->''"Walk right in, it's around the back''\\
''Just a half a mile from the railroad track''\\
''You can get anything you want at Alice's restaurant[[note]]excepting Alice[[/note]]"''

''Alice's Restaurant'' is the name of a 1967 album by American folk singer-songwriter Arlo Guthrie. The lead song on the album is officially named "The Alice's Restaurant Massacree", but is frequently also called "Alice's Restaurant".

The song is talking-blues-style with a sung refrain,[[note]]The refrain, confusingly, is introduced with the words, "This song is called Alice's Restaurant"...[[/note]] recounting the long-winded (18 minutes!) and exaggerated but basically true story of how a young Arlo Guthrie did a simple favor for his friend Alice by trying to take her garbage to the dump, only to be arrested and fined for littering, and later being judged "morally unfit" to be shipped off to fight in Vietnam. Arlo points out the absurdity that a person with a littering conviction is considered morally unfit to go to war and "burn women, kids, houses and villages", and ends it with an anti-war message.

There is a long-standing tradition of radio stations playing the song on UsefulNotes/ThanksgivingDay, because the littering incident takes place on that holiday (and, originally, because the song is so long that it gave the DJ on duty time to slip off and gobble down some food).

The song was originally intended to be one of a series (none actually titled "Alice's Restaurant"), but apart from follow-ups to the Massacree -- of which there have been several, including one reporting that UsefulNotes/RichardNixon is said to have owned a copy of the original album and noting the coincidence that the famous missing section of the Watergate tapes is also 18 minutes long -- there has only been one released, the even longer "Alice's Restaurant: Before Time Began" (aka, depending on the album, "The Alice's Restaurant Multi-Colored Rainbow Roach Affair").

A 1969 film, also called ''Film/AlicesRestaurant'', was based on the song. Not to be confused with 1969's "Alice's Rock & Roll Restaurant", which is basically "The Alice's Restaurant Massacree" without the talking-blues about the garbage, arrest, etc. It's also not ''Film/AliceDoesntLiveHereAnymore'' which had a {{Spinoff}} ''Series/{{Alice|1976}}'' -- though the title character works in a restaurant.

!! Tracklist

[[AC:Side One]]
# "Alice's Restaurant Massacree" (18:20)

[[AC:Side Two]]
# "Chilling of the Evening" (3:01)
# "Ring-Around-a-Rosy Rag" (2:10)
# "Now and Then" (2:15)
# "I'm Going Home" (3:12)
# "The Motorcycle Song" (2:58)
# "Highway in the Wind" (2:40)

