If there was a useful phrasebook for movie characters, “I mean you no harm” would be one of the first entries. Those five words — rarely uttered together in real life — can diffuse all kinds of tensions onscreen, whether characters are facing down a pack of super-intelligent simians, like Jason Clarke in the new thriller Dawn of the Planet of the Apes or just trying to get Luke Skywalker to put down his gun, like Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back.
Of course, not everyone who promises “no harm” means it. Movie denizens should beware those who don’t mean a word of it, such as Christoph Waltz’s pistol-packing dentist from Django Unchained or Charles Laughton’s elegant mad scientist in Island of Lost Souls. A few other rules of thumb: Aliens who promise to do no harm, like those in the B-movie classic This Island Earth, should be regarded with suspicion; vampires, like Kristanna Loken in BloodRayne and Brad Pitt in Interview with the Vampire, are more likely to be honorable; and Kermit the Frog can always be trusted. For the full spectrum of “I mean you no harm,” from The Lorax to The Call of the Wild, watch our Yahoo Movie Show supercut.