Western Animation: Yellow Submarine
Nothing is real.
"It's all in the mind."Yellow Submarine
is a psychedelic 1968 animated movie, that doesn't quite star The Beatles
(though their songs
feature prominently, and they have a cameo appearance at the end). It was directed by George Dunning with art designs by Heinz Edelmann.
When Blue Meanies attack
the strange and magical undersea utopia of "Pepperland", Old Fred is sent off in a near-omnipotent submarine to find help. He ends up in Liverpool, where he convinces Ringo Starr
and his three "mates" to return with him. Along the way, stuff happens. Very weird stuff.
With Beatles music all throughout and art in the style of Heinz Edelmann, the return voyage to Pepperland is... quite a 'trip
'. Can the Beatles save Pepperland and its citizens with The Power of Rock
? Or will the Blue Meanies end the free and open dissemination of music, which they find horrifically painful
, once and for all?Yellow Submarine
was a groundbreaking animation film for its time, featuring a lot of psychedelic, colourful and imaginative imagery. The artwork wasn't always technically perfect, and the story was more a surreal parade of scenes than a coherent plot, but this film certainly showed new visions of what animation could do. Thus it has become a Cult Classic
The Yellow Submarine Cult Soundtrack
to the film is generally received in a less favourable light. Only four songs ("All Together Now", "Hey Bulldog", "It's All Too Much", "Only A Northern Song") are new original material, the rest had appeared on previous Beatles albums before, which are Revolver
("Yellow Submarine") and Magical Mystery Tour
("All You Need Is Love"). All other tracks on the album are orchestral music by George Martin, explaining why this album is often considered the one that hardcore Beatles fans can live without.
remake of the cartoon was to be directed by Robert Zemeckis
and in pre-production, but is currently dead
thanks to his previous movie
This film provides examples of:
- Acid Trip Dimension: Several.
- Adaptation Expansion: The original song only describes a trip "beneath the waves, til we found a Sea of Green," and while that's still a goal of the movie (as the Sea of Green leads to Pepperland), there are many more seas the Beatles find themselves in before reaching the Sea of Green. The actual Sea of Green sequence only takes about ten seconds!
- Ambiguously Gay: The boss of the Blue Meanies. It's hard to tell whether he's supposed to be Camp Gay or an Evil Aristocrat type, since there's a fine line between camp and effete.
- And I Must Scream: The citizens of Meanie-run Pepperland are shown to be bluish-gray and mostly frozen but still conscious.
- And Knowing Is Half the Battle: "Sixty-four years is 33,661,440 minutes, and one minute is a long time. Let us dem-0-1-2-nstrate."
- And Starring: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Even though the Beatles probably spend more time disguised as the band than the actual band's screentime. Rectified in the extended cut, where the real Sergeant Pepper and his band help the Beatles defeat a group of canine Meanies to the tune of "Hey Bulldog".
- Angrish: Old Fred: Uhh... [gibberish] ... MUSIC ... [gibberish] ...BLUE... [gibberish] ...SUBMARINE...EXPLOSIONS...BLUE MEEAAANIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIES!!!
- Animated Music Video: One of the first.
- Annoying Arrows: Ringo pulls some out of himself after his experience in the Sea of Monsters. He found it 'arrowing.
- The Blue Meanies' guns fire whizzy cartoon arrows complete with cartoony sound effects. They don't kill you if they hit, just remove your colour and make you a slave.
- Apathetic Citizens: Lord Mayor, the Blue Meanies are coming! What will you do? "Finish the quartet!"
- Justified in that Lord Mayor thinks that the Blue Meanies "wouldn't dare" actually invade. It doesn't really explain his failure to notice the rest of Pepperland being invaded around him, though...
- Arc Words: "It's all in the mind." Thanks, George.
- Argentina Is Naziland: Referenced when the routed Meanies consider fleeing there.
- Autocannibalism: The vacuum monster eats everything in its universe. Eventually it eats itself, mouth last.
- Bad Is Good and Good Is Bad: The Blue Meanies.
