Ghost is a 1990 movie starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg in the performance that won her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar (which she attributes to Swayze insisting on her being cast in the part).Executive Sam Wheat and his artist girlfriend Molly are a pair of yuppies living in SoHo New York. They're in love, though Sam seems to have a little difficulty coming right out and saying it, and can only manage "ditto" when Molly tells him she loves him.On their way home one night, Sam is mugged and killed. Here the real story begins, as the violent murder plus the fact that Sam had the unfinished business of never truly telling Molly he loves her causes him to stick around as a ghost. Then Sam discovers there's more to his death than just making him an unfortunate statistic in mugger-prone New York.In 2010, a Foreign Remake was made in Japan, where Sam's character is now a woman trying to protect her husband. A musical production of Ghost hit Broadway in 2012.Not to be confused with the 1997 short film Ghosts, starring Michael Jackson, or the book Ghost by John Ringo.
Ghost provides examples of the following tropes:
Accidental Murder: Carl never wanted Sam dead — he just wanted his wallet. Once he dies and becomes a ghost himself, he actually seems pleased to see Sam again, if only briefly.
Barred from the Afterlife: The movie is all about this — some souls aren't ready for one place or the other at the time they part with the body, and the main character had some things to resolve on Earth before his soul could be at peace.
Bittersweet Ending: With a little help from Oda Mae, Sam saves Molly from Carl, also bringing an end to the money laundering he was behind, and he finally tells her he loves her. But after all is said and done, he's dead, he just watched his best friend get dragged to hell, and can never come back.
However, Sam did ascend into heaven, and presumably he'll be reunited with Molly someday.
Body Surf: Oda Mae is nonplussed to discover that she is a vehicle for ghosts, as well.
Cement Shoes: Carl pulling his hair over the (newly-drained) bank account while Ghost!Sam looks on impishly. Sam tosses out observations about how the mob is going to bury him "right next to Jimmy Hoffa."
Chekhov's Gun: Sam's "lucky" Indian penny. He later uses his ghost powers to make it move while Molly watches.
Cool and Unusual Punishment: When Oda Mae initially refuses to help Sam, he starts singing "I'm Henry the VIII, I Am" over and over again for hours to her until she finally can't take it anymore and agrees to help. Later in the film, we learn that Sam used the same trick to get Molly to agree to their first date.
Evil-Detecting Dog: Exploited — Molly's cat goes berserk when it senses Sam's ghost. It lashes at Willy's face, alarming Molly and foiling his break-in attempt.
Fake-Out Opening: The intro of this film makes it seem spookier than it really is. It also comes across as something of a Big Lipped Alligator Moment, since all it does is establish Carl's friendship with Sam and Molly and show that Sam is rich enough to afford breaking into and completely refurbishing an expensive SoHo loft; aside from providing the surreal imagery for Sam's later strange dream, it never gets referenced again until the climax, when Sam chases the Big Bad through other abandoned or under-construction portions of the building.
Final Speech: Subverted. Sam gets a poignant goodbye to Molly... after he's already dead, and has been dead for some time.
Finding Judas: Subverted. Carl was plotting behind the scenes, but it wasn't for the greater good, and he really was the villain. He was perfectly willing to seduce Molly or kill her to forward his plans.
Sam:WHY?! YOU WERE MY FRIEND! I HAD A LIFE, YOU BASTARD! I had a life...
Involuntary Charity Donation: Whoopi Goldberg's character, the psychic Oda Mae Brown, does a variation of this to the villain — with Sam's help, she's able to steal the money from a special account, turn it into a check, and donate it to a nuns' charity.
Jacob Marley Apparel: Sam spends the entire movie in the burgundy polo and jeans he was wearing when he was murdered.
The Mafia: It's hinted that Carl is laundering drug money for a mob boss.
Magical Negro: Oda Mae, who for a good part of the movie does NOT want to become one. She inherited her ability from her mother, who got it from her grandmother. They say she'll get it too, but she never believed them.
Meet Cute: The Japanese remake opens up with showing how the lead couple first met.
Mood Whiplash/Genre Shift: Other than the surreal opening, the movie starts out as a regular drama with some romance. Once Sam is killed and starts investigating his murder, things get even more dramatic and elements of horror appear... but then he meets Oda Mae Brown and the movie switches to a comedy. Most scenes with her remain funny (if at times in a Gallows Humor way) even as they are interspersed with Sam's continued investigation, his attempts to protect Molly, and Carlputting the moves on Molly to cover his tracks, get the password, and eventually eliminate her as a witness. Finally, after the horror returns and an action climax, the movie ends with a Tear Jerker. Whew.
Mr. Exposition: The first ghost Sam meets, a world-weary old guy in the hospital. "Lucky bastard", he dryly says when a patient ascends to Heaven. He almost shudders when he talks of "other ones" that sometimes appear.
Oda Mae: Orlando, Orlando, is there an Orlando here?
The Obi-Wan: The Hospital Ghost, sort of. He tells Sam he'll be a ghost for a long while. He then disappears to meet up with his deceased wife, right after he and Sam see a dead person ascend into Heaven.
Our Ghosts Are Different: The poltergeist effect of throwing things around is described as coming from the emotions, but the ghosts still kick and hit and shove things to make them move as if they were alive.
Real Dreams Are Weirder/Psychic Dreams for Everyone: Although it happens after he's died, Sam's bizarre dream about waking up in bed with the angel statue instead of with Molly seems like an example of a nonsensical everyday dream. It isn't till later that Sam realizes it's Foreshadowing that Molly, his angel, is in grave danger (the image of the statue getting broken).
Reluctant Gift: After conning the villains' money out of the bank, Sam convinces Oda Mae that she can't keep it and urges her to give the check to a nearby Salvation Army booth. Which she does... although still clutching the check for a while and crying as the puzzled nun is pulling on it. Finally, Oda Mae relents, allowing the nun to read the amount... and faint.
Repurposed Pop Song: "Unchained Melody", by the Righteous Brothers, originally about a prisoner hoping his girl will wait for him (hence "unchained"), becomes the love theme for this film. It also put the song back on the charts.
Sensei for Scoundrels: The Subway Ghost is a madman who fell in front of a train, possibly intentionally. He begrudgingly agrees to teach Sam how to manipulate solid objects. Once the lesson is concluded, the ghost succumbs to his delusions and vanishes into the tunnels again.
Sex by Proxy: Sam uses Oda Mae's body for a Makeout by Proxy with Molly.
Spirit Advisor: Several ghosts throw out little titbits of pertinent information for Sam, but notably the Subway Ghost, who teaches him how to move objects. Slightly different in that the character being advised is himself a ghost...
Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: In the gender-flipped foreign remake, the protagonist seems to be somewhat influenced by the Japanese Onryo spirit.
Teach Him Anger: The Subway Ghost laughs his ass off when Sam fails to move a soda can. This causes Sam to get furious enough to kick it like David Beckham, which earns him a friendly congratulations.
Wham Line: When Sam follows Carl to Willy's house and finds they are in cahoots:
Willy:Carl, what the hell are you doing here?
Whodunnit to Me: The Trope Codifier. At the start, Sam is resigned to being a dry crime statistic until Willie turns up again in the apartment. The goal was not to kill Sam but to hack into his work computer, a task left unfinished. Sam starts to catch on while tailing Carl to Willie's place, ironically out of concern for his friend's safety.