|This page lists well-established cultural references in Fallout 3.|
2001: A Space Odyssey (HAL 9000)The eye of the several security cameras found throughout the Capital Wasteland greatly ressembles HAL 9000's, the main computer of the Discovery One from Stanley Kubrick's 1968 movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The way Sally from Mothership Zeta uses the air ducts to open the alien doors is reminiscent of Newt from the film Aliens.
A Boy And His Dog
In Oasis, the man encased in a tree calls the tree "Herbert" because he finds it funny and it annoys the tree. In A Boy and His Dog the dog Blood, often calls his boy, Vic,"Albert". Blood finds this funny, while Vic is annoyed by it.
See also Led Zeppelin.
American Civil War
Beneath the Planet of the Apes
During the birthday sequence in Vault 101, Butch will attempt to take the Lone Wanderer's sweetroll that was given to them by Old Lady Palmer. This is a running scenario in Bethesda's games, particularly in the Elder Scrolls series starting with Arena during character creation.
The Lone Wanderer's birth date, 7/13/2258, is a Biblical reference to Micah 7:13, which reads: "And the earth will become desolate because of her inhabitants, on account of the fruit of their deeds." This aptly describes the whole Fallout series.
Big Boy restaurants
Black Isle Studios
Inside the Museum of Technology, a plaque describes the fate of the USS Ebon Atoll, a missile destroyer that was torpedoed by a US submarine, USS Interference, off the coast of Alaska. "Ebon" is short for "Ebony", a word for black, and "atoll" is another word for island, or isle. The fate of the boat is also similar to Black Isle's, having been "torpedoed" by their parent company, Interplay.
The McClellan Family Townhome is also a reference to the McClellan family in another one of Ray Bradbury's books, Fahrenheit 451.
"Calvin and Hobbes"
Chryslus Motors is a reference to Chrysler.
The butler in My Megaton house is a Mister Handy robot named "Wadsworth". Wadsworth the Butler is Tim Curry's character in the film Clue. Like other Mister Handy robots, Wadsworth speaks in a tone and voice similar to that employed by Tim Curry in the film.
Nuka-Cola Quantum is likely a reference to the short-lived Coca-Cola C2 which was advertised as having "half the carbohydrates, sugars and calories" of regular Coca-Cola, an almost opposite of Quantum's advertisement of "twice the calories, twice the carbohydrates, twice the caffeine and twice the taste" of regular Nuka-Cola.
Cool Hand Luke
Conan the Barbarian
Callahan's magnum refers to Dirty Harry's signature Smith & Wesson revolver, and it s also the strongest revolver in the game, fitting with Harry's quote "and it's the most powerful handgun in the world".
Similarly, the character of Harold Callahan is a reference to Clint Eastwood's character in the film, Harry Callahan.
Bryan Wilks, while in the Pulowski Preservation shelter during the Those! quest, says, "Now I know what a TV dinner feels like"--a line from the movie Die Hard. His name is also very similar to that of Bruce Willis, the actor who played John McClane, the main character in the movie.
Duck and Cover
The Elder Scrolls IV: OblivionA utility pole with the unique identification tag "TES-04" is located along the outside of the city wall at Big Town, at the exact center of the game map.
The image used to portray "Grognak the Barbarian" is similar to the image used to portray the Barbarian class in "Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion".
Evil Dead 3: Army of Darkness
One of the dialogue choices upon encountering Moira, after she becomes a ghoul, is "Moira, don't take this the wrong way, but you got ugly real fast.", a reference to the line from Army of Darkness.
In the sidequest The Dark Heart of Blackhall, Obadiah Blackhall asks the Lone Wanderer to retrieve a book called the Krivbeknih. The Krivbeknih is a reference to the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis which is the antagonist object of the Evil Dead series.
The first log entry in the Research Lead terminals in the Museum of Technology contains lyrics from the song Archetype by the band Fear Factory: The infection has been removed / the soul of this machine has improved.
The mainframe is named the "Archetype Model FF06"--Archetype being the song name, FF standing for Fear Factory, and 06 being the album number.
