The Chair is Against the Wall

“The Chair is Against the Wall”: Meaning!

Have you also come across the phrase “The Chair is Against the Wall”? Do you know anything about the origin of this phrase? What hidden meanings does it convey? Is the phrase still relevant in the present times? If all these questions are triggering in your mind as well, you have reached the right place. 

This article is going to clear all your confusion related to the phrase from its meaning, context, and its contemporary relevance. 

“The Chair is Against the Wall” – an Overview!

“The Chair is Against the Wall” is a dialogue taken from a fictional Hollywood movie Red Dawn. The movie was set against the background of Cold War politics. Its plot revolves around a hypothetical situation in which the Soviet Union invades the United States of America, an event that triggers World War Three.

There comes a scene in the movie when the lead characters of the movie are listening to a radio broadcast that announces The chair is against the wall. John has a long mustache”. The true meaning of the phrase was never revealed in the movie, however, it might hint towards a Soviet offensive and alerts the frontline soldiers of any potential threat. Now let’s dig into the detailed meaning of the phrase. 

Red Dawn The Chair is Against the Wall

Origins of the Phrase

“The Chair is Against the Wall” was a popular phrase used in the American movie “Red Dawn”. It was released in the early 80s, the time when Cold War was at its peak. The movie was directed by John Milius and written by Kevin Reynolds. Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey,  Lea Thompson, C. Thomas Howell, Charlie Sheen, and Darren Dalten were cast in the lead roles. 

A Synopsis of Red Dawn Movie

The plot of “Red Dawn”  revolves around the invasion of the United States by the Soviet Union in alliance with Cuba and Nicaragua. In the movie, this event triggers a horrific war which is termed World War III. The movie’s main characters include a group of high school students who launched an armed offensive against the Soviet invaders. 

While Red Dawn may not be the best movie ever produced by American cinema, it managed to leave a deep legacy due to its spellbinding plot and dialogues. Different ideological and artistic controversies were associated with the movie. The movie was made against the communist ideology of the Soviet Union and was rather biased in this context. 

Inspiration Behind the Phrase

To understand the most intriguing dialogue of the historic Red Dawn movie “The Chair is Against the Wall,  John Has a long mustache”, we have to understand its background.  The dialogue was inspired by a 1962 war movie The Longest Day.

In this movie, there is a French dialogue “Molasses tomorrow will bring forth cognac, Jean a de longue mustache” which resembles very closely to “John has a long mustache” of the Red Dawn. 

This resemblance is not a mere coincidence as director Milbus mentioned that he intentionally used the dialogue to pay tribute to the 1962 classic saga. The Longest Day was a docudrama based on the real-life D-Day event which refers to the invasion of Normandy by Allied forces during World War II.

The use of these code words in The Longest Day was not something new as BBC radio in London broadcasted secret messages for the frontline soldiers during World War II. 

The meaning of the phrase “Jean a de longue mustache” in the 1962 movie was that the Allies were ready for the invasion of Normandy. Milius changed the first line with “The chair is against the wall” while using the English translation of the second dialogue which became “John has a long mustache.”

Hidden Meanings

“The chair is against the wall” was a secret code for the audience of Radio Free America and its meaning was understandable only for the soldiers resisting the Soviet encroachment. For all others, it was just a meaningless phrase.

The code may indicate good news to soldiers as well as alert them against something heinous so that they may get prepared. The true meaning was never revealed in the movie, so it’s still a big mystery. We can make some informed guesses about the possible implications of the phrase. 

Therefore, comparing it with the respective dialogues of the 1962 movie, we can say that:

  • It hinted towards a peculiar situation that was soon going to unveil. In this way, it warned front-line soldiers to get prepared for every potential threat.
  • Some attribute the meaning of the phrase “to make extensive preparations for a future attack”.
  • It might also hint that specific Railways tracks need to be blown up as early as possible. 
  • Some regard that the dialogue was aimed at signaling the supply of weapons and ammunition that had been dispatched for the front-line soldiers.

Contemporary Meanings

In the contemporary world, the phrase: The chair is against the wall” has become a metaphor for conveying secret messages having multi-layered meanings. It has also become a symbolic representation of how simple words sometimes convey deep messages. 

The phrase gained massive recognition in popular culture. It was later used in other movies and television shows as well. Customized shirts and cups with the phrase written: “ The Chair is Against the Wall” became a fashion. Its popularity has not lessened even in the current times as its merchandise is still manufactured and sold on a large scale.

Final Thoughts!

In conclusion,  “The Chair is Against the Wall” was a popular dialogue from the 80s film “Red Dawn”. In the movie, this iconic dialogue was used to convey a secret message to the Radio Free America audience. 

Though the message was broadcasted to everyone, its hidden meaning was understandable only by those who belonged to resistance armies fighting Soviet aggression.

It has mixed meanings, indicating some good news as well as potential threats. All in all, whatever the true meaning was, the message anyhow alerted the resisting armies to get prepared for something “big”.

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