Film / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
aka: TMNT

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tmnt1_537.jpg
Hey, dudes, this is NO cartoon!

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

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is the 1990 feature adaptation of everyone's favorite heroes in a half-shell. 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.

It was followed up by two sequels, plus an animated follow-up in 2007. The series was rebooted in 2014, which also received its own sequel in 2016.


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.
  • 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 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 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..."
    Raph: SPLINTERRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!
  • Amplified Animal Aptitude: Even before he became a mutant, Splinter was remarkably intelligent for a rat, mimicking Yoshi's movements.
  • An Aesop: The 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.
  • 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 film held prisoner by The Shredder. Then he beats Shredder with a flick of his wrist.
  • Badass Normal: The Shredder and Casey Jones. The Turtles and Splinter kinda count, if you consider that, outside of being mutants, they have no other special or enhanced properties.
  • 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.
  • 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;
    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 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!":
    • 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 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: Averted. 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.
  • The Cameo: 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: Tatsu, Charles and Danny Penningto.
  • Canon Immigrant: Charles Pennington, April's boss, stands out as the nly film character to make it to the Mirage comics.
  • Catchphrase Spouting Duo: Donatello and Michelangelo.
    Donatello: Bossa Nova! *beat* Chevy Nova?
  • Combat Pragmatist: Casey Jones.
  • The Comically Serious: Splinter, who finally learns how to crack wise at the end of the movie. Fittingly, he becomes so delighted at this that he quips: "I made a funny! Ha ha ha ha!"
  • 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.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Shredder completely dominates the turtles at the end of the 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.
  • Darker and Edgier: 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.
  • Determinator: April.
    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, as revealed in the second movie.
  • 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 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.
  • The Dragon: Tatsu serves as the Shredder's right-hand man in the first two movies.
  • The Fagin: Shredder 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 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: 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 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.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: There's this gem:
    Donatello: You're a claustrophobic.
    Casey Jones: Do you want a fist in the mouth?! I've never even looked at another guy before!
  • Golf Clubbing: Casey uses a driver to nasty effect against Tatsu.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Averted, 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.).
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Shredder. Splinter shows up to save his sons and delivers a Shut Up, Hannibal! speech that drives The Shredder into into a murderous rage, charging at him with his spear. Splinter uses Shredder's own momentum (and an assist from one of Mikey's discarded nunchaku) to fling him over the edge of the rooftop and leaves the villain holding onto the spear for dear life.
    Splinter: Death comes for us all, Oroku Saki! But something much worse comes for you.
    *Shredder slowly pulls a hidden knife from his belt*
    Splinter: For when you die, it will be- *Shredder flings the knife at Splinter's face... which Splinter immediately catches, releasing his grip on the nunchaku and leaving Shredder to fall to his death* -without honor.
  • Hold the Unsolicited Ingredient: Michelangelo orders 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.
    Michelangelo: If you were a lumberjack <<thwack>> the only thing safe in the forest <<thwack>> would be the trees!
  • Improbable Weapon User: Casey Jones, from cricket bats to hockey sticks to a garbage truck.
  • Informed Ability: Monumentally averted. 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 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: 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.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: Shredder almost exclusively refers to Splinter as "it."
  • It's Time to Go Back: After the boys have gotten their act back together during their time at the farmhouse.
  • Kick the Dog: Shredder, 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-Second Word Swap:
    Leonardo: We have had our first battle, Master Splinter. They were many, but we kicked—! (catches himself) ...We fought well.
  • Love at First Punch: April and Casey; as Donatello so eloquently put it "Gosh. It's kinda like Moonlighting, isn't it?"
  • Manchild: April describes Casey as "A 9-year-old trapped in a man's body."
  • Meaningful Name: Tatsu means The Dragon in Japanese.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Nicely subverted.
  • Mood Whiplash: The movie seems 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.
  • 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.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • While the 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).
  • 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 reports. However, Raph is getting impatient for basically just "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.
  • 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 of the Boys: April seems to be this with the turtles, and with Casey.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: This film 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."
  • Put Down Your Weapons and Step Away: Played painfully straight, and then Shredder tells them how stupid it was.
  • Revised Ending: The original ending for the 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • Scars Are Forever: 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.
  • Screaming Warrior: Raphael 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.
    • 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, 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 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: Mikey's quoting of famous movie lines at April's apartment..
    • April gives a nod to Ghostbusters in her opening news report.
    Crimes without criminals? An invisible gang? Who we gonna call?
  • 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 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.
  • Skyward Scream: "DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMN!"
    • 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."
    • "SPLINTERRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!"
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Raphael gets the lion's share of the focus in the movie, taking over a plot that belonged to Leo in the original comics.
  • Starring Special Effects: But when Jim Henson is on board that's kind of a given.
  • 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.
  • 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: 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!
  • Those Two Guys: Donatello and Michelangelo.
    Michelangelo: Pork rind?
    Donatello: (mouth full) Pork rind.
  • Totally Radical
  • True Companions: The Turtles.
  • 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), the 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).
  • 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.
  • Villains Never Lie: Subverted with Dramatic Irony in the climax of the 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.
  • Visual Pun: There's a bit of Product Placement for Turtle Wax.
  • Volleying Insults: Donatello and Casey Jones do this while fixing the truck, in alphabetical sequence for each insult.
  • Watching Troy Burn: April watches her father's store burn to the ground after an attack from the Foot, as she, Casey, and the Turtles drive away.
  • 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.
  • 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.


"I made a funny! Ha ha ha!"

Alternative Title(s): Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1990

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles?from=Film.TMNT