[[caption-width-right:300:"Baron Munchausen, at your service! Most of you won't remember me or my adventures. But I assure you, they are true!"]]

->''"Everyone — who had a talent for it — lived HappilyEverAfter."''
-->-- '''Baron Munchausen'''

Creator/TerryGilliam's fourth solo directorial effort, from 1988. It's a paean to whimsy and the irrational, and how stories are more important than "what really happened" and rationality.

It is the Age of Reason, and there's a war on. Somewhere Austria-y is at war with The Grand Turk. In a city on the border of this war, a rag-tag theatre company is staging a dramatic retelling of the life of famous TallTale teller Baron Munchausen. The play is interrupted by the ''real'' Baron, who describes what really happened to cause this war -- namely, the Turks are after him. The Baron has come to the city to die, but is convinced by Sally Salt (the head of the theatre company's daughter) to instead save the city from the onslaught of The Grand Turk, as well as the forces of reason and mediocrity. Wackiness ensues.

The film is something of a MindScrew, as the viewer is never really sure if what's happening is really happening -- and whether or not that really matters. Due to a TroubledProduction and a regime change at Columbia Pictures that discouraged giving it proper treatment, it was [[BoxOfficeBomb a notorious flop]] at the time. (The combined losses for this and ''Film/{{Ishtar}}'' are what caused Columbia to merge with [=TriStar=].) However, the film was a critical success and is still remembered as the final film in Gilliam's classic "Dreamer Trilogy," along with ''Film/TimeBandits'' and ''Film/{{Brazil}}''.

Earned an UsefulNotes/AcademyAward nomination for Visual Effects, but had the bad luck of being nominated the same year as ''Film/TheAbyss''.

Compare ''Film/{{Munchhausen}}'' a more faithful take on the source material made in UsefulNotes/NaziGermany in 1943.

