Film / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
aka: TMNT

Films based on the franchise created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. Six have been released so far, the fourth of which was an All-CGI Cartoon but still a loose sequel to the previous three. The fifth film, a Continuity Reboot, was released in 2014 and a sequel was released in 2016.
Hey, dudes, this is NO cartoon!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

"Dudes and dudettes, major league butt-kicking is back in town!"

The Shredder is building an army. With his Foot Clan, a group of misguided teenagers trained in the art of ninjitsu, he is responsible for a crime wave the likes of which New York City has never seen. The worst thing is that they're ninjas. How do you catch someone so quick? So silent?

Enter four reptilian hominids: Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael, given a humanoid shape through a dip in a broken canister full of mutagen. Trained by a similarly mutated rat named Splinter in the art of ninjitsu as well, along with moral support in investigative reporter April O'Neil and extra muscle in street vigilante Casey Jones, these Ninja Turtles must save the Big Apple from the clutches of the Foot.

Financially the most successful of the movies made thus far, the first was mostly an adaptation of Eastman and Laird's original comic, although it did take some elements from the popular '80s cartoon, such as the turtles' love of pizza and their differently colored headbands, and April's job as an investigative reporter. The costumes provided for the eponymous heroes, as well as puppetry for Splinter and the turtles as young mutants, were provided by Jim Henson.
Go ninja go ninja go!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret Of The Ooze (1991)

"Ten flips now...and remember... go ninja go ninja go!"

The Foot Clan is back, and back at the helm is Shredder, thought dead by practically everyone. Scarred from his dive into a trash compactor, he is out for revenge. Their numbers may be diminished, but they have something to even the odds. Taking a sample of the waste that birthed the Ninja Turtles from the TGRI laboratory, the Foot has two deadly enforcers in the form of Tokka and Rahzar, a mutated snapping turtle and wolf.

Can the Turtles finally stop the Foot once and for all, or will Tokka and Rahzar's strength be too much?

While it was still a money maker, it garnered some criticism from fans of the first film for toning down the violence and adult themes, and although Jim Henson's Creature Shop still worked on the movie, the costumes and animatronics were considered a little inferior, supposedly toning down the gritty detail to avoid scaring children (they still looked just fine, though). Generally considered more like the goofy cartoon than like the edgy comic, the best example of this being Shredder, who went from being a badass to still a bit of a badass but a little more bumbling. Despite these criticisms, it is still considered a guilty pleasure.

This movie was also notable for the one-time character Keno—played by Ernie Reyes, Jr.—a martial artist/pizza delivery boy who provided some assistance for the turtles after they saved his hide from a group of muggers. He disappeared from the rest of the movies. Tokka and Rahzar were original characters made for the movie as well, but this would not be the last we would see of them. The mutant duo would appear later in an episode of the original cartoon, the video games Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time and The Manhattan Project, as well as the Intercontinuity Crossover movie Turtles Forever.

Infamous for the appearance of rapper Vanilla Ice, who (in the context of the movie; it was presumably written ahead of time) came up with a rap almost instantaneously when the fight between the turtles and Tokka and Rahzar wound up at his gig at a club.

Also the only Ninja Turtles movie made thus far to not feature Casey Jones. At all. Up until the 2014 reboot.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III is sometimes subtitled "Turtles in Time." April shows up with a trinket she bought at a flea market, which turns out to be a magical Japanese scepter that transports her through time to 17th century Japan, bringing the rebellious son of a warlord to their time. The turtles have to travel back in time after her, but their time periods are synchronized and they have a limited time frame to do so.

This film was miserably received by fans and critics alike, with complaints focusing on its poor writing, downright bad turtle costumes, uninteresting characters, and boring plot. Like any piece of media, no matter how bad, it does have its fans, but it's largely rejected as an embarrassment by the majority of the TMNT fanbase. One of the few things it's notable for doing right was having the turtles actually use their weapons in fights again, which the second movie completely avoided.

TMNT (2007)

TMNT is a Broad Strokes continuation of the previous films, CG animated and intended for another series of CG films, which ended up going nowhere. The story features the foursome laying low as Leonardo is sent to South America for specialized training. Upon his return an ancient general seeks to undo the curse that left him immortal and the turtles have to overcome their lingering anger with each other and band together as brothers to protect the city.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) is a complete Continuity Reboot, featuring the turtles as performance captured CG characters. Megan Fox plays April O'Neil and Will Arnett plays her cameraman Vernon. The turtles' origin is changed to being lab animals for a wildly experimental mutagen, and the Foot are looking to capture them to unlock its power.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is a sequel to the 2014 film. The turtles have to face against an otherworldly threat and the creation of other mutants Bebop and Rocksteady. They find a new ally in sports themed vigilante Casey Jones, played by Stephen Amell.

