Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

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The story of a man, a woman, and a rabbit in a triangle of trouble...
"My philosophy is this: if you don't have a good sense of humor, you're better off dead!"
Roger Rabbit

A brilliant (and very expensive by that time's standards [1]) 1988 film largely responsible for setting off The Renaissance Age of Animation. It had a huge influence on executives' attitudes toward seeing animation as more than what it had been in the Dork Age -- Disney's 90s animated films, the Pixar films, The Simpsons, Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs, Batman the Animated Series, and the Nicktoons and MTV cartoons would probably never have existed if it weren't for Who Framed Roger Rabbit. It is so far the only collaboration between Disney and Steven Spielberg's former studio Amblin Entertainment, and is the only official crossover with classic Disney, MGM and Warner Bros characters.

Set in the city of Los Angeles during late 1947, during The Golden Age of Animation to be specific, the Hardboiled Detective Film Noir tribute depicts a hypothetical world where cartoon characters are a real ethnic minority living alongside human beings. At the center of the story is Roger Rabbit, a Toon movie star on the run from the police after having been accused of murdering Marvin Acme, a human manufacturer of cartoon props, with whom Roger's wife Jessica happened to be playing patty-cake.[2]

His only hope is Eddie Valiant, an alcoholic human detective who has refused to work for Toons ever since one killed his brother by dropping a piano on his head during one of their cases. He winds up getting sucked into the investigation after Roger hides out at his apartment. Together, the two of them uncover something much bigger than either of them expected.

The film is (very) loosely based on Gary Wolf's 1981 novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit? It also owes a lot to Chinatown. The title of the film officially has no question mark at the end; rumor has it this is the result of a marketing survey which said films with question marks in the title make less money. The film is notable for being the biggest crossover of famous Western cartoon characters pre-50's than anything that has come before it (it is the first and only official time Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny appear in a scene together).

While the film was very well received by critics, it has not been without criticism, especially -- and surprisingly -- among actual Golden Age veterans and fans. Chuck Jones in particular, who worked on the film, ended up loathing the final product, citing it as a obnoxious, witless misunderstanding of the old cartoons it set out to homage and even accused Robert Zemeckis of robbing Richard Williams of any creative input -- and for apparently ruining the piano sequence that he and Williams had planned together. Cartoon historian Michael Barrier derided the animation direction as "disastrous", and Frank Thomas of Disney's Nine Old Men was strongly disappointed in Richard Williams failing to have any actual pathos come from the main character himself. John Kricfalusi has also not spoken highly of it, thinking that it had "great animators" but was "misdirected", "filled with takes and zany movement but no character or wit." Although not confirmed, its rumored that Ralph Bakshi loathes the film only because one of his films ended up being a copycat of the film from what he originally envisioned it as.

It also had three Spin-Off theatrical shorts that ran from 1989 to 1993, all of which were included in the film's special edition DVD release. The book series itself used the film as canon.

It should be noted for historical purposes that the entirety of the animation that appears in the film was done BY HAND -- no computers of any kind were used, except for some blue-screening when Eddie Valiant went to Toon Town, where everything was animated.

A sequel was planned shortly after the booming success of the original, but it never came to light. The first obstacle was that the film was intended to be a prequel set during World War II, but Steven Spielberg refused to work on a movie that satirized Nazis after finishing Schindler's List, and he was moving on to start DreamWorks at the time. Then, a skyrocketing (for the time) budget and the advent of computer animation landed the second movie in deeper waters.

On October 30, 2009, director Robert Zemeckis had confirmed that a second Roger Rabbit movie was on on the way, with Zemeckis himself returning to direct the film and the original screenwriters, Seaman and Price, returning as well, but with the dismantling of Zemeckis' studio the sequel's fate is now uncertain.

The movie was named to the National Film Registry in 2016.

Contrast Ralph Bakshi's Cool World, because...It can?

Tropes used in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? include:


  • Actually Pretty Funny: When Eddie hand-buzzers Judge Doom upon first meeting him, Doom is startled at first, but genuinely smiles (By that this troper means compared to the other times he smiles where it's creepy) at him. It seems he appreciates some classic humor or was at the very least surprised he got played by an alcoholic detective.
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Lena Hyena herself makes an appearance and attempts to pursue Eddie.
  • Action Survivor: Eddie Valiant -- a good and smart one.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The original book, Who Censored Roger Rabbit? (Literature), was about Valiant originally hired by Roger to investigate his bosses' broken promises. When Roger is murdered (or "censored"), Eddie investigates things with the help(?) of Roger's antagonistic wife, Jessica. The movie was basically "An anti-hero and a toon, forced together in a strange bedfellows kind of way, investigate someone else's death, with a plot built around the Los Angeles Streetcar Conspiracy."
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Inverted. Book!Eddie, as a parody of a pulp hero, is noted by several characters as being very attractive. Movie!Eddie, as a parody of a noir hero, is beaten down and schlubby.
  • The Alcoholic: Eddie, after his brother's death. He's almost a booze-seeking warhead, in fact.

