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Film: Who Framed Roger Rabbit
The story of a man, a woman, and a rabbit in a triangle of trouble...

"My philosophy is this: if you don't have a good sense of humor, you're better off dead!"
Roger Rabbit

A brilliant (and very expensive by that time's standards note ) 1988 film largely responsible for setting off The Renaissance Age of Animation. It had a huge influence on executives' attitudes toward seeing animation as more than what it had been in the Dork Age — Disney's 90s animated films, the Pixar films, The Simpsons, Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs, Batman: The Animated Series, and the Nicktoons and MTV cartoons would probably never have existed if it weren't for Who Framed Roger Rabbit. A Co-Production between Touchstone Pictures (i.e. Disney incognito) and Amblin Entertainment (Steven Spielberg), it is so far the only official crossover with classic Disney, MGM and Warner Bros. cartoon characters.

Set in the city of Los Angeles in mid-1947, during The Golden Age of Animation to be specific, the Hardboiled Film Noir tribute depicts a hypothetical world where cartoon characters are a real ethnic minority living alongside human beings. At the center of the story is Roger Rabbit, a Toon movie star on the run from the police after having been accused of murdering Marvin Acme, a human manufacturer of cartoon props, with whom Roger's wife Jessica happened to be playing patty-cake.note 

His only hope is Eddie Valiant, an alcoholic human private investigator who used to specialize in this kind of case, but has refused to work for Toons ever since one killed his brother by dropping a piano on his head. He winds up getting sucked into the investigation after Roger hides out at his apartment. Together, the two of them uncover something much bigger than either of them expected.

The film is (very) loosely based on Gary Wolf's 1981 novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit? It also owes a lot to Chinatown. The title of the film officially has no question mark at the end; rumor has it this is the result of a marketing survey which said films with question marks in the title make less money. The film is notable for being the biggest crossover of famous Western cartoon characters pre-50's than anything that has come before it (it is the first and only official time Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny appear in a scene together).

While the film was very well received by critics, it has not been without criticism, especially — and surprisingly — among actual Golden Age veterans and fans. Chuck Jones in particular, who worked on the film, ended up loathing the final product, citing it as a obnoxious, witless misunderstanding of the old cartoons it set out to homage and even accused Robert Zemeckis of robbing Richard Williams of any creative input — and for apparently ruining the piano sequence that he and Williams had planned together. Cartoon historian Michael Barrier derided the animation direction as "disastrous", and Frank Thomas of Disney's Nine Old Men was strongly disappointed in Richard Williams failing to have any actual pathos come from the main character himself. John Kricfalusi has also not spoken highly of it, thinking that it had "great animators" but was "misdirected", "filled with takes and zany movement but no character or wit." Although not confirmed, it's rumored that Ralph Bakshi loathes the film only because one of his films ended up being a copycat of the film from what he originally envisioned it as.

It also had three Spin-Off theatrical shorts that ran from 1989 to 1993, all of which were included in the film's special edition DVD release. The book series itself used the film as canon.

It should be noted for historical purposes that the entirety of the animation that appears in the film was done BY HAND - no computers of any kind were used, not even Jessica Rabbit's sparkling dress during her song - except for the necessary blue-screening when Eddie Valiant went to Toon Town, where everything was animated.

A sequel was planned shortly after the booming success of the original, but it never came to light. The first obstacle was that the film was intended to be a prequel set during World War II, but Steven Spielberg refused to work on a movie that satirized Nazis after finishing Schindler's List, and he was moving on to start DreamWorks at the time. Then, a skyrocketing (for the time) budget and the advent of computer animation landed the second movie in deeper waters.

On October 30, 2009, director Robert Zemeckis had confirmed that a second Roger Rabbit movie was on on the way, with Zemeckis himself returning to direct the film and the original screenwriters, Seaman and Price, returning as well, but with the dismantling of Zemeckis' studio the sequel's fate is now uncertain.

In February 2013, Wolf himself proposed a Roger/Mickey Mouse vehicle to Disney called The Stooge. Apparently, this will be an all-animated movie which could, in theory, co-exist with the Zemeckis sequel.

Contrast Ralph Bakshi's Cool World, because... It can?


Provides Examples Of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Lena Hyena herself makes an appearance and attempts to pursue Eddie.
  • Achilles' Heel: Dip, for the toons, and consequently Judge Doom.
  • Acrofatic: Okay, Eddie is more chubby than fat, but nobody was expecting such quick reflexes, somersaults, or freaking backflips.
  • Action Survivor: Eddie Valiant — a good and smart one.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The original book, Who Censored Roger Rabbit?, was about Valiant originally hired by Roger to investigate his bosses' broken promises. When Roger is murdered (or "censored"), Eddie investigates things with the help(?) of Roger's antagonistic wife, Jessica. The movie was basically "An anti-hero and a toon, forced together in a strange bedfellows kind of way, investigate someone else's death, with a plot built around the Los Angeles Streetcar Conspiracy." All other books that followed retconned this into Jessica Rabbit having a dream.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Inverted. The Eddie from the original book, as a parody of a pulp hero, is noted by several characters as being very attractive. This Eddie, as a parody of a noir hero, is beaten down and schlubby.
  • The Alcoholic: Eddie, after his brother's death. He's almost a booze-seeking warhead, in fact.
    "Didn't you used to be Eddie Valiant? Or did you change your name to Jack Daniels?"
  • Alas, Poor Villain: As Wheezy dies he desperately tries to get back his angelic soul.
  • Almost Kiss: Twice, between Dolores and Eddie. One time, Roger yells at them. The second, his presence is felt way too much to continue...
  • Alternate Universe/Tooniverse
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Judge Doom's scheme to buy up the trolley company for the sole purpose of dissolving it. General Motors did the same thing to kill public transit, only on a nationwide scale and about 10 years before the film is set.
  • Anachronism Stew: A number of cartoon characters appear who had not yet been created in 1947, the year the film takes place.
    • Word of God once admitted to the anachronisms, but stated this movie provided a special opportunity to feature so many different cartoon characters together. As far as production was concerned, Rule of Cool trumped Anachronism Stew, or as one of the writers claimed, the aim was "entertainment, not animation history."