These films provide examples of:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Averted; the Turtles are clearly using storm drains to travel (with Splinter explicitly stating that he found the book he used to name them in one) and their home is located in an abandoned control station (in the sequel they move into what appears to be an old pneumatic transit station). The sewer pipes are separated from the canals, and while real storm drains aren't quite that large, the New York system is large enough for a man to stand in.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: The whole farmyard subplot in the first movie.
  • Adaptation Amalgamation: TMNT movies of the The '90s (especially the first one) were primarily adapted from the original 1984 Mirage comics (first movie has mostly adapted Rapahel one-shot special and the first issue) but also included elements of the 1987 animated show (logo, Lighter and Softer approach, color-coding of the turtles and, as well, April being a reporter and rescued by Turtles from street punks).
  • Adaptation Distillation: The first movie keeps Hamato Yoshi's rivalry with another man for the love of Tang Shen, but there's no reference to Oroku Saki's brother Oroku Nagi, and Saki himself becomes the rival.
  • Adult Fear: The first movie has the fear of losing your loved ones. The Turtles nearly lose their father Splinter, and Splinter nearly loses his sons.
    • The first scene following the reveal of Splinter's abduction? The Turtles retreating to April's apartment. They're only 15 and they're going through this trauma - Donnie and Raph are crying and Mikey and Leo are about to burst into tears.
    • Splinter is imprisoned at the Foot Headquarters for most of the movie and can't do anything to help his sons, whom the Foot are trying to hunt down and kill.
    • The majority of the Foot Clan are misguided teenage boys who have run away from their families.
    • Charles is worried sick when Danny runs away.
    • "The Turtles are four once again. And yet, still not whole. A lingering doubt remains. An unknown which they can't face. Their greatest fear..."
  • All Part of the Show: In the second movie, the crowd in the club thinks the fight between the turtles and the mutants is something Vanilla Ice came up with.
  • Amplified Animal Aptitude: Even before he became a mutant, Splinter was remarkably intelligent for a rat, mimicking Yoshi's movements and grieving at his death.
  • An Aesop: The first movie has one about fatherhood and family, with the good example (Splinter and the Turtles), the abusive/dysfunctional example (Shredder and the Foot) and the one stuck in the middle (Charles and Danny Pennington). Both Splinter and Shredder identify themselves as fathers, and, of course, Charles is Danny's father.
  • Art Shift: Splinter's flashbacks are shot differently from the rest of the film with a grainier, almost Film Noir look to them.
  • Aside Glance: Splinter gives one in reaction to Michelangelo accidentally dropping a slice of pizza on his head.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Invoked by Tatsu in the second film. With Shredder gone, he intends to lead the Foot and offers any challenger a chance to beat him and take his place. Quickly averted when Shredder returns and reclaims his position as master of the clan without even having to fight.
  • Bad News in a Good Way: When April says she has to go to a neighbor’s house four miles away to call her boss, Casey responds, “Hey, you just saved yourself an eight-mile round tripper. You were fired.” April doesn’t take it well—either the news or Casey’s attempt at “sensitivity.”
  • Badass Family: The Turtles and Splinter, of course.
  • Badass in Distress: Splinter spends most of the first film held prisoner by The Shredder. Then he beats Shredder with a flick of his wrist.
  • Badass Normal: The Shredder, Casey Jones and by the time of the 2007 film, April O'Neil and Karai. The Turtles and Splinter kinda count, if you consider that, outside of being mutants, they have no other special or enhanced properties.
    • Averted in the 2014 reboot. Unlike every other incarnation, the turtles and Splinter are given enhanced speed and strength.
  • Bash Brothers: All four of the Turtles, which is even Lampshaded in the battle of April's apartment as they're not used to fighting with a man down.
  • Been There, Shaped History: In the fourth film, a shot is shown of statues and paintings of Max Winters from Roman, Greek, Egyptian, and other time periods.
  • Behind the Black: Probably the only way Shredder could hide from Raphael in TMNT 2 before making his dramatic reveal to him.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Casey and April. So much so that Donatello lampshades it at one point.
    Donatello: Gosh. It's kinda like Moonlighting, isn't it?
  • Berserk Button: Raphael in the first film;
    Casey Jones: So long, freak, I've got work to do!
    Raphael: Freak!? FREAK!?
    • Leonardo during Shredder's Kick the Dog moment at the end of the first film.
    • Don't tell Chief Sterns how to do his job.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Raph does this for April, and Casey does it for the turtles later. Then Splinter does this for the Turtles in the climax.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: April and Casey at the end.
  • Big "NO!":
    • In the first film when it appears The Shredder is going to kill Leo.
    • Earlier, Raph lets one out when the Turtles find their home ransacked and Splinter missing, though it's more an inchoate scream of rage than anything.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The British DVD release for the first film did not do a good job with the subtitles, as it was clear they did not know the Japanese terms. The two most glaring mistakes were calling a 'sai' a 'scythe' (when Raphael exclaims to Splinter that he lost one), and spelling 'katana' as 'cattana' (when Splinter tells his back-story to Danny).
  • Bloodless Carnage: With the exception of the first movie, all the fight scenes are bloodless. In that film we see blood on the dead bodies of Master Yoshi and his lover Tang Shen, and Shredder bleeds from some of the wounds inflicted by Splinter in the flashback and Leonardo in the final fight.
  • Book Ends: At the beginning of "Secret of the Ooze", Shredder's first appearance is his hand rising out of the garbage heap, indicating that he's still alive. At the end, after he gets crushed by a pier, his hand once again rises out of the rubble, only to collapse, indicating that he's finally gone for good.
