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A door or area is secured by a lock that uses a sound to open the lock, including a spoken phrase.

The fact that it sounds an awful lot like "Open Says-A-Me" is a coincidence: the phrase comes from Arabic, and the pun doesn't work, but the translation remains the same: "Iftaḥ yā Simsim" are the traditional words, and they literally mean "Open, Simsim." Simsim is Arabic for sesame. The use of "simsim" is a just a random word, which makes sense; why would you make the magic words to a secret chamber of riches something anyone could figure out?

Musical passwords: Songs in the Key of Lock.

Examples of Open Sesame include:


  • The Lupin III episode "A Safe Bet" has Lupin desperately trying to open a specially-made safe that contains the antidote to a poison he has been given. After trying every trick he knows, he gets so frustrated he wonders if opening it isn't something as stupid as yelling "Open Sesame!" It is.


  • A 1950s movie has the wives and daughters of the original Forty Thieves, seeking vengeance for their slaughtered families, living in a cave worked by this means... sort of.

 Open Sesame! (door opens, woman enters with friend)

Close Sesame! (door closes, woman picks up a carrot, walks around a wall)

Good girl, Sesame. (gives the carrot to Sesame. Sesame is a trained mule.)

  • Sneakers has a voiceprint lock that requires a specific phrase; unlike in Shadowrun, it ends up being possible to beat the lock with a tape recorder.
  • The Bourne Ultimatum has Noah Vosen keep all his incriminating documents in a safe with a voiceprint lock. Rather stupidly, the phrase he uses is his own name and he answers his phone in the exact same way.
  • At the end of The Hot Rock, Dortmunder finally gets the sought-after diamond after a bank guard was given a hypnotic suggestion. He casually utters the key words "Afghanistan banana stand" to the guard - there's some tension as the guard doesn't act hypnotized, but he does follow instructions and hands over the diamond.
  • In Aladdin and the King of Thieves, this is naturally the way to open up the entrance to the Forty Thieves' lair. The ocean parts and a stone road running out to a large offshore rock formation forms. And then a crack opens in the rock formation, leading to the lair.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, when the Fellowship tries to enter Moria through the enchanted gate.
  • Curse of the Crystal Eye naturally uses the phrase to open the 40 Thieves' cave, along with the titular huge diamond.


Live-Action TV

  • An episode of Mission Impossible requires the mark the IMF is seeking to open the warhead room by saying the words, "January Suborbital Denomination."
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The Invasion of Time", there was a hidden doorway that opened when a particular phrase was spoken. The phrase was "There's nothing more useless than a door with a voice lock."
    • In "Battlefield", the door is keyed to the Doctor saying "Open up -- it's me."
    • Played with in "The Doctor's Wife", where Amy and Rory are told that the key to a door is "crimson eleven delight petrichor", but saying it doesn't work: the door has a telepathic interface, and the key is to think the meaning of each word in turn.
  • An episode of Leverage has a safe with a voice activated lock. The thieves get in by being able to record every possible sound from the safe's owner by getting him to say the name of a very complicated French dish, then have him drop the F-bomb when he realizes it's raw shrimp.
  • An episode of The Muppet Show has a sketch involving Fozzie Bear trying to get into Ali Baba's cave. "Open Sesame" is repeatedly invoked, and eventually results in a whole bunch of Sesame Street characters emerging from the cave.
  • In one episode of Stargate Atlantis trhe door to a scientist's hidden lab is activated by tapping three light sconces, each of which emits a different tone.
  • The Arabian Knights cartoon on The Banana Splits Show. The entrance to the title characters' cave was covered by a rock that slid aside when one of them said "Open Sesame!"
  • Occurrs in Charmed, like many other magical tropes.

Tabletop Games

  • In the Shadowrun Tabletop RPG, voiceprint locks are designed so simply tape recording and using the voice of an authorized person won't work.
  • In the BattleTech universe, the standard activation sequence for a 'Mech involves a voiceprint match followed by a code phrase.

Video Games

  • The PC adventure King's Quest V has a treasury used by a band of thieves open with the very same phrase as the title of this trope, most likely as a shout out to Arabian Nights, given the series' tendency to reuse fairy tales in their plots.
  • "Opensesame" is the Cheat Code in Deus Ex to unlock any door you target.

Western Animation

  • In one episode of Dexter's Laboratory, the titular laboratory only opens when you use the spoken password "Star Wars". Any other phrase, such as Omelette de fromage, won't work and will only increase the security around the lab including the self-destruct.
  • Used amusingly in WALL-E, when Auto prompts the captain for voice confirmation, he replies "Huh?" - which, of course, is accepted.
  • Mr. Krabs used a voice-activated lock in one episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, "Jellyfish Hunter", on the enclosure with all the jellyfish he had Spongebob capture. However, while telling Spongebob about the lock he says "The door is voice-activated, and will only open if I say 'open'." You can guess what happens next.
  • The Looney Tunes short Ali Baba Bunny involves Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck accidentally tunneling into the cave of a wealthy sultan. When the sultan's guard sees this, he tries to invoke the phrase in order to open the cave and capture them, but finds that he's forgotten the proper word:

 Uh...Open, sarsaparilla? Open, Saskatchewan? Open, saddle soap?