"There liveth none under the sunne, that knows what to make of the man in the moone."The sister trope to The Face of the Sun, the Man in the Moon is that old conception of the Moon as possessing a face, most often a male one. The moon is often an aged but benevolent figure who stands over the Earth, granting it natural bounty or serving as the destination for young adventurers. This trope, while at least Older Than Feudalism, is nowadays mostly only seen in quirky video games and animated children's media. This conception, incidentally, is primarily Western. East Asian cultures, such as that of Japan, tend to see the Moon as having a rabbit on its face, rather than possessing human features. Also, as the Moon appears to be flipped in the Southern Hemisphere (because people in the Southern Hemisphere are effectively standing upside down relative to the Northern Hemisphere), the traditional Man in the Moon is upside down and quite hard to discern. Bears little to no relation to Weird Moon. See Moon Rabbit for the version more popular in East Asian cultures. Men on the Moon may be Lunarians.
— Endymion, John Lyly.
open/close all folders
- A man with a crescent moon for a head wearing Cool Shades, known as "Mac Tonight" was once part of the side characters for McDonalds.
- In an older commercial, the Man in the Moon (shaped like a crescent moon) noticed Ronald McDonald and his friends having a picnic, and said he'd never had a cheeseburger, so Ronald used his Magic Pogo Stick to bring him one. When he landed back on Earth, the Man had become a full moon.
- The Man in the Moon logo for Proctor and Gamble made them the target of Satanic Panic.
- A 1940s text story from The Beano was titled "The Boy who bossed the Man in the Moon".
Films — Animated
- Tweedledum during "The Walrus and the Carpenter" segment of Alice in Wonderland.
- The Moon in The Nightmare Before Christmas for some reason has Oogie Boogie's face on it!
- The Genie at the end of Aladdin turns out to be the big moon Alladin and Jasmine were riding into. "Made you look!"
- The Man In The Moon serves as the Big Good in Rise of the Guardians, the one who decides who becomes a Guardian.
Films — Live-Action
- The 1902 film A Trip to the Moon (original French title Le Voyage dans la Lune) provides the Ur-Example in film. The moon is depicted not only being a sentient being with a face] but is also covered in giant mushrooms, apparently has enough oxygen for the humans to breathe, and is inhabited by savage Rubber-Forehead Aliens called Selenites. Also, you can jump down from the moon to earth without getting hurt too much.
- Appears during the 'Your Song' sequence in Moulin Rouge! and sings with the voice of Placido Domingo.
- A female example in Im Juli. Daniel has a short hallucination sequence after drinking the drugged beverage served by Luna. In this sequence his bus travels across the night sky while the full moon shows Luna's face watching the bus passing by.
- In The Truman Show, Christof and the other showrunners are shown to be working from behind the fake moon on the Seahaven set. Also, in one scene, Truman depicts himself as an astronaut by drawing a spacesuit in the bathroom mirror.
- From an old Nursery Rhyme:
The man in the moon
Came down too soon
To ask his way to Norwich.
He went by the south
And burnt his mouth
While eating cold plum porridge
- J. R. R. Tolkien based one of his poems on the Nursery Rhyme listed above. He also put the Man In The Moon in his poem based on "Hey diddle-diddle, the cat and the fiddle." In Middle-earth the moon-ship is steered by a male Maia.
- As a whole, the Man in the Moon seems to be a prevalent motif in Tolkien's work, dating first to his early writtings in which he invisioned an elf living in a hut in the Moon.
- In The Guardians of Childhood, the Moon is a broken down space sailing ship. Owned by the noble family of Lunanoff, it was attacked by the Nightmare King Pitch and damaged beyond function in the battle, leaving it in its disguised state as an ordinary moon. The only remaining member of the Lunanoffs, the Man in the Moon is raised to adulthood by the ship's crew of robots and large insects and keeps a watchful eye on the Earth to keep the children safe from Pitch's lingering influence beyond the can he was sealed in as result of the same battle.
Live Action TV
- The Mighty Boosh features the Moon as a character with a face who provides monologues to break up the segments of the show.
- Dorothy Jane in The Torkelsons often sat on her windowsill and talked to the Man in the Moon.
- On the Playhouse Disney children's series Bear in the Big Blue House, the moon was named Luna and was a good friend of Bear. Bear and Luna often meet on Bear's balcony and Bear tells Luna what he has done during the day and they sing the "Goodbye Song".
- Referenced in the Shinedown song "Second Chance":
I just saw Hayley's comet she wavedSaid why you always running in placeEven the man in the moon disappearedSomewhere in the stratosphere
- The Erasure song "Man In The Moon" portrays him as a benevolent, smiling figure.
- The video for The Smashing Pumpkins' song "Tonight, Tonight", largely an homage to A Trip to the Moon, of course features a face in the moon.
- A stanza of Well Done Liar or Martin Said To His Man, one of a whole genre's worth of British nonsense songs describing a man telling tall tales to his friends while drunk, includes the words:
I saw the man in the moonClothed in St Peter's Shoon...
- Ada Jones' If The Man In The Moon Were A Coon from 1907.
Mythology and Religion
- In Polish legends, a wizard Twardowski (pronounced Tvardovsky) is said to have got stranded on the moon after his last ditch attempt to get out of a literal Deal with the Devil .
