, I'm Ernest! I'm Ernest P. Worrell!

Felix Nash: Look, would the real Ernest have been able to knock out Chuck? Or set a time bomb without it going off in his face? And look at the floors. You notice how clean they've been lately?
Charlotte Sparrow (Miss Sparrow): You are an imposter! What did you do with the real Ernest, where is he?
Felix Nash: He's dead by now.

Auntie Nelda: The way they run this institution is an outrage, for a poor, tired, old lonely woman like me. Her only son, a felon, though not a terribly successful one. Young man? Young man?
[The gate guard comes out]
Auntie Nelda: Young man, would you please open that gate? I left my car running outside.
Gate Guard: Ma'am, you tell me how you got through this gate? The visitors exit on the other side of the prison.
Auntie Nelda: I brought him up as best I could, but sometimes a bad seed falls from even the most fragile flower.
Gate Guard: Ma'am, you're not going through this gate.
Auntie Nelda: Is this the way you treat your mother? Is this the kind of abuse that poor woman must endure?
Gate Guard: Well, I guess that my mother is a little bit mad at...
Auntie Nelda: Mmm-hmm! You ought to be in the slammer with the rest of these misfits. If you had any remorse at all for the horror you push your own mother through, you'd open that gate. I have a car overheating as we speak.
[Ernest (as Auntie Nelda) makes a snooty expression at the gate guard]
Gate Guard: Okay, okay.
[Picks up phone]
Gate Guard: All right! Let's open the east gate.
[Hangs up phone]
Gate Guard: There! Now you satisfied?
Auntie Nelda: I'll tell your mother how her son has improved despite his shaded and somewhat checkered past.
[Prison balls tied to a chain fall out of Ernest's disguise]
Auntie Nelda: [Lying about the prison balls] The doctor told me I'd only have to wear these until after the surgery.
[Guard nods sarcastically and takes Ernest away]
[Note: One person mentioned isn't a separate character; instead, it's a role played by a character. "Auntie Nelda" refers to Ernest dressed up as an elderly woman to try and fool the gate guard.]

Ernest P. Worrell: (gasps) I've been vandalized...By Elvis!
[Suddenly after Ernest go gets changed we then go to the car that got a flat tire]
Charlotte Sparrow (Miss Sparrow): [crossly] I can't believe it! I can't believe it! First, Ernest, and now this! I'm acting like a victim, I need to tell Ernest, exactly how I feel, and I need to do that right now while I'm still mad!

Ernest P. Worrell: [After drying himself off with his body dryer and checking the circuit board] Oh, there's my problem right there. This wire's got a little sh...
[Gets electrocuted]
Ernest P. Worrell: ...short in it.
[A metal comb clings to his vest]
Ernest P. Worrell: Gosh, not again.

[Ernest and the crew he's with are being forced to go into a jail cell, and Ernest is mistaking the prison he's in for his jury "accommodations"]
Ernest P. Worrell: We're sequestered. And on top of that we can't even leave! Oh, this is great. This is just great.
[The prison guard comes up from behind him and grabs him by his collar]
Ernest P. Worrell: I hope you've got a good story to tell my boss! After all, I do have a living to earn.
Prison guard: [crossly] Now look, Nash...
Ernest P. Worrell: My name is Worrell. Ernest P. Worrell.
Prison guard: Oh, Mr. Funny-Man, huh? Yeah, Mr. Funny-Man. You'll think funny when you're tapping to the tune of 2-20, son!
[Throws him into his cell]
Ernest P. Worrell: [Remarking to his cell-mates] That is the rudest bailiff I have ever seen in my life. [Lyle throws Ernest against the bars of the cell] Wait a minute. [bangs his head against the bars and recognizes Lyle] You're that guy! [yells to the guard] Bailiff! Bailiff! [to Lyle] You're in big trouble now, pal. Bailiff!
Prison guard: [approaches Ernest's cell] What is it, Nash?
Ernest P. Worrell: You see that guy?
Prison guard: Yeah, so?
Ernest P. Worrell: No, I mean look... look at him. [bangs the guard's head against the bars] Come closer. Look. You see that guy? He's not on the jury. This man is a prisoner!
Prison guard: Ugh! I oughta throw you in the hole for that, Nash!
Ernest P. Worrell: The hole?
Prison guard: Yeah, the hole! [walks off]
Ernest P. Worrell: The hole like... like in solitary, the hole? Like, in real prison? Like in real, really, really, really, really real prison? The hoose-gow, the slammer, the joint, Alcatraz, San Quentin, Sing Sing... Oh no, I'm in... I'm in... JAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIL!!!!
Prison guard: (laughs sternly)

