[[caption-width-right:330:Clockwise from the top left: Zeppo, Groucho, Harpo, and Chico]]

The Marx Brothers were vaudeville comedians from the early 20th century. They later starred in their own Broadway shows, and subsequently movies. They were wild and outrageous, gutbustingly hilarious with the central three being masters of different kinds of humor: verbal (Groucho), ethnic and musical (Chico), and surreal pantomime slapstick (Harpo).

A family act, the Marx Brothers went through several incarnations under varying names (including "The Four Nightingales", "The Six Mascots", and others) before an appearance in Texas, where the audience left the theatre during a performance [[IncrediblyLameFun to go watch a mule]]. This outraged the team, and they began breaking from their script to abuse the audience, which [[SpringtimeForHitler went over better than they expected]] with the audience finding it hilarious. Their act quickly incorporated a significant component of what would be referred to today as {{improv}} comedy, frequently mocking theatrical clichés and tropes, and they began to move up the ranks of vaudeville performers, eventually reaching the pinnacle of vaudeville fame, performing at New York's Palace theatre. A disagreement with the executive running the biggest vaudeville circuit at the time exiled them from big-time vaudeville, and sent them into regional touring, which was difficult and draining. The troupe was about to disband when a backer willing to fund a legitimate theatre production was found. Success on the road with ''I'll Say She Is'', a revue based in part on their vaudeville routines, continued when the show was brought to Broadway. Their performance caught the attention of the theatrical critics as well as the audience, and their relatively haphazard, underfunded show ran for months. Their subsequent show was also a success, and was adapted to film, starting one of the greatest series of film comedies ever made.

The family had five brothers, although only four (and later three) performed together at a given time. According to interviews Groucho gave late in his life, their stage names reflected personal traits or important events in their lives, and were inspired by a comic strip called "Sherlocko the Monk", which triggered a brief rash of nicknames ending in "-o".

* Groucho (Julius Henry Marx), nicknamed for his abrasive wit. (Some sources say the name came from his "grouch bag", a bag worn around the neck, and used to keep money, as vaudeville performers were sometimes not above stealing from each other.) The patron saint of {{Deadpan Snarker}}s. Known for his cigar and mustache (which was actually a stripe of greasepaint, at least until he became the host of ''Series/YouBetYourLife'' in 1947 and grew a real one). He's the singer of the group and, although it's not as showcased as Chico's and Harpo's instrumental talents, a gifted guitar player. A cross between a participant and a commentator, Groucho's on-screen persona would inspire comedians from Alan Alda to the ''[[Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000 MST3K]]'' team and arguably up into the present day with groups like ''WebVideo/CinemaSins''. Later in life, he became a fan and friend of Music/AliceCooper, oddly enough.
* Chico (Leo or Leonard Marx); pronounced "chicko", his nickname referred to his habit of "chicken chasing" (womanizing). His trademarks were an outrageously fake Italian accent, a conical black hat, and a distinctive style of piano playing where he appear to literally "tickle" the piano (a play on the phrase "tickling the ivories") and would "shoot" selected keys with his fingers held to form a gun. The most traditional comedian of the three major brothers, Chico would typically find himself providing the verbal component to Harpo's mime, or sparring with Groucho. Despite his FunnyForeigner persona, [[MexicansLoveSpeedyGonzales he was widely-beloved by Italian-Americans]] as a basically-flattering caricature, since most of his scenes have him outwitting his [=WASP=] antagonists.
* Harpo (Adolph Marx, [[OneMarioLimit later changed to "Arthur"]], though '''not''' for the reason you might assume [[note]]he just plain hated the name and had it legally changed in 1911, long before the world had heard of UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler and even before UsefulNotes/WorldWarI's anti-German hysteria was even an issue[[/note]]), nicknamed for his virtuoso harp playing (which was completely self-taught). His trademarks were harp playing, a silent mime performance (using a horn instead of speaking), and a clown-like costume featuring a raincoat with apparently [[{{Hammerspace}} bottomless pockets]], a curly red wig (later blond, as it looked better in black-and-white film), and a top hat. He is a virtuoso kleptomaniac with a special knack for pickpocketing, ending up with such unlikely prizes as Groucho's boxers and a random man's birthmark. In the early stage shows, he did an {{Oir|eland}}ish accent, but it was eventually decided that having him be TheSpeechless was funnier. His mime routines (most notably the famous Mirror Scene from ''Duck Soup'') have become a staple for comedy shows today, and even inspired all of [[http://youtu.be/t2naQm0ZQT8 Mr. Funny]]'s entire character in the 2009 season of ''WesternAnimation/TheMrMenShow''.
* Zeppo (Herbert Marx); according to Groucho, his nickname was born from the arrival of a German zeppelin at Lakehurst, NJ, but the dates don't match. Harpo, in his book ''Harpo Speaks'', claims that the name was derived from a chimpanzee appearing in a comic strip of the day, Mr. Zippo, but when Herbert objected, this was changed to Zeppo. (There are other stories concerning the name's origin, such as the time the brothers were pretending to be farmers in order to dodge serving in UsefulNotes/WorldWarI and gave each other hayseed names like "Zeke" and "Zeb".) Zeppo was the youngest and most handsome of the brothers, and while still part of the act generally played the straight man and sometimes the romantic lead. His trademark is less developed than the above. (He ''was'' a talented comedian, however, once filling in for Groucho during a Vaudeville tour when the latter was ill.) After several movies, he followed brother Gummo in leaving the act and becoming a manager for his performing siblings. A talented mechanic and inventor, he also founded a manufacturing company.
* Gummo (Milton Marx), nicknamed for the sneaky, or "gumshoe", way he had of walking around backstage, or a pair of galoshes ("gumshoes") he had as a child. Having a lifelong dislike of being onstage, Gummo left the act right before it became famous to join the army during UseefulNotes/WorldWarI, although he was never sent to Europe due to the war ending shortly after. Zeppo, who until then was considered too young to be in the act, took over his place. Like Zeppo, he later became a manager for his siblings and other talent, but he kept at it longer than his younger sibling. He died four months before Groucho, with the latter not being informed of his death in fear of making his already frail health worse. According to Wiki/ThatOtherWiki, the contemporary actor Gregg Marx is his grandson.
* There was actually a ''sixth'' Marx Brother, Manfred Marx, who was also the oldest; he died of enterocolitis on 17 July 1886, aged seven months. He is buried in New York Washington Cemetery near Minnie's mother Fanny.
* Marx "sister" Polly was actually a cousin whom Minnie and Frenchie adopted.
* They are in no way related to Creator/KarlMarx, author of ''The Communist Manifesto'', despite humorist Richard Armour's assertion that Karl was the funniest of the brothers, nor are they related to musician Music/RichardMarx.