      Although if you consider that Toons have to audition for roles just like human actors, as seen in the "Cattle Call" background gag, so characters who appear in the setting before they were 'created' simply hadn't gotten a gig yet.
    • The Bugs Bunny model sheet used in his brief scene was out of date; it had been phased out by Warner Bros. by early 1942. The "modern" model sheet began use in mid 1941 in Bob Clampett's unit and had spread to the rest of the animators by the following year. He reverts at the end, however — Daffy doesn't.
      • Possibly Bugs just wasn't wearing full makeup for a piano-duel nightclub act, and his older design is Toon-Bugs's au naturale appearance?
    • In the movie theater where Eddie and Roger hide, the cartoon playing on the screen is a Goofy cartoon, Goofy Gymnastics, which, in real time, was released in 1949.
    • Freeways already existed by 1947. Judge Doom's vision is essentially the real-life Pasadena Freeway, which opened in 1940. Could be justified in that freeways weren't exactly commonplace until the 1950s and 1960s... and Rule of Funny. And that this film evidently takes place in a different universe than ours, what with the sentient toons.
    • Kuzco is also there, dancing on the Maroon lot in the DVD menu. The same menu also features Elliot the Dragon, appearing and disappearing in rapid succession. Justified though since Maroon Cartoons on the special features DVD looks to be in modern times.
  • Animated Actors: Roger, Baby Herman and pretty much almost every Toon in the film.
  • Animation Bump: The opening sequence is very lush for even a modern animated short. The entire film is pretty lavishly animated, as necessitated by matching the drawings to the lighting and frame rate of the live action footage. One of the few exceptions is the Toontown sequence, where everything is (relatively) more lax traditional animation with a blue-screened Eddie.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: The Dip is functionally this, although its ingredients — turpentine, acetone, and benzene — are all solvents, and two of them basically amount to paint thinner. Benzene, used to be a common laboratory solvent for organic compounds (and still occupies that role in industrial processes), which could be an intentional reference to the "living" quality of toons.
    • Genius Bonus: The Dip is made up of chemicals which can dissolve traditional film.
  • Artistic License - Music: In the scene where Eddie Valiant is mingling with the Toons at Maroon Studios, he comes across a saxophonist standing next to the enchanted brooms from Fantasia. However, the saxophonist isn't doing anything else besides just swaying his body while playing the saxophone. The thing is, he isn't even moving his fingers while he was playing the saxophone.
  • Aside Glance: Jessica Rabbit makes at least 3 of these. There's a subtle one during her singing number right before she sits on Eddie, then another after knocking out Roger with a frying pan, and a very quick one as she's getting into Benny the Cab in Toontown.
  • Asshole Victim: R.K. Maroon, in a lesser sense. His only crime was blackmail.
  • Ax-Crazy:
    • The Weasels, especially (and obviously) Psycho.
    • Judge Doom at the climax.
    • Lena Hyena.
  • Badass Longcoat: Eddie Valiant wears one, as does Judge Doom.
  • Badass Unintentional / Accidental Hero: Eddie Valiant is not very happy to take care of Roger Rabbit's case since he became a Toon-hater. However he manages to prove Roger's innocence and save Toontown.
    • Eddie never actually takes Roger's case. Roger comes to ask him to, but Eddie's motivation for looking into this is anger over the principal players using him as a patsy in their scheme; he wants to know why R.K. Maroon and the others lied to him about the picture job. Of course, the results are the same anyway.
  • Bad Is Good and Good Is Bad/Values Dissonance: Roger and Jessica are considered an odd couple, but for different reasons depending on perspective:
    • Humans (like Eddie) wonder what a knockout bombshell like Jessica is doing with a goofball like Roger.
    • Toons think Jessica is the one who made out like a bandit, which makes sense if you compare their careers. Jessica is a lounge singer (albeit a high-class lounge singer), while Roger is an A-list celeb in the toon world, on par with Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny. It's an even bigger step up in the book, as Jessica got her start in Tijuana Bibles, which essentially makes her a porn starlet.
    • On a more philosophical note, the most important attribute in Toon society is humor. Roger's Funny Animal looks thus make him the equivalent of Leonardo DiCaprio... and Jessica's Impossible Hourglass Figure makes her the equivalent of an acne-scarred nerd. (Although both Benny and Greasy seem to find her plenty physically appealing.)
    • Jessica's reason is "He makes me laugh." Which, toon or human, can be considered a heartwarming moment - Roger makes Jessica happy, and in the end isn't that the most important ingredient for a happy marriage? It also could be that this ability is more widely prized in the Toon world than in human circles.
  • Badly Battered Babysitter: Roger's role in the Maroon shorts with Baby Herman.
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: Jessica pulling a gun on Valiant... except she shoots at Judge Doom instead. At least she gave Valiant a split-second warning.
  • Berserk Button
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Roger is the kind of sweet guy who responds to his wife cheating by writing her a love letter, but if you mess with someone he cares about, he pulls a gun on you.
  • Big Bad: Judge Doom.
  • Big Damn Heroes
    • In Toontown, as the Weasels come barreling at them in their black truck, Eddie and Jessica, terrified, each try to pull the other in different directions to escape and Eddie sticks out his thumb for emphasis. Suddenly, up zips Benny the Cab. They climb into him and they escape being mowed down by the Weasels in the nick of time.note 
    • Later, in the Acme Factory, as Doom tells Eddie and Jessica his plans to wipe out Toontown and replace it with a freeway, Roger blasts into the warehouse through a drainage grate and tries to hold Doom and the Weasels at gunpoint. Too bad one of the Weasels also gets blasted up onto a Ton-of-Bricks that he uses to bury the rabbit, giving Doom the upper hand.
  • Black Comedy
  • Blackmail: R.K. Maroon's plan to use the pictures that Eddie Valiant took of Marvin Acme to blackmail Acme into selling his Gag Factory to Cloverleaf Industries, as without Acme selling Maroon's deal to sell Maroon Cartoons would fall through..
  • Bluebird of Happiness: Several greet Eddie on his return to Toontown.
  • Bond One-Liner
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Doom leaves his Quirky Miniboss Squad in charge of Eddie.
    • As we see later, Doom is a toon, and has pretty obviously damaged his fake/glass eye (note the way he carefully keeps his hand over it, to keep his toon eye from bugging out). He has to leave in order to replace it.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Judge Doom seems to cater to this. Once you find out his true identity, all the stuff he's been spouting about toons earlier in the film becomes even more disturbing.
  • Brass Balls: Heard when Eddie confronts R.K. Maroon.
    R.K. Maroon: You got a lot of brass coming in here by yourself.
  • Butterface: Lena Hyena perfectly mimics Jessica Rabbit's everything, but her face, for obvious reasons.
  • California Doubling: It's set in 1940s Los Angeles, but most of the movie was actually filmed in England. The scene where Eddie enters Toontown, however, was shot at the Griffith Park tunnel, also used in Back to the Future and Buckaroo Banzai, among other films. The interior of the tunnel in this film was a model, as the real tunnel is rather short.
  • Canon Foreigner: Dolores, Lt. Santino, The Weasels, Judge Doom, R.K. Maroon and many others did not appear in the original novel.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: The police arrive after Judge Doom is liquidated.
  • Chained Heat: Roger and Eddie.
  • The Chanteuse: Jessica Rabbit.
  • Character Exaggeration: Roger, compared to his original book counterpart. While the Roger Rabbit of the original book had some notable eccentric traits, he was also somewhat shifty and definitely not the Nice Guy he pretended to be. The Roger of the movie is a lot wackier and more, well, cartoony, and is genuinely a Nice Guy. In the sequel to the book, Roger is a lot more like his animated counterpart.
  • Chekhov's Gag: "Look, stars! Ready when you are, Raoul!"
    • "Scotch on the rocks...and I mean ice!" Guess what he finds in his drink at the end of the scene.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The big mallet and portable blackhole, introduced for laughs early on and proving crucial in the final action.
    • The Disappearing Reappearing! Ink.
    • Roger's love letter written on a blank piece of paper. It's Marvin Acme's will in disguise.
    • Roger's... shall we say, destructive reaction whenever he takes a shot of alcohol is put to good use later.
    • Benny's remark "If you ever need a ride, just stick out yer thumb!" is somewhere between this and Brick Joke.
    • "One of these days, you idiots are gonna laugh yourselves to death!"
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The toon that killed Eddie's brother.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • If you blink you miss it, but a quick reference to Eddie growing up in a circus with his and Teddy's father being a clown ends up helping him stage a comedy dance routine to make the Weasels laugh themselves to death.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Jessica, cool as ice most of the film, completely loses it when she realizes what Doom has planned - complete with Wild Take.
    Jessica: OH MY GOD, IT'S DIIIIIIIIIIIIP!!!!
  • Circling Birdies: Both Roger and Eddie Valiant see birds once, Roger sees stars once. Roger sees a lot of other things too, as he repeatedly clobbers himself in a desperate attempt to get his lines right (he's supposed to be seeing stars) and placate irate director Raoul J. Raoul.