"Didn't you used to be Eddie Valiant? Or did you change your name to Jack Daniels?"

  • Almost Kiss: Twice, between Dolores and Eddie. One time, Roger yells at them. The second, his presence is felt way too much to continue...

"P-p-p-p-p-p-please, don't mind me!"

  • Anachronism Stew: A number of cartoon characters appear who had not yet been created at the time in which the film takes place.
    • Word of God once admitted to the anachronisms, but stated this movie provided a special opportunity to feature so many different cartoon characters together. As far as production was concerned, Rule of Cool trumped Anachronism Stew.
    • The Bugs Bunny model sheet used in his brief scene was out of date; it had been phased out by Warner Bros by early 1942. The "modern" model sheet began use in mid 1941 in Bob Clampett's unit and had spread to the rest of the animators by the following year. He reverts at the end, however -- Daffy doesn't.
    • Freeways already existed by 1947. Judge Doom's vision is essentially the real-life Pasadena Freeway, which opened in 1940. Could be justified in that freeways weren't exactly commonplace until the 1950s and 1960s... and Rule of Funny. And that this film evidently takes place in a different universe than ours, what with the sentient toons.
    • Kuzco is also there, dancing on the Maroon lot in the DVD menu. The same menu also features Elliot the dragon, appearing and disappearing in rapid succession.
  • Animated Actors: Roger and Baby Herman.
  • Animation Bump: The opening sequence is very lush for even a modern animated short. The entire film is pretty lavishly animated, as necessitated by matching the drawings to the lighting and frame rate of the live action footage. One of the few exceptions is the Toontown sequence, where everything is (relatively) more lax traditional animation with a blue-screened Eddie.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Averted by the Dip. Turpentine, acetone, and benzene? All of them solvents, and two of which basically amount to paint thinner. The third, benzene, used to be a common laboratory solvent for organic compounds (and still occupies that role in industrial processes), which could be an intentional and reference to the "living" quality of toons.
  • Artistic License Music: In the scene where Eddie Valiant is mingling with the toons at Maroon Studios, he comes across a saxophonist standing next to the enchanted brooms from Fantasia. However, the saxophonist isn't doing anything else besides just swaying his body while playing the saxophone. The thing is, he isn't even moving his fingers while he was playing the saxophone.
  • Aside Glance: Jessica Rabbit after knocking out Roger with a frying pan.
  • Asshole Victim: Maroon, in a lesser sense. His only crime was blackmail.
  • Ax Crazy:
    • The Weasels, especially (and obviously) Psycho.
    • Judge Doom at the climax.
    • Lena Hyena.
  • Badass Longcoat: Eddie Valiant wears one, as does Judge Doom.
  • Badass Unintentional / Accidental Hero: Eddie Valiant is not very happy to take care of Roger Rabbit's case since he became a Toon-hater. However he manages to prove Roger's innocence and to save Toontown.
  • Bad Is Good and Good Is Bad/Blue and Orange Morality: Roger and Jessica are considered an odd couple, with an unlikely average person somehow landing a desireable superstar -- but in Toon thinking, Jessica's the lucky one for bagging Roger.
    • This actually makes sense when you look at their careers, Jessica is a lounge singer (albeit more of a high-class one) while Roger is a big name cartoon a-lister like Mickey or Bugs.
    • Also, toons might consider humor as more important than good looks.
      • That's the reason Jessica gives Eddie for why she's with Roger: "He makes me laugh."
      • In the original book, Jessica got her start in Tijuana Bibles -- she was little more than a porn starlet. Marrying an A-List star? Big step upwards.
    • Toon standards of beauty are also pretty... incomprehensible. Plus, doesn't Jessica flat out say that Roger's good in bed?
      • Considering that in toon terms, "good in bed" refers to how well one can play patty-cake, Roger is probably a sex god.
  • Badly-Battered Babysitter: Roger's role in the Maroon shorts with Baby Herman.
  • Berserk Button: Don't sit in Teddy Valiant's chair.
  • Big Bad: Judge Doom.
  • Big Breasts, Big Deal:

Jessica: I'm not bad; I'm just drawn that way.

  • Blackmail
  • Blessed with Suck: Toons can survive all manner of violence, but it still appears to cause them pain.
    • This is up for debate, as seen in the film when Roger is entertaining patrons in Dolores' Bar.

Roger: It feels so great to smash a plate and look, there is no pain! *smashes plate on head* ...no pain! *repeats*

    • Though Roger seems visibly distressed whenever Eddie yanks him around, usually by the ears.
      • Probably an emotional thing. Toons can react physically to a situation that's funny... by the same logic, they probably feel distress from situations that are full of anger or frustration.
      • Could also be likened to how a stuntman works. They know how to take a hit, but catch them off guard...
  • Bond One-Liner

Eddie: (moves the street line towards a wall, Lena Hyena crashes into the wall): Toons... gets 'em every time.