Also frequently joining them was the matronly figure of Margaret Dumont, typically cast as a [[GrandeDame wealthy widow]] who was a perfect foil for Groucho; he would alternate between shamelessly flirting with her ("Ah, married. I can see you right now in the kitchen, bending over a hot stove...") and viciously insulting her ("But I can't see the stove.").

Their comedic style was chaotic and absurd, with lots of word play, pantomime and satire. In general, they would appear in stock stories, tired even by the standards of the day, and demolish them. The surrounding characters, trapped by their roles, would attempt to continue on through the story, mostly ignoring the literary deconstruction going on.

In particular, Chico, Harpo and Groucho had their own identifiers:
* Chico spoofed the ignorant Italian Immigrant, always looking to con, steal or otherwise make a quick buck. He was the only Marx Brother to keep using his vaudeville accent into the movies. It's notable that Chico's character worked on another level besides the obvious spoof; he often got the better of Groucho and other characters with a hint of ObfuscatingStupidity and more than a little gusto, particularly in ''A Day at the Races''. One Marx historian proposed that this was a vicarious release for actual immigrants, seeing "one of their own" get one up on the establishment. Given that the brothers' parents were immigrants (Alsatian Jews rather than Italians), there might be something to that.
* Harpo originally spoofed an Irish Bruiser in the early vaudeville days, but later developed his trademark pantomime, "speaking" only through whistling, charades, and honking a horn. (In RealLife, Harpo actually had a pleasant baritone voice, and was described as talkative and intelligent; among his friends were Alexander Wolcott and Creator/GeorgeBernardShaw. He, like Wolcott, was a member of the Algonquin Round Table.) He was the clown of the group okay, they all were, to a point. He'd ''literally'' chase women, randomly snip off people's ties and other things with scissors, eat random objects, and produce unlikely items from his pockets and tattoos.
* In the team's vaudeville days, Groucho originally played a German-accented character; but he was often booed for it (there was a [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarI World War]] going on) and so became the fast-talking "authority figure", and possibly the king of wordplay. It was he who uttered those immortal lines, "Once I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don't know." However, one of the absolute best-known of his lines is something [[BeamMeUpScotty he never actually said]] a [[http://www.snopes.com/radiotv/tv/grouchocigar.asp supposed comment]] to a woman with lots of children who appeared on ''Series/YouBetYourLife'':
-->'''Woman:''' I love my husband.\\
'''Groucho:''' I love my cigar, too, but I take it out once in a while.
Pretty racy stuff, for the 1950s.

