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Turns Out That ‘Nodding Guy’ Meme Is Robert Redford, Not Zach Galifianakis And WHAT???

He stares wisely at you, a glint in his eyes. His glorious beard and tousled blonde hair speak of afternoons spent peacefully navigating the pine-swept forest. He looks like he will help you if you are lost, share his baked beans and fresh creek water bottled in a canteen. He might have made that leather jacket himself. He is wholesome. He is kind. He nods at you affirmatively, because he is nodding guy meme…

We all know that meme. Affectionately called “Nodding Guy,” the meme is mostly used to show approval or agreement. It’s been in circulation since around 2012. And now, we finally know who the “Nodding Guy” is. 

It’s Robert Freaking Redford. 

robert redford
Getty Images

It’s not Zach Galifianakis (sorry to disappoint) or any other man sporting extraordinarily robust facial hair. 

The clip is taken from the 1972  film Jeremiah Johnson, in which Redford plays the titular character, a Mexican War veteran-turned-mountain man struggling to survive on the frontier. In the context of the scene, Jeremiah Johnson has just caught a fish. 

The “Nodding Guy” discussion was reignited this week when Splinter writer Nick Martin shared his surprise that the GIF is Robert Redford: “I have seen a ton of Redford’s films, and I have seen this meme a million times, but until today I just thought this was some pleasant lumberjack rando. But nope!” 

The (re)discovery of “Nodding Guy” has Twitter shook for different reasons. Some users can’t believe “Nodding Guy” is Robert Redford while others can’t believe his identity was even a mystery. 

The lesson? Know your memes.