People Are Just Realising Where The Phrase 'Bucket List' Comes From And We’re Stunned

The phrase hasn't even been around for 20 years.
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What’s on your bucket list?

Mine is pretty standard. Write a book, climb a mountain in some far-off country and spend a day vibing with penguins. Nothing too ambitious but enough for me to get excited about the future and, crucially, have an answer for when people ask.

But, had you asked me this question in, say, 2005, I wouldn’t have had a clue what you meant and neither would anybody else.


Because the phrase, as eternal as it may sound to us, is actually pretty new. Not even 20 years old, in fact.

Where did the phrase ‘the bucket list’ come from?

As X (formerly Twitter) user bluntly put it, the phrase actually came from a forgettable film. His words, not mine.

Starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, The Bucket List is a film about two terminally ill men who escape their cancer ward to fulfil their final plans before they die, or, more topically, ‘kick the bucket’.

The film was released in 2007 to medium acclaim with a critic’s rating of just 44% on Rotten Tomatoes. Since then, it has been used widely with even notable figures like former president Obama using it to describe future plans.

While there are people that doubt this, it seems to be a Mandela effect as there is no recorded wide usage of the phrase before the film’s release.

While the film may not have been a box office smash, it has left an incredible legacy whereby the actual TITLE of the film is in our common vernacular.

I wonder if that was on the film’s writer Justin Zackham’s bucket list.