  • Broad Strokes: The events of the first three movies, as applied to the fourth. It was basically confirmed by Word of God that, they did happen, just not in exactly the same way.
  • The Cameo: In the first movie, the Turtles' actors (their in-costume actors, not their voice actors) appear unmasked (David Forman - Leonardo costume - is a gang member in the warehouse when Casey Jones defeats Tatsu, Josh Pais - Raphael - is a passenger in a taxicab, Leif Tilden - Donatello - plays the Foot Messenger that meets April in the subway station, and Michelan Sisti - Michelangelo - plays the pizza delivery man)
    • But then, Leif Tilden doesn't really appear unmasked...
      • Well, there's the scene where Donnie laughs and you can see his face. Although that's a blooper rather than a cameo, it DOES mean his face appears onscreen.
  • Canon Foreigner: Lots: Tokka and Rahzar, Max Winters, Tatsu, Charles and Danny Pennington, Keno, everyone introduced in the third film...
  • Canon Immigrant: Several characters, such as Tokka and Rahzar, made their way into other TMNT continuities. However, Charles Pennington, April's boss from the first movie, stands out as the only film character to make it to the Mirage comics.
  • Catchphrase Spouting Duo: Donatello and Michelangelo in the first movie.
    Donatello: Bossa Nova! *beat* Chevy Nova?
  • Chekhov's Gun: In the fourth film, at one point, Casey accidentally breaks a vase in Max Winters' home, causing an alarm to go off and several metal security doors to close and keep people from leaving. Later, seeing the Foot Clan coming to fight the turtles in Max's home again when they are hopelessly outnumbered, Casey breaks another vase deliberately, causing the doors to shut once more and keep the Foot Clan out temporarily.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • Tatsu, who is completely absent from the fourth movie.
    • Chief Sterns.
    • For whatever reason Casey is absent in the second film. Dialogue and deleted materials from the third suggest that he moved away from New York for awhile and only recently returned.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Casey Jones.
  • The Comically Serious: Splinter, who finally learns how to crack wise at the end of the first movie. Fittingly, he becomes so delighted at this that he quips: "I made a funny! Ha ha ha ha!"
    • Splinter does this again at the end of the second movie, after scolding the turtles over revealing themselves, ending his "Ten flips, now!" command with a "Go ninja, go ninja, go!" As soon as they started to flip, Splinter went "I MADE ANOTHER FUNNY! HAHAHAHAHA!"
      • Invoked once more by Splinter to cheer up Michelangelo in the third movie. No sign of Splinter saying "I made another funny."
  • Composite Character: Oroku Saki and Oroku Nagi. (In the film, Saki, instead of Nagi, is the one who's Hamato Yoshi's rival and in love with Tang Shen.)
    • Could also be said about the turtles themselves. Aside from Raph, the turtles weren't very well-developed in the comics. While true to the comic, the movie applies some of the characterization from the cartoon (such as Mikey's immaturity and love of pizza) to make the turtles more unique. It worked out so well that every non-comic adaptation of the Turtles since the original cartoon has done the same thing.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Averted. While the Turtles are able to defeat individual Foot ninjas with ease (and Raph takes out a small group at once thanks to the element of surprise), a large group of them at once beats Raph nearly to death and forces the other three to retreat. Played straight later where the Turtles defeat an entire army of ninjas but then have trouble against The Shredder alone. Although with Shredder, it's played with: The Foot ninjas were intentionally leading the Turtles to the rooftop where he was waiting and partially tired them out so he could take them on fresh. He stepped in after his ninja were beaten and fights defensively using minimal movements and turning the Turtles' aggression against them, making him the freshest and most conservative fighter. But as the fight drags on, this approach starts to fail him; he is fighting four skilled opponents half his age, as Leonardo draws first blood, something that we never saw Shredder do to the Turtles. Shredder admits the Turtles might have won eventually with only the loss of one turtle.
  • Costume Copycat: Raphael assumes the mantle of Nightwatcher in the fourth film.
  • Creator Cameo: Michael Pressman, the director of the second movie, has a brief scene as April's boss at the news station.
  • Crowd Hockey: In the second film, the Turtles try their best to keep a canister of mutagen from falling into Foot hands by playing a game of football.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Shredder completely dominates the turtles at the end of the first movie... Then Splinter shows up and takes out Shredder with a flick of the wrist.
    • Shredder vs. Leonardo wasn't necessarily a complete curb-stomp, though. While the Shredder was able to fight off Don, Raph, and Mikey with ease, Leo was able to hold his own against the Shredder and was able to actually WOUND the Shredder in a few places before he was finally fought off. ... Until Shredder pushes his Berserk Button, and proceeds to take down Leonardo in seconds.
  • Da Chief: Chief Sterns
  • Dance Battler: All of the Turtles, in addition to using real martial arts, incorporate moves inspired by modern breakdancing.
  • Dark Action Girl: Karai.
  • Darker and Edgier: The first movie when compared to the '80s cartoon. Justified as it was inspired more by the original Volume I comics by Mirage. The second and third movies Invert This, with the fourth film striking a satisfying balance between the two.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Splinter without a doubt. Also Donatello.
    • April actually has a little game she plays where she asks a cameraman to time her and see how long she can snark at Chief Sterns until he becomes so angry he throws her out of his office. The record is one minute and seven seconds.
  • Dedication: Ninja Turtles II was dedicated to Jim Henson. Likewise, TMNT was dedicated to Mako, who voiced Splinter in the film; it was one of his last roles.
  • Determinator: April, especially in the first film.