!!Provides examples of:
%% Zero Context Examples have been commented out. Please write up a full example before uncommenting.
* AccidentalTruth: When the Queen of the Moon's head (currently detached from her body) starts moaning in a very sensual way while they're traveling, the Baron tells Sally, "Her body is with The King, and he's...um, tickling her feet," instead of what all the adults are thinking. The film then shows two bodies moving on the bed, the covers slip, and... the King is tickling his wife's feet.
%%* TheAce: Baron Munchausen.
* AfraidOfDoctors: The Baron is afraid of doctors. He can easily avoid the Anthropomorphic Personification of Death until the doctor comes in.
* AndYouWereThere: Many of the actors in the theater troupe bear striking resemblances to people in the Baron's "real" adventures (an example of ActingForTwo).
* AudibleGleam: And visual, too - the Baron's toothy smile.
* AxeCrazy:
** The [[Creator/RobinWilliams King of the Moon]] gets like this if you mess with his wife.
** The Baron himself with his sword in the theater.
%%** Vulcan also gets like this. Given that the Baron was openly flirting with, and then kissing, his wife (and that Venus wasn't known for being the most faithful wife in Greek mythology), yeah.
* BasedOnATrueStory:
** [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baron_Munchhausen Munchhausen was a real person]] (who accumulated his tall tales while fighting as a mercenary, mostly for the Russians against the Turks).
** The {{Tagline}}s played with this: One was "A true story. We've got the film to prove it."
* BedsheetLadder: Rapunzel variant. The Baron, Sally, and Berthold climb down from the moon to the earth (almost) on a rope made from a lock of hair from the Queen of the Moon.
%%* BerserkButton:
%%** Doctor?! ''No doctors!''
%%** 'The Baron's kissing your wife...'
* BigDamnHeroes: The Baron and his crew may be old and decrepit and far removed from their glory days; but when they stand alone against the Sultan's entire army at the end, they do not disappoint.
* BigLittleMan: The Baron and friends fall on a pit and see Vulcan, the God of Fire, towering above them. It's only when he pulls them out of the pit that they see that Vulcan is a head shorter than the Baron.
* BigWhat: When Sally tells Vulcan (with no small amount of spite) that the Baron is kissing his wife.
-->'''Vulcan:''' I mean, [[FlatWhat what?]]
* BilingualBonus: While Robin Williams spouts off the occasional random phrase in Italian as the King of the Moon, he was listed as "Ray D. Tutto," which in Italian (''re di tutto'') means "King of everything".
* BizarreInstrument: The Sultan's "organ" is attached to a cage full of prisoners, and each key pokes a certain prisoner with a given pointy object to get the right tone of scream.
* BlackComedy: The Sultan's opera, "The Torturer's Apprentice," is nothing but this.
* BloodlessCarnage: Even decapitation has nary a drop of blood.
* BlowYouAway: Gustavus possesses wind-related powers, such the ability to judge wind speed by merely listening, and being able to literally blow powerful gales.
%%* ButterflyOfDeathAndRebirth
* TheCameo: Music/{{Sting}} shows up as the Heroic Soldier... who gets executed for being ''too good.''
* ClockworkCreature: Sybil, the three headed bird creature on the moon. When her victims go in different directions, she splits up into three parts, revealing clockwork mechanism underneath.
%%* CloudCuckooLander: the King of the Moon, aka Creator/RobinWilliams.
* ColdHam: [[spoiler: Death]] has no lines, but is every bit as hammy as the rest of the film.
%%* CoolHorse: Bucephalus.
%%* CoolOldGuy: The Baron and all of his friends (with the exception of Sally) at one point or another.
* CoversAlwaysLie: The DVD cover includes Venus' face alongside Berthold's and the Baron's, and it lists UmaThurman as one of the three main stars. In fact, Venus is a OneSceneWonder with very little impact on the plot--even if UmaThurman is the biggest name in the cast other than Creator/RobinWilliams (who appears uncredited), especially for American audiences.
* CraniumChase: The King of the Moon's head prefers to stay off its body, which fills it with animalistic urges. There is a scene with the body chasing after the flying head.
%%* CrapsackWorld: The nameless European city under constant bombardment from the Turks is this.
* CreatorCameo: Gilliam, virtually unrecognizable, as a man playing an accordion inside the whale.
* DeathSeeker: He doesn't admit it, but he enjoys death - it's implied he enjoys it because it makes for a good story.
-->'''Baron:''' And that was only one of the ''many'' occasions on which I met my death, an experience which I don't ''hesitate'' strongly to recommend!
%%* DivineDate: Narrowly averted with Venus (much to the Baron's disappointment).
%%* EmpathicEnvironment
* ExactWords: For his part of the wager, the Sultan said that the Baron could take as much of the Sultan's treasure as the strongest man could carry. Unfortunately, the Sultan did not anticipate that the Baron's strongman Albrecht would be able to carry out all of it all at once.
* FamousLastWords: Averted and parodied.
-->'''Sultan''': Any famous last words, Baron?
-->'''Munchausen''': Not yet.
-->'''Sultan''': "Not yet"? Is that famous?
* {{Fanservice}}: UmaThurman stepping out of a giant clamshell naked, à la Sandro Botticelli's painting "Birth of Venus".
* FiveManBand:
** [[TheMunchausen Baron Munchausen]] as TheHero
** [[FragileSpeedster Berthold]] as TheLancer
** [[CoolOldGuy Gustavus]] as the SmartGuy
** [[BoisterousBruiser Albrecht]] as the BigGuy
** Sally as TheChick
** [[ImprobableAimingSkills Adolphus]] as TheSixthRanger
* GainaxEnding: Out of nowhere, after the climatic battle, the Baron dies. Except… suddenly we cut back to the theater of the beginning, where the Baron has apparently been telling the whole story (from which point exactly it was the Baron's narration is unclear, since the theater crew was featured ''in'' the story, somehow). That would be pretty confusing on its own, but afterwards, when the crowd opens the gates of the city, they find the remains of the battle that was allegedly only a fiction of the Baron at this point. Except… since the theater crew was involved in the story and yet doesn't seem to remember it since they don't believe the Baron until he shows them what lies outside the gate, it can't just be that the story was entirely true all along. To boot, the baron then rides off into the distance, bows and… uh… disapppears……………… Don't ask.
* GentleGiant: Albrecht doesn't really like being the BigGuy, and would rather serve tea. Or so he claims.
* GentlemanAdventurer: The Baron and his friends.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar:
** "You're with that little man! You told me size doesn't matter!"
** Also, "I have no ''time'' for flatulence and orgasms!!"
** Subverted when the Queen of the Moon's head seems to be having orgasms, and when Sally asks what's "wrong" with her, both the Baron and Berthold look at each other embarrassedly. The Baron tells her, "He's, uh, tickling her feet." Cut to the King and Queen in bed and that's ''exactly'' what the King is doing.
* AGodAmI: The King of the Moon, "Re di tutto."[[note]] "But you can call me Ray."[[/note]](literally "King of Everything").
-->[[SophisticatedAsHell "Cogito Ergo Est. I think, therefore you is."]]
* {{Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress}}: "Gravitational Cognizance" variant. The Baron, Sally, and Berthold are climbing down a rope from the moon to the earth. They find that the rope is too short and will leave them far too high above the earth; but the Baron produces more rope and instructs Berthold to tie it to the end so they can continue climbing down. And where did the additional rope come from? ''The Baron cut it from the top of the rope on which they were already climbing.'' They don't start to fall until Sally thinks about that for a bit.
* TheGrimReaper: The angel of death has it in for the Baron, trying many times to kill him. [[spoiler:He succeeds. But the baron got better.]]
* HairTriggerTemper: The Sultan does not take the news that his treasury has been completely emptied by his guests very well, beheading his treasurer on the spot and supposedly starting the whole war that acts as the main plot for the movie, in an attempt to kill Munchausen.
%%** Vulcan, fitting enough for the [[HotBlooded God of Fire]].
* HappilyEverAfter: "Everyone - who had a talent for it - lived happily ever after."
%%* ImprobableAimingSkills: Adolphus pulls off some truly ludicrous shots.
%%* ItsAllAboutMe: The Baron is so self centered, that it's actually amazing.
%%* JerkAssWithAHeartOfGold: The Baron.
* JustForPun: ''(While being held in a cage by the King of the Moon)'' This cage isn't real! It's just a party of the King's ''luna''cy.
* KnightOfCerebus: [[spoiler: Death, in all its terrifying glory.]]
%%* KnightTemplar: Mr. Jackson
%%* LampshadeHanging: "This is precisely the sort of thing that nobody ever believes."
* LargeHam: Everyone (excluding Sally), but special mention must be given to Creator/RobinWilliams as the King of the Moon, and OliverReed as Vulcan.
* LethalDiagnosis: The Baron is GenreSavvy enough to know a doctor's diagnosis can be lethal in fiction.
* MeaningfulEcho: "I have learned from experience that a modicum of snuff can be most efficacious." -- Spoken by Henry Salt in his onstage portrayal of the Baron escaping from the belly of a whale; later spoken by the Baron in his actual escape from the belly of a whale.
%%* MsFanservice: Venus.
* TheMunchausen: The legendary character upon whom the film is based is the TropeNamer.
* NakedOnArrival: Venus; in fact, the scene where she appears seems to be a {{homage}} to Botticelli's ''Birth of Venus''.
* NestedStoryReveal: turns out [[spoiler:most of the movie]] was a story cooked up by Munchausen. [[spoiler:[[RealAfterAll Or maybe not.]]]]
* NiceHat : The baron's Tricorn.
* NippleAndDimed: A notable subversion. Although [[MsFanservice Venus]]' introduction shows some rather interesting anatomy at the bottom edge of the screen, the movie itself is rated PG. [[FetishFuel And did we mention that Venus is played by]] Creator/UmaThurman?
* NoKillLikeOverkill: The RX Intercontinental, radar-sneaky, multi-warheaded nuclear missile.
-->'''Baron:''' What does it do?
-->'''Vulcan:''' Do? Kills the enemy. All of them. And not just the men. All of the women and children too, all of their cats and dogs...All of them.
%%* ObstructiveBureaucrat: The Right Ordinary Horatio Jackson.
* OffWithHisHead: The Sultan neatly cuts off his assistant's head with his scimitar - but it's PlayedForLaughs as not only is it bloodless, but the head lands in the lap of a concubine and ''winks at her''.
* OopNorth: Oliver Reed affects a northern accent for Vulcan.
* OurLawyersAdvisedThisTrope: The owners of the 1942 German film classic ''Münchhausen'' insisted that Gilliam's movie would carry a disclaimer at the end, stating that it was a new motion picture and not to be confused with the earlier one. It was also on the VHS packaging, but not the DVD or UsefulNotes/BluRay.
* ParentalBonus: The movie manages to get away with a PG rating in spite of some pretty saucy sexual innuendo in the scene with the King of the Moon, including the King calling the Queen a "puttana" (Italian for "whore") at one point. And the adults in the audience probably found [[{{Fanservice}} Venus']] [[NakedOnArrival introduction]] a lot more interesting than the kids. Plus there's an awful lot of near nudity in the Great Turk's harem, although that's not always a bonus.
