''Note: This is about the 1987 original animated film. For the first live-action film see '''Film/GIJoeTheRiseOfCobra'''.''

''G.I. Joe: The Movie'' (1987) was the first film to come out of the ''GIJoe'' franchise. It is in the original animated series timeline taking place after its second season. Originally planned as a theatrical release, but after ''MyLittlePony: The Movie'' and ''WesternAnimation/TransformersTheMovie'' bombed at the box office, it was released DirectToVideo instead, and quickly added to the syndication package of the series (in both movie format and as a 5-part episode, the latter version featuring framing segments hosted by the live-action Sgt. Slaughter).

The film, much like its ''{{Transformers}}'' counterpart, expands on the story of the Joes-Cobra war, and the origin of Cobra is revealed to be tied in to a rather bizarre ancient civilization called "Cobra-La". Cobra-La's leader Golobulus has tired of Cobra Commander's constant failures and has decided to take matters into his own hands.

The film is rather (in)famous for taking what had previously being the most realistic cartoon (relatively. They ''did'' do an episode with the Ancient Egyptian Gods, after all) of the 1980s and making it into an outright science fiction film and for its potrayal of Cobra Commander... however the opening to the movie is considered a SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome at its finest. It also '''''tried''''' to avert some of the tropes associated with the TV series such as NeverSayDie and NobodyCanDie. However, thanks to ''WesternAnimation/TransformersTheMovie'' being released first and the negative backlash against Optimus Prime's death, the death of Duke had to be changed to a coma.


