Towards the end of Atlantis: The Lost Empire, the crew stand up against Rourke. Rourke sighs and says "P. T. Barnum was right," in disgust, then drives away.

What quote was being referenced here? The only one I can think of is the classic one about another sucker being born every minute. But...that quote doesn't really contextually fit into the scene. Rourke is clearly disgusted by his erstwhile allies, and expressing his disgust and contempt for them. If he were referring to the sucker quote, I suppose it is indicating that they're a bunch of suckers and he can always get more.

But the point of the quote is that there's another person born every minute to be taken advantage of. In contrast, Rourke seems perfectly willing to split the share with his crew (up until his life is endangered) and must have in their past adventures together. He is dismayed at their betrayal because he trusted them, especially because they had already been through so many mercenary adventures already, and seems genuinely mystified that they only now seem to have chosen to grow consciences.

Have there been any relevant DVD extras or interviews or something. Of the sort that addresses this? IMDB just says the line most likely refers to the sucker line, but that isn't really any kind of proof. Or am I just reading too much into what was meant to be a throwaway line of dialogue meant to set the era with a reference people were meant to get but that didn't quite fit?


There is only one quote from P. T. Barnum worth remembering, although evidence suggests he never actually said it:

"There's a sucker born every minute."

Rourke may be referring to himself as the "Sucker" of the quote, disgusted that he didn't see their betrayal coming. More likely the fact that his allies are settling down to make an "honest" living while he continues his adventures makes them the Suckers. I can't remember which it seemed to be in the film, I haven't seen it for a long time.

  • 4
    Explaining why this quote fits would go a long way here since OP said he already considered this quote and believes it is not the correct one. – phantom42 Jan 30 '18 at 12:57

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