  • Clear Their Name: An A-list cartoon star is set up for murder. His only hope—a Toon-hating human detective.
  • Cloudcuckooland: Toontown.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Roger. Of course, most, if not all Toons are this in some shape or form, but since Roger has the biggest role it's definitely most notable with him.
  • Cobweb Of Disuse: Eddie keeps the desk of his late brother and partner Teddy untouched since his death as a Shrine to the Fallen. It is covered in cobwebs and layers of dust.
  • Comedy as a Weapon: Eddie defeats the Weasels by literally making them "die laughing".
  • Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are: Judge Doom trying to flush out the hiding Roger Rabbit with "Shave and a Haircut."
  • Conspicuous Gloves: Judge Doom wears black leather gloves all the time, but he puts on a larger rubber glove in his first appearance to Dip a poor Toon shoe. At first it looks like he's making a point, as he even makes a pun by referring to his incredibly harsh tactics as "not kid gloves". Later it turns out they also hide the fact that he's a toon himself.
  • Contagious Laughter: In the speakeasy. Also constantly among the weasels.
  • Contractual Genre Blindness: Most toons, including Doom at the end.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: In the famous deleted "pig head" scenenote , Doom and the weasels punish Eddie for getting too involved in the case by dragging him kicking and screaming into Toon Town and putting an animated pig mask on his head.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: R.K. Maroon. He tries to blackmail Marvin Acme into selling Toontown to Cloverleaf Industries because they won't buy his studio unless Marvin Acme sells them Toontown as well. However, he tries to get Marvin Acme's will back in order to ''save'' the toons and their home.
  • Crack Pairing: Arguable in-universe example: Roger and Jessica. And the thing is, they are a genuinely sweet couple.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Toontown looks cheerful and nice, but go too far in, or spend too long there, and it becomes totally crazy. Also, there are places in it that are genuinely dark and dangerous, if you're not a Toon.
    • Toons are also perfectly capable of harming humans with antics that are harmless to them, something that killed Eddie's brother and wounds him at some points. Most toons know better than to do something lethal to a human (i.e Roger is clearly horrified when he learns what happened to Teddy and says toons would NOT deliberately harm humans), though... injuries that are more annoyance than anything else are apparently fair game.
    • It does seem though that the laws of what can hurt or kill a human in Toon Town are more slightly relaxed than they are in the real world. Eddie survives the punishment he takes there because it's funny and non-malicious. His brother ended up dying because Doom was actively trying to kill him.
    • Back in the humans' LA, Hollywood is a magical place where people can see their favorite cartoon stars in person. But Fantastic Racism creates a pretty obvious social gap between humans and toons, and since killing a toon is a new development, there are no laws against it.
  • Dance Party Ending: The assembled Toons singing and dancing to "Smile, Darn Ya, Smile".
  • Dark Is Evil: Judge Doom's entire wardrobe is black as pitch, even his cane. All the easier to conceal his true toon form under layers of dark, rubbery clothes.
  • David Versus Goliath: Eddie Valiant (5.3' feet tall, chubby) vs. Judge Doom (6.1' feet tall, slight build, a super strong, nearly-immortal Toon) Guess who won.
  • Dawson Casting: Parodied in-universe. Baby Herman looks and plays a mindless newborn baby, but is actually in his fifties.
  • Deader than Dead: As demonstrated by the weasels, dying usually isn't such a big deal for toons. Being dissolved in The Dip, however...
  • Deadpan Snarker: Quite a few characters actually.
    • Eddie Valiant.
    Eddie: Well, I don't work for peanuts. Where's the other fifty?
    RK Maroon: Let's call the other fifty a carrot to finish the job.
    Eddie: You've been hanging around rabbits too long.
    • About Acme's Will.
    Eddie: Yeah, I think Maroon played the part of sound mind and your wife, the sound body.
    Roger: Why I resent that innuendo!
    • Roger gets in a few as well.
    Roger: Say, where is your brother, anyhow? He looks like a sensitive and sober fellow.
    • Dolores.
    Dolores: So tell me Eddie, is that a rabbit in the pocket or are you just happy to see me?
    • Lt. Santino.
    Eddie: So I took a couple of dirty pictures, so kill me!
    Santino: I already got a stiff on my hands, thank you.
  • Dead Partner: Eddie's brother, as noted up top.
  • Death by Irony: Too bad Judge Doom failed to realize, once exposed as a Toon, that he is as vulnerable to Dip as any of them.
  • Death Trap: complete with Monologuing and leaving the room at a crucial time.
  • Deconstruction Crossover: No matter how family friendly, the film was still a Deconstruction of classical animation, showing just how insane cartoon characters really are when they're in the real world, and how deadly and nightmarish their antics are when humans are the victims. Being much more well-known and popular than the original novel, it probably became the Trope Maker for this trope.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Eddie and Jessica.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Some kids are implied to be smoking cigarettes early in the film, which would have been perfectly acceptable in 1947.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: What Judge Doom really is.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Amusingly averted with Jessica whom Eddie had never seen before the Ink-N-Paint Club and was expecting her to be nothing more than a goofy-looking female version of Roger. Needless to say, what he saw instead was earth-shattering.
    Betty Boop: Mr. Acme never misses a night when Jessica performs.
    Eddie: Got a thing for rabbits, huh?
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?
    • The movie has a masked reference to the real-life Great American streetcar scandal. Accusations were made that Los Angeles's omnipresent rapid transit system, the Pacific Electric's "Big Red" trolley, and the rest of the United States trolley systems, were secretly bought up by the automotive and oil industries so they could be dismantled and replaced with buses. San Francisco had to actually fight to keep their trolley system. The Los Angeles trial even occurs in the same year the movie is set (1947).
    • Another example: in the aftermath of Doom's demonstration of the Dip, his rubber glove is coated in green (from the concoction) but the hand is dripping red from the dissolved red shoe. His body language and the other characters' reaction suggest a parallel to blood.
    • Jessica Rabbit playing pattycake with another man is apparently the toon equivalent of having an affair. (It's also a pun on the kind of harboiled Private Eye Monologue that uses "playing pattycake" as a euphemism for infidelity. In fact, the book uses the term to mean exactly that.)
    • "The Ink and Paint Club" is based on "The Cotton Club," a place in New York City with black performers and servers, but the clientele was strictly whites only.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: Believe it or not the basic plot premise, corrupt judge teams up with automobile companies to dismantle the public transportation system in favor of creating freeways, was originally meant to be used for the third movie in a Film Noir trilogy that began with Roman Polanski's Chinatown. The second movie was stuck in Development Hell for years due to Polanski's legal troubles, but was eventually made in 1990 (with Jack Nicholson directing) under the title The Two Jakes.
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: Judge Doom.
  • Dope Slap: Eddie Valiant delivers one to Roger Rabbit.
  • The Dragon: Smart Ass, the chief weasel.
  • Dramatic Curtain Toss: When Judge Doom reveals the Dip.
  • Dramatic Shattering: See Make Me Wanna Shout.
  • The Driver: Benny the Cab.
  • Drives Like Crazy: All Toons, whether they are driving human vehicles or Toons like Benny the Cab, who drives himself like crazy!
  • Duck Season, Rabbit Season: Just before Roger is about to get "dipped", Eddie does this to trick him into drinking another shot of bourbon to produce the same effect the stuff had on Roger at R.K. Maroon's office.
  • Ears as Hair: Roger wrings water out of his ears, and yet it hurts him when Eddie picks him up by the ears. Since toons operate on Rule of Funny, it's safe to assume they can do whatever they want as long as there's a chance it'll be funny. Eddie jerking Roger around wasn't funny...
  • Empty Chair Memorial: The other chair in Eddie's office is his brother's. When Roger tries to sit down in it, Eddie goes bonkers.
  • Era-Specific Personality: Most of the classic cartoons act according to their shorts the film's timelime represents. Most notable with Daffy, who acts much more akin to his Cloudcuckoolander persona from the 1940s (he gets in his later "You're Dethpicable!" catchphrase once though). Occasional references from later appearances are made however, see Anachronism Stew above.
  • Escalating War: Donald Duck vs. Daffy Duck at the Ink and Paint Club.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Eddie derisively saying "toons" and knocking back a bottle.
  • Eternally Pearly-White Teeth: Judge Doom. Justified in that he's not human.
  • Eureka Moment
    • Eddie Valiant finding Marvin Acme's will in one of the pictures he took - first through the base of a whiskey glass, then with his magnifying glass.
    • Eddie Valiant's revelation while listening to the newsreel in the theater. "That's it! That's the connection!"
    • Then again when Judge Doom tells the Weasels, "One of these days, you idiots are going to laugh yourselves to death!" Comes complete with the eureka "ping".
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Maroon thinks little of blackmailing his neighbor with patty-cake pictures, but never intended for Acme to get killed over it and doesn't want Toontown destroyed.
