[[quoteright:318:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/coen_brothers.jpg ]]
[[caption-width-right:318:Serious men.]]

Joel David Coen (born November 29, 1954) and Ethan Jesse Coen (born September 21, 1957) have been making films and thumbing their noses at traditional genre boundaries since 1984. Bouncing from FilmNoir to screwball comedy, from quirky indies to big-budget studio pieces, they function as a two-man writer-director-producer-editor SiblingTeam.

The brothers are known for their meticulous planning, not least the incredibly detailed storyboards they create for every shot of every film. This saves time during production (as they can show their cinematographer exactly what they want done) and makes the films look unbelievably cool.

Joel has been married to actress Creator/FrancesMcDormand - whom he met on the set of their first film ''Film/BloodSimple'' - since 1984. She's appeared in seven of their films, including ''Film/{{Fargo}}'' for which she won the UsefulNotes/AcademyAward for Best Actress. She said of the event "After all these years sleeping with the director, it's finally paid off." Ethan has been married to Tricia Cooke since 1990, who worked as an editor on several of the brothers' films.

All of their films are scored by Music/CarterBurwell. All of their films are edited by Roderick Jaynes. He doesn't exist. He is a pseudonym for the brothers themselves. They like to have creative control on their films. Yeah.

Vote for your favourite Coen brothers film [[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/crowner.php/Sandbox/BestFilmCoenBrothers here!]]

!!Films written and directed by the Coens:
* ''Film/BloodSimple'' (1984)
* ''Film/RaisingArizona'' (1987)
* ''Film/MillersCrossing'' (1990)
* ''Film/BartonFink'' (1991)
* ''Film/TheHudsuckerProxy'' (1994)
* ''Film/{{Fargo}}'' (1996)
* ''Film/TheBigLebowski'' (1998)
* ''Film/OBrotherWhereArtThou'' (2000)
* ''Film/TheManWhoWasntThere'' (2001)
* ''Film/IntolerableCruelty'' (2003)
* ''Film/TheLadykillers'' (2004)
* ''Literature/NoCountryForOldMen'' (2007)
* ''Film/BurnAfterReading'' (2008)
* ''Film/ASeriousMan'' (2009)
* ''Film/TrueGrit'' (2010)
* ''Film/InsideLlewynDavis'' (2013)
* ''Film/HailCaesar'' (2016)

!!Notable tropes in the Coen Brothers' films include:

* AdaptationDistillation: ''Film/NoCountryForOldMen'', and widely regarded as superior because of it.
* TheAntiNihilist: The most readily apparent philosophy underlying all of their works, though they do on occasion toy with spirituality, fate, and the possible existence of God.
* AssociatedComposer: Music/CarterBurwell has scored every one of their films.
* AuteurLicense: They've actually managed to have final cut on every film they've made.
* BlackComedy: We're talking black-hole, no-light-escaping black comedy. And they are masters of it.
* {{Blackmail}}:
** ''Blood Simple'', ''Raising Arizona'', ''Miller's Crossing'', ''The Man Who Wasn't There'', ''Burn After Reading'', ''A Serious Man''
** Subverted in ''Film/TheBigLebowski'': [[spoiler: They never had the fucking'' girl]].
* BrainlessBeauty: They often cast very good-looking actors to play very stupid people.
* BrokenRecord: Another trademark. Many of their films feature characters repeating the same line of dialogue many times in a row.
* CallBack: The Coens often reference past films in their works.
** The mysterious blue Volkswagen in ''Film/BloodSimple'' returns fourteen years later in ''Film/TheBigLebowski.''
** In the same film, Walter's "This is what happens, Larry!" rant echoes [[Film/BartonFink "I will show you the life of the mind!"]].
** JohnGoodman's voice-only cameo in ''Film/TheHudsuckerProxy'' is credited as [[Film/BartonFink "Karl Mundt."]]
** The company that HI works for in ''Raising Arizona'' is Hudsucker Industries.
** The law firm Tuckman Marsh is brought up in both ''Burn After Reading'' and ''A Serious Man''.
** In ''Raising Arizona'' Gale Snoats uses Fop pomade. In ''O' Brother, Where Art Thou?'' when Ulysses stops to try and pick up his pomade (Dapper Dan) the store owner tells him that they don't have Dapper Dan, but they have Fop.
* CrapsackWorld: Pretty much every movie they make.
* DownerEnding: Several of their films feature these.
* DreamSequence: ''Blood Simple.'', ''Raising Arizona'', ''Miller's Crossing'', ''The Hudsucker Proxy'', ''The Big Lebowski'', ''The Man Who Wasn't There'', ''A Serious Man''.
* {{Eagleland}}: Each of their movies so far is about a particular time and place in America, or in some respects UsefulNotes/TheAmericanDream.
* EasterEgg: They occasionally hide jokes in the credits; for example, ''Film/NoCountryForOldMen'' has a credit for "the one right tool" (referencing a line from one of Chigurh's {{Hannibal Lecture}}s during the film), and ''Film/ASeriousMan'' has a disclaimer at the end of the credits assuring the audience that "No Jews were harmed during the making of this film.", ''Film/TrueGrit'' credits Ethan Coen's son Buster as ''Mr. Damon's Abs Double" and ''Film/BurnAfterReading'' credits "The Walrus".
* FilmNoir: ''Blood Simple'', ''Miller's Crossing'', ''The Big Lebowski'', and ''The Man Who Wasn't There'' are based on the classic potboilers of Creator/DashiellHammett, Creator/RaymondChandler, and Creator/JamesMCain. Respectively, with Hammett getting the first two.
* GenreBusting: Several of their films are simply indescribable in terms of genre.
** ''The Big Lebowski'' is arguably the most prominent example in all of film. Just about every character seems to belong to a completely different genre, and none of them seem to [[WrongGenreSavvy understand]] which one they're in currently. It's part stoner film, part film noir, part political satire, part musical, and the narrator is convinced that it's a western.
** ''Barton Fink'' is a close successor, as it has been variously described as a Hollywood satire, a crime drama, a mystery, a dark comedy, a buddy film, a FilmNoir, and a horror film.
** ''No Country For Old Men'' is essentially three different genres for the three protagonists: Llewellyn Moss is the AntiHero of a gritty crime drama, Ed Bell is in a modern Western, and Anton Chigurh is the unstoppable killer of a SlasherMovie.
** They don't just bend genres, but dissect 'em.
* {{Greed}}: A major part of their work concerns the destruction money can do to a person's life(s).
* HanlonsRazor: One of the main themes in all their films is human stupidity and its horrible consequences
* HumansAreFlawed: Certainly not cynical about human nature but they also don’t think we’re the greatest thing ever.
* TheHyena: The two of them have what's been referred to as a "collective laugh" and often get the other going when one of them starts it. According to Joel's wife Frances [=McDormand=] it's genetic, since their father has it as well and her son with Joel has also picked it up.
* IdiotBall: Their "selfish and unrealistic" characters are ''notoriously'' known for carrying this, to the extent of pushing things to an IdiotPlot. This is however a prime example of TropesAreNotBad, though, because their work is actually ''better'' for it.
* IHaveYourWife:
** Subverted in ''Raising Arizona'' (I have your baby, simply because I want a baby.), ''Fargo'' (I have your wife, just like we planned.), and ''The Big Lebowski'' ([[spoiler:I know your wife's missing and I'm strapped for cash.]])
** Played straight in ''Film/NoCountryForOldMen'' ([[spoiler: I'm planning on murdering your wife after you're dead because {{I gave my word}} ]].)
** Played with twice in ''Film/BurnAfterReading'': Chad and Linda try to pull this on Osbourne, whereupon HilarityEnsues. Later, Linda tries to invoke this with the Russians to secure Chad's release [[spoiler:not realizing that he's already been killed by Harry.]]
* KnightOfCerebus: A few of Their films have serious characters who are plated seriously and bring drama to otherwise light-hearted films. Gaear Grimsrud from ''Film/{{Fargo}}'' is a perfect example.
* MoodWhiplash: Both in their films and their career in general.
* MotorMouth: Many of their characters have this trait.
* TheMuse: Frances [=McDormand=] to Joel seems to have elements of this.