Max: Yes, Your Blueness!
Chief Meanie: [enraged] WHAAAT? We Meanies only take "no" for an answer! Is that understood, Max?
Max: No, Your Blueness!
Chief Meanie: [instantly mollified] Thaaaaat's better.
- Band Land: Pepperland is a rare non-video game example.
- Band Toon
- The Beatles
- Bilingual Bonus: The lines from the song All Together Now appear in many different languages on the screen.
- Bluebird of Happiness: Is the Chief Blue Meanie's cousin.
- Born in the Theatre: Most evident when the Vacuum Monster eats the 'screen,' and when the live-action Beatles cameo at the end.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: John addresses the line "You're such a lovely audience we'd like to take you home with us" directly to the viewer. The entire live-action sequence at the end of the film also does this.
- Butt Monkey: Ringo for the good guys, and Max for the Blue Meanies.
- The Cameo: The Beatles had so little interest in this production that they did not even bother to record their own voices; the four "Beatles" in the movie are voiced by actors. But John, Paul, George, and Ringo did somewhat grudgingly appear in a live-action cameo that closes the film.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Blue Meanies. The name says it all.
- Casual Danger Dialogue
(After being eaten by the Vacuum Monster) Paul:
What should we do? John: Serve tea. Paul:
- Catch Phrase: George's is "It's all in the mind (y'know)."
- The production team had also had John drop this line at the end of the "Strawberry Fields" television episode.
- This may be a Shout-Out to The Goon Show, which sometimes used the phrase in its closing narration.
- Ringo: "I've got a hole in me pocket."
- Jeremy does this in rhyme: "Ad hoc, ad loc, and quid pro quo!/So little time, so much to know!"
- Cats Are Mean: The nine catlike Blue Meanies are particularly cruel. (These are known as "Butterfly Stompers")
- The Cavalry: The U.S. Seventh Cavalry rescues Ringo from attacking Indians.
- Celebrity Toons
- Chekhov's Gun: The hole in Ringo's pocket. He uses it to free Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club band from their bubble. He later gives half of it to Jeremy.
- Chewing the Scenery: The Chief Meanie does this a lot.
- Cloudcuckooland: Ringo's house.
- Cloudcuckoolander: All four of the Beatles.
- Clown Car Base: Ringo's house. Complete with Scooby-Dooby Doors!
- Comedic Sociopathy
John: Hey lads. Now Ringo's gone. What do we do?
Fred: Learn to sing trios.
Paul: Naaaw, let's save the poor devil!
- Contrived Coincidence: The Beatles just happen to be perfect physical duplicates to the legendary Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club band. (In modern DVD cut they are implied to be linked to each other in some odd metaphysical fashion.) Lampshaded to a degree when the Lord Mayor meets them.
It's quite uncanny! Your faces! Paul: We're quite cute, reallynote
. Lord Mayor:
You could pass for the originals! John:
We ARE the originals. Lord Mayor:
No, no ... Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band! George:
They couldn't be much with a name like that!
- Cool Car: Ringo/George's car.
- Cool House: Ringo's house.
- Cool Submarine
- Cool Old Guy: Old Fred and the Lord Mayor.
- Crapsack World: Liverpool is a black and white city with people either frozen or forever stuck in repetitive motions.
- Creator Cameo: The real Beatles appear in a live-action segment near the end.
- Cuteness Proximity: The constable in Liverpool is entirely distracted by the cat he's trying to coax. He doesn't even notice the Submarine following Ringo.
- Dance Party Ending
- Defeat Means Friendship: The defeated Blue Meanies decide to turn good in the end.
- Deranged Animation: Hoo boy!
- Director's Cut: There are at least two versions of this film — the one seen in most American theaters and available on video until about 1991, and the remastered version that has the "Hey Bulldog" sequence and some changes of pacing and sequencing in that area and available on DVD.
- There was also a UK broadcast version pieced together by The BBC from the available footage. This also included "Hey Bulldog" but omits some of the scenes that eventually (ahem) surfaced in the remaster.