Groucho and Harpo went on to inspire the characters of Yakko and Wakko respectively in the hit 1990s Creator/WarnerBros cartoon ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}''. In fact, an episode of ''Animaniacs'' entitled "King Yakko" is very similar to ''Film/DuckSoup'', following a similar plot and with Yakko and Wakko falling into roles similar to those of Groucho and Harpo. The episode even ends with Wakko having a beautiful woman hold his leg, one of Harpo's {{Running Gag}}s.

Also, WesternAnimation/BugsBunny: Bugs actually stole some of his mannerisms and lines from Groucho, including the famous line "Of course you know, ThisMeansWar" It is also argued that the way Bugs holds his carrot is meant to be reminiscent of Groucho and his cigar. There was even a ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' short in which Bugs disguised himself as Groucho to evade the attentions of restaurant chef Elmer Fudd. It didn't work, because Fudd was already disguised as Harpo.

Groucho also has the distinctive pleasure of starring in a series of successful mystery novels by author Ron Goulart in which he and his writer [[TheEveryman Frank Denby]] investigate various murders and crimes that popped up in Hollywood during the 1930s (in the novels, Groucho did the investigations in between his working in movies and his hosting a weekly radio program).

Not to be confused with Marx, a character from ''Videogame/KirbySuperStar''. Or [[{{Creator/KarlMarx}} that other Marx]].


[[folder: The Marx Brothers' films: ]]

* ''[[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0209031/combined Humor Risk]]'' (also called ''Humorisk''; 1921) Don't expect to ever see it, as the Marxes had all the copies [[MissingEpisode destroyed]] soon after it debuted as [[OldShame they felt it was rubbish]].
* ''Film/TheCocoanuts'' (1929)
* ''Theatre/AnimalCrackers'' (1930)
* ''Film/MonkeyBusiness'' (1931)
* ''Film/HorseFeathers'' (1932)
* ''Film/DuckSoup'' (1933)
* ''Film/ANightAtTheOpera'' (1935)
* ''Film/ADayAtTheRaces'' (1937)
* ''Room Service'' (1938)
* ''At The Circus'' (1939)
* ''Go West'' (1940)
* ''The Big Store'' (1941)
* ''A Night In Casablanca'' (1946)
* ''Film/LoveHappy'' (1949)
* Groucho, Chico, and Harpo also appeared (in separate, individual vignettes) in Creator/IrwinAllen's 1957 fantasy film ''The Story of Mankind''.
* Groucho appeared solo in a number of films, including:
** ''Copacabana'' (1947), with Carmen Miranda
** ''Double Dynamite'' (1951), with Music/FrankSinatra
** ''A Girl in Every Port'' (1952), with William Bendix
** He also had a cameo in ''Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?'' (1957) and played God (literally) in ''Film/{{Skidoo}}'' (1968).


[[folder: The Marx Brothers' TV appearences: ]]

* Groucho's comeback GameShow ''Series/YouBetYourLife''
* Groucho performed the part of Ko-Ko in a production of ''Theatre/TheMikado'' on ''The Bell Telephone Hour''.
* Harpo appears in one of the Hollywood arc episodes of ''Series/ILoveLucy'' (complete with harp and mirror routine) with Ricky and Fred dressed as Groucho and Chico.
* Both Harpo and Groucho appeared on separate episodes of the GameShow ''Series/IveGotASecret'', and Groucho appeared as both panelist and Mystery Guest in episodes of ''Series/WhatsMyLine''.