    April: Are you denying such organization known as the Foot exist?
    Sterns: I'm not denying anything. Again Ms. O'Neil, you're putting words into my mouth!
    April: I'm sorry, but I feel somebody ought to.
  • Disney Villain Death: Shredder and Walker in the first and third movies respectively, which The Angry Video Game Nerd — in his special review of the third — noted was a trope featured in other movies "TOO MANY FUCKING TIMES!"
  • Divergent Character Evolution: To one of the greatest degrees ever. Not only were the Turtles' conflicting personalities pushed further than they've ever gone but in the first movie each Turtle has a unique and distinctive look and body type that would make them recognizable even without their differently-colored masks. Leonardo is slim and athletic, Raphael is muscular with some tough-guy scars, Donny is a little chubby, and Mikey is short. The fourth movie mainly keeps these intact (although Donny's slimmed down a bit) and gives Mikey Innocent Blue Eyes to help show off his youth and innocence further.
  • Double Take: From "The Secret of the Ooze": Not just a double take, but a triple take when Keno first sees the Turtles in the background.
  • The Dragon: Tatsu, in the first two movies.
    • Appropriately enough, Tatsu is one of the Japanese words for "dragon."
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Super-Shredder in the second movie, who re-emerges from the waters after drinking the entire canister of ooze in his possession in a desperate attempt to kill the turtles once and for all. His strength increases but his intelligence diminishes severely—focused only on his targets, he causes the docks to collapse on him by recklessly hitting their foundations while the turtles just barely escape the destruction.
  • Dumb Muscle: Tokka and Rahzar. When he's kidnapped and forced by Shredder to mutate the two animals, TGRI Professor Jordan Perry alters the mutagen a little so that their intelligence would not increase. As such, when Shredder demands they call him "master," they misinterpret the word as "mama" and hug the bejesus out of him.
  • Expy: Tokka and Rahzar are original creatures, standing in for Bebop and Rocksteady from the '87 series. Originally they WERE supposed to be them, but were changed.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: In The Secret of the Ooze, when they discover that the Shredder plans to turn Tokka and Rahzar loose in Central Park unless the Turtles agree to fight them again, Donnie asks, "How are they gonna avoid all those people?" It's only after he says this that he realizes that Tokka and Rahzar aren't going to avoid the people.
  • The Fagin: Shredder from the first movie essentially ran the Foot Clan this way. The Foot Clan was made up of teenage orphans and runaways who instigated a massive New York crime wave.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: The first movie is pretty loaded with this, as it's more of an adaptation of the comic rather than the cartoon. In particular are the scenes where Raphael is mercilessly beaten to near-death, the entire fight in April's apartment (where a Foot ninja accidentally hits a power main with his axe and starts jerking around and smoking), Tatsu's beating of Shinsho to near-death (or actual death if you go by the original script), Tatsu's beating of Casey Jones, and the Shredder being crushed inside the compactor of a garbage truck. It shocked so many people that in the second movie the Turtles barely even touch their weapons, let alone use them against people. The third movie, for all its problems, attempted to fix this.
  • Faux Affably Evil: The Shredder. He compliments the turtles for their fighting prowess during the rooftop fight - then he taunts them with supposedly killing Splinter.
  • Floorboard Failure: The first movie has this occur in the middle of a fight between the Turtles and the Foot clan on the second floor of April's apartment. Given that the floor had been hacked at with ninja axes and the number of people in the room at the time, this was inevitable. Donatello even tries to warn the Foot.
    Donatello: Uh, guys, I'm not so sure if this is, structurally speaking... such a good time for your buddies to drop in.
    Foot soldiers drop in through the skylight. Seconds later epic floorboard failure occurs.
  • Feud Episode: Leo and Raph get into a fight in the first film, due to Raph's impatience over finding Splinter and Leo's aggravation over Raph's attitude. It's not a big deal for Don and Mikey, as this sort of thing always happens.
    April: Hasn't Raph been gone a long time?
    Don: Nah, he does it all the time. He likes it. He'll probably be back any minute now.
    • Leo and Raph get into it again BIGTIME in the fourth film. An entire epic, emotional fight scene plays out between them in the rain.
    • They argue a lot in the fifth film as well, but nothing as divisive as their arguments in the first or fourth films takes place.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: There is at least one example in each film.
    • From the first movie: (also a Funny Moment).
      Donatello: You're a claustrophobic.
      Casey Jones: Do you want a fist in the mouth?! I've never even looked at another guy before!
    • There's also a scene in the first movie where Donatello can be seen sniffing April's panties. Yeah...
      • Where is this scene? I've re-watched all scenes in April's apartment multiple times and didn't see this.
  • Golf Clubbing: Casey uses a driver to nasty effect against Tatsu in the first film.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Averted in the first movie, which is a Pragmatic Adaptation of the cartoon and comic book (where swearing was much more common).
  • Gut Punch: The Turtles return home after a fun night hanging out with April to find their home is demolished and Splinter is missing, possibly dead.
    • Shredder delivers another one later in the film:
      Shredder: And the rat? Kill it.
  • He Had a Name: Invoked by Shredder just to taunt the Turtles:
    Shredder: It had a name...
  • Headphones Equal Isolation: Charles Pennington makes comments to this effect regarding his son, Danny.
    Charles: See? That's what he does when he wants to ignore me. Sticks his head in those things.
  • Hidden Depths: Casey Jones is initially presented as a crude, violent vigilante. April describes him as "a 9-year-old trapped in a man's body."