  • Everything's Better With Sparkles: Jessica's dress on stage. Heck, the dress was supposed to sparkle throughout the whole movie, but it would have been too difficult and expensive to do it.
  • Evil Albino: Judge Doom.
  • Evil Gloating / Motive Rant: Judge Doom again.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Just take a wild guess.
  • Evil Plan: Judge Doom wants to destroy Toontown and use the land to build a freeway.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Completely inverted.
  • Exact Words: Never ask a toon to give you a "spare" of something if you don't want a tire. And it's not a good idea to ask for a drink "on the rocks" if you actually want ice.
  • Exactly What I Aimed At: How Eddie deals with Judge Doom, given that he knows from extensive experience that a Toon punch-hammer wouldn't even slow him down. Releasing the Dipmobile's spigot on the other hand...
  • The Exit Is That Way: "That's the closet!"
  • Expy: Jessica Rabbit's design and career is a more vampish version of Tex Avery's Red Hot Riding Hood.
  • Eye Shock: In the nightclub scene when Jessica Rabbit was on stage, combined with Wolf Whistle.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: ...but Roger's a toon. If it would've been successful, he wouldn't be a toon.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death:
    • The cute little cartoon shoe that is shoved in the dip, slowly and gradually as it squeals in pain, is rather painful to watch, especially after Doom emphasizes beforehand that, unlike usual cartoon deaths, this is very real.
    • Arguably R.K. Maroon being shot by Doom, with a long bleak shot of his corpse afterwards. Adds a slightly dark tint since Eddie inadvertently assisted it via his Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique.
    • Double-subverted. Doom's death by steamroller would have been a hell of a nasty way to go, then you see him stand up. The double-subversion comes when he gets melted by dip, in a slightly more family-friendly, but no less horrifying way.
  • Fanservice: Just about any scene involving Jessica. Subtlety doesn't come into it.
  • Fan Disservice
    • The scene where Jessica meets a shirtless and very hairy Eddie in his office.
    • Lena Hyena, the exact opposite to Jessica.
  • Fantastic Racism: Actually played much more realistically than about 99% of examples of this trope. While Eddie came to hate Toons because one killed his brother, he's not a slathering KKK-style racist about it... he generally treats Toons about the same as he treats everyone else, he just doesn't want to be around them if he can help it. It's handled especially well in his treatment of Betty Boop. It's very obvious that he cares for her as a friend and feels upset that she's so hard up she's working as a cigarette girl at a bar. Many times, real-world racists actually do have friends and even family of the races they claim to hate.
    • Not just Eddie (although in addition to the above mentioned, he also tosses the word, "Toon" around as if it's a slur), but the movie in general kind of depicts toons almost as second-class citizens. The Ink and Paint Club, where toons either entertain or work, is based on many a bar or club back in the days of segregation, where African-Americans may have been allowed to perform, or even wait and tend bars, but were not allowed in as customers or visitors.
  • Fat and Skinny
    • Eddie Valiant is short and stocky. Teddy Valiant, in the one brief glimpse we see of him in a photograph, is tall and slender.
    • Also Eddie and Roger (who is quite skinny).
  • Feel No Pain: Roger demonstrates this with the refrigerator that's dropped on his head 23 times and repeatedly when the record player skips, resulting in several broken dishes.
    • Averted when it comes to his ears. He hates having them pulled. Truth in Television since rabbits' ears are generally very sensitive and grabbing one by the ears can cause serious harm.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Roger's deeply in love with his wife Jessica, and is horrified when Eddie finds photographs of her and Mr. Acme "Playing Patty-cake." If you're wondering what "Playing Patty-cake" is a euphemism for....Toons consider it to be equivalent of sex. Roger is deeply hurt.
  • Femme Fatale: Jessica. What would a hard-boiled detective story be without one?
  • Fictional Currency: "Simoleons" are apparently an actual Toontown currency.
  • Film Noir: The underlying plot is almost classic film noir: "I'm going to listen you spin Cloverleaf's scenario — the story of greed, sex, and murder"note .
  • Flat "What.": Eddie says this when he is first informed that Marvin Acme was killed by, supposedly, a rabbit.
    • He responds the same way when Dolores informs him thatit is Cloverleaf that seeks to own Toontown and will do so if Acme's will doesn't show by midnight that night.
  • For Happiness: According to Roger, a Toon's whole purpose in life is to make people laugh.
  • For the Evulz: Judge Doom and the Weasels.
  • For the Funnyz: Toons operate on this principle in general.
  • Foreshadowing
    • When Christopher Lloyd read the script instruction never to blink his eyes, he cried out "He's a Toon!".
    • Near the beginning, when asked if he has a car, Eddie says the he doesn't need one in L.A. since it "has the best public transportation system in the world." Turns out that a major plot point in the film was that Judge Doom was buying the Red Car so that he could dismantle it.
    • When Valiant comments wondering how Doom could be a judge, Lt. Santino mentioned that he bought the election in Toontown with a lot of money. He acquired it by stealing during the robbery where he killed Eddie's brother.
    Doom: A human has been murdered by a toon. Don't you appreciate the magnitude of that?
    • "Somebody musta made her do it!"
    • "Stop that laughing! You know what happens when you can't! Stop! Laughing?! (shuts up Stupid by throwing a plunger at him) One of these days, you're gonna die laughing!"
    • "A laugh can be a very powerful thing. Why, sometimes in life, it's the only weapon we have."
    • Pretty much everything about Judge Doom. He's Obviously Evil in every sense of the word. In outfit, name, and the way he presents himself. While the other characters are played more realistically, he's not subtle in the least, in actions or appearance. This makes a lot more sense when it's revealed he's a Toon, who are by their nature over the top.
      • Eddie's line "I don't know who's Toonier; you [Roger] or Doom!"
    • Cloverleaf, as in the shape of highway on-ramps.
    • "Unless Acme's will shows by midnight tonight, Toontown's gonna be land for the free—" (two gunshots to the back)
    • When Eddie knocks over the drum of Dip when escaping from the bar, Doom backs away from it. This is mentioned in the commentary.
      • This also provides a second explanation for why Judge Doom puts on a big rubber glove to Dip the shoe: It'd take his hand off because he's a Toon, not because it's toxic.
    • The aforementioned photo on Teddy Valiant's desk of him, Eddie, and their father in the circus wearing full clown gear foreshadows some of Eddie's behavior in the climax.
    • Eddie: "Sure, I got the will" (knowing full well it was really Roger's love letter to Jessica). Turns out the "clean piece of paper" Roger wrote his letter on was indeed Acme's Will all along which was written in disappearing/reappearing ink.
  • Freak Out!: Even the normally stoic Jessica is scared of "The Dip".
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: There's a plaque inside Eddie's toon gun case that reads, "Thanks for getting me out of the Hoosegow. Yosemite Sam"
    • The out-of-order bathroom that Eddie steps into in Toontown has graffiti that reads "For a good time, call Allyson Wonderland, the best is yet to be".
    • Eddie hangs his hat on a Maltese Falcon when he enters his office.
  • Fun with Flushing: While trying to sneak into the Acme factory, Roger falls on the toilet and gets flushed down. He later comes out a drain pipe in the factory floor for a (failed) Big Damn Heroes moment.
  • Furry Confusion: Benny the Cab drives a non-sentient Alleged Car that Roger was driving.
    • In Toontown, there's a poster of Porky Pig's own brand of "All-Beef Sausage".
  • Gag Boobs: Jessica Rabbit. "Nice booby-trap".
  • Gainaxing: Jessica Rabbit's breasts, which have a habit of bumping into things. Oddly enough, Jessica's boobs reverse-Gainax, moving in the opposite direction of normal walking movement, in part to make her more cartoony.
  • Genocide from the Inside: Doom is in fact a toon, and attempts to wipe out all toons and Toontown.
  • Genre Savvy
    • Eddie Valiant and Judge Doom both know enough about cartoons to manipulate the various toons they work with (mostly Roger).
    • Eddie still remembers only a second too late that when you order a scotch "on the rocks" at a toon-staffed club, you better specify you mean ice.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Lots.
    • Most prominent example: A Booby Trap.
    • Then there is Baby Herman, with his "50 year-old lust but 3-year old dinky".
    • The brand of oven in the opening cartoon is *Hotternell* - i.e., "hotter than hell."
    • Eddie showing rather than telling Smart-Ass what rhymes with "walls."
    • Dolores "had to shake the weasels". It Makes Sense in Context, but still...
    • Bongo the Toon Gorilla Bouncer at the Ink-N-Paint Club calls Eddie a "wiseass" after his sarcastic remark.
    • "Don't bust a button, Dolores. You've only got one left." is a PG-13 remark about Dolores' low-V-cut blouse. Even though Dolores' blouse actually has two buttons.
    • Subverted with Marvin Acme and Jessica Rabbit playing "Patty Cake". Roger was still hit with a Heroic BSOD however.
    • As Eddie enters the "out-of-order" restroom in Toontown, there's a particular message written on the wall beside him (See the Bathroom Stall Graffiti example above).
  • Glass-Shattering Sound: See Make Me Wanna Shout.
  • Good Guy Bar: The Terminal Station Bar, sort of.