!!They often employed such tropes as:

* ActuallyPrettyFunny: As stated above, Italian-Americans' reaction to Chico's character.
* BagOfHolding: Harpo's baggy old overcoat has been known to produce lit candles, hot cups of tea, fresh fish, and roughly eight drawers' worth of stolen silverware.
* BigLittleBrother: Of the four performing brothers, Zeppo was the youngest, but also the tallest and most traditionally handsome.
* BookWorm: Groucho, who always regretted barely spending any time in school as a child, was an avid bookworm, attempting to read a new book every day and even writing several himself. One of his proudest moments was when several of his writings were preserved in the Library of Congress for historical significance. He often remarked that "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."
* BreakingTheFourthWall:
-->'''Groucho:''' (''as Chico begins a piano solo'') I've got to stay here-- but there's no reason why you folks shouldn't go out into the lobby until this thing blows over.
** In another instance, he deliberately tells a bad joke and then says to the audience "Well, ''all'' the jokes can't be good! You gotta expect that sometimes."
*** Similarly, after one particularly bad stock joke he says "That's the first time I've used that joke in 20 years."
** It becomes a RunningGag in ''At The Circus'' since Groucho does it numerous times. One of the best is a scene where he's trying to get something Pauline has [[VictoriasSecretCompartment stuffed down her shirt]], and when he realized she's done so he looks at the camera in fear and says "There has to be some way to get that money [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar while staying out of the Hays Office]]!"
** This dress is bright red, but Technicolor is ''SOOO'' expensive!
** In ''Go West'', after [[BoundAndGagged binding and gagging]] one of the villain's henchmen, Groucho turns toward the audience and remarks [[SelfDeprecation "Did you know this is the best gag in the picture?"]]
** "Pardon me while I have a strange interlude." This is a shout-out to Eugene O'Neill's ''Theatre/StrangeInterlude,'' in which the characters speak to each other while holding masks, then drop the masks to voice their true feelings in soliloquies.
* ButtMonkey: Margaret Dumont's characters were always insulted and embarrassed by Groucho.
* CallBack: During the musical number "Lydia the Tattooed Lady" in ''At the Circus'', Groucho mentions that Lydia had a tattoo of "Captain Spaulding exploring the Amazon", referring back to the character he played in ''Animal Crackers''.
** In ''A Night at the Opera'', Groucho says "You know this means war!", referring to their previous film ''Duck Soup''.
** In ''A Day At The Races'' he barn dance has the lyric "All God's children got swing." which is a call back to ''Duck Soup'' where the line was "All God's children got ''guns''."
* CaptainObvious: During the 1970's, when Groucho attended a performance of Music/JesusChristSuperstar with Creator/EltonJohn, he remarked "This is sure to offend the Jews" in reagards to the crucifixion scene, which may be considered a bit of self-deprecating humor, since Groucho and his brothers were Jewish.
* TheCasanova: Chico in real life. His nickname, not coincidentally, was pronounced "Chick-o".
* CashLure: In ''Go West'', Harpo [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOe2bTVLRxk#t=3m20s uses this]] on Groucho.
* CloudCuckooLander: Harpo. Sometimes a harmless RealityWarper.
* ComedicSociopathy: Part of their charm is the fact that the Marxes basically ''didn't care'' about the plot. Groucho was a comedic sociopath exactly as much as ''[[Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000 MST3K]]''[='s=] Mike and Joel were he doesn't buy into the significance of ''anything'' that you would normally expect a character in a movie to care about. All three of the primary Marxes [[MediumAwareness knew they were in a movie]], and were willing to continue being in the movie as long as nobody expected them to give a damn. Harpo and Chico are sometimes theoretically allies with Groucho, sometimes antagonists...and it doesn't matter in the slightest.
** In the original scripts for ''Duck Soup'', Groucho's character (Rufus T. Firefly) is the owner of a munitions factory before being appointed President of Freedonia and he has no qualms about using his new position to start a war in order to improve his business. ExecutiveMeddling forced this to be changed, as The Powers That Be at Paramount Pictures felt [[RealityIsUnrealistic it was too unbelievable that a politician or captain of industry would be so corrupt]].
* ComicTrio: After Zeppo left, and some would claim before.
* TheComicallySerious: Zeppo, several times. Some would argue that this is his ''real'' talent.