    • One of the jokes he makes about the farm references the film version of The Grapes of Wrath, which is rather surprising from a supposedly dumb hockey player.
    • While it can be attributed to his general sports obsession the fact that he knows how friggin' Cricket is played speaks volumes about his intelligence.
    • Due to some shuffling in adapting the plot from the comic Casey ends up bonding with Donatello, the most intelligent turtle, rather than the hotheaded Raphael. In the scene where they fix the truck they are playing a version of the Alphabet Game where each insult begins with the next letter of the alphabet in sequence (Atomic Mouth -> Buffaroonie -> Camel lips -> Dome head -> Etc.).
  • Highly Visible Ninja: At the end of the second movie, which involved the Turtles fighting (and dancing) in a nightclub, in full view of an entire crowd of people, Splinter asks them if they were seen by anybody upon their return home.
    Leonardo: Of course not, Master Splinter.
    Donatello: We practiced ninja.
    Michelangelo: The art of invisibility.
    * Splinter holds up a newspaper with a picture of them on the front cover*
    Splinter: Practice harder.
  • Hold the Unsolicited Ingredient: The first film has Michelangelo ordering a pizza near the beginning of the movie as Splinter talks about the "art of invisibility". As Splinter is finishing up his speech, Mikey is just about to finish the order, and he says, "Oh, but no anchovies, and I mean no anchovies. You put anchovies on this thing and you're in big trouble, okay?" right before Splinter throws a book at his head.
  • Huddle Shot: "So exactly at what point did we lose control here?"
  • I Know Your True Name: "Yes, Oroku Saki, I know who you are."
  • If I Can't Have You...: Oroku Saki, losing a love triangle, murders both Splinter's master and his girlfriend.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Michelangelo is unimpressed with a Foot soldier’s axe-wielding skills in the first movie.
    Michelangelo: If you were a lumberjack <<thwack>> the only thing safe in the forest <<thwack>> would be the trees!
  • Improbable Weapon User: Casey Jones in the first film, from cricket bats to hockey sticks to a garbage truck.
    • All of the Turtles in the second film. They don't use their weapons to attack a single time the whole film, using nothing but improvised weapons: sausage links, name it.
  • Informed Ability: Monumentally averted with the first movie. The Shredder totally dominates the turtles when they finally fight. They get in virtually no offense, and it's strongly implied he would have killed them one by one until Splinter appeared.
  • Internal Homage: The first movie contains a recreation of Raphael #1 with Raph leaving the lair to blow off steam, running into Casey and getting into a fight with him after stopping him from beating up some thugs. It also adapts Leonardo #1 with one of the turtles fighting a horde of foot while the others are in April's apartment. The lone fighter loses to the horde and crashes through the window, and after the team does their best to fight back the rest of the team is forced to make a getway, ending up at an old farm house to recover and plan a counter attack. However, in the film it is Raph, not Leo, who plays this role and gets taken down.
  • Interspecies Romance: Pretty much all of the turtles display some level of attraction to April in the beginning. Justified in that they were mutated into being part human, so they're probably attracted as much to humans as they are to turtles, unless the mutation also mutated their brains into losing their attraction to turtles and gaining attraction to humans.
  • Irony: In the first movie, Mikey orders a pizza from Domino's. In the original VHS release (from Family Home Entertainment), the movie was preceded by an ad from Pizza Hut.
    • A possible Stealth Insult. It's mentioned openly that the delivery guy was late.
    • In the second film, April picks up all the stuff left around the apartment by the turtles, and mutters, "The rat is the cleanest one."
  • It's Quiet... Too Quiet: In the second film:
    Donatello: The perimeter's quiet.
    Leonardo: Yeah, a little too quiet.
    Michelangelo: Come on. (Don takes out two henchmen)
    Donatello: Well, that was easy.
    Leonardo: Yeah, a little too easy. (Raph is tied to a post)
    Donatello: Look, it's Raph!
    Michelangelo: Yeah, a little too Raph. (Mikey gets smacked for being a wiseass)
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: Shredder almost exclusively refers to Splinter as "it."
  • It's Time to Go Back: In the first film after the boys have gotten their act back together during their time at the farmhouse.
  • Kick the Dog: Shredder at the end of the first film, after thoroughly beating the Turtles, mocks them by saying that he killed Splinter. It works.
    Raphael: *sternly* Where's Splinter?
    Shredder: Ah, the rat. So it has a name... It had a name.
    *Leonardo angrily pushes past the rest of them*
    Leonardo: You lie!
    Shredder: *smiling behind his mask* Do I?
    *Leonardo charges at Shredder in absolute rage*
    • He tries it again after taking down Leonardo and ordering the other Turtles to throw away their weapons and threatening to kill him if they don't. After they have done so...
      Shredder: Fools... The three of you might have been able to overpower me with the loss of but one. Now your fate...WILL BE HIS! *readies killing strike on Leonardo*
  • Last Grasp at Life: Shredder begins the second film by reaching his hand out from a pile of garbage. At the end he thrusts his hand out from the ruins of the dock that had just fallen on top of him, only to die.
  • Last-Second Word Swap:
    Leonardo: We have had our first battle, Master Splinter. They were many, but we kicked—! (catches himself) ...We fought well.
  • Lighter and Softer: The first sequel, mostly because of the Moral Guardians. The second sequel takes it Up to 11. The third sequel subverts this, by having Raph and Leo fight each other which ends when Raph nearly kills Leo.
  • Love at First Punch: April and Casey; as Donatello so eloquently put it "Gosh. It's kinda like Moonlighting, isn't it?"
  • MacGuffin Melee: The second film has a battle in the TGRI labs between the Turtles and the Foot over a can of Mutagen.
  • Magic Pants: Shredder's outfit (cape and all) grows with him when he becomes Super Shredder.