* {{Narrator}}: Visser in ''Blood Simple.'', Hi in ''Raising Arizona'', Moses in ''The Hudsucker Proxy'', The Stranger in ''The Big Lebowski'', Ed in ''The Man Who Wasn't There'', Bell in ''No Country for Old Men'', 40-Year-Old Mattie in ''Film/TrueGrit''.
* NewOldWest: ''Film/BloodSimple, Film/RaisingArizona'', and ''Film/NoCountryForOldMen''. ''Film/TheBigLebowski'' is mistaken for one by the narrator.
* {{Nice Guy}}s: In addition to their talent, they are known for being very pleasant and good to work with, which is one of the reasons why their films are able to retain so many cast and crew members.
* NoEnding: Another one of their favorite tropes, used in several films.
* PeriodPiece: All of their films except ''Film/BloodSimple'', ''Film/RaisingArizona'', ''Film/IntolerableCruelty'', ''Film/TheLadykillers'' and ''Film/BurnAfterReading'' are set in the past, usually between the 40s and 60s, although some are set in the relatively recent past (''Film/{{Fargo}}'' (1996) is set in 1987 and ''Film/TheBigLebowski'' (1998) is set in 1991.)
* ThePerfectionist: They're known for wanting to keep Their visions intact, especially in relation to dialogue. It doesn't make Them any less pleasant to work with though.
* PsychoForHire: Gaear Grimsrud and his spiritual successor, Anton Chigurh. Also Leonard Smalls. Eddie Dane too. Heck, even Wheezy Joe.
* RealisticDictionIsUnrealistic: Often and successfully averted. The dialogue is as meticulous as the cinematography.
** Perhaps the best example of this comes from ''Film/{{Fargo}}''. All of the [[VerbalTic jas and jeezes]], as well as all of Jerry's stutters, were specifically written. Also, Peter Stormare first read the line "Where is pancakes house?" as "Where's the pancake house?", thinking it was a typo. The Coens put him in his place, saying "We don't make typos."
** Played extremely and intentionally straight in ''Film/TrueGrit''; the diction itself (for instance, the lack of contractions) is in fact authentic, but the dialogue itself is practically Shakespearean.
* RunningGag:
** The commemorative DVD releases of several of their films (such as ''Film/BloodSimple'' and ''Film/TheBigLebowski'') contain introductions (and, in the case of ''Blood Simple'', an entire [[DVDCommentary commentary]]) by "Forever Young Films", a fictional organization dedicated to preserving "classic" films (but really the Coens' way of poking fun at self-important cinephiles and pretentious film critics).
** The Coens like to make it seem like Roderick Jaynes, the credited editor on all their films, is a real person. It's really just the pseudonym they use due to guild restrictions on shared editing credit.
* SadistShow: One of their trademarks is things going horribly wrong for their characters, usually through unfortunate coincidences or small details. The most egregious examples are probably ''Film/ASeriousMan'', ''Film/InsideLlewynDavis'' and ''Film/BurnAfterReading'', but most of their films have it to an extent.
* SceneryPorn
* ScrewballComedy: Many of their films are inspired by this genre. ''Film/TheHudsuckerProxy'' and ''Film/IntolerableCruelty'' could even be considered throwbacks.
* SelfDeprecation: A collection of their scripts had an introduction written by their "editor," Roderick Jaynes, which basically slagged off the brothers as incompetent film-makers. Roderick Jaynes is actually a pseudonym for the brothers themselves.
* ShaggyDogStory: Combined with ShootTheShaggyDog, if the Coens are feeling cruel enough.
* ASimplePlan: Pretty much all their movies start with a simple plan.
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: All of their films are extremely cynical, with the jarring exceptions of ''Film/RaisingArizona'' and ''Film/TheHudsuckerProxy''. There's something to be said for the strong underlying sense of morality that permeates their films, though.
* StupidCrooks: The brothers tend to include [[{{Criminals}} criminal characters]] in a lot of their stories, including a few bumbling crooks who usually, but not always, appear in their comedies.
* TheVerse: Several of their films seem to take place in the same universe. The hotel fire from ''Film/BartonFink'' is referenced in a newspaper article in ''Film/MillersCrossing'' (''Crossing'' was produced first, but the films were written simultaneously) and the law firm "Whitehall and Marsh" is mentioned in both ''Film/BurnAfterReading'' and ''Film/ASeriousMan''. The mysterious blue Volkswagen from ''Film/BloodSimple'' reappears in ''Film/TheBigLebowski''. ''Series/{{Fargo}}'' eventually made it explicit it takes place in the same universe as ''Film/{{Fargo}}'', too.
* TooDumbToLive: Many of Their characters fit this trope perfectly and it always comes back to hurt Them.
* {{Troll}}: Nathan Rabin once described Them by saying that They'd heckle Their own funerals if They could.
* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory:
** Their film ''Film/InsideLlewynDavis'' is based partially on the life of folk musician Dave van Ronk.
** ''Fargo'' is not, as it claims, a true story, though it was inspired by a real incident in which a man murdered his wife and disposed of her in a wood chipper.
* TheWalrusWasPaul: Several of their films (most obviously ''Film/TheBigLebowski'', ''Film/BartonFink'', and ''Film/ASeriousMan'') contain imagery, dialogue, etc. that appears to be significant, but has no discernible meaning. [[EpilepticTrees Not that this has stopped people from trying to find one.]]
* WrongGenreSavvy:
** TheNarrator in ''Film/TheBigLebowski'' seems to believe that he's in a {{Western}}.
** Llewellyn Moss and Sheriff Ed Bell in ''Film/NoCountryForOldMen'' are under the presumption that they don't live in a CrapsackWorld. Moss [[spoiler: gets himself and his wife killed because of it]], and Bell ends up realizing the world went to hell a long time ago, but he was too idealistic to accept it.
** Linda and Chad in ''Film/BurnAfterReading'' think they're the heroes of a spy movie.