  • G-Rated Sex: Roger reacts to secret photos of his wife Jessica and Marvin Acme playing "Patty-Cake" as if he'd been presented with photographs of them having acrobatic sex.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: Eddie figures this out firsthand upon his return to Toontown in the "Mickey/Bugs" scene.
  • Groin Attack: At least four different ones during the course of the movie. Two of them were cut off from the 20-years celebration edition DVD.
  • Hanging Judge: Judge Doom, who happily attempts to use Dip on toons whenever he can.
  • Hardboiled Detective: Eddie Valiant. Lampshaded when he force-feeds a minor character a hard-boiled egg for mocking him over the fact he's working for a cartoon producer.
  • Happily Married: Roger and Jessica.
  • Hates the Job, Loves the Limelight: Baby Herman.
  • Held Gaze: Eddie and Dolores have one before their Almost Kiss that is interrupted by Roger.
  • Helium Speech: Judge Doom, when he reveals his true identity.
  • Hello, Nurse!: Jessica Rabbit.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Jessica.
  • Hidden Depths: One reason the movie goes over so well with multiples ages is because, underneath the very mature, hard-boiled tone, all the good guys have redeeming depths. Eddie's still got a tiny bit of humor left and still respects those he hates, Roger's forever optimistic, Jessica truly loves him, Baby Herman thinks of Roger as a good friend and supports his innocence, and Benny helps Eddie and Roger despite being a loudmouth.
  • High-Pressure Emotion: Roger's reaction to alcohol is rather... explosive.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard
    • Eddie tries to use the giant magnet on a sword. His opponent simply doesn't let go, resulting in Eddie dragging him closer. He reverses the magnet to stop the opponent from getting any closer, so it wraps around his waist and attracts the nearest metallic object behind him— a trash can— which slams into Eddie's back, causing him to be immobilized. Good thing Eddie escapes via a portable cartoon hole.
    • Judge Doom is killed by the dipping machine he was going to use on Roger & Jessica Rabbit and all of Toontown.
      • Which in a further example of this trope, the machine is destroyed by a train. The vehicle that was being used to phase out trains/trams is destroyed by one.
  • Hollywood Magnetism: Parodied when Eddie uses a large toon magnet to try and wrest a sword out of an opponent's hand. The magnetic force depicted as lightning bolts that literally grab the sword and pull it, dragging his opponent along with it.
  • Human-Focused Adaptation: One of the problems Chuck Jones and a few other classic animators had with Who Framed Roger Rabbit was that it seemed that the cartoons themselves were secondary characters to the human actors. Perhaps this movie is a rare example of the trope not getting too far out of hand, though. Notably the romance between Roger and Jessica Rabbit was more important than Eddie's romantic subplot. It's Justified, as it would have cost a lot more to give the toons more screen time.
  • The Hyena: Well, weasels in this case. Their hyena cousins were mentioned. Poor guys, laughed themselves to death. Thankfully, this was released before The Lion King, or that would've been rather dark.
  • Hypocritical Humor
    Daffy Duck: [about Donald] This is the latht time I work with thomebody with a thpeech impediment!
    Donald Duck: Oh, yeah?! [grabs Daffy and throws him into his piano]
    Daffy Duck: [his beak sticking out of Donald's piano] Thith meanth war...
  • "I Can't Look" Gesture: Detective Eddie Valiant watches as most of Judge Doom succumbs to the driverless steamroller, but averts his gaze as Doom's head meets the roller. It takes Roger Rabbit to point out to Eddie that Judge Doom is not finished yet, despite being rolled flat. Also Lt. Santino does this as Doom melts the Toon Shoe.
  • I Fell for Hours: Eddie Valiant's long drop from the top of a skyscraper in Toontown, in which he encounters Bugs and Mickey on the way down, takes enough time for him to have a short conversation with them.
  • Illogical Safe: Done with a fridge.
  • I'm Melting: Judge Doom's death.
  • Impact Silhouette: The result of Roger running off in a fit of pique ... through Mr. Maroon's office window. He leaves a Roger-shaped hole not only in the window itself, but even the blinds covering them.
  • Impossible Hourglass Figure: Jessica Rabbit.
  • Impossibly-Low Neckline: Jessica.
  • Improvised Zip Line: Judge Doom uses his cane to slide down a wire.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink
    • Roger is more than happy to knock back a shot after getting physical evidence that his wife was cheating on him.
    • Almost Inverted when he really needed the drink. Eddie had to trick him into taking the drink, to save his life.
  • Incessant Music Madness: The director is arguing with Roger after he blows his lines when he finally shouts, "Can we lose the playback please!?"
  • In Name Only: Apart from the premise of Toons living alongside humans, a few characters, and a similar set-up (Toon rabbit suspected of killing a human and enlists help from a human private eye) the movie really doesn't have much to do with Who Censored Roger Rabbit?.
  • Insistent Terminology: The slang word "simoleons" is used to describe both the currency Doom used to buy his way into being elected Toontown's Judge, and the money stolen by the bank robber who killed Teddy. Almost a Chekhov's Gun, actually, and a good way to make sure the audience puts the mystery together.
  • Interacting with Shadow: While Eddie Valiant is in Toontown tracking the murderer of R. K. Maroon, he walks down an alley with his shadow appearing on the wall. He sneezes and his shadow turns to him and says "Gesundheit", to which Eddie replies "Thank you".
  • Interspecies Romance: Jessica and Roger — possibly averted because they are Toons, in which surface forms do not reflect species difference.
    • Marvin Acme and Jessica literally playing "pattycake" is seen as intercourse, in a Toon's eyes at least.
    • It seems nearly any human male would want this with Jessica upon first sight.
  • Iris Out: The movie fades out that way.
  • Ironic Echo: "You'll laugh yourselves to death!"
  • It Will Never Catch On: Judge Doom's vision of the freeway after its construction. One reason Eddie isn't that surprised to learn Judge Doom is actually a Toon is because, as he sees it, only a Toon would have come up with such a scheme.
  • It's Up to You: A meta example. There's a reason many people felt Bob Hoskins was snubbed for an Academy Award nod here: it's so easy watching Eddie Valiant to forget that Bob Hoskins is almost invariably by himself, talking to air or a ridiculous contraption.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Eddie does this to R.K. Maroon.
  • Jaw Drop: Eddie Valiant's first vision of Jessica Rabbit.
  • Jerkass
    • That elevator operator in Toontown. Seeing as how it's Droopy Dog, this is to be expected.
    • Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny and Tweety Bird could be viewed like this during the famous falling scene, but could be Fridge Brilliance in that they (possibly) knew Lena would be there to catch him.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Eddie Valiant and Baby Herman.
    • Acme. Had no qualms about pursuing a married woman, yet still left Toontown to the toons.
  • Judge, Jury, and Executioner: "I'll catch the rabbit, Mr. Valiant and I will try him, convict him and execute him."
  • Just Between You and Me
  • Just Whistle: "If you should ever need a ride, just stick out your thumb!"
  • Kick the Dog: Judge Doom demonstrating his Toon erasing concoction on a shoe at the Acme warehouse swiftly lands him past the Moral Event Horizon.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: R. K. Maroon
    Maroon: "Unless Acme's will shows by midnight tonight, Toontown's gonna be land for the free"—two gunshots
  • Kill the Cutie: As a display of how deadly the Dip is, Judge Doom snatches a cute little toon shoe, and places it slowly into the concoction as it squeaks in agony.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Eddie Valiant.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Judge Doom's presence is basically to get the movie a darker tone: his sadistic punishments of toons via DIP are pretty disturbing to see and the fact he is a demented toon who is ready to do anything to achieve his goals, even if that means destroying his own species.
  • Kryptonite Factor: Toons are virtually unkillable, except by contact with Doom's deadly paint-thinner-based Dip.
  • Lampshaded Double Entendre: Jessica's infamous "pattycake" session with Marvin Acme.
  • Large Ham
    • Judge Doom. He's plenty scary, but bless him, Christopher Lloyd just cannot play a role without lending it the piquant aroma of a lovely apple glaze. Given who Lloyd is, you could call Judge Doom Dr. Emmett Brown's evil twin.
    • Also, Roger: ironically, both when he's acting and out of the set.
  • Last Request: Eddie Valiant asks Judge Doom to grant one to Roger before "dipping" him.
  • Latex Perfection: Judge Doom's human disguise was so perfect and vivid-looking that you didn't know he was a Toon before his true identity was revealed.
  • Left the Background Music On: "Can we lose the playback, please?!"
  • Let's Get Dangerous: Subverted. Roger attempts this when he shows up during the final confrontation, gun in hand. He gets defeated easily.
  • Lighter and Softer: When compared to the original book.
  • Literal Metaphor: "C'mon, Eddie, I caught you with your pants down!"
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: The classic Disney cartoon characters joins forces with the Looney Tunes and various other studios to bring an extraordinary ensemble cast of classic cartoon characters.
  • Lost Will And Testament: Marvin Acme's will.
  • Mad Scientist: Judge Doom. He invented the DIP.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Roger's glass-breaking "steam whistle" after drinking strong liquor.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: Cartoon characters from just about every animation studio in existence in the 1940s appear in the movie.