* PerilousOldFool: The Baron when he is first introduced. It's clear to the theater actors that he is frail, senile, and off his rocker when he announces that he will save them all from the Turkish siege.
* PetsHomageName: Baron Munchausen's Cool Horse is named [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bucephalus Bucephalus]].
%%* PluckyComicRelief: Berthold.
* PublicDomainCharacter: Baron Munchausen.
* PunnyName: ''Gust''avus
* TheReveal:
** [[spoiler: It was all just a story being told in the theatre...]]
** It's implied that Horatio Jackson [[spoiler: was lying about a war, just to get the townspeople to ration money and food and pocket the excess.]] But that would be the ''rational'' explanation.
* RuleOfCool: A waltz in the air with the goddess of love, flying to the moon in a hot air balloon, climbing constellations, riding a cannonball, etc.
* RuleOfFunny: It's highly improbable that you could make a hot air balloon out of ladies' undergarments, but that doesn't mean Munchausen can't.
%%* SandIsWater: On the moon, at least.
* SerialRomeo: The Baron, naturally. During the movie his fancies are such as the Russian royalty, the goddess of Love Venus, the theater troupe women, the Queen of the Moon... the list goes on.
%%* SeriousBusiness: "This isn't a joke! It's a wager!"
* ShoutOut:
** Venus' nude appearance is the same pose the mythological character takes in Sandro Botticelli's iconic painting "The Birth of Venus."
** Many images are directly inspired by Creator/GustaveDore's illustrations of the story.
** The Sultan's "organ" ''might'' just be a ShoutOut to Terry Jones' mouse organ from ''MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'', comprising a row of mice, strapped to a board, which ''supposedly'' squeaked musically when hit with hammers. (Both are based on the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katzenklavier Katzenklavier]], a conjectural (and thankfully never realized) instrument in which nails would be driven into the tails of a series of different-sized cats in order to play a tune. Or just create an almighty ruckus and be mean to animals along the way. The Sultan's instrument probably owes far more to the [[TheElricSaga Melnibonean]] music form, since both involve torturing slaves.)
* ShownTheirWork: The Sultan's harem comes off as FanDisservice, showing the Sultan to be a ChubbyChaser. This is quite accurate to the period, however. Likewise, the seriousness of the Baron's wager is appropriate for the day, if handled as ComicallySerious.
* SlapstickKnowsNoGender: The heroes are all subjected to comical violence, Sally included.
* SpiritualSuccessor: Part of the "Dreamer Trilogy": ''TimeBandits'' represents childhood, ''Film/{{Brazil}}'' represents adulthood, ''The Adventures of Baron Munchausen'' represents old age.
* StealthPun: [[spoiler:Here Lies Baron Munchausen]].
* SwallowedWhole: The Baron and Sally get eaten by a whale, only to find a functioning inn, and a few of the Baron's old friends! And his horse, somehow.
* TallPoppySyndrome: Mr. Jackson has [[TheCameo Sting]] executed for excessive heroism, because it's demoralizing to the mediocre people of the town. [[spoiler:He later snipes the Baron while the town is celebrating his victory, both because of this and because *he* was about to sign a treaty with the Sultan (with no assurance whatsoever that the Sultan would keep his part of the deal).]]
* TallTale: Subverted -- it appears the Baron's stories were true, after all. [[MindScrew Or are they?]] After all, the whole film is a Tall Tale told by Mr. Gilliam...
* TreasureRoom: The Sultan's treasury. Of course, after the Baron collected his winnings from his wager with the Sultan, it wasn't so much of a treasure room as it was just a regular room.
* TricksterArchetype: The Baron
* UglyGuyHotWife: Vulcan and Venus. It's a bit of a DeconstructedTrope as, though Vulcan is obviously proud of his beautiful young wife, it's just as clear that they're making each other ''miserable''. It also doubles as a literal MythologyGag, as Venus despised being married to Vulcan/Hephaestus, and tended to carry on with Mars/Ares instead.
-->'''Vulcan:''' Here you are, my love.\\
'''Venus:''' Sigh. Another diamond.
* WarElephants: The Grand Turk uses elephants to propel his War Machines. The Baron gets them to back off with the strategic use of mice.
* WellDoneSonGuy: Sally is annoyed at her father for wanting a son, demanding to know where her brother is since he insists on calling the theater "Harry Salt & Son". [[spoiler: Later, he amends it to Harry Salt & Daughter.]]
* WorldOfHam: Everyone here is a ham (on Earth, beyond Earth, and the afterlife, it seems), there's just different degrees of haminess, seeing how [[spoiler: it's a story being told by one of the biggest hams]].
* WheelOFeet: Used when Berthold runs off to Austria for a bottle of wine.
* WheresTheFunInThat
-->'''Baron Munchausen:''' What's this?
-->'''Vulcan:''' Oh, this is our prototype. RX, uh, Intercontinental, radar-sneaky, multi-warheaded nuclear missile.
-->'''Baron Munchausen:''' Ah! What does it do?
-->'''Vulcan:''' Do? Kills the enemy. [snip] Well, you see, the advantage is you don't have to see one single one of them die. You just sit comfortably thousands of miles away from the battlefield and simply press the button.
-->'''Berthold:''' Well, where's the fun in that?
* WouldHurtAChild: Pretty much ''every'' unsavory character the Baron and Sally encounter is at least rough with her; the King of the Moon specifically tells one of the heads of his three-headed mount it can have her "because you are my favorite."