Vocalist Burton C. Bell's name can be abbreviated to B. Bell, the researcher's name.
Flags of Our Fathers
During the Fallout 3 add-on Operation: Anchorage, a reporter is gathering a group of soldiers for a photo and says "Maybe someone will make this picture into a statue one day." This is a reference to the film Flags of Our Fathers.
Gorillas in the Mist
The picture for the Animal Friend perk may be a reference to the play Harvey, in which the main character claims to have an unseen (and presumably imaginary) friend, Harvey, whom describes as a six-foot, three-and-one-half-inch tall anthropomorphic rabbit.
The brahmin in all the Fallout games refer to the Brahmin in Hindu culture. Their use in the franchise is likely a play on the reverence held for cows in Hindu culture. This has been seen as disrespectful to the Hindu culture, and use of the name brahmin was banned in India from Fallout 3.
Incredible Hulk, The
A Mister Gutsy says, "I'm starting to get angry. You would not like me when I'm angry." This is much like what Dr. Banner says to Mr. Mcgee in the opening sequence of the TV series The Incredible Hulk. Exact quote: "Mr. McGee, don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry."
Moira Brown's terminal password is MB3K-OMFG; the last four characters, OMFG, are a common internet acronym for "Oh My Fucking God".
InterplayIn Chevy Chase just outside the stairs down to Tenleytown/Friendship station, there is a small square with a monument that is a wink to Interplay (the original publishers of Fallout 1 & 2). The bronze Earth with a circling rocket appeared prominently when launching Fallout 1 and 2, Interplay's official logo.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Legend of Zelda, The
The quest name The Legend of Zeta in the DLC Mothership Zeta is a reference to game series for The Legend of Zelda.
The karmic title "Last, Best Hope of Humanity" is a phrase which has its origin in Lincoln's closing remarks to his 1862 Annual Message to Congress, "We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth." ("Last, best hope" has since become a popular rhetorical trope.)
The dog's name "Four Score" is a reference to Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.
Abraham Washington's first name is a reference to Abraham Lincoln.
Living Dead/George Romero series
The name of the quest, You Gotta Shoot 'Em in the Head refers to the rule of zombie fiction that the only way to dispatch a zombie is to destroy the brain.
Dawn of the Dead
Land of the Dead
The Escalator to Heaven perk is a reference to the Led Zeppelin song "Stairway to Heaven".
See also AC/DC.
The story told in the personal logs found in the Dunwich Building, the name of the building, and the whispering obelisk found in the Virulent Underchambers refer to Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos/setting. See The Dunwich Horror.
This image was a direct influence on the "Main Character and Dogmeat" image on the back of Fallout 3's cover. Mad Max's attire was the inspiration for the leather armor.
The Mad Max movies, starring Mel Gibson as a post-apocalyptic warrior, are a pervasive influence on the Fallout series.
One of the Little Lamplight children uses the word humongous incorrectly, saying "humungus." Though it appears incorrect, it is actually a reference to Lord Humungus, the leader of the antagonizing gang in The Road Warrior.
Another reference to Lord Humungus from Mad Max 2 is the super mutant war cry "No more games!". After Toadie loses his fingers trying to catch the Feral Kid's metal boomerang everyone laughs and to restore order Lord Humungus says: "No more games. No more games!"
Upon meeting Harkness one of his replies might be "Oh yeah? And I'm a fairy princess." This is a reference to an utterance made by Mad Max when he talks to MasterBlaster in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.
The design of the leather armor in all four Fallout games is based on Mel Gibson's armor in the Mad Max series, particularly the single-sleeved armor in The Road Warrior.
A picture of the main character walking beside Dogmeat that is featured on the back of the packaging and in every ending is an homage to the image of Max walking beside his dog from The Road Warrior.
Fallout 3's Dogmeat is a Blue Heeler, the same breed as Max's dog in The Road Warrior.
There is a random encounter with a character named Mel, who wears a leather jacket and sports a sawed-off shotgun. High Perception grants the information that the shotgun is unloaded. In The Road Warrior, Max (played by Mel Gibson) threatens the Gyrocaptain with his shotgun, while it was loaded.