  • Malaproper: The leader of the weasels. ("Shall I ripose of him right now, boss?", "Look Valiant, we got a reliable tipoff, the rabbit was here, and was corrugated by several others.", and "Search the place, boys, and leave no stone interned.") Also, Roger's comment about his uncle's problems with his "prostate" (Eddie corrects him on that one, however, saying, "Not prostate, you idiot, probate!").
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Judge Doom
      • Doom's works twice over. In addition to his intentions towards toons, it's a ridiculously over the top name. The kind a toon would have.
    • Eddie Valiant.
    • Smart Ass, Greasy, Wheezy, Psycho and Stupid, the Toon Patrol.
    • Roger Rabbit
    • Averted for Jessica Rabbit, to Eddie's jaw-dropping surprise.
      • Well, 'Rabbit' is her married name.
      • Also doubles as a joke (Eddie expected her to also be a rabbit), so it befits her status as a toon. May also be a reference to Playboy bunnies.
  • Medium Blending: Defines this movie, and the trope.
  • Mind Your Step: When Eddie takes Droopy's elevator.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Eddie Valiant's picture taking -> the murder of Marvin Acme and attempted genocide of the Toons.
  • Mood Whiplash
    • When Judge Doom and the Weasels are present...
    • A bigger one happens in the final fight. It's pretty much a normal 40s style fight till Judge Doom is revealed to be a Toon. The scene from The Reveal to his demise is terrifying.
    • And after that unpleasant scene, it goes back to the whimsical and cool feel it had before.
  • Motive Rant: Judge Doom has a hilarious one.
    "I see a place where people get on and off the freeway. On and off. Off and On. All day, all night. Soon where Toontown once stood will be a string of gas stations. Inexpensive motels, restaurants that serve rapidly prepared food, tire salons, automobile dealerships, and wonderful, wonderful billboards reaching as far as the eye can see. My God, it'll be beautiful."
  • Ms. Fanservice: Jessica Rabbit. Okay okay, she's integral to the plot, but seriously... look at her. She gets a flesh-colored Panty Shot after getting spun out of the car. This was reworked in the 20 Years Release.
  • Multi-Armed Multitasking: The bar-tending octopus toon at the Ink and Paint Club.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Judge Doom. Say it with me. Doomy Dooms of Doom.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name
    • Judge Doom and the Weasels. Judge Doom's dress reminds one of a typical Gestapo trenchcoat — Doom himself has some resemblances with Roland Freisler, the Weasels as the Toon Patrol remind one of the Gestapo or the Schutzstaffel, and the Dip which is carried on the Weasel's wagon is like the Nazi Gas Van used during Aktion T4. Also, Doom's master plan sounds like Hitler's Final Solution for Toons instead of Jews. In the third draft of the film script, from September 2, 1986, Lt. Santino tells Eddie that Doom refers to the Dip as the Final Solution. This is not said in the final movie itself, however.
    • One pair of squeaky shoes at the Acme factory is a set of goose-stepping black boots.
  • Neck Lift: Judge Doom does it to Roger in the bar. More justified than most examples in that he can easily close his fist around Roger's neck because it's so compressible.
  • New Era Speech: Judge Doom's vision of freeways.
  • Nice Character, Mean Actor: Baby Herman is a cute, innocent infant on screen, but when the cameras are off he's a foul-mouthed Cigar Chomper with "a fifty-year-old's lust and a three-year-old's dinky."
    • Subverted. As crass and horny as Herman is, he stands by his good friend, Roger, even offering to pay Eddie for his services as a detective. (Of course, this just pushes Valiant's Berserk Button about working for toons).
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Judge Doom is this trope's incarnation, who also goes Up to Eleven when he reveals himself as a toon.
  • No Badge? No Problem!: Ex-police officer (and current private investigator) Eddie Valiant is brought along to the Acme Factory crime scene by his friend Lieutenant Santino. While there he tries to steal a piece of evidence: the joy buzzer in Marvin Acme's hand. He's caught red-handed by Judge Doom but Santino explains away his action by saying that Valiant was just getting the item for Doom.
  • No More for Me: Before he heads into Toontown, Eddie uses his whiskey bottle as target practice for his toon gun. And instead of drinking it, he pours the contents out.
  • No Name Given: The unspoken names of the Weasels are Smartass, Wheezy, Greasy, Psycho, and Stupid. Guess who's who.
  • Nonindicative Name: Jessica Rabbit (she's actually a Rabbit by marriage).
    Betty Boop: Mr. Acme never misses a night when Jessica performs.
    Eddie: Got a thing for rabbits, huh?
  • Noodle Incident: How did Eddie get Yosemite Sam out of "the hoosegow"? We'll never know.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: While every other male character thinks very lustfully of Jessica, Roger seems alone in seeing her as a human being (kinda?), not a piece of meat.
  • Not Growing Up Sucks: "I gotta 50-year-old lust and a 3-year old dinky."
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: Jessica Rabbit's quote lampshades her status as Ms. Fanservice.
    "I'm not bad...I'm just drawn that way."
  • Not So Different: There's a brief scene where both Roger and Eddie are looking over photographs and reflecting over happier times, to highlight the similarities between the two. They also happen at the same time.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The fact we never see what Judge Doom really looks like makes him even scarier because bright red glowing eyes is all we see, leaving the rest of his true form to the imagination...
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: From Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress, above, Eddie would've splatted on the ground, had not Lena Hyena caught him on the ground. But then, they were in Toontown, so Rule of Funny applies.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Dolores catches Eddie with his pants down with Jessica in the room.
    Jessica: I'm desperate Mr Valiant. Can't you see how much I need you?
  • Not so Above It All: You might think because of her more in-control Femme Fatale personality and the fact that she's more of a "mature" toon that Jessica Rabbit isn't quite as looney as the others. The movie sets her up like that, and then wittily breaks down the assumption.
    Jessica [about Roger] I knocked him out with a frying pan and stuffed him in the trunk...so he wouldn't get hurt.
    Valiant: Makes perfect sense...
  • Not So Invincible After All: Before Dip was even invented, it was a well-known fact that Toons were virtually impervious to pain, and killing one was considered implausible, indeed impossible. Break a Toon's heart however, and they go to pieces, just like any mortal man.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Roger Rabbit.
    • "We toons may act idiotic, but we're not stupid!" Acting like an idiot is standard operating procedure for a toon, according to Roger.
    • Roger shows a more subtle version of this earlier on when he drops a rather snarky and backhanded comment regarding Eddie's alcoholism.
    Roger: Say, where is your brother, anyhow? He looks like a sensitive and sober fellow.
  • Obviously Evil: Black clothes, skull-topped cane, Scary Shiny Glasses, ominous soundtrack theme, surname Doom. Say hello to the villain, folks. Then again, Toons aren't known for their subtlety.
  • Odd Couple: Roger and Jessica Rabbit. Jessica is drawn as a human being, and Roger is, well, a rabbit.
  • Oh Crap
    • Eddie Valiant does this when he realises the woman he mistook for Jessica Rabbit is actually Lena Hyena. Then a second one when he escapes into the out-of-order restroom. Then a third one on his encounter with Tweety. And a fourth one when the "spare" turns out to be a tire.
    • He also gets a more shocked and terrified one when Judge Doom reveals his toon identity. And that toon is the one who murdered Eddie's brother.
    • Doom gets off a pretty good one too, just before getting hit with a high-pressure blast of Dip.
    • Roger gets one during the cartoon at the very beginning, after lifting up the fridge and then letting go to grab Baby Herman, after which he realizes his mistake just before the fridge crashes down on his head.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Bob Hoskins as Eddie Valiant does an impeccable American accent, but he does have one moment where he slides from "hard-boiled American detective" to "British West-country farmer": when he sees Roger hiding in a desk drawer and yells at him to "GET OUTTA THERE!" In this case, it's not the pronunciation so much as the inflection; most Americans would put the emphasis on "outta", but Hoskins as Eddie puts it on "there". In the same scene, when he says "not anymore" and "don't ever", he suddenly sounds more like Miles O'Brien than Sam Spade. The accent slips again when he says "murder" to R.K. Maroon when pretending to. He seems to have trouble with words ending in the "r" sound.
  • Older than They Look: "Baby" Herman.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Judge Doom's true nature.
  • One-Winged Angel: Judge Doom's Toon form, complete with transforming appendages. Made more horrifying knowing that it is his true form and the only parts visible are his crazy eyes.
  • Opera Gloves: Jessica.
  • Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?: Dolores, referring to the bulge caused by Eddie hiding Roger under his coat.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Jessica Rabbit only loses her composure when faced with Death By Dip.
  • Outside Ride: Eddie hitches a ride on the back bumper of a Red Car.
  • Pain Powered Leap: Yosemite Sam jumps all the way from Toontown when his butt is lit on fire.
  • Paper People: This is how we learn the truth about Judge Doom.
  • Parental Bonus: The Film Noir Parody, several of the Lampshaded Double Entendres, and the much older cartoon characters appearing in the background (Betty Boop, Harvey Toons, etc.)
    "Didn't you use to be Eddie Valiant? I heard you changed your name to Jack Daniels."
    "Not prostate you idiot, probate!"