!! Ring-Around-a-Rosy tropes:
* AddedAlliterativeAppeal: "Chilling Of The Evening"
--> ''A song is sounding, softly singing''
* AlbumFiller: The TitleTrack, which is a funny story in its own right, but could have been a lot more to the point, without Guthrie's {{Padding}}.
* TheAllAmericanBoy:
--> ''I looked and felt my best when I went in that morning, cause I wanted to look like the all-American kid from New York City, man''
* ArsonMurderAndJaywalking: Or in this case, mother-rape, father-stabbing, ''father''-raping... and littering.
** ...and creatin' a nuisance.
** Also when Arlo tells the recruiting sergeant his objections:
--> ''I went over to the sergeant and said, "Sergeant, you got a lot a damn gall to ask me if I've rehabilitated myself, I mean...I mean...I mean that just, I'm sittin' here on the bench, I mean I'm sittin here on the Group W bench, 'cause you wanna know if I'm moral enough to join the army and burn women, kids, houses and villages after bein' a litterbug.''
* ArtisticLicenseLaw: The court hearing is two days after Thanksgiving - which is to say, ''Saturday'', when most courts do not hold session.
* AudienceParticipationFailure: On the recorded version, Guthrie's first attempt to get the audience to sing the chorus is too quiet. He even remarks [[YouSuck "that was horrible."]]
* AudienceParticipationSong:
--> ''And remember, you wanna end war [[BuffySpeak and stuff]], you gotta sing loud, okay?''
* AxeCrazy: Arlo acts this way in an attempt to get the army psychiatrist to exempt him from duty:
--> ''I walked in and said, "Shrink, I wanna '''kill...'''"''
** But all that does is make the sergeant [[SpringtimeForHitler even more inclined to take him]].
* BasedOnATrueStory: Guthrie claimed the events actually happened, though he is clearly making a few scenes more exaggarated to [[PlayedForLaughs play it for laughs.]]
* BedsheetLadder: The toilet paper in Arlo's cell is removed on this pretext.
* BreadEggsBreadedEggs: Mother ''Rapers'', ''Father'' Stabbers... ''Father Rapers''.
* BrickJoke: Arlo starts out telling an amusing, but seemingly pointless, tale about getting arrested for littering before moving on to talk about his draft experience. And when he finally meets the "last man" at his draft induction, he's told they have one final question: [[spoiler:"Have you ever been arrested?" Which requires him to go ''back to the very beginning ...'']]
* BookEnds: The refrain.
* ComicallyMissingThePoint: "Alice's Restaurant"
--> ''Now friends, there was only one or two things that Obie coulda done at the police station, and the first was he could have given us a medal for being so brave and honest on the telephone, which wasn't very likely, and we didn't expect it, and the other thing was he could have bawled us out and told us never to be see driving garbage around the vicinity again, which is what we expected, but when we got to the police officer's station there was a third possibility that we hadn't even counted upon, and we was both immediately arrested. Handcuffed. And I said "Obie, I don't think I can pick up the garbage with these handcuffs on." He said, "Shut up, kid. Get in the back of the patrol car."''
* ConfessToALesserCrime:
--> ''Yes sir, Officer Obie, I cannot tell a lie: I put that envelope under that garbage.''
* CrazyPrepared: Officer Obie takes the toilet paper out of Arlo's cell so that he can't "bend the bars, roll the paper out the window, slide down the roll and have an escape."
* DashinglyDapperDerby: Alice's bowler hat on the cover.
* DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment:
--> ''This song is called Alice's Restaurant, and it's about Alice, and the Restaurant. But Alice's Restaurant is not the name of the restaurant. That's just the name of the song, and that's why I called the song Alice's Restaurant.''
* DoubleStandardRapeMaleOnMale: Incidentally; Guthrie mentions that other people judged unfit to serve included "mother rapers... father stabbers... ''father'' rapers". On the live recording, this gets a laugh.
* DraftDodging: Not actually what Guthrie does in the song, but the only reason he's telling this story is so that you'll know how to dodge the draft.
* EpicRocking: The title track takes up more than 18 minutes, and updated versions are sometimes ''even longer''.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: When Arlo describes being sent to the Group W bench (for those who possibly "may not be moral enough to join the Army") full of "mother-rapers, father-stabbers, and father-rapers", one of them ask him why he's there. When they hear his response "littering", they all move away from him on the bench. But he regained their respect by adding "And creating a nuisance".
* ExplainExplainOhCrap: In the 1995 version, Arlo talks about how he was once invited to the White House during the Carter administration and was told that they'd found a copy of ''Alice's Restaurant'' in UsefulNotes/RichardNixon's library. Then he starts thinking about how Nixon used to record everything and made sure to erase only some of it, and how there was one particular blank piece of tape that...
-->''I said to myself, Arlo... How many things in this world are exactly 18 minutes and 20 seconds long?!''
* FaceOnTheCover: Arlo, seated at a table, shown in close-up.
* FortuneTeller: "Highway In The Wind"
-->''The fortune teller tells me that I have somewhere to go''\\
''Look and try to understand and wonder how she knows''
* {{Improv}}: "Alice's Restaurant Massacree" is largely improvised, which explains why Guthrie sometimes starts {{padding}} about minor plot details.
** Averted in later performances, which are usually word-for-word copied from the album, save for one instance where he actually forgot the words halfway through and starting ad-libbing to save face.
* IncorruptiblePurePureness: "Alice's Restaurant"