- Disney Acid Sequence: Replace "Disney" with "United Artists" and "Sequence" with "Whole Film".
- Doomed Hometown: Pepperland.
- The Dragon: The Dreadful Flying Glove.
- Driven to Suicide: Ringo is so bored that he'd jump into the River Mersey, only doesn't because "it looks like rain".
- DVD Commentary: By production supervisor John Coates, with clips from interviews with Heinz Edelmann.
- Dwindling Party: The citizens of Pepperland during the invasion.
Sir! Sir! The Blue Meanies are coming! Lord Mayor:
Not h-here, young Fred. They w-wouldn't dare. Fred:
They would! They are!
What are you going to do? Lord Mayor: Finish the quartet. Chief Meanie:
FIRE! [The Meanies keep firing away; one of the foursome is turned to stone by a Meanie's arrow and Fred catches his instrument] Fred:
Trio, sir. [He starts plucking away, as another is turned to stone]
Duet, sir. Lord Mayor:
...Duet?! [And a third is turned to stone] Fred:
Solo. [He takes a whack at playing all three violins at once] Lord Mayor: [Awkward beat as the realization hits him]
...Y-Young Fred! THE BLUE MEANIES ARE COMING!!!
- Don't forget when the lads are in Pepperland, and infiltrate a marching squad of Bonkers:
Meanie Squad Leader: Sound off!
(The Bonkers start marching in a column of 4.)
Bonkers (from front to rear): (marching) A-one, two, three, hm! A-one, two, three, hm! A one, two, three, hm!
George (offscreen): Five.
Meanie Squad Leader: (perplexed) FIVE?
(Camera pulls back to reveal the lads stacked to Bonker height, wielding an apple. They march up to the rear Bonker and bonk his head with the apple. The Bonker falls down stunned, and the lads take his place. The squad leader shakes his head and gets the column going again.)
Meanie Squad Leader: Sound off!
Bonkers (from front to rear): (marching) A-one, two, three.
George (offscreen): Four.
Bonkers (from front to rear): (marching) A-one, two, three.
George (offscreen): Four.
Bonkers (from front to rear): (marching) A-one, twoŚ
Meanie Squad Leader: (confused again) Three?
(Yet another bonking.)
Meanie Squad Leader: (angrily confused and wild-eyed) TWO?!
(Even more bonking.)
Meanie Squad Leader: (bewildered) One?!
(The last bonker drops his apple as he goes down, hitting the squad leader's head and sending him reeling.)
- Ejection Seat: The steersman's chair turns out to be one when Ringo presses the Panic Button.
- Evil Laugh: The Blue Meanies, especially the Chief.
- Face Palm: When an apple falls on a Blue Meanie's head, the meanie does this. Also Paul's reaction to Ringo's "Sub Scribers" pun.
- Failure Is the Only Option: How the Blue Meanies' conquest of Pepperland ultimately ends after the Beatles arrive.
- Fiddling While Rome Burns: Parodied, literally. (Justified in that Pepperland is a Planet of Hats, and their hat is music.)
- Five-Man Band
- Follow the Leader: This film was arguably a strong influence on 1974's Space Battleship Yamato, and thus indirectly on Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, and pretty much all of modern Space Opera.
- Gag Nose: The Blue Meanies' noses.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Getting the Blue Meanies' hats past the Disney Legal Department radar, and the brief nudity in "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds"?
- Not to mention lines like:
Ah, you're nuts, the pair of yer. Fred:
If we slip back through time at this rate, very soon we'll all disappear up our own existence
Open your mouth, love, it won't hurt. (Coaxing John to make the word "LOVE" appear out of his mouth, of course. What else could it be?)
- As well as John asking Jeremy "who the Billy Shears" he is.
- Paul saying, "Hey, let's show him our motor!"
John: Steady. I mean, you don't wanna be showin' your motor to just anybody.
- The line Can I take my friend to bed? in All Together Now.
- Gone Horribly Right: When Jeremy repairs the sub's engine, it starts up and goes zooming off into the distance with Old Fred helpless to stop it, leaving everybody else behind.