The raiders' style of dressing is similar to that of the various raider and biker gangs in the Mad Max films.
Medical braces are similar to those that Max wears on his left leg in the films.
The outfit worn by Mayor Macready of Little Lamplight is identical to the costume worn by Jedediah the pilot's son in Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome - a pith helmet, goggles, and a jacket one size too big.
The outfits worn by slaves in The Pitt resemble those worn by the slaves in Beyond Thunderdome.
The phrase "First mistake... last mistake," uttered by Pitt raiders, Wildmen and several other hostiles, is from the Megadeth song "Holy Wars" from the album Rust in Peace.
The Pint-Sized Slasher is heavily based off of the horror film slasher from the Halloween film series.
If the Lone Wanderer visits Fort Independence and asks an Outcast named Defender Morgan, "What have you got against the Brotherhood?", she will refer to Elder Lyons as "Ahab Lyons", who "is off chasing his super mutant white whale." This is a reference to Herman Melville's Moby Dick. If the Wanderer passes an Intelligence check, they can continue the reference by inquiring as to whether Morgan believes that Lyons will be killed by the super mutants, to which Morgan expresses surprise that they have knowledge of the story.
Kimba's dialogue line "That's funny, I thought we were an autonomous collective," is a reference to the Holy Grail. The line is spoken to King Arthur by a woman when she is surprised to learn that there is a king.
Music Man, The
Dr. Zimmer's line, "And he's right here in Rivet City!" is a reference to the song Trouble Right Here In River City.
"Mystery Science Theater 3000"
A computer in the National Archives contains a memo from the man in charge of robot maintenance signed, P. Brantseg. Patrick Brantseg voiced Gypsy on the show and was in charge of building and maintaining the puppets, causing him to be listed in the show's credits as "puppet wrangler."
In Chinese mythology, Xuanlong, also known as the Black Dragon, is the highest rank of dragons of their tiered system. Thus, the Xuanlong assault rifle, is so named because it is extremely powerful, more so than ordinary Chinese assault rifles.
Cerberus is a reference to the Cerberus of Greek mythology. While Cerberus the robot acts as a guard dog for the settlement Underworld, Cerberus of Greek mythology acts a guard dog to the gate of the Underworld.
The slaver that kills the bartender in Paradise Falls, Ymir, is a reference to the Norse frost giant whose body is the foundation of Midgard (the Earth). His son is called Jotun, which is the name of the race of the Norse giants, Jötunn.
A raider named Thor (the Norse god of storms and strength) is referenced by recordings found in the Dunwich Building.
The name of the area Paradise Falls is a multiple entendre referencing Paradise Lost.
In the town "Little Lamplight" the doctor, Lucy, is a reference to the character "Lucy" from Charles Schultz's Peanuts. Inside of the clinic where she is located, a sign reading "The Doctor is in" can be found, which was often seen on Lucy's stand in the series.
The character's name, Reddup, is a Pittsburgh term meaning 'to clean.'
Mex is most likely a reference to the chain of Mad Mex restaurants, which are relatively popular in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area, e.g. Monroeville and Squirrel Hill.
Squill's name is likely a reference to Squirrel Hill, a residential Pittsburgh neighborhood that Carnegie Mellon University students (though not most other Pittsburghers) call "Squill Hill" for short.
Princess Bride, The
While patching up the Lone Wanderer during the Wasteland Survival Guide personal injury sub-quest, Moira asks them to describe the pain with the line, "And remember, this is for posterity!" This echoes a line used by Count Rugin in The Princess Bride when asking Westley to describe the torture in the Pit of Despair.
P.S. I Love You
The holodisk Box 1191 - Password backup is a reference to Edgar Allen Poe's story "The Raven".
Red Army propaganda
The Civil Defense Administration poster, "Where will you be when the holocaust comes?" is modeled after a Soviet Red Army recruitment poster.
During the quest Stealing Independence, Sydney greets the Lone Wanderer as a fellow "relic hunter," making reference to the television series Relic Hunter, in which the main character is named Sydney Fox.