  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Doom leaves his Quirky Miniboss Squad in charge of Eddie.
    • As we see later, Doom is a toon, and has pretty obviously damaged his fake/glass eye (note the way he carefully keeps his hand over it, to keep his toon eye from bugging out). He has to leave in order to replace it.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Judge Doom seems to cater to this. Once you find out his true identity, all the stuff he's been spouting about toons earlier in the film becomes even more disturbing.
  • Brass Balls: Heard when Eddie confronts R.K. Maroon.
  • Brick Joke: "Look, stars! Ready when you are, Raoul!"
    • Very literally a brick joke.
    • "Scotch on the rocks...and I mean ice!" Guess what he finds in his drink at the end of the scene.
  • Butter Face: Lena Hyena perfectly mimics Jessica Rabbit's everything, but her face, for obvious reasons.
  • California Doubling: Literally. It's set in 1940s Los Angeles, but most of the movie was filmed in England. The scene where Eddie enters Toon Town, however, is shot at the famous Figueroa Street Tunnels in Los Angeles.
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: Literally.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: The police arrive after Judge Doom is liquidated.
  • Chained Heat: Roger and Eddie.
  • The Chanteuse: Jessica Rabbit.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The big mallet and portable blackhole, introduced for laughs early on and proving crucial in the final action.
    • The Disappearing Reappearing! Ink.
    • Roger's love letter written on a blank piece of paper. It's Acme's will in disguise.
    • Benny's remark "If you ever need a ride, just stick out yer thumb!" is somewhere between this and Brick Joke.
    • The Red Line and Cloverleaf Industries.
    • Doom got to be a judge by buying the election with a fortune in Toon cash.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • Not a "skill" per se, but Roger's... destructive reaction whenever he takes a shot of bourbon is put to good use later. Not so much Chekov's Gun as Chekov's Shot.
    • If you blink you miss it, but a quick reference to Eddie growing up in a circus with his father being a clown ends up helping him stage a comedy dance routine to make the Weasels laugh themselves to death.
  • Chewing the Scenery: OH MY GOD, IT'S DIIIIIIIIIIIIP!!!!
  • Circling Birdies: Both Roger and Eddie Valiant see birds once, Roger sees stars once. Roger sees a lot of other things too, as he repeatedly clobbers himself in a desperate attempt to get his lines right (he's supposed to be seeing stars) and placate irate director Raoul J. Raoul.
  • Cloudcuckooland: Toontown.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Roger. Of course, most Toons are this in some shape or form, but since Roger has the biggest role it's definitely most notable with him.
  • Cobweb of Disuse: Eddie keeps the desk of his late brother and partner Teddy untouched since his death as a Shrine to the Fallen. It is covered in cobwebs and layers of dust.
  • Comedy as a Weapon: Eddie defeats the Weasels by making them laugh until they die.
  • Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are: Judge Doom trying to flush out the hiding Roger Rabbit with "Shave and a Haircut."
  • Contractual Genre Blindness: Most toons, including Doom at the end.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: In the famous deleted "pig head" scene, Doom and the weasels punish Eddie for getting too involved in the case by dragging him kicking and screaming into Toon Town and putting an animated pig mask on his head.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: R.K. Maroon.
    • Not by choice mind you, and he's trying to save the toons and their home.
  • Crack Pairing: Arguable in-universe example: Roger and Jessica. And the thing is, they are a genuinely sweet couple.
  • Crap Saccharine World: Toon Town looks cheerful and nice, but go too far in, or spend too long there, and it becomes totally crazy. Also, there are places in it that are genuinely dark and dangerous, if you're not a Toon.
    • Toons are also perfectly capable of harming humans with antics that are harmless to them, something that killed Eddie's brother and wounds him at some points. Most toons know better than to do something lethal to a human, though... injuries that are more annoyance than anything else are apparently fair game.
    • It does seem though that the laws of what can hurt or kill a human in Toon Town are more slightly relaxed than they are in the real world. Eddie survives the punishment he takes there because it's funny and non-malicious. His brother ended up dying because Doom was actively trying to kill them.
    • Back in the humans' LA, Hollywood is a magical place where people can see their favorite cartoon stars in person. But Fantastic Racism creates a pretty obvious social gap between humans and toons, and since killing a toon is a new development, there are no laws against it.
  • Dance Party Ending: The assembled Toons singing and dancing to "Smile, Darn Ya, Smile".
  • Dark Is Evil: Judge Doom's entire wardrobe is black as pitch, even his cane.
    • We've probably made it abundantly clear by now that he wasn't exactly human. Considering he's rather toony, subtlety shouldn't really be expected.
      • All the easier to conceal his true form under layers of dark, rubbery clothes.
  • David Versus Goliath: Eddie Valiant (5.3' feet tall, chubby) vs. Judge Doom (6.1' feet tall, slight build, a super strong, nearly-immortal Toon) Guess who won.
  • Dawson Casting: Parodied. Baby Herman looks and plays a mindless newborn baby, but is actually in his fifties.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Eddie Valiant.