- Go Ye Heroes, Go and Die: Old Fred's motivational speech just before the Beatles enter the Submarine.
- Giant Foot of Stomping: Also, feet that shoot guns and hands that have teeth.
George: I see footsteps.
Paul: It's a pair of kinky-boot beasts!
John: Preparing to attack.
- Giant Hands of Doom: Again, The Dreadful Flying Glove.
- Good Hurts Evil: Blue Meanies don't like good music spreading through the land. It pains them.
- Grotesque Gallery
- Hand in the Hole: They find holes, black circles, that represent hammerspace storage devices.
- Harbinger of Impending Doom: The Meanies are coming!
- Have a Gay Old Time: In one scene, a British guy calls out to a cat by the call of "Puss, puss... pussy, pussy... Here, pussy."
- Head-in-the-Sand Management: The Lord Mayor is a sympathetic example.
- Heel-Face Turn: What the Blue Meanies do after they are defeated.
- Hell Is That Noise: The clown alarm.
- Humiliation Conga: The Chief Blue Meanie's precious flying glove is defeated, his weapons start spitting flowers instead of bullets, he is trampled by his own retreating army, and to top it all off, his blue fur was magically infested with carnations.
- Hurricane of Puns: This is one of those movies that turns these bad puns into magic.
- Including the Meanie number two's name, given that The Blue Max was once a famous German medal.
- "Today...Pepperland goes blue-y!"
- "It's blue glass." "Must be from Kentucky."
- "[It's a] University of Whales!"
- "I'm a born lever-puller!" (Which wouldn't sound at all like the word "Liverpooler" if it weren't for Ringo's Liverpool accent.)
- "Cut-outs at the ready, and let's cut out!"
- (And many many more.)
- Iconic Outfit: The Sgt. Pepper uniforms and the Beatles' rather eccentric choice of dress. Of course, both of these were picked up in The Beatles: Rock Band.
- Improbable Weapon User: The Bonkers use giant green apples as their weapon of choice.
- I'm Taking Her Home with Me!: Ringo's feelings toward Jeremy manifest themselves as this more or less.
- Also, a line spoken by John during "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band": "You're such a lovely audience. We'd like to take you home with us. We'd love to take you home."
- Of course the latter is a quote from the actual song and therefore pre-dates the film.
- Info Drop: The animators almost seem to deliberately distract you when Fred accidentally drops all of the instruments in the Sea of Monsters, and the Beatles don't even mention it until they reach Pepperland. The only hint before that is when the Beatles play air instruments during the Nowhere Man sequence.
- Instrumental: George Martin's orchestral music on the album and the soundtrack.
- Jumped at the Call: All the Beatles. How they managed to understand Old Fred's garbled explanation is anyone's guess.
- Jerkass: The Beatles to Jeremy. Being a Nowhere Man aside, Jeremy is basically a good-hearted soul with many skills. He just has no real purpose or reason for them. The Beatles are snarky to him from the start, and when he even FIXES THE SUB'S MOTOR, the Beatles attempt to just walk off without as much as a thank-you, and then go on to berate him FURTHER via the "Nowhere Man" number, leaving poor Jeremy a hurt, crying mess. Only Ringo takes pity on him at the last minute. And just a few minutes later, when Jeremy fixes one of the Sub's propellers TOO well that the sub accidentally goes into overdrive, John, Paul, and George lose no time sniping at him AGAIN. And AGAIN, only Ringo defends him.
- Jeremy actually seems to enjoy the "Nowhere Man" number, at least until the group starts to leave him (which still leaves everyone but Ringo looking awful, since they justify leaving Jeremy with "He's happy enough, going around in circles" while the poor guy is crying).
- Keet: The Chief Blue Meanie.
- "King Kong" Climb: Behind one of the doors in the Beatles' home.
- Lame Pun Reaction: "Call a road service." "Can't, no road." "And we're not sub... scribers." The other Beatles react with physical pain to that one.