Road, TheThe Road is a 2006 novel by Cormac McCarthy. This post-apocalyptic story influenced Bethesda Softworks (as mentioned by Todd Howard in this interview) in their work on Fallout 3. The most overt references to the book are the hunters who peddle "strange meat" (human flesh) and the cannibals in the town of Andale.
Rosie the Riveter
The haircut "Wendy the Welder", available to female characters, is a reference to Rosie the Riveter, a model for working women during World War II.
The planetarium exhibit's pre-recorded guide in the Museum of Technology has a voice and introduction that is a reference to Carl Sagan and his Cosmos educational series.
Saving Private Ryan
Asked what she does for the Brotherhood, Knight Captain Dusk replies that she is a sniper, and then says "Put any mutie bastard within one mile of me and my rifle and well, pack it up troops... fight's over." Jackson in Saving Private Ryan makes the same remark, with 'Hitler' replacing 'mutie' as the subject.
When asked what his real name is, Knight Captain Gallows responds with "What's the pool up to?", similar to Captain Miller's response in Saving Private Ryan when a query is made regarding his occupation.
Shelley, Percy Bysshe
The Point Lookout quest "An Antique Land" is a reference to the first line of the poem "Ozymandias" by English Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. The name of the ship, the USS Ozymandias, is a reference to the title, and the Bysshe Company mentioned within the quest is a reference to the poet's middle name.
"Sifl and Olly Show, The"
One of the 911 Dispatch terminals in the Germantown Police HQ contains rantings referencing the song "Llama School" from The Sifl and Olly Show. The password for a computer terminal in the same building is "Vicious Coy", the name of the Precious Roy knockoff on the X-and-O show.
Some of the radios and televisions in the Wasteland are called Radiation Kings (there is also a Radiation King store in downtown D.C.), which is the name of the TV Homer had as a young boy. This easter egg was originally present in the opening movie of Fallout.
Smokey the Bear
When Three Dog is talking about radiation, he says, "Remember, only you can prevent human flesh fires." This is a reference to the iconic slogan "only you can prevent forest fires."
One of the Brotherhood of Steel soldiers spurs on his comrades by asking whether they want to live forever. The quote is similar to, "Come on, you apes, you want to live forever?" which figures prominently in Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers and its movie adaptation. That, in turn, is a reference to a quote sometimes attributed to one Sergeant Major Daniel Joseph "Dan" Daly and having an extensive history going back at least to Frederick the Great.
"Star Trek: The Original Series"
During the first fade-to-white in the opening character creation, The Overseer says, "Dammit! We need a doctor, not a scientist", a reference to lines in the original Star Trek in which Leonard McCoy says to Captain Kirk, "Dammit Jim, I'm a doctor, not a [profession that isn't medical]".
Dr. Preston in Rivet City will say "I'm a doctor, not a dealer!" when asked about purchasing chems.
The Adventures of Captain Cosmos takes its inspiration from Star Trek. Captain Cosmos is known to have aired at 8:00 P.M. on Thursdays (the timeslot that Star Trek filled during its first two seasons in the real world).
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
The end of the final quest Take it Back! (if the Lone Wanderer chooses to take the path of self-sacrifice) resembles Spock's self-sacrifice at the end of the movie.
"Star Trek: The Next Generation"
Protector McGraw stated that the Anchorage Reclamation simulation ran without "safety protocols", which meant that a person killed inside the simulation would also die in the real world. The holodecks introduced in The Next Generation had a similar safety protocol feature that was often disabled as part of an episode's plot.
"Star Trek: Voyager"
"Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope"
During the Mothership Zeta add on, it is possible to enter the waste disposal area of the ship during the quest-line 'Among The Stars' where Sally is foundfixing an elevator and an optional speech option is "what an incredible smell you've discovered" which is also Han Solo's line from Episode IV: A New Hope in which the main characters find themselves in the maintenance level of the Death Star.
Strapping Young Lad
The bottom log entry on the Maintenance Department terminal in the Presidential sub level (accessed through a Broken Steel quest) ends with lyrics to Canadian heavy metal band Strapping Young Lad's song "Detox": "I wish that I could get to sleep and just get this over with... this is only high school bullshit. I'm lost, I'm freaking and everybody knows... everyone's watching."
