Ghost (film)

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Mmm, ghost sex.

Ghost is a 1990 movie starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, and Whoopi Goldberg in the performance that won her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar (which she attributes to Swayze insisting on her being cast in the part).

Executive Sam Wheat and his artist girlfriend Molly are a pair of yuppies living in SoHo New York. They're in love, though Sam seems to have a little difficulty coming right out and saying it, and can only manage "ditto" when Molly tells him she loves him.

On their way home one night, Sam is mugged and killed. Here the real story begins, as the violent murder plus the fact that Sam had the unfinished business of never truly telling Molly he loves her causes him to stick around as a ghost. Then Sam discovers there's more to his death than just making him an unfortunate statistic in mugger-prone New York.

If you've ever thought to yourself, "Great movie, but you know what Ghost was missing? Musical numbers!," you're in luck. Ghost hit Broadway in 2012, and then toured for another two years after. It received mixed critical reviews, but was nominated for a number of awards (of which it won a few). However, as of early 2015, the musical is closed and no longer touring, and anyone who missed it the first time around will have to wait for a revival.

Not to be confused with the 1997 short film Ghosts, starring Michael Jackson. Nor the Guilty Pleasure book Ghost by John Ringo.

Tropes used in Ghost (film) include:
  • Alone with the Psycho: Averted. Carl was trying to keep Molly's good opinion of him, and only revealed himself as the psycho as he became desperate.
  • And I Must Scream: The fate of Willy and Carl when they die.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Sam, and a man on an operating table.
  • Badass Longcoat: The Train Ghost.
  • Big Applesauce: Hodgepodge piecing together of Brooklyn and Manhattan.
  • Bittersweet Ending: With a little help from Oda Mae, Sam saves Molly from Carl, also bringing an end to the money laundering he was behind, and he finally tells her he loves her. But after all is said and done, he's dead and can never come back.
  • Body Surf: Oda Mae is nonplussed to discover that she is a vehicle for ghosts, as well.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • Sam encounters a ghost in the subway who somehow breaks a window. Later on, Sam tips over a picture frame. So he comes back to the ghost to teach him how to touch solid objects.
    • Molly's ghost-sensing cat.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen:
    • Sam writing "BOO" on the steamed bathroom mirror in Willy's apartment. Cheap but effective!
    • Later, Sam freaks out the Big Bad by typing "SAM" repeatedly on his computer monitor.
  • Dead Person Conversation: Inverted, as Oda Mae's conversations with Sam make everybody think she's crazy, but she's not.
  • Death by Irony: Carl impotently swings a hook at Sam's ghost -- only for it come back and him and smash into a glass pane, killing him.
  • Death Is Dramatic: Sure as Hell it is...
  • Dragged Off to Hell: Willy, and later Carl. The Hospital Ghost implies this is the fate of other evil people when they die.
  • The Dragon: Willy is this to Carl.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Exploited - Molly's cat goes berserk when it senses Sam's ghost. It lashes at Willy's face, alarming Molly and foiling his break-in attempt.
  • Final Speech: Subverted. Sam gets a poignant goodbye to Molly...after he's already dead, and has been dead for some time.
  • Finding Judas: Subverted. Carl was plotting behind the scenes, but it wasn't for the greater good, and he really was the villain. He was perfectly willing to seduce Molly or kill her to forward his plans.

Sam: WHY! YOU WERE MY FRIEND! I HAD A LIFE, YOU BASTARD! I had a life...

  • Look Both Ways: While fleeing from Sam's ghost, Willy gets sandwiched between two speeding cars.
  • Loud of War: Sam terrorizes Oda Mae with Herman's Hermits until she agrees to help him.

♪ OHHH I'M 'ENRY THE EIGHTH, I AM! 'ENRY THE EIGHTH, I AM, I AM.... ♪
Second verse, same as the first...