--> ''When we got a phone call from officer Obie he said: "Kid, we found your name on an envelope at the bottom of a half a ton of garbage, and just wanted to know if you had any information about it." And I said, "Yes, sir, Officer Obie, I cannot tell a lie, I put that envelope under that garbage."''
* InsaneTrollLogic: Obie takes Arlo's wallet so he doesn't have any money to spend in jail, but also takes his belt because he doesn't want any hangings. Arlo even says, "Obie, did you think I was gonna hang myself for littering?" TruthInTelevision - it's routine for the police to remove belts and shoelaces when someone is detained, no matter what they were arrested for.
* InsistentTerminology:
** The "twenty seven eight-by-ten color glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against us."
** The "shovels and rakes and implements of destruction."
* LiteralMetaphor: The judge that Arlo and his friend are called before is vision-impaired, making this, as Arlo puts it:
--> ''A typical case of American '''blind justice'''.''
* ListingTheFormsOfDegenerates: In both the film and the song, Arlo Guthrie presents a list of the people he met in prison: ''"mother rapers... father stabbers... father rapers"'' before reminding the audience that he was simply there for littering.
* [[JaywalkingWillRuinYourLife Littering Will Ruin Your Life]] (or in this case, quite possibly saved it.)
* MeddlesomePatrolman: Officer Obie.
* {{Motormouth}}: The DrillSergeantNasty who hands out the forms on the Group W bench and "talked for forty-five minutes, but nobody understood a word he said."
* MundaneMadeAwesome: "Motorcycle Song"
-->''I don't want a pickle''\\
''I just want to ride on my motorcycle''\\
''Yeah, and I don't want a tickle''\\
'''Cause I'd rather ride on my motorcycle''\\
''And I don't want to die''\\
''Just want to ride on my motorcycle''
* MyCountryTisOfTheeThatISting: The title track is a fierce critique of the Vietnam War and the police and military bureaucratism.
--> ''Obie came to the realization that it was a typical case of American blind justice and there was nothing he could do about it.''
* NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished: Arlo starts out trying to help a neighbor haul away her garbage and winds up arrested for littering, taken to court, and fined $50. (Well, $25 for him and $25 for the friend arrested with him.)
** Subverted in that it got him ultimately rewarded with an opportunity not to go to 'Nam to kill people.
* OverlyLongGag: Used often in the song, also arguably the song itself. Guthrie often elaborates a lot of unneccessary plot details or tells the audience things he had already just told them.
* ProtestSong: "Alice's Restaurant Massacre" is aimed at the Vietnam War.
* RhymesOnADime: "Alice's Restaurant Massacre"
--> ''They got a building down New York City, it's called Whitehall Street, where you walk in, you get injected, inspected, detected, infected, neglected and selected.''
* RunningGag:
** Any character in the story who speaks directly to Arlo addresses him as "Kid." Even the form that the occupants of the Group W bench have to fill out.
** "Four-part harmony"
** A number of people "walked in, sat down."
** Arlo bears witness to a lot of "mean, nasty, ugly" things and people.
* SecondaryCharacterTitle: Though he says at the outset that the song is about Alice and the restaurant, they're ultimately just incidental to the story.
* ShaggyDogStory: It all works to a punchline that will make you groan.
* TheSomethingSong: "The Motorcycle Song".
* SmokingIsCool: "Alice's Restaurant"
--> ''And everything was fine, we was smoking cigarettes and all kinds of things''
* SocietyMarchesOn: Lampshaded in more recent performances.
-->''Imagine one person, I mean even today, walking in singing some "Alice's Restaurant", walkin' out... They're gonna say "That guy's 30 years too late, get him out of here!" Imagine two of'em walking in [[HoYay hand in hand, singing in harmony]]? I don't care what the president says, unfortunately, to a lot of people that's still a problem. So you can imagine 50 people a day walking in, singing some "Alice's Restaurant", walking out... Friends, they might think it's a movement! And most of'em'll be too young to know what a movement WAS!''
* SpringtimeForHitler: Arlo rants about how he wants to "Kill. Kill! KILL!" in front of the draft board, hoping they'll find him too unstable to enlist. Their response? "You're our boy!"
* TakeAThirdOption: Lampshaded. Officer Obie does this when Arlo and his friends show up at the police station.
* ThanksgivingDayStory: "Alice's Restaurant" takes place on this day. Which is also an important plot point as the city dump appears to be closed on that date, causing Guthrie and his girlfriend to decide to just litter the garbage they brought along with them.
--> ''Now it all started two Thanksgivings ago...''
* TheresNoPlaceLikeHome: "I'm Going Home"
-->''Now my friends it's time to go''\\
''And this love will live to grow''\\
''And I want you all to know''\\
''I'm going home''
* TimeMarchesOn: In so many ways. "Alice's Restaurant" deals with UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar, the draft, and the fact that homosexuality disqualified people from military service at the time.
* TitleTrack: "Alice's Restaurant"
* WhatAreYouInFor: The criminals ask Arlo this and are frightened that he is a litterer, despite them themselves being murderers and rapists.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: Averted
-->''And it was about four or five hours later that Alice -- remember Alice? This is a song about Alice -- came by''