Eddie: Well, I don't work for peanuts. Where's the other fifty?
RK Maroon: Let's call the other fifty a carrot to finish the job.
Eddie: You've been hanging around rabbits too long.

    • Roger gets in a few as well.

Roger: Say, where is your brother, anyhow? He looks like a sensitive and sober fellow.

  • Dead Partner: Eddie's brother, as noted up top.
  • Death Trap: complete with Monologuing and leaving the room at a crucial time.
  • Deconstruction Crossover: No matter how family friendly, the film was still a Deconstruction of classical animation, showing just how insane cartoon characters really are when they're in the real world, and how deadly and nightmarish their antics are when humans are the victims. Being much more well-known and popular than the original novel, it probably became the Trope Maker for this trope.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Eddie and Jessica.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Some kids are implied to be smoking cigarettes early in the film, which would have been perfectly acceptable in 1947.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: What Doom really is.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The movie has a masked reference to the real-life Great American streetcar scandal. Accusations were made that Los Angeles's omnipresent rapid transit system, the Pacific Electric's "Big Red" trolley, and the rest of the United States trolley systems, were secretly bought up by the automotive and oil industries so they could be dismantled, and replaced with buses. San Francisco had to actually fight to keep their trolley system. The Los Angeles trial even occurs in the same year the movie is set (1947).
    • Another example: in the aftermath of Doom's demonstration of the Dip, his rubber glove is coated in green (from the concoction) but the hand is dripping red from the dissolved red shoe. His body language and the other characters' reaction suggest a parallel to blood.
      • Jessica Rabbit playing pattycake with another man is apparently the toon equivalent of her having an affair. (It's also a pun on the kind of harboiled Private Eye Monologue that uses "playing pattycake" as a euphemism for infidelity.)
  • Dolled-Up Installment: Believe it or not the basic plot premise, corrupt judge teams up with automobile companies to dismantle the public transportation system in favor of creating freeways, was originally meant to be used for the third movie in a Film Noir trilogy that began with Roman Polanski's Chinatown. The second movie was stuck in Development Hell for years due to Polanski's legal troubles, but was eventually made in 1990 (with Jack Nicholson directing) under the title The Two Jakes.
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: Judge Doom.
  • Dope Slap: Eddie Valiant delivers one to Roger Rabbit.
  • The Dragon: Smart Ass, the chief weasel.
  • Dramatic Curtain Toss: When Judge Doom reveals the Dip.
  • Dramatic Shattering: See Make Me Wanna Shout.
  • The Driver: Benny the Cab.
  • Drives Like Crazy: All Toons, whether they are driving human vehicles or Toons like Benny the Cab.
    • Benny the Cab drives himself like crazy!
  • Duck Season! Rabbit Season!: Just before Roger is about to get "dipped", Eddie does this to trick him into drinking another shot of bourbon to produce the same effect the stuff had on Roger at R.K. Maroon's office.
  • Ears as Hair: Roger wrings water out of his ears. And yet it hurts him when Eddie picks him up by the ears.
    • Since toons operate on Rule of Funny, it's safe to assume they can do whatever they want as long as there's a chance it'll be funny. Eddie jerking Roger around wasn't funny...
  • Empty Chair Memorial: The other chair in Eddie's office is his brother's. When Roger tries to sit down in it, Eddie goes bonkers.
  • Efficient Displacement: The result of Roger running off in a fit of pique ... through Mr. Maroon's office window. He leaves a Roger-shaped hole not only in the window itself, but even the blinds covering them.