  • The Mafia: It's hinted that Carl is laundering drug money for a mob boss.
  • Magical Negro: Oda Mae, who for a good part of the movie does NOT want to become one. She inherited from her mother, who got it from her grandmother. They say she'll get it too, but never believed them.
  • Midlife Crisis Car: Carl's new sports car. It later turns out to be unfortunate foreshadowing.
  • Murder by Mistake: Carl never wanted Sam dead -- he just wanted his wallet.
  • Near-Death Clairvoyance: Though the near death experience just ended up as -- death.
  • Not-So-Phony Psychic: Oda Mae comes from a family of mediums, though she doesn't really believe in spirits and exploits her customers for cash. That is until she meets Sam, at which time she realized she really could hear dead people. After which she gets swamped by ghosts, even though Sam didn't actually tell any of them about it.

Oda Mae: Orlando, Orlando, is there an Orlando here?

  • The Obi-Wan: The Hospital Ghost, sort of. He tells Sam he'll be a ghost for a long while. He then disappears to meet up with his deceased wife, right after he and Sam see a dead person ascend into Heaven.
  • Oh Crap: The look on Willy's face when he not only realizes he's dead, but he see's the man he killed saying it to his face. And that's just before the demons take him.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Vincent Schiavelli as the Subway Ghost.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: The poltergeist effect of throwing things around is described as coming from the emotions, but the ghosts still kick and hit and shove things to make them move as if they were alive.
  • Poltergeist: Apparently this is a skill that can be learned.
  • The Power of Love: It's what keeps Sam there to look after Molly and what allows Molly her chance to hear him and say goodbye when he goes into the light.
  • Repurposed Pop Song: "Unchained Melody", by the Righteous Brothers, originally about a prisoner hoping his girl will wait for him (hence "unchained"), becomes the love theme for this film. It also put the song back on the charts.
  • Resurrected Romance
  • Romancing the Widow: Inverted - Carl took a shortcut by bumping off her hubby first.
  • Sensei for Scoundrels: The Subway Ghost is a madman who fell in front of a train, possibly intentionally. He begrudgingly agrees to teach Sam how to manipulate solid objects. Once the lesson is concluded, the ghost succumbs to his delusions and vanishes into the tunnels again.
  • Sex by Proxy: Sam uses Oda Mae's body for a Makeout By Proxy with Molly.
  • Sinister Subway: "Like TRAINS?!!"
  • Skeptic No Longer: Much of the characters get one. Oda Mae was at first skeptical of her and to an extent her families psychic abilities, but when Sam shows up it scares her into believing. Carl at first doesn't believe Sam's Ghost is around and initially thinks Willy told someone about their arrangement. However when Sam directly messes with him, he believes, but pretends he doesn't around Molly. Molly herself is torn between belief and disbelief. At first initially believing Oda Mae, but when proof of Oda Mae's previous cons are dredged up, she doesn't. When Sam shows her undeniable proof, with the penny, she finally believes.
  • Spirit Advisor: Several ghosts throw out little tidbits of pertinent information for Sam, but notably the Subway Ghost, who teaches him how to move objects. Slightly different in that the character being advised is himself a ghost...
  • Teach Him Anger: The Subway Ghost laughs his ass off when Sam fails to move a soda can. This causes Sam to get furious enough to kick the can like David Beckham, earning a friendly congratulations from his tutor.
  • Tempting Fate: Sam jumps into Oda Mae's body to share a last dance with his fiancee, which had already been shown to weaken ghosts. Naturally, that's when a psychotic Carl chooses to attack.
  • Two Roads Before You: Sam sees a light emanating from the sky after he dies. But he turns away from it to be with Molly, and it seals shut.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Starting when Carl realizes he can't access the stolen money and lasting somewhere around the entire third act. Culminating at the end, where he winds up getting a Karmic Death as a result of trying to win a physical fight against a ghost.
  • Visual Innuendo: Featuring the world's only PG-13 rated clay-pottery-throwing scene (until of course, the Affectionate Parody as seen in Wrongfully Accused).