    • Which crosses over into Body Horror when you realize that thanks to the ooze his costume is now a part of him.
  • Manchild: April describes Casey as "A 9-year-old trapped in a man's body."
  • Meaningful Name: Tatsu meaning The Dragon in Japanese.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Nicely subverted by the first film.
  • Mood Whiplash: The first movie seems like almost as funny and lighthearted as the cartoon series (it's a little bit darker, but we have to Avoid the Dreaded G Rating here!), until the Turtles return home to find it completely destroyed and Splinter missing. Watching it as a little kid, the effect is like someone punching you in the stomach.
    • Made slightly worse because the centerpiece of the wreckage is a pile of maroon laundry in the center of the room that, in the darkness, looks oddly gory if you don't realize what it is.
    • The apartment fight scene starts out pretty comedic and triumphant, giving us the impression that this could be an easy win. However when they are overrun with foot soldiers the music and the mood changes. Even the music itself is pretty much saying Oh, Crap!.
    • And then a Foot ninja is electrocuted.
  • Mr. Fanservice:
    • Elias Koteas as Casey Jones.
    • Henry Hayashi as Kenshin.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Danny looks at April's apartment on fire in tears, knowing it's because he told Shredder he saw one of the Turtles there.
    • More of a "My God, What Have I NEARLY Done?" example, but Raphael during the fourth film when he realizes that, in his rage, he was dangerously close to killing his own brother after a fiery battle; the realization causes him to run away in fear. Of course a straighter example happens soon after when Leonardo, beaten and weakened, is easily captured by the Stone Generals and Raphael is unable to stop them from taking him. He blames himself entirely for this.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • While the first movie is mostly based on the original Mirage Studios comics, it had a few elements from the 80s cartoon: different-colored bandanas, their love for pizza, April being a news reporter, and Michelangelo's Catchphrase "Cowabunga".
    • "Check out East Warehouse on Lairdman Island." (reference to Eastman and Laird, of course).
  • No One Could Survive That!: Early in TMNT 2, Raphael doubts that Shredder could have survived his "half-gainer right into the back of a garbage truck." At the climax, after Super Shredder brings down the pier on all of them, Raphael says this out loud when he sees the hand rise from the wreckage. This is then subverted when Shredder's hand falls limp.
  • Not Helping Your Case: No word of the Foot or Splinter, the Turtles have to wait until April can get more info via her news reporting. However, Raph is getting impatient for basically "sitting on their butts". Leo gets frustrated with Raph's usual temper outburst, and tells him it's not "helping anything". So Raph just leaves.
  • Not So Above It All: Straight-laced Master Splinter, at the end of the first three films, will show that he's not above making the occasional joke like the turtles.
    First film: I have always liked...'Cowabunga'.
    Second film: Ten flips now! And remember... Go, ninja, go, ninja, go!
    Third film, while wearing lampshade: Yo, dude! Like Elvis in Blue Hawaii!
  • Offhand Backhand:
    • Leo fakes out another Foot ninja and kicks him offhandedly during the fight in April's apartment.
      • Later, Mike does a straightforward offhand backhand after ducking in his shell.
    "God, I love being a turtle!!"
    • Raph does it after calling Donatello a showoff after Don's skateboarding ass-kicking-montage.
  • Oh, Crap!: Raph, when the Shredder appears in front of him, after insulting Tatsu.
    Raph: You know pal, if I had a face like yours, I try to make it up for with some sort of a personality. Ha ha ha! [Shredder steps out between him and Tatsu] Shredder!
    • Keno, after beating up three thugs for robbing the stores, only for a lot more to show up (luckily for him the Turtles show up).
    Keno: (still in his martial arts stance) Help?
    [They come at him]
    Thug: You're gonna need it, kid.
  • Once per Episode: The first three movies concluded with Splinter "making a funny."
    • Also: a sequence where Raphael is separated from the rest of the group.
  • One-Winged Angel: Super Shredder in Secret of the Ooze.
    • Clipped-Wing Angel: While he hulked out immensely, he became little more than a rampaging beast, and even ended up doing himself in.
  • Parental Bonus: In the second movie, after falling into the Foot's trap at the junkyard:
    Donatello: These nets are very effective and very well-constructed.
    Michelangelo: Yeah, remind me to drop a line to Ralph Nader!
  • Physical Fitness Punishment: Michelangelo is made to do back-flips as a punishment in Secret of the Ooze. When Splinter notices that Mike has started just jumping up and down to make it sound like he was doing back-flips, he makes him do more.
  • Pinball Protagonist: In the 2014 film, the Turtles don't have much impact on the plot other than Raphael saving April in the subway and the group fight against the Foot near the end.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The first movie, which satisfactorily combined two very different version of the turtles into a successful whole.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Casey Jones's fight with Tatsu was all over once Casey got knocked into a pallet of sporting goods and came up with a driver. Casey promptly delivers the obligatory line before ending the fight with one stroke.
    Casey Jones: FORE!!!!!!!!
  • Precision F-Strike: Well, D-Strike anyway. Raphael curses twice in the film, a short "damn" in the opening in frustration at losing a sai (thus giving away a vital clue to their existence) and again as a Skyward Scream after being bested by Casey Jones.
    • And who could forget "NINJA KICK THE DAMN RABBIT!"
    • And during Mike & Don's rock paper scissors match at the climax: "One, two, three! Damn."
    • It's easy to miss, but Raph actually says "bitchin'" near the end of the film.
  • Product Placement: Domino's Pizza, whom Michelangelo gleefully shorts for arriving late.
    Michelangelo: Wise man say: "Forgiveness is divine, but never pay full price for late pizza."
  • The Professor: Jordan Perry, in the second movie.
  • Put Down Your Weapons and Step Away: Played painfully straight in the first movie, and then Shredder tells them how stupid it was.
