Matthew McConaughey Reveals How His Famous 'Dazed and Confused' Catchphrase Came to Be

Dazed and Confused
Gramercy Pictures

The actor recalls the first three words he ever said on film.

Matthew McConaughey's life forever changed after Dazed and Confused. It's been 27 years since the cult classic was released, but people will never forget the actor's iconic character and famous catchphrase.

In a preview for NBC News’ Sunday Today With Willie Geist, McConaughey, 50, shares how the line "Alright, alright, alright" came to be.

"The first three words I ever said on film," he recalls. "There was not a word written for that entire scene. That’s what [David] Wooderson is about, his car. And I said, 'Well, I'm in my 1970 Chevelle. There's one.' I said, 'Wooderson's about getting high.' I said, 'Well, Slater's riding shotgun and he's always got a doobie rolled up.' I said, 'Wooderson's about rock and roll.' I said, 'I got Ted Nugent's Stranglehold in the 8-track. Here's three.' And then I heard, 'Action,' and I looked up: 'Aright, alright, alright.'"

After all these years McConaughey doesn't mind people quoting the line to him. "I hear it, I get pictures, people have it tattooed in very sensational places on their body," he says.

Dazed and Confused was one of his first films, and just three years later he scored his big break in 1996's A Time to Kill.

Back in 2018, McConaughey told ET how the stoner classic changed the trajectory of his career.

"That was the role that, at that time I didn't know if it was going to be a hobby or something I was doing for the summer, and it turned out to be a career," he recalled. "That's where it all started and I always look back to that one."

McConaughey, of course, continued to act and become a rom-com heartthrob, starring in The Wedding Planner, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Failure to Launch and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past among others.

In 2014, he won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club.

Earlier this month, the Dazed and Confused cast came together for a table read to raise money for initiatives aimed at increasing voter turnout in Texas.

McConaughey reunited with the film's original co-stars, including Rory Cochrane, Parker Posey, Adam Goldberg, Anthony Rapp and Joey Lauren Adams -- as well as director Richard Linklater.

For more on McConaughey, watch below.