  • Era Specific Personality: Most of the classic cartoons act according to their shorts the film's timelime represents. Most notable with Daffy, who acts much more akin to his Cloudcuckoolander persona from the 1940s (he gets in his later "You're Dethpicable!" catchphrase once though). Occasional references from later appearances are made however, see Anachronism Stew above.
  • Escalating War: Donald Duck vs. Daffy Duck at the Ink and Paint Club.
  • Eternally Pearly-White Teeth: Judge Doom. Justified in that he's not human.
  • Eureka Moment: Eddie Valiant's revelation while listening to the newsreel in the theater.
    • Then again when Judge Doom tells the Weasels, "One of these days, you idiots are going to laugh yourselves to death!" Comes complete with the eureka "ping".
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: Jessica's dress on stage. Heck, the dress was supposed to sparkle throughout the whole movie, but it would have been too difficult and expensive to do it. Justified on the basis that she was under stage lights in her opening number and in normal light the rest of the time.
    • Even as a toon, there's the possibility she changed her dress.
  • Evil Albino: Judge Doom.
  • Evil Gloating / Motive Rant
  • Evil Plan: Judge Doom wants to run a free way through Toon Town.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Completely Inverted.
  • The Exit Is That Way: "That's the closet!"
  • Eye Shock: In the nightclub scene when Jessica Rabbit was on stage, combined with Wolf Whistle.
  • Failed Attempt At Drama: ...but Roger's a toon. If it would've been successful, he wouldn't be a toon.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Double-subverted. Doom's death by steamroller would have been a hell of a nasty way to go, then you see him stand up. The double-subversion comes when he gets melted by dip, in a slightly more family-friendly, but no less horrifying way.
    • The cute little cartoon shoe that is shoved in the dip, slowly and gradually as it squeals in pain, is rather painful to watch, especially after Doom emphasizes beforehand that, unlike usual cartoon deaths, this is very real.
    • Arguably RK. Maroon being shot by Doom, with a long bleak shot of his corpse afterwards. Adds a slightly dark tint since Eddie inadvertently assisted it via his Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique.
  • Fan Service: Just about any scene involving Jessica. Subtlety doesn't come into it.
    • Fan Disservice: Lena Hyena, the exact opposite to Jessica.
      • And the scene where Jessica meets a shirtless and very hairy Eddie in his office.
  • Fantastic Racism: Actually played much more realistically than about 99% of examples of this trope. While Eddie came to hate Toons because one killed his brother, he's not a slathering KKK-style racist about it... he generally treats Toons about the same as he treats everyone else, he just doesn't want to be around them.
    • Done especially well in his treatment of Betty Boop. It's very obvious that he cares for her as a friend and feels upset that she's so out of work as to have to serve drinks at a bar. Many times, real-world racists actually do have friends and even family of the races they claim to hate.
  • Fat and Skinny: Eddie Valiant is short and stocky. Teddy Valiant, in the one brief glimpse we see of him in a photograph, is tall and slender.
    • Also Eddie and Roger.
  • Feel No Pain: Roger demonstrates this.
    • Repeatedly when the record player skips, resulting in several broken dishes.
  • Film Noir: The underlying plot is almost classic film noir: "I'm going to listen you spin Cloverleaf's scenario -- the story of greed, sex, and murder."
  • Five-Bad Band: The Weasels form one:
  • Flanderization: Roger, compared to his original book counterpart. While the Roger Rabbit of the original book had some notable eccentric traits, he was also somewhat shifty and definitely not the Nice Guy he pretended to be. The Roger of the movie is a lot wackier and more, well, cartoony, and is genuinely a Nice Guy. In the sequel to the book, Roger is a lot more like his animated counterpart.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Valiant comments wondering how Doom could be a judge, one of the cops mentioned that he bought the election in Toontown. Likely with the money he stole during the robbery that killed Eddie's brother.