  • Raised Hand of Survival: Played Straight and Subverted in The Secret of the Ooze. Played straight at the beginning, when we see the Shredder's hand rise from the garbage. Subverted in the climax, when his hand rises from the wreckage of the dock that fell on him... only to go limp.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: In "Secret of the Ooze", for the first half of the movie, the Turtles were unaware that Shredder was still alive, under the impression that the Foot was being led by Tatsu, right up until their encounter with Tokka and Rahzar.
  • Revenge Before Reason: After transforming into Super Shredder at the end of the second film, Shredder becomes completely determined to kill the Turtles, by collapsing the entire pier, and not even caring that his actions could kill him as well.
    Leonardo: Shredder! You've gotta listen to reason! You're gonna destroy us all! [gets lifted up by Super Shredder]
    Super Shredder: Then so be it! [throws Leonardo to the ground]
    • Shredder spends the entire second movie like this, several characters even call him on it.
  • Revised Ending: The original ending for the first film had April quitting her reporter's job in order to pitch the story of their adventures to a comic book company while the Turtles listen in outside the window. When the editor rejects her idea as being too unrealistic Mikey falls off the building.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: Master Splinter.
  • Rooftop Confrontation: Raphael heads to the roof after a spat with Leonardo and gets jumped by a butt-load of Foot ninjas. He holds his own for a while, but after some time they kick his ass and throw him through ceiling and proceed to fight the rest of the Turtles.
    • The final confrontation with Shredder also takes place on a roof.
    • In the fourth movie, Leo and Raph go at it on a rooftop. Let's face it, they like roofs.
  • Running Gag: The Turtles say things like "awesome" and "wicked," while Don says something lame like "Bossa Nova" or "A Capella." The last one makes it funnier, because the music cuts out when the Turtles stare at him at how lame it is.
    • In the first film, whenever pizza's mentioned by a non-Turtle in their presence, a weird sound is played in the background which prompts one of the turtles (usually Mikey) to gain cartoon like super speed before heading off for the nearest pizza.
    • The second film, Splinter orders the Turtles to give "10 Flips".
  • Scars Are Forever: In the first movie, Raphael has a scar on his cheek from some unexplained injury, while Shredder has scars on his cheek from a pre-mutation Splinter.
    • If you look closely in the first two movies all of the turtles have little nicks and dings all over their shells, probably from a life time of ninja training. Raphael has severe scarring all over his shell in the 2014 film.
    • In the 2014 film both Raph and Leo sport very distinctive facial scars.
  • Screaming Warrior: Raphael in the first movie, when they find their home trashed and Splinter gone.
    • A better example would be his rescue of April from the Foot in the subway when he gets his missing sai back.
  • Secret Keeper: Besides April and Casey, there's also Danny and Keno. The people at the dance club don't count.
    • Well, they do immediately tell the press...
      • But they assumed they were people in costumes (one guy thinks so, yet he and his date are vaguely aware of a rat). And the owners of the club assumed they were hired extras.
    • Also, Splinter and Casey are apparently the only ones who know that Danny was a member of the Foot. It's unclear if April and the Turtles ever found out, and April was confused when Danny gave her $20 he owed her (which he stoled from April's wallet earlier in the film).
  • Seen It All: The cabbie in the first movie, especially compared to his fare.
    *Raphael somersaults over the hood of the cab*
    Passenger: What the hell was that?!
    Cabbie: Looked like sort of a big turtle, in a trench coat. You're goin' to LaGuardia, right?
  • Shoot the Television: Shredder is introduced in the first movie watching a wall of TV screens. When April appears on the news and indicates that she knows too much about the Foot Clan, Shredder throws a knife at her face on the TV screen. (There are several televisions sporting various cracks and dings, indicating that this happens quite often.)
    "Find her. SILENCE her!"
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Delivered by Splinter and Casey to the Foot members still identifying Shredder as a father figure, essentially telling them that the Shredder cares nothing for them; he merely uses them for his own selfish desires.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Shredder attempts this in the first movie, when Splinter is lecturing him while holding him over a ledge.
    Splinter: Death comes for us all, Oroku Saki, but something much worse comes for you, for when you die, it will be...
    Shredder: [tries to stab Splinter, who releases his grip on Splinter's nunchuck in order to catch it, making him fall into the garbage truck]
    Splinter: [finishes] ...without honor.
    • As noted above, Raph has another, unintelligible one when Splinter is kidnapped.
      • That scream can even be heard on the surface. An old man walks by and hears it, but shakes his head "nah, it couldn't be."
  • Soap Within a Show: In the 2007 movie Splinter references his "stories" and says "Cody is going to break up with Donna, I just know it," but nothing else about it is revealed.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Raphael gets the lion's share of the focus in the first movie, taking over a plot that belonged to Leo in the original comics. TMNT could accurately be said to star only two turtles—Raphael and Leo—with the other two as supporting characters.
  • Starring Special Effects: But when Jim Henson is on board that's kind of a given.
  • The Starscream: General Aguila in the fourth movie. Granted, all four stone generals betrayed Winters, but Aguila was who convinced his siblings to do it.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: The Turtles, Splinter, and the Foot ninjas.
  • Take That!:
  • Taking You with Me: Shredder's only possible motivation for trying to throw a dagger at Splinter in the first movie.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: There's really no reason why the Turtles should be able to spout off that much dialogue during their fights, other than the Rule of Cool and Rule of Funny.