* AbusivePrecursors: The people of Cobra-La, who hate humanity for supplanting them.
* AlasPoorVillain: Cobra Commander when he gets his punishment.
* AndThisIsFor: [[spoiler:Sergeant Slaughter, while fighting Nemesis Enforcer during the final battle, gives him blows on behalf of Gung-Ho, Alpine, Bazooka, Falcon, himself, Duke and the U.S.A. in general (all of which he had helped to critically endanger in some way).]]
* AnimationBump: The [[ActionHoggingOpening action packed opening]], which apparently took up a good chunk of the budget.
* AsHimself: [[DrillSergeantNasty Sergeant Slaughter]], played by WWE pro wrestling legend Wrestling/SgtSlaughter.
* AssholeVictim: It would be a long stretch to describe Cobra Commander as sympathetic, and he's the one who gets to [[BodyHorror demonstrate Cobra-La's mutagen.]]
* BaitAndSwitchComment: The movie opens with Serpentor arguing with Cobra Commander over who is responsible for the endless string of failures. Cobra Commander, naturally, believes he has the support of all the Cobra leaders, and demands the others speak up for him.
-->'''Destro:''' Cobra Commander is a world class... buffoon!
-->'''Cobra Commander:''' [[BigWhat WHAT?]]
-->'''Dr. Mindbender:''' Destro forgot to mention your frequent displays...of cowardice.
-->'''Cobra Commander:''' [[{{Angrish}} Uuugh!?!]]
* BalefulPolymorph: [[spoiler: Cobra Commander transforms gradually until he finally becomes a mindless snake and slithers away. (he gets restored in the subsequent cartoons).]]
* BigBad: Golobulus.
* BigDamnHeroes: Cobra attacks a celebration at the Statue of Liberty, only to then be confronted with almost every single Joe seen up to that point, with Duke taking Cobra Commander's bomb meant to destroy Lady Liberty along with the Joes and civilians and having it take out Cobra's command ship instead, ensuring Cobra's inevitable defeat.
-->'''Duke:''' [[PreAsskickingOneLiner Yo, Joe!]]
-->'''Cobra Commander:''' COBRA! RETREAT! ''RETREAT!!!!!''
* BridalCarry: Gone horribly, horribly wrong--done with [[spoiler: a blinded Roadblock carrying a rapidly-mutating Cobra Commander]]
* BodyHorror: What was done to [[spoiler:Cobra Commander]], and it's just a demonstration of Cobra-La's intentions for the rest of the world.
* BreakTheHaughty: Happens to Cobra Commander.
** Falcon's training with the Renegades.
* CthulhuMythos: Combined with "The Gods Below," (in which Set recognizes the Cobras), and the fact that Cobra Commander devolves into a great serpent when humans in the ImagineSpot devolve into ape-creatures, it is ''very'' obvious that the people of Cobra-La are at in part descended from at least a race similar to RobertEHoward's [[SnakePeople Serpent People]].
* DemotedToExtra: Happens to most of the Season 1 and 2 Joes. Heck, even most of the Cobras.
* DisneyVillainDeath: [[spoiler: Pythona and Nemesis Enforcer both receive this.]]
* TheDragon: Nemesis Enforcer
* DreamWeaver: In Season 2's "Arise, Serpentor, Arise," Mindbender had a dream that inspired him to create the Cobra Emperor. It turns out the dream was actually sent by Golobulus to further Cobra-La's agenda.
* EnemyMine: Cobra Commander gets this with the Joes after Globulous punishes him.
* EyesDoNotBelongThere: Cobra Commander's true face is revealed... covered in about a dozen large, staring, inhuman eyes. It almost distracts from the fundamentally serpent-like look of his face, with scaly skin and lipless mouth. ''Almost''.
** The serpent-like look of his face was caused by his rapid mutation. His face was mostly human (other than the skin color - and the extra eyes) in the flashback that shows him getting disfigured.
* EyeScream: Roadblock is blinded during his escape from Cobra-La. Fortunately, with Cobra Commander's help, he later manages to find Flint's squad and they're able to treat him.
** In the climax, Falcon stabs [[spoiler: Golobulus]].
* FaceHugger: Cobra La's troopers use organic technology as weapons, including throwing facehuggers.
* HeelFaceTurn: Part of the backstory for Mercer, one of the Renegades. He was a Cobra Viper that - as Slaughter said - "saw the light."
* LeaveNoManBehind: "We all go home, or ''nobody'' goes home!"
* MadnessMantra: Cobra Commander not only is the trope namer for [[spoiler: WasOnceAMan]], but he repeats it incessantly.
* MonumentalBattle: The opening sequence, of course. Originally meant to be used in the climax of the movie, it was changed to the opener due to budget concerns.
* MerchandiseDriven
* {{Narrator}}: When rerun as a five-part mini-series during the afternoon slot, Sergeant Slaughter narrated the movie AsHimself.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: Nemesis Enforcer.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Falcon really does screw up - allowing a pretty civilian (later revealed to be Zarana) access to the detention area and later blowing off his guard duty to see Jinx. As a result, the Dreadnoks, Pythona and Nemesis Enforcer are able to break Serpentor free, as well as injure Alpine, Bazooka and Gung-Ho.
* OnlyAFleshWound: [[spoiler: Duke, as explained via a voiceover, despite getting the flesh wound ''directly through the center of his torso''. But then, Duke ''was'' originally planned to die but this was changed at the last minute after the highly negative response to [[WesternAnimation/TheTransformersTheMovie Optimus Prime's]] death.]]
* OrganicTechnology: Cobra-La's specialty, referred to as "Hypergenetic Manipulation" at one point. They view technology that doesn't incorporate living materials to be an outright abomination, and this is one of the primary reasons for their hatred of the outside world.
* RelatedInTheAdaptation: Barring later being adapted to ''WesternAnimation/GIJoeRenegades'', Lt. Falcon usually isn't Duke's brother.
* SmallStepsHero: Sergeant Slaughter (and many other Joes) will not hesitate to risk their own lives or the entire unit to save their comrades or an innocent.
* TakingTheBullet: [[spoiler:Duke, though he takes the spear intended for his own brother.]]
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Cobra Commander gets this from his own group berating him for Cobra's numerous failures. [[VillainousBreakdown He does]] [[CantTakeCriticism not take]] [[NeverMyFault this well.]]
* ToylessToylineCharacter: Big Lob and Pythona, though the former finally got a toy in 2010.
* UnexplainedRecovery: Duke gets better from his "coma" at the end of the movie, through the amazing power of [[ExecutiveMeddling dubbing a voice (coming from somewhere non-specific) saying as much over the final scene.]]
* UnfortunateName: The {{MacGuffin}} device that Cobra is after in this movie is called the B.E.T. Today, if Cobra were to try this, they'd have [[BlackEntertainmentTelevision Viacom to deal with]].
* VillainousBreakdown: Long before his mutation, Cobra Commander goes through one of these when his lieutenants insult him and call him "Cobra's curse":
* WasOnceAMan: The {{Trope Namer|s}}.
** Even though [[spoiler:Cobra Commander's backstory]] from earlier in the film says otherwise.