Doom: A human has been murdered by a toon. Don't you realize the magnitude of that?

    • "Someone musta made her do it!"
    • "Stop that laughing! You know what happens when you can't stop laughing? One of these days, you're gonna die laughing!"
    • "A laugh can be a very powerful thing. Why, sometimes in life, it's the only weapon we have."
    • "I don't know who's toonier, you or Doom."
    • Pretty much everything about Doom's character. He's Obviously Evil in every sense of the word. In outfit, name, and the way he presents himself. While the other characters are played more realistically, he's not subtle in the least, in actions or appearence. This makes a lot more sense when it's revealed he's a Toon, who are by their nature over the top and quite obviously their role.
    • Cloverleaf, as in the shape of highway on-ramps.
  • For the Funnyz: Toons operate on this principle in general.
  • Freak-Out: Even the normally stoic Jessica is scared of "The Dip".
  • Fun with Flushing: While trying to sneak into the Acme factory, Roger falls on the toilet and gets flushed down. He later comes out a drain pipe in the factory floor for a (failed) Big Damn Heroes moment.
  • Furry Confusion: Benny the Cab drives a non-sentient Alleged Car that Roger was driving.
  • Gag Boobs: Jessica Rabbit. "Nice booby-trap".
  • Gainaxing: They have a habit of bumping into things.
    • Notably, Jessica's boobs reverse-Gainax, moving in the opposite direction of normal walking movement, in part to make her more cartoony.
  • Genre Savvy:
    • Eddie Valiant and Judge Doom both know enough about cartoons to manipulate the various toons they work with (mostly Roger).
    • Eddie still remembers only a second too late that when you order a scotch "on the rocks" at a toon-staffed club, you better specify you mean ice.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Lots.
    • Most prominent example: A Booby Trap.
    • Then there is Baby Herman, with his "50 year-old lust but 3-year old dinky".
    • Eddie showing rather than telling Smart-Ass what rhymes with "walls."
  • Glass-Shattering Sound: See Make Me Wanna Shout.
  • Good Guy Bar: The Terminal Station Bar, sort of.
  • G-Rated Sex: Roger reacts to secret photos of his wife Jessica and Marvin Acme playing "Patty-Cake" as if he'd been presented with photographs of them having acrobatic sex.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: Eddie figures this out firsthand upon his return to Toontown in the "Mickey/Bugs" scene.
  • Groin Attack: At least four different ones during the course of the movie. Two of them were cut off from the 20-years celebration edition DVD.
  • Hanging Judge: Judge Doom, who happily attempts to use Dip on toons whenever he can.
  • Hardboiled Detective: Why, Eddie Valiant.
  • Happily Married: Roger and Jessica.
  • Hates the Job, Loves the Limelight: Baby Herman.
  • Held Gaze: Eddie and Dolores have one before their Almost Kiss that is interrupted by Roger.
  • Hello, Nurse!: Jessica Rabbit.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Jessica.
  • Hidden Depths: One reason the movie goes over so well with multiples ages is because, underneath the very mature, hard-boiled tone, all the good guys have redeeming depths. Eddie's still got a tiny bit of humor left and still respects those he hates, Roger's forever optimistic, Jessica truly loves him, Baby Herman thinks of Roger as a good friend and supports his innocence, and Benny helps Eddie and Roger despite being a loudmouth.
  • High-Pressure Emotion: Roger's reaction to alcohol is rather... explosive.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Judge Doom is killed by the dipping machine he was going to use on Roger & Jessica Rabbit and all of Toontown.
    • And before that, Eddie tries to use the giant magnet on Judge Doom's sword, perhaps hoping to disarm him. Doom simply doesn't let go, resulting in Eddie dragging Doom closer. He reverses the magnet to stop the judge from getting any closer, so it wraps around his waist and attracts the nearest metallic object behind him-- a trash can-- which slams into Eddie's back, causing him to be immobilized.
  • Hourglass Hottie: Jessica Rabbit
  • Human-Focused Adaptation: One of the problems Chuck Jones and a few other classic animators had with Who Framed Roger Rabbit? was that it seemed that the cartoons themselves were secondary characters to the human actors. Perhaps this movie is a rare example of the trope not getting too far out of hand, though.
    • Notably the Romance between Roger and Jessica Rabbit was more important than Eddie's romantic subplot.
    • Justified, as it would have cost a lot more to give the toons more screen time.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Probably the only adequate description of Doom's true nature. With a morphology that makes him like an amalgam of toon and human at once, able to warp his body into weapons at will and personal ethics which ignore the Rule of Funny (the primary tenet of any toon's existence), he leaves the story unexplained and haunting viewers for years to come.
    • Note that we never actually see what Doom really looked like (aside from the eyes). He was wearing a rubber mask and that full body outfit to make himself appear human.
  • The Hyena: Well, weasels in this case. Their hyena cousins were mentioned. Poor guys, laughed themselves to death. Thankfully, this was released before The Lion King, or that would've been rather dark.
  • Hypocritical Humor:

Daffy Duck: [to Donald] This is the latht time I work with thomebody with a thpeech impediment!

Maroon: "Unless Mr. Acme gets his will read by midnight tonight, Toontown's gonna be land for the free"-- BANG! BANG!