- As a whole, stories of the Moon Man are thought to be relics of the germanic/anglo-saxonic/norse god Máni. Particularly, they may be derived of a myth in which he rescued two children, Hjúki and Bilnote from their abusive father, which send them outside at night get water from a well. Since they have accompanied him ever since, and many actually reffer to lunar cratters/phases, they're the children in the Moon.
- Referenced in Calvin and Hobbes -
Calvin: "I saw the man in the moon tonight."Calvin's Dad:(not paying attention) "Mmm."Calvin: "I didn't know the moon made faces."Calvin's Dad:(still not paying attention) "That's phases."
- Happens in the Scamp newspaper strip. It even says hi to the dogs, but rather than seeing the face everyone else sees, Tramp sees Lady's face and realizes he's been away from home far too late.
- In Prickly City, the moon starts to make faces when Carmen says we haven't been back in a long time.
- Referenced in A Midsummer Night's Dream; in the Show Within a Show, Starveling plays Moonlight, who is represented by a man with a lantern, dog and bush, which was the common conception of the Man in the Moon at the time. Spectators wonder if he should be inside his lantern, which also stands for the moon's light.
- Endymion fittingly draws on this imagery as it is about a man who falls in love with the moon goddess.
- During the Halloween event in Guild Wars, the moon appears as huge with a creepy face◊ in certain cities.
- The Moon in Something Else. It has an evil smirk on its face. Also, the true base of the Evil Guy.
- In AdventureQuest, there are two weird moons; one has a face and leads to the Void, where the strongest monsters of the game are held. The second also has a face and is an interpretation of the Big Bad.
- In Alice: Madness Returns, the moon is visible in the obligatory ice level. It not only has a full face, but tattoos and a cigarette in a long holder. Its cigarette's smoke is the aurora which laces through the sky.
- In Wiz 'n Liz, the moon has a face. Usually it just looks like it's asleep, but every now and then it will yawn, and come out with an incredibly creepy grimace.
- Futurama had Craterface, the mascot of Luna Park, to whom Bender shoves a beer bottle in his eye in a reference to the A Trip to the Moon ur-example.
- Family Guy 's episode "The Griffin Family History" had Peter in the role of an ancestor working in Hollywood in the 1920's, and in one film, he looks through the telescope at the Man In The Moon.
- Inspector Gadget consistently had a happy face on the moon, and one episode's plot revolved around MAD changing it to their logo.
- Ruby Gloom's seemingly ever-present moon has a vaguely feminine face. Apart from singing the opening theme, it rarely does more than sit in the sky and look cheerful and somewhat out-of-place. Sometimes it reacts to what the characters are doing.
- In The Amazing World of Gumball, the moon is an animated minor character with arms, legs, and visible buttocks, who enjoys harassing his sunlit neighbor, The Sun, by mooning him.
- In LocoRoco, the Moon is very much alive.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic featured the Mare in the Moon; this one is more Sealed Evil in a Can.
- The Man in the Moon is an actual (non-appearing?) character in the Rise of the Guardians.
- The Man in the Moon appears as an actual character in The Smurfs episode of the same name.
- The Man in the Moon in the Tom Terrific story arc "Moon Over Manfred" controls the moon phases which manipulates earth's tides. Only here he's quitting his job because he's always being buzzed by satellites.
- Moon Breath Beat: At one point in this Deranged Animation cartoon, the woman and her two cats morph into the man in the moon, who blows another universe out of his mouth. Then later he reappears and sucks them back up.
Anime And Manga
- The moon in Soul Eater, which just isn't as nightmare-inducing as the one hovering above Termina because it doesn't threaten to fall on Death City or wherever. But it's just as creepy.
- In Lagann-Hen, the Anti-Spiral appears in the moon right before Nia undergoes her Face–Heel Turn. Also note that this was right before Simon and Nia kissed.
- Gainax again: in Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt one enemy tries to make the Man in the Moon sneeze by shooting a blimp, propelled with the force of a thousand nosebleeds, into its nose and... Well, it's a Widget Series, so let's leave it at that!
Mythology and Religion
- In the mythology of the Haida in northwest America, the Man in the Moon is a boy gathering wood taken up into space as a punishment for disrespect.
- The Chinese have a Man. Either he used to live on the sun, but switched places with his two sisters when they got tired of men on Earth admiring their beauty every night; or he's stuck up there chopping trees for all eternity because he somehow offended the gods — accounts differ. Then there's a Rabbit pounding elixirs, and a Lady (she ate the pills of immortality meant for both her and her husband to prevent him from becoming an immortal tyrant) in the Moon, all from separate folktales.
- In yet another Chinese myth, the Sun is a lovestruck (but ugly) male chasing after the Moon, a beautiful but haughty female.
- One foolish old Maori woman got angry at the moon and called it a "cooked head," a grave insult (that may refer to cannibalism?). The moon abducted her and now she's stuck up there forever.
- The falling moon in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask grows a face and cries rocks.
- Kirby has Mr. Shine; to distinguish him from his partner Mr. Bright, he is depicted as having a crescent moon-shaped face.
- The Pokémon Lunatone invokes this trope, and it is similarly crescent-shaped. It appears in Sapphire; its counterpart in Ruby is Solrock.
- In Our Little Adventure, the sun and moon have faces and occasionally make quips about what's going on down at ground level. They transform into one another at dawn and dusk rather than rising or setting.