** It was ''definitely'' Margaret Dumont's talent. Not many people can act like this around Groucho without {{Corpsing}}.
* CommanderContrarian: Groucho.
--> '''Wagstaff:''' Whatever it is / I'm against it! / No matter what it is or who presents it / I'm against it!
* CoolHat: Harpo's high hat.
* CuteMute: Harpo.
* DeadpanSnarker: Groucho especially, but Chico had his moments.
** In the letter dictation scene from Duck Soup, the underappreciated Zeppo deadpans circles around Groucho.
** SilentSnarker: Harpo.
* DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment: A routine in ''A Night at the Opera'' which focuses on a contract whose clauses are all along the lines of "The party of the first part shall be known in this contract as the party of the first part."
* DistractedByTheSexy: Everybody, but especially [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUIqSL2aEvM#t=0m12s Harpo.]]
* DoWrongRight: Being entirely self-taught, Harpo inadvertently learned the harp ''backwards.'' (he put it on the wrong shoulder -- then saw a greeting card with an angel holding it the right way.) After he became successful, he tried to take lessons to learn how to do it the right way, but his teachers were all too enraptured by his playing to ever instruct him. The one exception was [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNFtRU_c2Ec Mildred Dilling]], who broke him of a lot of bad habits and coached him in certain songs he wanted to learn. When he got stuck he would call her up and she'd pull her harp over next to the phone and they'd play back and forth until he could correct the problem. In other cases, he was asked to share his technique with formally-trained harpists, which he found entirely impossible.
* DoubleEntendre: Groucho could turn anything into one with just a [[EyebrowWaggle wag of his eyebrows]] and a smirk. ''Anything.'' He would later lampshade his reputation for this on ''You Bet Your Life'', because the audience would go off when a guest would say something they knew Groucho would turn into this.
--> '''Groucho:''' I must have ''some'' reputation if they keep laughing before I even say anything.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: In ''The Cocoanuts'' Harpo wore his red wig from their stage show, which appears dark grey on the black and white film. He quickly decided that it would look better bleached to a light pink. That's why he's called Pinky in some of the films. Many fans do think of Harpo as blond.
* ExcusePlot: Any "plot" is there purely for form's sake. The ''real'' reason their movies were made and why people went to see them is purely ForTheFunnyz.
* ExtremeOmnivore: Harpo, who eats everything, including buttons, telephones and thermometers.
* FiveManBand:
** TheLeader: Groucho
** TheLancer: Chico
** TheBigGuy: Harpo
** TheSmartGuy: Zeppo (or equivalent)
** TheChick: Margaret Dumont (or equivalent)
* ForgottenTrope: ''Horse Feathers'' relies on several concepts, like "{{college widow}}s", that no longer exist.
* ForTheFunnyz: The bros' main goal in basically any movie.
* FreudianTrio: Groucho = superego. Chico = ego. Harpo = id.
* FunnyForeigner: Chico.
* GadgeteerGenius: Zeppo was a RealLife example.
* GeniusDitz: Harpo played a bumbling fool who was nonetheless a ''brilliant'' harpist.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: A core value of Groucho's comedic approach, to the point that legend attributes far more, and far more blatant, successes to him than he actually had. A few examples:
** In ''Horse Feathers'' Groucho, when renting a canoe, comments "I wanted a flat bottom, but the girl in the boathouse didn't have one."
** From ''Animal Crackers'': "We took some pictures of the native girls, but they weren't developed. But we're going back again in a couple of weeks, and..." (here, hastily interrupted by Margaret Dumont)
*** "Signor Ravelli's first selection will be 'Somewhere My Love Lies Sleeping' with a male chorus."
*** "Now, I want to tell you, madam, that with this insurance policy you are provided for your little ones and for your old age, which will be here in a couple of weeks now, if I'm any judge of [[FunWithHomophones horseflesh]]."
** From ''Monkey Business'': "You're a woman who's been getting nothing but dirty breaks. Well, we can clean and tighten your brakes, but you'll have to stay in the garage all night."
** From ''Duck Soup'': "All I can offer you is a Rufus over your head."
*** "Married. I can see you right now, bending over a hot stove... but I can't see the stove."
*** Groucho says "Here's one I picked up in a dance hall!" and goes into a loopy dance move, then says "Here's ''another'' one I picked up in a dance hall!" and gestures toward Margaret Dumont.
*** "Remember you're fighting for this woman's honor, which is probably more than she ever did!"
** From ''A Night at the Opera'': "You're willing to pay him a thousand dollars a night just for singing? Why, you can get a phonograph record of 'Minnie the Moocher' for 75 cents. (''pause'') For a buck and a quarter, you can get Minnie."
** From ''A Day at the Races'':
--->'''Chico:''' One dollar, and you'll remember me all your life.