  • Kill the Cutie: As a display of how deadly the Dip is, Doom snatches a cute little toon shoe, and places it slowly into the concoction as it squeaks in agony.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Eddie Valiant.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Judge Doom's presence is basically to get the movie a darker tone: his sadist punishments on toon via DIP are pretty disturbing to see and the fact he is a demented toon who is ready to do anything to achieve his goals, even if that means destroying his own race.
  • Kryptonite Factor: Toons are virtually unkillable, except by contact with Doom's deadly paint-thinner-based Dip.
  • Lady in Red: Jessica.
  • If You Know What I Mean: Jessica's infamous "pattycake" session with Marvin Acme.
  • Large Ham: Judge Doom. He's plenty scary, but bless him, Christopher Lloyd just cannot play a role without lending it the piquant aroma of a lovely maple glaze.
    • Also, Roger: ironically, both when he's acting and out of the set.
  • Last Request: Eddie Valiant asks Judge Doom to grant one to Roger before "dipping" him.
  • Latex Perfection: We all knew that Judge Doom is the villain from the first moment we saw him, but you must admit that his human disguise was so perfect and vivid-looking that you didn't know he's a Toon before he got run over by that steamroller.
  • Left the Background Music On: "Can we lose the playback, please?!"
  • Let's Get Dangerous: Subverted. Roger attempts this when he shows up during the final confrontation, gun in hand. He gets defeated easily.
  • Lighter and Softer: When compared to the original book.
  • Mad Scientist: Judge Doom. He invented the DIP.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Roger's glass-breaking "steam whistle" after drinking strong liquor.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: Cartoon characters from every animation studio in existence in the 1940s appear in the movie.
  • Malaproper: The leader of the weasels. ("Shall I ripose of him right now, boss?") Also, Roger's comment about his uncle's problems with his "probate".
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Judge Doom
      • Doom's works twice over. In addition to his intentions towards toons, it's a ridiculously over the top name. The kind a toon would have.
    • Eddie Valiant.
    • Smart Ass, Greasy, Wheezy, Psycho and Stupid, the Toon Patrol.
    • Roger Rabbit
    • Averted for Jessica Rabbit, to Eddie's jaw-dropping surprise.
      • Well, 'Rabbit' is her married name.
  • Medium Blending: Defines this movie, and the trope.
  • Mind Your Step: When Eddie takes Droopy's elevator.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Eddie Valiant's picture taking -> murder and attempted genocide.
  • Mood Whiplash: When Judge Doom and the Weasels are present...
  • Ms. Fanservice: Jessica Rabbit. Okay okay, she's integral to the plot, but seriously... look at her. She gets a flesh-colored Panty Shot after getting spun out of the car. This was reworked in the 20 Years Release.
  • Multi-Armed Multitasking: The bar-tending octopus toon.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Judge Doom. Say it with me. Doomy Dooms of Doom.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Again, Judge Doom and the Weasels -- Judge Doom's dress reminds one of a typical Gestapo trenchcoat -- Doom himself has some resemblances with Roland Freisler, the Weasels as the Toon Patrol remind one of the Gestapo or the Schutzstaffel, and the Dip which is carried on the Weasel's wagon is like the Nazi Gas Van used during Aktion T4. Also, Doom's masterplan sounds like Hitler's Final Solution for Toons instead of Jews.
  • Neck Lift: Judge Doom does it to Roger in the bar. More justified than most examples in that he can easily close his fist around Roger's neck because it's so compressible.
  • New Era Speech: Judge Doom's vision of freeways.
  • Nice Character, Mean Actor: Baby Herman.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Judge Doom is this trope's incarnation who also goes Up to Eleven when he reveals himself as a toon.
  • No Name Given: The unspoken names of the Weasels are Smartass, Wheezy, Greasy, Psycho, and Stupid. Guess who's who.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Jessica Rabbit.

Betty Boop: Mr. Acme never misses a night when Jessica performs.
Eddie: Got a thing for rabbits, huh?

"I'm not bad...I'm just drawn that way."

  • Not So Above It All: You might think because of her more in-control Femme Fatale personality and the fact that she's more of a "mature" toon that Jessica Rabbit isn't quite as looney as the others. The movie sets her up like that, and then wittily breaks down the assumption.

Jessica" [about Roger] I knocked him out with a frying pan and stuffed him in the trunk... so he wouldn't get hurt.
Valiant: Makes perfect sense...

  • Obfuscating Stupidity: "We toons may act idiotic, but we're not stupid!" Acting like an idiot is standard operating procedure for a toon, according to Roger.
    • Roger shows a more subtle version of this earlier on when he drops a rather snarky and backhanded comment regarding Eddie's alcoholism.

Roger: Say, where is your brother, anyhow? He looks like a sensitive and sober fellow.

Judge Doom: Remember me, Eddie? When I killed your brother, I talked JUST... LIKE... THIS!!

Eddie: You mean you could've taken your hand out of that cuff at any time?
Roger: No, not at any time, only when it was funny.

"You lack vision, but I see a place where people get on and off the freeway. On and off, off and on all day, all night. Soon, where Toon Town once stood will be a string of gas stations, inexpensive motels, restaurants that serve rapidly prepared food, tire salons, automobile dealerships, and wonderful, wonderful billboards reaching as far as the eye can see. ...My God, it'll be beautiful."

Eddie: I'm through with taking falls / And bouncing off the walls / Without that gun / I'd have some fun / And kick you in the-- (gets hit in the head)
Roger: Nose!
Smart Ass: 'Nose'? That don't rhyme with 'walls'!
Eddie: No. But this does!

  • Sudden Musical Ending
  • Sword Cane: Judge Doom owns one.
  • Tap on the Head: Roger himself, courtesy of a frying pan wielded by Jessica.
  • Tempting Fate: "No one gets the drop on Roger Rabbit!" CONK!
    • And when he holds Doom at gunpoint, he says, "We toons may act idiotic, but we're not stupid! We demand justice! Why, the real meaning of the word would hit you like a ton of bricks!" What do you think lands on him immediately after he says that?
    • Near the beginning, when asked if he has a car, Eddie says the he doesn't need one in L.A. since it "has the best public transportation system in the world." Turns out that a major plot point in the film was that Doom was buying the Red Car so that he could dismantle it.
  • That's All Folks
  • Technically a Smile / The Un-Smile: Judge Doom seems very humourless, even when everyone else is laughing at a joke. When he does smile, it shuts them right up. It turns out that his true personality is more into Slasher Smiles.
  • This Is a Drill: Judge Doom at the end.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Roger and Jessica. Also, Eddie and Dolores, rather less pronounced.
  • Took a Level In Kindness: Both Roger and Jessica, compared to the original book. Eddie's about the same in both versions.
  • Toon Town: The Trope Namers (or Trope Codifier, depending on how you look at it...)
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Roger and Jessica... from a human's point of view. From the Toons' point of view, Jessica lucked into a real catch with Roger.

