The Muppet Movie

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Robin: Uncle Kermit, is this how the Muppets really got started?
Kermit: Well, it's sort of approximately how it happened.

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In the summer of 1979, Jim Henson brought his beloved characters from The Muppet Show to the big screen to tell their story. After a very meta Cold Opening where we see the Muppets attending a private screening of their own film, we see how Kermit was inspired to leave his home in the swamp and head to Hollywood.

Along the way, he picks up a familiar assortment of friends: Fozzie Bear, a struggling ursine comedian; The Great Gonzo, "prince of plumbing" turned would-be actor; Miss Piggy, self-proclaimed "actress/model"; Rowlf the piano-playing dog; the eccentric inventors Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker; and the psychedelic Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem and their road manager Scooter. Unfortunately, Kermit also attracts the attention of Doc Hopper, an unscrupulous restaurateur who's dead set on getting Kermit as a spokes-frog for his fried frog-legs stands. Throw in some catchy musical numbers by Paul Williams and an assortment of celebrity cameos, and you've got the makings of a much-loved movie.

To date, The Muppet Movie remains the most profitable and highest grossing (accounting for inflation) live-action children's film in history.

The Muppet Movie was added to the National Film Registry in 2009.

Not to be confused with the 2011 movie The Muppets (though that one's technically a sequel of sorts).


Tropes used in The Muppet Movie include:
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Kermit: (to camera) Good grief, it's a Running Gag.

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Prof. Krassman: Say goodbye to the frog, pig!
Miss Piggy: Why should I?
Prof. Krassman: Because in sixty seconds, he won't know you from kosher bacon!
Miss Piggy: THAT DOES IT! HIIIIIII-YAAAAAAAAH!

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    • Possibly also pressing Piggy's other Berserk Button -- pig/pork jokes.
  • Between My Legs: Seen during the showdown.
  • Big Bad: Doc Hopper, who is hot on Kermit's trail.
  • Bootstrapped Theme: "The Rainbow Connection" has become the unofficially official theme for the Muppets in general.
  • Brick Joke: Sweetums finally catches up to Kermit and the gang at the end...by bursting through the screen of the theater.
  • The Cameo: Dozens of them, mostly human, though at one point Kermit and Fozzie run into Big Bird, who tells them, "I'm on my way to New York City, to try and break into public television."
    • All right, let's see... Steve Martin is serving wine, Elliot Gould is a beauty contest emcee, Richard Pryor is selling balloons, Milton Berle is a used car salesman, Carol Kane keeps showing up when someone says "Myth", Mel Brooks is a mad scientist, Dom Deluise is chased by an alligator, Madeline Kahn is a patron at The El Sleezo Cafe with Telly Savalas as her boyfriend (and where James Coburn is the owner) and Orson Welles gives The Muppets the standard 'Rich & Famous' contract. Tada!
    • You forgot Bob Hope selling ice cream cones.
    • Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy as themselves.
    • James Coburn as the owner of El Sleezo. Must be a tough joint if they could pitch him out.
    • See also Creator Cameo, below.
  • Call Back: The scene where Kermit over-enunciates "Al-li-gat-ors" to Dom Deluise is a callback to a scene in The Muppet Show, said by Piggy.
  • Captivity Harmonica: Rowlf in the campfire scene.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Who knew The Electric Mayhem would have kept that copy of the screenplay?
  • Coincidental Accidental Disguise: Fozzie's newly painted car in front of the billboard.
  • Co-Dragons: Max and Krassman to Doc Hopper.
  • Cool Car: Fozzie's 1951 Studebaker, which is now in the Studebaker National Museum collection.
    • Also the 1946 Ford "woodie" station wagon that they buy from Mad Man Mooney.
    • For that matter, the Electric Mayhem's tour bus.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The gang stumbles upon Miss Piggy hitchhiking in the desert. Lampshaded, of course:
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Miss Piggy: What an unbelievable coincidence!

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"Jack not name. Jack job!"