Rubin Bartlett: [Thinking Ernest is Nash] Did you miss me, Mr. Nash?
Cell Guard: Close C-12!
Ernest P. Worrell: You! You know I'm not Nash!
Rubin Bartlett: Of course you are... Ernest.

Ernest P. Worrell: So, it's come to this. A pointless, miserable end to a shallow, meaningless life. But it's as it should be. It's the hand I've been dealt, and I have to play it as it lays. Oh, I'm not going to cry because life's thrown me a curve. I'm not going to whine because I got mashed potatoes when French fries is what I really wanted. It's time for me to step up to the plate, belly up to the bar! It's time for me to look fate square in the eye, flare my nostrils, breathe life's last breath! It's time for me to lie down with lions so I can soar with the eagles! All right! I'm ready! Come and get me! Let's do it!
Prison guard: Come on Nash, it's time!
Ernest P. Worrell: Oh, oh. I don't wanna die!

Warden Carmichael: Nash, take it like a man.
Ernest P. Worrell: But I'm not Nash, I'm Ernest. And what is an Ernest you may ask? A man with a past both rich in history and tradition. Should we punish this man for crimes he did not commit? No, no, no, no, no.
Warden Carmichael: Can't you speed things up?
Prison guard: Okay, okay!
Ernest P. Worrell: Such a man should be set free. [Ernest sits on the electric chair and gets electrocuted]
(all the people become shocked when Ernest was a magnet)
Warden Carmichael: Hit the alarm! Run for it!
(alarm sounds)

Rubin Bartlett: Not so fast!
Ernest P. Worrell: [After being 'resurrected' by the electric chair and is stopped by Rubin from leaving] You better watch out Rubin. I'll zot you.
Rubin Bartlett: You're a dead man, Worrell.
Ernest P. Worrell: Very well. You asked for it. After all, I am Ernest P. Worrell, electro-man. [His electrical flux fails and several metal things stop clinging and fall off his body] A-hih-heh-hih-hih! Did I ever tell you that you really have a classic Greek profile?
Rubin Bartlett: Shut up.
Lyle: Let him go.
Ernest P. Worrell: Lyle! You talk! That's great!
Rubin Bartlett: Have you flipped? Come on, we've got to get rid of this guy before he blows the whole thing!
Lyle: No, he's different than us!
Rubin Bartlett: Shut up and get out of my way! [Lyle knocks him to the ground unconscious]
Lyle: You better go. Mr. Nash is probably robbing the bank right now.
Ernest P. Worrell: Nash? Well, come with me.
Lyle: I don't belong out there. I got a place in here.
Ernest P. Worrell: Well, I'm gonna miss you, big buddy.
Lyle: Ernest, things won't be the same without you. You know what I mean?
Ernest P. Worrell: I believe anyone does. So long, Lyle. I'll send you a cake. I'm coming, Charlotte!

Warden Carmichael: Now, Nash, this is Warden Carmichael, and we've got you surrounded. Come on out with your hands up! Nash, let the hostages go!
Felix Nash: [to Ernest] Well, it looks like I got myself another hostage. Too bad. I thought you were dead.

Ernest P. Worrell: Peter Pan, eat your heart out! (hums)
Felix Nash: Here, have a seat! [Throws a chair at Ernest]

Chuck: Bobby, unlock me!
Charlotte Sparow (Miss Sparrow): Ernest, the bomb!

Ernest P. Worrell: Gimme that! (takes bomb) Up, up and away! (glass shatters)
Warden Carmichael: (Thinking Ernest is Nash) He's gettin' away!

Charlotte Sparrow (Miss Sparrow): Ernest, you're alive!
Ernest P. Worrell: [Burnt and recovering from a high fall, coughs] I came, I saw, I got blowed up. [passes out]

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