--->'''Groucho:''' That's the most nauseating proposition I ever had.
--->'''Chico:''' (''singing'') Getta you tootsie-frootsie!
--->'''Groucho:''' I'm getting a fine tootsie-frootsieing right here!
** From ''At the Circus'':
--->'''Groucho:''' You know, if you hadn't sent for me I'd probably be home now in a nice warm bedroom, in a comfortable bed, with a hot toddy.
--->'''Chico:''' Who?
--->'''Groucho:''' A hot toddy!...That's a ''drink''!
--->'''Chico:''' At'sa too bad! [[note]](Perhaps not coincidentally, two-time co-star Thelma Todd's nickname was "Hot Toddy".)[[/note]]
*** As mentioned above, there's a scene where Pauline stuffs some money down her shirt, and Groucho is worried he won't be able to get it out without breaking UsefulNotes/TheHaysCode.
** From the very beginning of ''Go West'':
--->'''Chico:''' Where's your $70?
--->[Harpo reaches his pockets, smiles, shakes his head and shows his empty hands]
--->'''Chico:''' You only got $10? What did you do with the other $60?
--->[Harpo describes feminine forms with his hands, then makes a [[WolfWhistle wolf whistle]] and a mischevious grin]
--->'''Chico:''' Ohhhh... You buy a snake, eh?
--->[Harpo looks at him, puzzled]
* GrandeDame: Margaret Dumont was the perpetual butt of the Marxian humor throughout a long series of films.
* HarpoDoesSomethingFunny: The TropeNamer, naturally. The scripts for their movies would often contain sections which consisted of a direction for one or more of them to do some comedic business, with the details left to them.
* HeWhoMustNotBeHeard: Harpo. He reportedly [[DoingItForTheArt turned down $50,000]] to speak one word in ''At The Circus''.
** Except (apparently) singing "Sweet Adeline" in ''Monkey Business'', since the first officer could hear them all singing in four-part harmony.
** Later in life, Harpo had a second career as a dinner speaker. He would always open his speeches with a wry "unaccustomed as I am to public speaking," and get the audience rolling with laughter.
** Harpo named the memoirs he wrote in his old age ''Harpo Speaks''. [[spoiler: The two last words in it are "honk, honk!"]]
* HurricaneOfPuns: Chico and Groucho are both prone.
** One well known example is this Groucho monologue from ''Duck Soup'': "Well, that [statement] covers a lot of ground. Say, you cover a lot of ground yourself! You'd better beat it! I hear they're going to tear you down and put up an office building where you're standing. You can leave in a taxi. If you can't get a taxi you can leave in a huff. If that's too soon you can leave in a minute and a huff."
* IconicItem: Harpo's high hat, magical coat, motor horn and harp. Chico's pseudo-Italian suit. Groucho's cigar.
* IdiosyncraticEpisodeNaming: All their features from ''Animal Crackers'' to ''Duck Soup'' are named after silly phrases with animals in them that have nothing to do with the plot. These were followed by two films with titles featuring variations of ''A _____ at the _____''.
* IllTakeTwoBeersToo: In ''A Night at the Opera'':
-->'''Groucho''': Two beers, bartender!\\
'''Chico''': I'll take two beers too.
* InsultComic: Groucho made this type of comedian universally famous and popular. He is more or less the godfather of this genre.
* ITakeOffenseToThatLastOne: In ''Duck Soup'', Groucho does this to Trentino. Although he still likes "upstart".
* ItIsPronouncedTroPAY: "Chico" is pronounced "Chicko," rather than the normally-expected "Cheeko." He was an inveterate womanizer, and the nickname (and pronunciation) comes from his habit of "chasing the chicks."
* {{Jerkass}}: Groucho, although he's also most times a JerkWithAHeartOfGold.
** Groucho was known to be this in real life, too. He was notoriously incapable of reining in his caustic and deadpan wit, but was rarely malicious with his verbal barbs. He was also noted to be a bit of a sexist, but also had a [[FriendToAllChildren soft spot for children]]. In fact, the PBS special ''The One and Only Groucho'' noted that "he married for love but drove all his wives away with his caustic wit," though all his marriages lasted for years and sometimes decades.
* KarmicProtection: Don't be mean to Harpo.
* KarmicTrickster: Groucho and company spend much of their movies getting back at those who have wronged them. Groucho was an inspiration for the most famous [[WesternAnimation/BugsBunny Karmic Trickster]] of all.
* LargeHam: Groucho and Chico. Harpo is one of the mute examples.