When entering Little Lamplight for the first time and talking to Mayor Macready, there is a Speech callenge that goes, "The day I showed up here is the best day of your life. For me, it was Tuesday." This references the 1994 film Street Fighter, in which M. Bison and Chun-Li are having a conversation:
Chun-Li: My father saved his village at the cost of his own life. You had him shot as you ran away. A hero at a thousand paces.
M. Bison: I'm sorry. I don't remember any of it.
Chun-Li: You don't remember?!
M. Bison: For you, the day Bison graced your village was the most important day of your life. But for me, it was Tuesday.
The picture for the Toughness perk is similar to the Superman suit and pose.
In the village of Andale the Lone Wanderer can be given a strange meat pie which is a referance to Sweeney Todd. In Sweeney Todd Mrs. Lovett, the downstairs neighbor, turns Sweeney Todd's victims into veil pies.
The breastplates of raider ordinance armor's female counterpart, which are missile-shaped, are similar to the one Tank Girl wears in Episode 4 (Feb-89). The film adaptation also depicts similar usage.
When talking to the slave Prosper in The Pitt add-on, one dialogue option reads, "Your Clothes. Give them to me. Now." Arnold Schwarzenegger's character in The Terminator says the same line after arriving naked from time-traveling.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
The picture for the Cyborg perk refers to the Terminator series T-101 appearance with its face damaged.
In the Tenpenny Tower Third Floor Apartments, there is a Trycicle in the hallway, along with bloodstains on the walls and an overturned chair. This is a reference to the movie The Shining, where the main character sees two little girls in the hallway, then blinks and they are laying butchered on the ground
Tommy James & The Shondells
One of the phrases Liberty Prime says while fully activated is "Freedom is the sovereign right of all Americans", which is similar to Optimus Prime's motto "Freedom is the right of all sentient beings." While Emil Pagliarulo denied any intentional relation between Liberty Prime and Optimus Prime, he admitted he could have made the reference subconsciously, as he sometimes is known to do.
United States nuclear weapons program
United States moon landing
When completing Head of State in favor of the Slavers, Three Dog will report on the incident with a news section on Galaxy News Radio. He closes with the phrase "One small step backwards for man, one giant evolutionary rewind for mankind...". This is a reference to U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong's quote after taking his first step on the moon. The original quote is "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
Abraham Washington's last name is a reference to George Washington
West Side Story
Wing Commander IV
"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance," is said by John Henry Eden who is voiced by Malcolm McDowell and also used this line repeatedly during his performance as Sir Admiral Geoffery Tolwyn in Wing Commander IV The Price of Freedom.
Wizard of Oz, The
After completing The American Dream and convincing President Eden to self-destruct, Three Dog will report on the incident on Galaxy News Radio, opening with the phrase: "Ding, dong, the sanctimonious, self-righteous, self-proclaimed Presidential asshole is dead!". This is a reference to "Ding, dong, the witch is dead!" sung by the munchkins in The Wizard of Oz.
One certain occasions a super mutant brute will say "We are the future". A reference to Magneto's quote about how mutants are the future of evolution.
- When the Lone Wanderer tries to rob Uncle Leo, his dialogue—in which he tells them the clothes are a gift and he wishes he could give the Wanderer the "wonderful moon"--comes from the following Zen Buddhist koan:
Ryokan, a Zen master, lived the simplest kind of life in a little hut at the foot of a mountain. One evening a thief visited the hut only to discover there was nothing to steal.
Ryokan returned and caught him. "You have come a long way to visit me," he told the prowler, "and you should not return empty-handed. Please take my clothes as a gift."
The thief was bewildered. He took the clothes and slunk away.
Ryoken sat naked, watching the moon. "Poor fellow," he mused, "I wish I could have given him this beautiful moon."
- Much of the random dialogue from Fawkes can be heard as simple wasteland survival advice but also references Zen philosophy. Examples include "Be aware of the present moment" and "There is safety in mindfulness".