Actor Allusion: Rocky yells "FREEDOOOOOOOOM!" when he first flies into the farm. Also, one of the chickens says "I'm not even certain he was American.", a reference to the fact that many people, even in the UK, think Mel Gibson is Australian (he was born in the US, but moved to Australia at age 12). Another Braveheart allusion occurs when asked where he's from:
Rocky: Oh, just a little place I call the land of the free and the home of the brave...
Rocky: No! America!
To top it off, there's also a Running Gag with Rocky finding Mac's Scottish accent incomprehensible.
Almost Kiss: ...How do you animate chickens kissing, anyway? (A quick peck on the cheek, perhaps?)
Already Undone for You: When falling towards a load of spinning blades in the pie machine, Rocky grabs a bar at the side which falls down and stops his fall. There is no sign of how Ginger survived moments before, however...
This was an actual complaint that British soldiers had of American soldiers in WWII, due to the US Army paying better, and their willingness to use that extra money to get girls. The Americans usually countered that complaint by saying that the problem with the British troops was that they were underpaid, under-sexed, and under Eisenhower.
Ax-Crazy: Mrs. Tweedy in the climax. Double points for actually wielding an ax.
Becoming the Boast: Rocky and Fowler are an interesting contrast. Both of them make big boasts that they they can't live up to (Rocky's claim that he can fly, and Fowler's exploits in the Royal Air Force). Rocky runs away rather than face the shame of exposure; Fowler comes clean about the fact that he was a mascot, not a pilot, and at Ginger's urging he takes the pilot seat in the chickens' homemade aircraft.
To be clear, Fowler never claimed to be a pilot and seemed surprised Ginger assumed he was. He was just openly proud to have served.
Big Damn Heroes: Rocky's return in the climax; while Mrs. Tweedy has Ginger pinned to the ground and is threatening to kill her, Rocky comes flying over the fence on a tricycle, screaming Ginger's name as he does so.
Captain Obvious: This little exchange near the end. It's meant to be a big plot twist, but it's just so obvious that you can't help but laugh.
Ginger: But you're supposed to be up there! You're the pilot! Fowler: Don't be ridiculous. I can't fly this contraption. Ginger: "Back in your day"? The Royal Air Force? Fowler: 644 Squadron, Poultry Division - we were the mascots. Ginger: You mean you never actually flew the plane? Fowler: Good heavens, no! I'm a chicken! The Royal Air Force doesn't let chickens behind the controls of complex aircraft!
I Warned You: Said by Mr. Tweedy to Mrs. Tweedy the Sore Loser in possibly the meekest example of this trope after the chickens revolt and fly the coop.
Mr. Tweedy: I told you, they was organized. Mrs. Tweedy: (gnashing her teeth at him) GRRRRR!
Chekhov's Gun: Why on earth did they make such a big deal of showing the lights getting caught on the plane's wheel? Oh, now they're using it to climb! But I'm sure they don't serve any other... WAIT A MINUTE! IS THAT MRS. TWEEDY?!?
Another example is the turnip catapult from the escape meeting scene, which shows up again in the climax when it's used to launch eggs at the attacking Mrs. Tweedy. But it doesn't stop her.
Both Babs' passion for knitting and Bunty's egg laying capabilities come in pretty useful when building the 'crate'.
Comically Missing the Point: Babs thought Rocky had just gone on holiday. This got on Bunty's nerves ("Maybe he just wanted to get away from YOUR INFERNAL KNITTING!!"), and this escalated into a huge brawl until Ginger stops it.
Mrs Tweedy: (To her husband after he voices his suspicions of the chickens) They're chickens, you dolt! Apart from you, they're the most stupid creatures on this planet. They don't plot, they don't scheme and they are not! organized!
[Cut to Ginger banging a gavel at (a very rowdy) escape meeting]
Evil Overlooker: The main posters and DVD cover have Mrs. Tweedy's face projected onto a cloud in the background.
Executive Meddling: DreamWorks and composer Hans Zimmer (who heads the Dreamworks music department) forced director Nick Park to drop an already-recorded musical score by Wallace & Gromit composer Julian Nott because Zimmer decided his people should do the score (Zimmer has a history of doing this). This was one of many reasons why Aardman would leave DreamWorks in 2006 to go to Sony.
Expospeak Gag: After Rocky wakes up with an injured wing, there is this bit of dialogue:
Rocky: Ouch! What happened to my wing?
Ginger: You took a rather nasty fall.
Mac: And sprained the anterior tendon connecting your radius to your humerus. I gave her a wee bit of a tweak, Jimmy, and wrapped her up.
Rocky: Was that English?
Ginger: She said you hurt your wing. She fixed it.
To a lesser degree, Fowler. While he never outright said he was a wartime hero, his ramblings gave off that impression. When he finally admits he was just the mascot, he insists that it should have been obvious, since no one would employ chickens as pilots.