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Jessica Rabbit.
  • Perverse Sexual Lust: Jessica Rabbit is the trope pin up girl.
  • Piano Drop: How Eddie's brother and partner died.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: Marvin Acme's.
  • Pop The Tires: Judge Doom takes out a toon car's tires by pouring toon-dissolving Dip on the road.
  • Portable Hole: Portable Holes is an Acme Product. During the film's climax, Eddie became pinned against a steel drum by a cartoon magnet while fighting the Big Bad; he freed himself by wrapping a Portable Hole completely around the magnet, causing the magnet to break in half.
  • Pretend Prejudice: Eddie's attitude to Toons in general.
  • Proscenium Reveal: The cartoon short starring Roger Rabbit and Baby Herman at the start of the movie is cut short by a human director calling "Cut!" This is followed by shots establishing that the animated characters are working on a live-action soundstage, thus setting up the concept of humans and toons living in the same world.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Judge Doom often has this.
  • Pun: The door to the Ink-N-Paint Club is opening by a (literal) gorilla in a tux.
    Eddie: Nice monkey suit.
    Gorilla: Wiseass!
    • Acme and Jessica "playing pattycake".
  • Punched Across the Room: Judge Doom to Eddie Valiant using his "anvil hand".
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!
    • Eddie: "I! DON'T! WORK! FOR! TOONS!"
    • When Judge Doom reveals his true identity to Eddie.
    Judge Doom: Remember me, Eddie? When I killed your brother, I talked... JUST... LIKE... THIS!!!
    • Also, Smart Ass' reaction to the weasels' laughing:
    Smart Ass: Stop! That! Laughing! You know what happens when you CAN'T! STOP! LAUGHING!? One of these days, you're gonna die laughing.
  • Put Down Your Gun and Step Away: A rare heroic example: Roger to the weasel leader Smartass, while threatening Judge Doom.
  • Questioning Title: Only without a question mark.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Weasels, a.k.a. "the Toon Patrol".
  • Random Smoking Scene: Eddie Valliant catches a streetcar by travelling along on the back of the vehicle with some kids who are smoking. He even thanks them for the cigarettes after reaching his destination. This whole scene had no real purpose to the story (although it did introduce us to the Red Car, the "best public transportation system in the world", which is put in jeopardy by Cloverleaf buying it).
  • Recognizable By Sound: Detective Eddie Valiant and Roger Rabbit are attempting to escape from the weasels by stealing the weasels' police van. A voice from the containment area of the van pleas for freedom: "Hey, you weasels, let me outta here!" Roger Rabbit recognizes the voice and replies, "Bennie, is that you?" The sarcastic response is, "No, it's Eleanor Roosevelt! C'mon, Roger, let me outta here!"
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Judge Doom after he's revealed to be the toon who killed Eddie's brother.
  • Red-Headed Hero: Roger has a tuft of red hair, though the rest of his fur is white.
  • Red Herring: As the film progresses, it makes it look like Jessica murdered R.K. Maroon, but the real killer turns out to be Judge Doom (yeah, didn't see that coming) and that she only wants to help her husband.
  • Repetitive Name: The name of the director in charge of the opening theatrical cartoon? Raoul J. Raoul.
  • The Renaissance Age of Animation: Widely credited to have had a monumental role in starting it
  • Retraux: The Show Within The Show shorts are done in the style of (or at least similarly to) cartoon films from the 1940s-50s.
  • The Reveal: See eyes, above.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: Named it, made it famous, and probably perfected it.
  • Rule of Funny
    • Explicitly spelled out by Roger:
    Eddie: You mean you could've taken your hand out of that cuff at any time?
    Roger: No, not at any time, only when it was funny.
    • Also, Toon Town operates on the Rule of Funny which can make it very dangerous — a bathroom stated to be 'out of order' turns out to be totally non-existant.
    • For Toons, the Rule of Funny can be exactly that — a rule (Law Of Funny?) that they must follow. For example, Roger's struggle to resist responding to Shave and a Haircut.
  • Rump Roast: "My biscuits are burning!"
  • Sacrificial Lamb: The red toon shoe that Judge Doom kills in the Dip to demonstrate the threat he poses.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Doom pulls off one of the scariest live action invocations of this trope when staring down Eddie.
  • Scenery Porn: To a degree, due to the film noir-style lighting.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Judge Doom, having started talking in a high-pitched, squeaky, almost girlish voice all too familiar to Eddie once he is exposed as a Toon, screams in this manner after getting hit by the Dip.
  • Secondary Character Title: Roger Rabbit is not actually the main character. He's just the one who solicits the services of the story's actual protagonist, human detective Eddie Valiant. Roger steals every scene he's in and is pivotal to the case, though.
  • Selective Magnetism: The Acme magnet Eddie uses against Judge Doom.
  • Setting Update: A rare inversion of this as the original novel was published and set in the early 1980s, but the movie pushes the setting back over 30 years to 1947 having been inspired by classic Film Noir Hardboiled Detective mysteries of the time.
  • Sexy Silhouette: Subverted. When Eddie visits Toon Town and thinks he's stumbled on to Jessica Rabbit undressing, he actually runs into Lena Hyena (from the old Li'l Abner comic strip). One word: "butterface".
    • Although Jessica really does make one when she visits Eddie's office and when she's running to her car outside Maroon Studios.
  • Shave And A Hair Cut: Used by Doom to lure Roger out from a hiding spot, as Toons apparently can't resist finishing the line.
  • Sheep in Sheep's Clothing: Baby Herman is this. Cute and innocent on the outside... definitely not innocent but another kind of cute on the inside.
  • Shout-Out: There are dozens of these: to Golden Age cartoons, live action films (The Maltese Falcon, The Wizard of Oz , Sunset Boulevard, Chinatown, and Back to the Future) and the play Harvey.
  • Show Within a Show: The Maroon cartoon "Somethin's Cookin'", starring Roger Rabbit.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Jessica and Roger.
  • Sickly Green Glow: The dip.
  • Side Boob, and plenty of it, from Jessica.
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: Jessica Rabbit. Not that anyone noticed...
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Eddie literally has this attitude toward Roger.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Jessica and Roger. So much that her "He makes me laugh" is the top quote on the page.
  • Slipped the Ropes: Roger Rabbit can slip out of his cuffs at any given moment, but only if it's funny.
  • Smelly Feet: The weasels burst into Valiant & Valiant to find Roger, currently handcuffed to Eddie. All they find is Eddie washing something in the sink.
    Weasel: (sniffing) What's in there?
    Eddie: (lifting out a sock) My lingerie.
    (Weasel turns away in disgust holding his nose, just missing Roger as he sticks his head up to breathe)
  • Soap Punishment: The lead weasel is threatening Eddie to tell him where Roger is and to "cut the bullschtick". Eddie tells him to watch his mouth or he'll "wash your mouth out" and shoves a bar of soap into his mouth.
  • The Sociopath: Judge Doom is a particular nasty one.
  • Something Else Also Rises
    Eddie: Yeah well...you don't know how hard it is being a man, looking at a woman looking the way you do.
  • So Much for Stealth: Wanted for murder or no, Roger is NOT good at keeping a low profile.
  • Spared by the Adaptation
    • Roger himself.
    • In the official comic book adaptation (published by Marvel), R. K. Maroon is mentioned to have survived being shot, and is recovering at the hospital.
  • Species Surname: Subverted with Jessica Rabbit, who turns out to be only a Rabbit by marriage.
  • Sphere Eyes: Roger.
  • The Spook: Judge Doom's true identity is never revealed and we never even find out what he really looks like, except for his blazing red eyes.
  • Squashed Flat: Occurs even with the live-action actors (Valiant in the elevator, Doom ran over by a steamroller.)
  • Stab the Scorpion: Jessica ultimately proves her trustworthiness when she shoots an unseen assailant behind Eddie (Judge Doom) just after it looked like she was holding him at gunpoint.
  • Start of Darkness: The graphic novel sequel Roger Rabbit: The Resurrection of Doom revealed Judge Doom's origins.
  • Stealth Pun: When Valiant fires the cartoon revolver and the bullets go the wrong way, he calls them "Dum Dums", meaning "Idiots". Dum-Dums are a type of expanding bullet.
    • Also, at one point Roger delivers a passionate speech to Eddie while standing on a literal soap box.
  • Still Got It: Betty Boop.
  • Storyboarding the Apocalypse: Judge Doom.
    "But I see a place where people get on and off the freeway. On and off, off and on all day, all night. Soon, where Toon Town once stood will be a string of gas stations, inexpensive motels, restaurants that serve rapidly prepared food, tire salons, automobile dealerships, and wonderful, wonderful billboards reaching as far as the eye can see. ...My God, it'll be beautiful."
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion:
    Eddie: I'm through with taking falls / And bouncing off the walls / Without that gun / I'd have some fun / And kick you in the— (gets hit in the head)
    Roger: Nose!
    Smart Ass: 'Nose'? That don't rhyme with 'walls'!
    Eddie: No. But this does!
  • Suddenly Shouting: Mrs. Herman to Baby Herman: "I'm leaving you with your favorite friend, Roger. He's going to take very, very good care of you. Because if he doesn't, HE'S GOING BACK TO THE SCIENCE LAB!!!"
    • Also, Eddie says to Roger, "I've been out there risking my neck for you, and what're you doin'? SINGIN' AND DANCIN'!"
    • And when Jessica sees the Dip, she speaks this way, too: "Oh my god, it's DIIIIP!!!"