  • Tempting Fate: In the first film when Raphael gets ambushed on the rooftop by the Foot Ninja. He manages to take down a couple no problem, but...
    Raphael: Hey hey, c'mon! How do you guys expect to beat me? (A whole army of ninja come out of hiding and corner him, vastly outnumbering him) Good answer... good answer...
    • After the turtles finish fighting off the Foot ninja, Raph quips, "Aw, no more?" Enter the Shredder.
  • That Came Out Wrong: Casey trying to tell April he overheard that she got fired.
    Casey: Hey, you just saved yourself an 8-mile round tripper: you're fired.
    April: I... I just saved myself?
    Don: Uh-oh.
    April: What did you do? Did you take classes in insensitivity?
    Casey: I was just trying to break it to you easy.
    April: Yeah? Well you failed miserably!
    Casey: Hey, Broadzilla. You wouldn't even be standing there if it weren't for me!
  • 13 Is Unlucky: (Fourth film) Especially when it's thirteen powerful, bloodthirsty, immortal monsters capable of eradicating a whole army. Did I mention they're from another dimension?
  • Those Two Guys: Donatello and Michelangelo.
    Michelangelo: Pork rind?
    Donatello: (mouth full) Pork rind.
  • Totally Radical
  • True Companions: The Turtles.
  • The Unchosen Ones: In the second movie, the Turtles discover that the creation of the ooze that changed them was purely an accident. Don was not very happy to learn this. He always thought they were special and believes there's got to be more to it. There isn't.
  • Truer to the Text: Although it borrowed elements from the then-current animated series (such as April as a news reporter rather than a scientist)tThe first film is arguably the most faithful adaptation of the original comics in the entire franchise, including direct adaptions of several story lines from the original comics (the first issue, the exile at April's farm, and the "Return to New York" arcs).
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Fitting their status as Dumb Muscle, Tokka and Rahzar depend solely on their brute strength and durability to fight the Turtles. During their first fight, the Turtles end up running from them, and they only won the second time around thanks to the anti-mutagen developed by Professor Perry.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses:
    • "Do you like... penicillin on your pizza?"
    • A lot of Donny's failed attempts at slang are this.
    • In the scene where Donatello and Casey are attempting to fix the truck while playfully insulting each other they're actually playing a variation of the Alphabet Game.
  • Villain Decay: The Foot. In the first half of the first film they prove to be dangerous, as they manage to overwhelm the turtles and deliver a brutal beatdown to Raph, putting him in a Coma. By the second half the turtles are swatting them aside with no problem, and it gets worse for them in the Second Film where they don't even land a hit.
    • Lampshaded in the second film, when Keno tells the Turtles that the Foot are openly recruiting on the streets to bolster their ranks after the bulk of their forces were beaten by the turtles and arrested by police in the first film.
  • Villains Never Lie: Subverted with Dramatic Irony in the climax of the first film: Shredder certainly believes that Splinter is dead by now and the audience knows otherwise, but the Turtles themselves don't and Leo accuses him of lying.
  • Volleying Insults: Donatello and Casey Jones do this while fixing the truck, in alphabetical sequence for each insult.
  • Watching Troy Burn: In the first film, April watches her father's store burn to the ground after an attack from the Foot, as she, Casey, and the Turtles drive away.
  • What the Fu Are You Doing?: In the junior novelization of the second movie, Keno spots Mikey's 'chucks in April's apartment. When she tries to convince him that they're really hers, she ends up smacking herself multiple times.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Max Winters, again.
    • He wouldn't but his generals would. But then, they'd only had about a week to enjoy it.
  • Willing Suspension of Disbelief: Michael Pressman, who directed the second movie, argued this was the key to the live action films' success: You believe them. It's not that the Turtles are real; the kids know they're just guys in fancy costumes, but they pull it off so well that you're not distracted by the suits and can just get into the story.
  • The Worf Effect: In the fourth movie, as per the plot demands, Leo gets this treatment, both at the hands of Winters's monsters and Raphael.
  • You Fight Like a Cow: The Turtles constantly mock and goad their opponents in battle. Don and Mikey are the two biggest offenders but even Leonardo and Raph get in on this one. They only stop joking at the very end, when the Shredder seriously pisses them off.
    • Of course, with the way the fight had been going, the turtles could hardly justify talking smack against the way the Shredder fights in the first place.
  • You Have Failed Me: Shredder stares at Tatsu, who realizes he failed. Tatsu takes his anger out on the Foot ninjas he was commanding, almost (maybe?) killing one.
  • You Shall Not Pass: Casey holds the line against the entire Foot Clan in the battle of April's apartment, buying enough time for the Turtles to escape.
  • Your Mom: In the fourth film Mikey makes a crack about Donnie's mother smelling like a monster. Donnie then points out that she'd be Mikey's mother too. Mikey just says "whatever".
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: In the second film, the Turtles do the "Cowabunga!" high-five celebration after the Shredder's apparent demise— only to have Super Shredder tear the dock out from underneath them.
  • You Watch Too Much X: It's implied that the Turtles watch a LOT of TV (especially Mikey). It's not like there's too much else for them to do.
    • Don skateboards and Raph goes to movies.
    • Judging by the mess he leaves in the second movie, Leonardo likes to read comic books.
  • Yuppie Couple: 1/2 of it; in the second film, April meets a couple. Later, that guy is working at the club in the climax.

"I made a funny! Ha ha ha!"

Alternative Title(s): Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1990, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II The Secret Of The Ooze