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  • Expy: Lew Lord (Orson Welles) is Lew Grade, who gave Henson his big break, and shepherded his career (and actually was a Lord).
  • Fat Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit: Doc Hopper, since he's sort of an evil Captain Ersatz of Colonel Sanders.
  • Foreshadowing: Gonzo mentioned that he wants to move to Bombay to become a movie star. He'd later follow up on this in season four of The Muppet Show.
    • While the other Muppets try to explain to Gonzo that one goes to Hollywood to become a movie star, Bombay (now Mumbai) was then and is now the center of the massive Bollywood industry, meaning that Gonzo's goal may not have been entirely random.
    • Gonzo also sings "I'm Going to Go Back There Someday" under the night sky, hoping he one day discovers where he's from and finds his way there. Much later, in Muppets from Space, he discovers he is indeed an alien from outer space.
  • Framing Device: The Muppets attending the premiere of the movie, making the main movie a Show Within a Show. The film even breaks at one point.
    • "Huernder hinder fleep-fleep-fleep-fleep-fleep!"
    • Fortunately, der flim is okey-dokey.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Miss Piggy wears some for part of the movie. Get it?
  • Ghost Town: Where they find Bunsen and Beaker.
  • Heel Face Turn: Max, Doc Hopper's nerdy right hand man. When Hopper hires the deadly professional frog killer to take Kermit down, Max realizes just what kind of guy he's been working for, and dresses as a cop in order to pull over the Muppet bus and warn them.
  • Herr Doctor: Prof. Krassman. Definitely of the Mad Scientist variety.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: While technically not outtakes as such (as they were never intended to be part of the finished film), the footage shot by director James Frawley to test the cameras while setting up at exterior locations includes some wonderful ad-lib work by Jim Henson and Frank Oz. Watch it here and here.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Krassman gets stuck in the mind-melting machine and starts blurting, "Ribbit! Ribbit! Ribbit!"
  • Honest John's Dealership: Mad Man Mooney
  • "I Want" Song: "The Rainbow Connection," also something of an Ear Worm.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: A hurricane of them - and winkingly at the audience too.
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Kermit: (on the oft-used Hare Krishna gag) Good grief, it's a Running Gag.

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"I hear this movie is dynamite."
BOOM

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    • Fork in the road, start with a bang, drinks on the house--it's a Running Gag.
  • Love At First Sight: When Miss Piggy meets Kermit (and even follows it up with a romantic montage!)
  • The Man in the Mirror Talks Back: Kermit's inner self literally appears to help him with a moral crisis.
  • The Messiah: Kermit. He not only wants to make people happy (a goal shared by his friends), but he also had this to say to Doc Hopper:
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Kermit: I don't think you're a bad man, Doc. But I think if you look in your heart, you'll find you really want to let me and my friends go... to follow our dream. But, if that's not the kind of man you are, and what I'm saying doesn't make any sense to you... well, then, go ahead and kill me.

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Gonzo: I always wanted to go to Bombay, India, and become a movie star.
Fozzie: You don't go to Bombay to become a movie star. You go where we're going, Hollywood!
Gonzo: Sure, if you want to do it the easy way.

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    • For that matter, most of the pop culture references are too far out of date for kids today to get them.
  • Perfectly Cromulent Word: "It is indeed a problem for us to probosculate upon!"
  • The Piano Player: Paul Williams, his own self.
  • Reality Ensues: In most movies intended for younger audiences, a hero giving the villain The Reason You Suck Speech followed by a Patrick Stewart Speech is bound to get the villain to listen to reason. In this case, however, Kermit's attempt to do so fails, only showing that their are horrible people in this world who care for nobody but themselves. While this is clearly a Family Unfriendly Moral, it's a far more realistic one.
  • Retcon: Scooter and the band had different and unconnected origin stories in the first seasons of the series, but are now shown as being a single unit before the show got together. (Handwaved by Kermit to Robin in the opening. "Well, it's sort of approximately how it happened.")
  • Redemption Rejection: When Kermit finally confronts and tries to reason with Hopper, it seems for a few seconds Hopper might be swayed. But he refuses, and orders his men to kill them all. Interestingly, Jim Henson has wanted Hopper to repent, but Frank Oz talked him out of it.
  • Road Movie
  • Running Gag: "Have you tried Hare Krishna?" Also, the "Myth! Myth!" thing.
    • Yes?
    • Kermit has a classic Lampshade Hanging referring (in disgust) to the Hare Krishna bit... "Good grief, it's a running gag."
    • Don't forget Sweetums pursuing the gang...which also turns into something of a Brick Joke.
      • Not to mention Gonzo landing on Kermit's car.
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Gonzo: I'm back!
Miss Piggy: I don't understand any of this.

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Kermit: This is the patriotic part.
Robin: Should we stand up?

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  • Setting-Off Song: "Movin' Right Along." The first few bars get replayed when they drive off anywhere. Just to drill it into your head further.
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Kermit: Move it right along Fozzie.

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Kermit: I don't believe that.

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  • Wallpaper Camouflage: With a car!
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Krassman is no where to be seen after his brain becomes guacamole. He is absent during the film's showdown.
    • Doc, Max, and Snake Walker are last seen running away from an enlarged Animal, but we can only assume they were arrested.
  • You Are Worth Hell: Subverted, by Kermit to Miss Piggy when they are being held captive by Doc Hopper's minions and the mad scientist who is preparing to give him what amounts to a new form of lobotomy.
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Miss Piggy: Whatever happens next, I wouldn't trade this night for anything. Would you?
Kermit: Make me an offer.

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