  • Sudden Musical Ending: Justified, since Toon Town seems to be a very musical place.
  • Supernormal Bindings: After Judge Doom captures Jessica and Roger, he has the weasels tie them up with escape-proof Toon rope.
  • Swiss Army Appendage: Judge Doom, after being revealed to be a toon.
  • Sword Cane: Doom owns one.
  • Tap on the Head: Roger himself, courtesy of a frying pan wielded by Jessica.
  • Tempting Fate
    • "No one gets the drop on Roger Rabbit!" CONK!
    • And when Roger holds Doom at gunpoint, he says, "We toons may act idiotic, but we're not stupid! We demand justice! Why, the real meaning of the word would hit you like a ton of bricks!" What do you think lands on him immediately after he says that?
  • That's All, Folks!: Porky Pig says this at the end with Tinker Bell doing her ending shtick immediately afterward.
  • This Means War!: As Daffy and Donald engage in their dueling pianos session at the Ink and Paint Club, they get into an argument, culminating in Donald throwing Daffy into his piano and slamming the lid shut over the latter duck's head, with only his beak sticking out. At this point, we hear Daffy dazedly say, "Thith meanth war...", and the competition heats up from there.
  • Technically a Smile / The Unsmile: Judge Doom seems very humourless, even when everyone else is laughing at a joke. When he does smile, it shuts them right up. It turns out that his true personality is more into Slasher Smiles.
  • The Unreveal: In-universe, Eddie sees the reveal of Judge Doom being a toon this way due to how crazy his ultimate goal was.
  • This Is a Drill: Judge Doom at the end.
  • This Is Reality: As an armed Roger goes off to rescue Eddie and Jessica, Benny warns him, "Be careful with that gun! This ain't no cartoon, ya know." Justified, as Roger is an actor, and Benny tells him this is not a cartoon starring him or anyone else: the perils are very much real, and there is a good chance he may not come out alive.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Roger and Jessica. Also, Eddie and Dolores, rather less pronounced.
  • Token Minority: Along with Positive Discrimination. The only black character in the movie is a one-armed black veteran with a Purple Heart who frequents Dolores' restaurant.
  • Took a Level in Kindness
    • Both Roger and Jessica, compared to the original book.
    • Eddie's about the same in both versions. He does get progressively nicer over the course of the film, though, even regaining his sense of humor.
  • Toon Physics: Naturally.
  • Toon Town: The Trope Namer (or Trope Codifier, depending on how you look at it...)
  • Toon Transformation: A Deleted Scene had Eddie Valiant gain an animated pig's head painted over his own head when he entered Toontown. This is also why he has just showered in the middle of the day when Jessica shows up in his office.
  • Tragic Bigot: Eddie Valiant's story of how he came to hate Toontown and the toons in it after one killed his brother provides the page quote.
  • Twisted Echo Cut: When Valiant is photographing Acme and Jessica "playing pattycake", you can hear Acme saying "Pattycake...pattycake..." getting more excited each time. The scene then switches to Maroon's office, where Roger is virtually screaming "PATTYCAKE! PATTYCAKE!" in disbelief after being shown the pictures. The way the scene was cut kept the repetition of "pattycake" unbroken between scenes.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Roger and Jessica... from a human's point of view. From the Toons' point of view, Jessica lucked into a real catch with Roger.
    Eddie: (mouth hanging open) She's married to Roger Rabbit?!
    Betty Boop: Yeah. What a lucky goil.(closes Eddie's mouth) [Exit]
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Between Dolores and Valiant. Kind of makes the story sweet in a G-related way.
  • Unusual Euphemism: One of the detectives refers to Acme's murder as getting "kacked."
  • Unwilling Suspension
  • Vapor Wear: Jessica Rabbit.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The Cloverleaf plot is based on a real-life urban legend that General Motors bought the Los Angeles Red Car Trolley system to shut it down. The Bradford-Snell conspiracy theory has been thoroughly debunked; GM didn't buy up the Red Cars until years after they had been converted to a bus system due to problems with funding maintenance and expansion.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Greasy Weasel tries to search Jessica's cleavage for Acme's will, and gets his hand caught in a Bear Trap. She's definitely not happy to see him.
    Eddie Valiant: Nice booby trap. (Jessica smiles wryly)
  • Visionary Villain: Judge Doom's plans for Toon Town's demolition are to make way for a express highway, which he feels quite strongly about.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: An 80's family movie, produced by Disney, with a maniacal Hanging Judge as the main antagonist who is actually a toon himself who wants to get rid of his own race for pure profit.
  • Villain Ball: Right when it seems like victory is in his hands, Roger and Jessica are tied up, and Eddie is held at gunpoint, rather than just have him be shot, Doom instead orders that Eddie be forced to watch his Toon friends die. In his brief absence afterward, Eddie proceeds to take out the Weasels one by one.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Doom and the Weasels' leader have their respective breakdowns when their subordinates start laughing uncontrollably.
    Doom: Stop that laughing! Have you forgotten what happened last time?! IF YOU DON'T STOP LAUGHING, YOU'RE GOING TO END UP DEAD, JUST LIKE YOUR IDIOT HYENA COUSINS!!!
    • This was released six years before The Lion King!
    • He also has one at the climax. He's normally quite composed but when he gets run over by a steamroller and reveals himself as a toon, he goes completely and openly Ax-Crazy.
    Doom: (his voice rising in pitch until it is absolutely shrieking) Remember me, Eddie?! WHEN I KILLED YOUR BROTHER, I TALKED! JUST! LIKE! THIS!!!!!!
  • Visual Pun:
    • The movie's poster. Roger Rabbit is "framed".
    • When Valiant meets with Maroon to take the job, he sees some toon furniture escape a crate and run around playing "Stars and Stripes Forever" on orchestral instruments. They're "musical chairs."
    • "Hey, Roger! Whaddaya call the middle of a song?" "Gee, I dunno... (sees they're about to crash into an overpass) A BRIDGE!"
    • In Toontown, Eddie runs over a pie with a cow's face on it.
    • Roger sits on a soap box while making a speech about the power of laughter.
    • Judge Doom's eyes pop out shaped like blades. "Glaring daggers."
    • "Cattle Call"...literally for cows and bulls, who we see in Hollywood practicing their moos or even applying lipstick.
  • What Does She See in Him?: Why does Jessica Rabbit love Roger as a husband? He makes her laugh.
    Eddie: Better lover than driver, huh?
    Jessica Rabbit: You'd better believe it, buster.
  • Wham Line:
    Eddie:: Holy smokes, he's a Toon!
    Doom: Not just any TOOON... REMEMBER ME, EDDIE! WHEN I KILLED YOU BROTHER, I TALLLLKED! JUST! LIKE! THIIIIIIIIIIIIIIS!!!!!
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: If Marvin Acme's will isn't found by midnight, the Diabolical Mastermind Judge Doom will legally own Toontown.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: Betty Boop (shown in black and white) is an unusually upbeat version of one, working at the Ink-n-Paint Club.
    Betty: Cigars? Cigarettes? (beat) Eddie Valiant!
    Eddie: ...Betty?
    Betty: (putting down a tray of cigars and cigarettes) Long time no see.
    Eddie: What are you doing here?
    Betty: Work's been kinda slow since cartoons went to color. But I Still Got It, Eddie. Boop-boop be-doo boop! (winks)
    Eddie: (smiling) Yeah. You still got it.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Doom has at least two chances to kill Valiant and instead chooses to wait or take a less practical approach. Justified since he is an over the top toon villain.
  • Wicked Weasel
  • Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises:
    • Happens to Jessica in one scene.
    "Oh my God, it's DIP!!!"
    • It happens again when Judge Doom gets an emergency release valve full of Dip in his face.
  • Window Pain: Roger smashes out through a window leaving a Roger-shaped hole on finding out Jessica's been playing Pattycake with Marvin Acme.
  • Wingding Eyes: Judge Doom.
  • Winged Soul Flies Off at Death: The Weasels after they laugh themselves to death. Averted with the chief Weasel, Smart Ass, who meets his end in the Dip.
  • Wrong Parachute Gag: Eddie is falling from a great height and is joined by Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny, both wearing parachutes. Eddie asks for a spare, so Bugs gives it to him. He opens it... and out comes a spare tire.
  • X-Ray Sparks: Happens to Roger during the short cartoon "Somethin's Cookin'" when his fingers get stuck in some electrical sockets.
  • You Are What You Hate: Judge Doom. You probably have guessed that by now.
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!!!!: Given what Eddie's seeing Marvin and Jessica actually doing when he says this, you can't really blame him.
  • You Killed My Brother: Judge Doom is the same toon who killed Eddie Valiant's brother.

Porky Pig: Okay, m-m-move along! Th-th-there's nothing else to see. Th-that's all folks. ...hmm. I-I like the sounda' that! Th-th-th-th-th-th-that's all, folks! Hahahaha!
    Creator/LJN ToysSpider-Man
RoboCop (1987)Hugo AwardAlien Nation
Roger Rabbit EffectThe Renaissance Age of AnimationAnime of the 1980s
We're Back! A Dinosaur's StoryAnimal Title IndexWild Hogs
WaxworkFilms of the 1980sWillow
TaleSpinCreator/CapcomDungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara
Hair-Raising HareImageSource/Animated FilmsAbhorrent Admirer
The Dead PoolMysteryFiction/FilmDick Tracy
Young Sherlock HolmesMystery And Detective FilmsWithout A Clue
The Mummy TrilogyThe FortiesTintin
Starchaser: The Legend of OrinCreator/Available Light Productions    
Angel HeartFilm NoirMiller's Crossing

alternative title(s): Who Framed Roger Rabbit
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