* LighterAndSofter: When the Brothers went to MGM, Irving Thalberg made them lighten up their act a bit to play slightly nicer characters who saved their mischief for the villains while helping the romantic leads of the stories.
* {{Malaproper}}: Chico, a lot of the time.
* MirrorRoutine: Not an UrExample (the routine predates film), but one of the most memorable.
* MotorMouth: Groucho.
* TheMusical: Most (if not all) of their movies, of course, but also ''Minnie's Boys,'' a musical VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory, namely the Marx Brother's early life and careers, as well as their relationship with their mother, the titular Minnie (played by Shelley Winters in the original Broadway production). How loosely based? Well, for one thing, Gummo never even joins the act once (though he's in the early scenes and some later ones when his brothers get famous).
* NinjaPirateZombieRobot: Harpo was a prop comic mime harpist.
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Although the public image of Margaret Dumont was as a stuffy dowager who, according to legend, had no clue of how the brothers were funny, many people have observed that she had a long enough career in stage comedy to say that was an act. Groucho claimed she really ''didn't'' get the jokes, but [[Film/DuckSoup who're you gonna believe, him or your own eyes?]]
* OddNameOut: Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Zeppo, Gummo, and... ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Dumont Margaret]]''.
* OnlySaneMan: Zeppo's schtick. He often played an exaggerated parody of the straitlaced and handsome leading man prevalent in Hollywood at the time, but also acted as an [[PassThePopcorn amused observer]] to the madcap shenanigans that were going on; ''The Cocoanuts'' and ''Monkey Business'' are the best examples. In the latter, he even gleefully joins in with some of his brothers' antics and lets fly a few zingers of his own.
* OnSecondThought: "I could dance with you until the cows come home. OnSecondThought I'd rather dance with the cows until you came home."
* OOCIsSeriousBusiness: Watch Harpo when he sits down to play the harp. All traces of his usual goofy clown suddenly disappear as he becomes intent on the music, and then reappear as soon as the music ends. Chico at the piano is sometimes this as well, but Chico mixed up the clowning and the serious music more than Harpo did.
* OverlyLongGag:
** ''A Day at the Races'' features Harpo beginning to play the piano... before ''attacking'' it, spending two to three minutes just tearing it apart. Out of the wreckage, he pulls the strings, which he then proceeds to play as a harp, at which point, the scene stops being a gag and just becomes a very nice harp performance.
** ''Animal Crackers'' features Chico's incredibly long piano scene and the scene where Harpo pours a truly remarkable amount of cutlery out of his pocket.
** ''A Night at the Opera'':
--->'''Chico:''' And two hard-boiled eggs.\\
'''Groucho:''' And two hard-boiled eggs.\\
'''Harpo:''' (''honk'')\\
'''Groucho:''' Make that three hard-boiled eggs.
* ThePasswordIsAlwaysSwordfish: Not an example in the strictest sense, but the TropeMaker for half of the ones that are. Anytime the password ''is'' "swordfish", it's a reference to ''Horse Feathers''.
* PowerTrio: Groucho, Chico, and Harpo.
* PrematureAggravation: A truly epic example in ''Film/DuckSoup''; see the trope page for the full quote.
* PretextForWar: ''Duck Soup''.
* RapidFireComedy: Compared with many comedy films from their era they are not as slow-paced as their contemporaries.
* RedOniBlueOni: Every DoubleAct followed this pattern. From reddest to bluest: Harpo's characters, Chico's characters, Groucho's characters, and Zeppo's characters.
* SecretWord: Groucho and Chico have a famous routine based on this concept in ''Film/HorseFeathers''. HilariousInHindsight is the fact that Groucho would later become the host of a game show called ''Film/YouBetYourLife'' where a secret word was also an important part of the game.
* ShooOutTheClowns: In most films, Harpo is the supremely silly clown, but he ''always'' performs the harp as a serious musician.
* SilentPartner: Chico frequently did the talking for Harpo, and even lampshaded this on occasion.
* SixthRanger: Margaret Dumont. Groucho even lovingly called her "The fifth Marx brother."
* SlobsVersusSnobs: The basis for most of their stories, with the uncouth Marxes making fools out of high-society people.
* TheSpeechless: It's not entirely clear whether Harpo's character is this or just TheVoiceless. In any case, he communicates just fine through mime and whistling.
* SpiritualSuccessor: WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes and Creator/MontyPython are probably the closest comparison.