Eddie: (mouth hanging open) She's married to Roger Rabbit?!
Betty Boop: Yeah. What a lucky goil.(closes Eddie's mouth) [Exit]

  • Unwilling Suspension
  • Vapor Wear: Jessica Rabbit.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The Cloverleaf plot is based on a real-life urban legend that General Motors bought the Los Angeles Red Car Trolley system to shut it down. The Bradford-Snell conspiracy theory has been thoroughly debunked; GM didn't buy up the Red Cars until years after they had been converted to a bus system due to problems with funding maintenance and expansion.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Greasy Weasel tries to search Jessica's cleavage for Acme's will, and gets his hand caught in a Bear Trap. She's definitely not happy to see him.

Eddie Valiant: Nice booby trap. Jessica smiles wryly

  • Vile Villain Saccharine Show: An 80's family movie, produced by Disney, with a maniacal Hanging Judge as the main antagonist who is actually a toon himself who wants to get rid of his own race for pure profit.
  • Villain Ball: Right when it seems like victory is in his hands, Roger and Jessica are tied up, and Eddie is held at gunpoint, rather than just have him be shot, Doom instead orders that Eddie be forced to watch his Toon friends die. In his brief absence afterward, Eddie proceeds to take out the Weasles one by one.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Judge Doom towards his Weasels:

Doom: Stop that laughing! Have you forgotten what happened last time?! IF YOU DON'T STOP LAUGHING, YOU'RE GOING TO END UP DEAD, JUST LIKE YOUR IDIOT HYENA COUSINS!!!

    • Mind you, this was released six years before The Lion King!
    • He also has one at the climax. He's normally quite composed but when he gets run over by a steamroller and reveals himself as a toon, he goes completely and openly Ax Crazy.

Doom: (his voice rising in pitch until it is absolutely shrieking) Remember me, Eddie?! WHEN I KILLED YOUR BROTHER, I TALKED! JUST! LIKE! THIS!!!!!!

  • Visual Pun:
    • The movie's poster. Roger Rabbit is "framed".
    • "Hey, Roger! Whaddaya call the middle of a song?"
    • In Toontown, Eddie runs over a pie with a cow's face on it.
    • Roger sits on a soap box while making a speech about the power of laughter.
    • Judge Doom's eyes pop out shaped like blades. "Glaring daggers."
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Toons can be killed with a substance known as ‘Dip’, which acts like acid for them. Being part toon, one would’ve think Judge Doom might have known that before getting into contact.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous?: Roger's deeply in love with his wife Jessica, and is horrified when Eddie finds photographs of her and Mr. Acme "Playing Patty-cake." If you're wondering what "Playing Patty-cake" is a euphemism for.... Nothing. It's just them literally playing patty-cake. Roger is deeply hurt.
  • What Does She See in Him?: Why does Jessica Rabbit love Roger as a husband? He makes her laugh.
  • White Dwarf Starlet: Betty Boop (shown in black and white) is an unusually upbeat version of one, working at the Ink-n-Paint Club.

Betty: Cigars? Cigarettes? (Beat) Eddie Valiant!
Eddie: ...Betty?
Betty: (putting down a tray of cigars and cigarettes) Long time no see.
Eddie: What are you doing here?
Betty: Work's been kinda slow since cartoons went to color. But I Still Got It, Eddie. Boop-boop be-doo boop! (winks)
Eddie: (smiling) Yeah. You still got it.

"Oh my God, it's DIP!!!"

    • It happens again when Judge Doom gets an emergency release valve full of Dip in his face.
  • Will
  • Window Pain: Roger smashes out through a window leaving a Roger-shaped hole on finding out Jessica's been playing Pattycake with Marvin Acme.
  • Wingding Eyes: Judge Doom.
  • Wrong Parachute Gag: Eddie is falling from a great height and is joined by Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny, both wearing parachutes. Eddie asks for a spare, so Bugs gives it to him. He opens it... and out comes a spare tire.
  • X-Ray Sparks: Happens to Roger during the short cartoon "Somethin's Cookin'" when his fingers get stuck in some electrical sockets.
  • You Are What You Hate: Judge Doom. You probably have guessed that by now.
  • You Killed My Father: Judge Doom is the same toon who killed Eddie Valiant's brother.

Porky Pig: Okay, m-m-move along! Th-th-there's nothing else to see. Th-that's all folks. ...hmm. I-I like the sounda' that! Th-th-th-th-th-th-that's all, folks! Hahahaha!

  1. with a $70m budget, which is roughly $127m in 2012 dollars.
  2. Not a euphemism.