False Reassurance: Most of Rocky's promises (including the one to teach the hens how to fly) are true except for a few little details which he doesn't bother to mention.
Funny Animal: though with some anthropomorphisms, mostly limited to cues based on clothing
Funny Background Event: During roll call near the beginning of the movie, Bunty pushes aside a dark brown chicken who was sleeping on the spot to make room for Ginger. In the next shot we see the brown chicken getting up and looking dazed. When Mrs Tweedy starts walking down, Fowler gets on the other side of Bunty; knocking over the dark brown chicken again!
"So... which bunk is mine?" And the enthusiastic response from nearly all the hens in the place.
During the Training Montage, there's a precious moment where Ginger is leaning over and stretching and Rocky is checking out her bum. And then she catches him. And he coughs and continues instructing the class. Wow.
Mr. Tweedy pretty clearly jumps after Mrs. Tweedy apparently grabs his rear off-screen.
Gut Punch / Mood Whiplash: When Edwina gets beheaded, albeit offscreen, and later her bones are seen on the kitchen table. As Roger Ebert stated in his review, Mrs. Tweedy is not fooling around. This is not a film that pulls punches, and there's a very real threat to the chickens.
He gets some measure of revenge - most of it was edited out, but it's clear Mr. Tweedy pushed the wooden wall onto her as a Take That.
Heroic BSOD: Ginger after Rocky's deceit is revealed along with his departure.
Heroic Sacrifice: Ginger almost did this by apparently letting Mrs. Tweedy behead her along with cutting the line that was attached to the crate with the escaping chickens. Turns out she just ducked away, but still, a pretty gutsy move.
Impact Silhouette: When Ginger and Rocky try to escape from the oven of the pie machine, Rocky winds up falling into all of the pies that are being cooked, with a bunch of Rocky-shaped holes in all of the pies that he had fallen into.
Literal Metaphor: "Really? Because it seems like we're going round in circles." (Cut to the other chickens, who are doing exactly that.)
Loud Gulp: The chickens gulp in unison (swallowing the heaps of chicken feed they all had in their mouths) after Ginger tells them that the food they've been eating was to fatten them up for slaughter.
Never Say "Die": Played straight with the humans ("You are going to be a pie!") but averted with most of the chickens.
Never Trust a Trailer: The advertising for the movie focused on the action sequences and screwball slapstick elements while glossing over the parallels to World War II, the references to prison escape films, the love story and the constant threat of death.
Nice Hat: Ginger's. She's the only chicken that has one.
Redheaded Heroine: Ginger. Not that it really stands out, what with the main cast being chickens instead of humans, but it's apparently notable enough to have her named after it and for the Tweedys to identify her as "that ginger one".
Red Herring: When Ginger orders the crate prepared for flight after Mr. Tweedy is subdued, Mac tells her that it's not yet ready for use. We're expecting this to be Foreshadowing for some kind of catastrophe during the escape (and originally it was going to be), but in the final film nothing ever comes of it and the crate flies without a hitch.
The Reveal: Rocky never knew how to fly. When Ginger saw him he had been shot out of a cannon.
Ring Around The Collar: The chicken character models were made of a combination of plasticine for their heads and silicone rubber for their bodies. To hide the join, all the chickens wear scarves, necklaces, or any other kind of neckgear.
Scavenged Punk: As provided by literal scavengers, Nick and Fletcher, the chickens build everything out of human stuff. Also, check out the Nick and Fletcher's homemade costumes (there's a fullsized human zipper).
Screw This, I'm Outta Here: At the end of the climax, Mr. Tweedy runs into the barn to find his wife stuck in the pie-making machine's safety valve and the pressure gauges deep in the red. He calmly closes the door.
Slap-Slap-Kiss: There is a Running Gag that every time Ginger and Rocky would be about to kiss, they would be interrupted; one of these instances was near the end, when Ginger slaps Rocky across the face as they're about to kiss.
This was because the filmmakers were nervous about showing Rocky and Ginger kissing onscreen, fearing that the sight of two birds touching beaks would look too awkward. When the kiss finally comes, it is staged so that the actual contact of "lips" is hidden.
Trailers Always Spoil: The theatrical trailers completely spoil The Reveal of the pie machine, while a TV commercial and the Burger King toys were all based around the plane. Then there's one DVD trailer which is comprised almost entirely of clips from the last 15 or so minutes of the film and the final scene in particular.
Trailer Spoof: The two trailers that were released prior to this movie were rendered in a way that parodied the first Mission: Impossible movie, complete with stop-motion explosions, "spy camera character bio" graphics, and initials of Chicken Run 's actual title rendered to resemble Mission: Impossible'sIconic Logo. Observe.
Zerg Rush: When Mr. Tweedy catches the chickens with his tools they use to build the crate to escape, they stand there in fear as usual. And then Ginger yells "ATTACK!" and the chicken all descend on Mr. Tweedy.