* TheStateRoomSketch: Trope/Sketch Originators; most other instances are a ShoutOut.
* StealingFromTheHotel: In ''The Cocoanuts'', Chico and Harpo check in with an empty suitcase. "That's all right, we fill it before we leave."
* StraightMan: Zeppo, Margaret Dumont, and really anyone else who spoke to one of the three.
** Zeppo demonstrated in more than one film that he could do comedy too, but the brothers liked to circulate tales about how Margaret Dumont never really understood that she was appearing in comedies and genuinely believed that she was playing a serious role. At least one of their biographers has demonstrated that in Dumont's earlier career, she was noted as a smart actress who was adept at playing society matrons but also at subtly subverting them for comic purposes; the likelihood is that Dumont realised that it was funnier if people believed that she truly didn't get the joke, and so she doggedly played the brothers' Straight Man both on and off screen, making her one of the most dedicated examples of this trope ever witnessed.
* StuckInTheirShadow: Creator/GrouchoMarx and Creator/HarpoMarx have always been the most prominent names in the group. If you're lucky some people may remember Chico's name too. The one that everyone forgets is Zeppo (though, granted he only appeared in their movies until ''Film/DuckSoup'' (1933) and was usually the straight member, thus less memorable.)
** During their Vaudeville years in the 1910's, Gummo left the group and enlisted in ''UsefulNotes/WorldWarI'', but he never saw any action because the armistice was signed shortly afterwards. Afterwards, he operated a theatrical agency and worked in the Hollywood agent business.
* SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute: After Zeppo left the act, several men filled his spot - Allan Jones (''A Night at the Opera'', ''A Day at the Races''), Frank Albertson (''Room Service''), Kenny Baker (''At the Circus''), John Carroll, (''Go West''), Tony Martin (''The Big Store'') and Charlie Drake (''A Night in Casablanca)''.
* SurrealHumor: Harpo has a coat that appears to contain everything he wants. Certain gags are physically impossible and/or break the fourth wall. Groucho and Chico frequently discuss absurd topics, and Groucho himself also has absurd non-sequiturs.
* StylisticSuck:
** According to one interpretation, this was the point of Zeppo's character. He was meant as an exaggerated parody of the typical feckless leading man character that headlined contemporary musicals and comedies of the late 1920s. His presence in ''Horse Feathers'' and ''Monkey Business'' makes much more sense in this light.
** Groucho's dancing. By the time the brothers started making their movies, he was an accomplished dancer (starting out as an awkward teen in vaudeville), but his floppy and slightly off-beat moves were just funnier.
* TakeThat: Groucho sings and plays the guitar ("Everyone Says I Love You") in ''Film/HorseFeathers'' reportedly because he felt stopping the films so his brothers could do their musical schticks was getting old. Notably, the next film (''Film/DuckSoup'') has no harp and piano bits. (But only that one film!)
* TemptingFate: A popular rumor as to why Harpo never spoke goes back to one of their earliest Vaudeville performances, where the theater manager paid the Brothers in sacks of pennies, which they had to lug onto a train they were late for. An angry Harpo shouted "I hope your theater burns to the ground!" at the manager as they left. The next morning, they read that it had. Groucho later likened his brother's voice to "the axe hanging on the backstage wall of every theater: To be used only in case of emergencies."[[note]]The real, more benign reason was that critics for their Vaudeville act simply felt that Harpo's visual gags were better than his verbal ones.[[/note]]
* ThemeNaming: The titles of their early films all have an animal name in it: Film/AnimalCrackers, Film/MonkeyBusiness, Film/DuckSoup, Film/HorseFeathers,... One of their famous routines, "Why a duck?", also involves ducks. Then there's Harpo, who has a soft spot for animals.
* TranslatorBuddy/ VoiceForTheVoiceless: Chico translated for Harpo.
* UnsympatheticComedyProtagonist: See ComedicSociopathy above.
* WorldOfPun: The brothers build a lot of their humor from puns. For instance, Chico combines this with "{{Fauxreigner}}":
-->"Taxes? My uncle's from Taxes."\\
"No, not Texas, taxes! Money! Dollars!"\\
"That's where he's from! Dollars, Taxes!"
* YouWouldntHitAGuyWithGlasses:
** Groucho says this in ''Go West''. Yes, the guy would.
** Also referenced in ''Monkey Business'':
--->'''Groucho:''' Say, why don't you guys fight over there, you wanna break my glasses?

->''"Don't point that gun at me. It might be loaded. '''You''' might be loaded. You might go off. In fact, I wish you would."''