- And then there are a couple of instances of exchanges between Ringo and Old Fred:
- When they walk through a hall of displays in a huge house:
Fred: What would your friends be doing here?
Fred: Displaying what?
Ringo: Displayin' around.
- When Ringo tries to steer the submarine through the Sea of Monsters and they come across one monster:
Fred: You've got to steer clear!
Ringo: Steer clear?
Fred: Just steer! Clear?
Ringo: Yes, dear.
- Large Ham: The Chief Meanie plays this to perfection, alternately talking calmly and yelling when excited or upset. Example:
- The real-life Beatles' cameo near the end is also tongue-in-cheek silly.
- Limited Animation: One of the defining films of the genre, often misattributed to avant-garde artist Peter Max; and a who's-who of British animation; helped inspire Terry Gilliam of Monty Python fame.
- Part of what may have caused the film to underperform in its original release-keep in mind, this made when the Beatles were at the height of their popularity and people still avoided the film. Richard Williams even points this out in his book "The Animator's Survival Kit".
- The film never got a full release in the UK. When Submarine was first released in London in July 1968, Rank, the British distributor, reported low figures justifying cutting the film's release to half the circuit. Several days later, challenged with capacity business receipts, Rank denied making the previous statement. Richard Lester, director of A Hard Day's Night and Help, pointed out that three films with less box-office had received a general release, but Yellow Submarine had not. "...This whole thing about releases is so bizarre. I've been looking up some figures, out of my own interest, because of this Yellow Submarine thing, and it's very sinister. You find things like The Magnificent Two and The Long Duel and The Jokers which did in the West End about two thousand pounds a week getting a full circuit release, and Yellow Submarine which did eleven thousand pounds in the West End not getting it. Strangely enough, the first three I spoke about were all Rank films."
Movie #16 Winter 1968-69 p.26 "Interview with Richard Lester"
"Inside the Yellow Submarine" Dr. Robert Hieronimus
- Magic Music
- Malevolent Architecture: It's clear from Ringo's whining about how nothing ever happens to him that he has never paid attention to what happens inside his mansion. Or he's just bored with it — he no longer seems to notice there's anything strange about the place (partly because at least some of it hides from him).
- Mind Screw: Pick a moment.
Jeremy: "Medic, pedic, Zed Oblique. Orfic, Morphic, Dorphic, Greek. Ad hoc, ad loc, and quid pro quo — So little time, so much to know!"
- Monster Clown: The Meanies use really freaky looking clowns (known as "Countdown Clowns") as an alarm system. They've got no arms and really do look horrific. The noise they make when they're alarmed REALLY doesn't help. Plus, things tend to explode when you press their squeaky noses.
- Monumental Damage/Signs of Disrepair: When the Meanies conquer Pepperland, they smash a statue of two clasped hands, breaking them apart, and change a giant "KNOW" sign to "NO."
- The Musical
- Mythology Gag: To other songs from the Beatles; such when Fred recites the chorus to Help!, or John introducing himself to "the Alter-Ego Man" as "the Ego Man, Goo Goo G'joob." And in the end when Ringo gave half of his hole to Jeremy and Paul decides to fix it to keep his mind from wondering.
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: The Blue Meanies. Hence the joke where the Chief Blue Meanie moans about where they could go since they were defeated, and Max suggests "Argentina?" (See also: Today X, Tomorrow the World!).
- Never Trust a Trailer: The four-minute trailer contains nearly as much footage of live-action Beatles as the entire film does, and with the inclusion of footage of the lads horsing around with the studio equipment implies them actually having something to do with the film's production behind the scenes.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: John suddenly gains the ability to make his words manifest into reality just in time for his "fight" with the Glove. For some reason, live-action Paul can do this by the end of the movie, too.
- The movie sort of justifies it by saying that John has "a big mouth", though that could just as easily be sarcasm on their part.
- Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here: At the beginning of the film, Ringo is lamenting his boring life.
- Not Quite Starring
- Obi-Wan Moment: The Mayor faces his imminent "bonking" with quiet stoicism.
- Off Model: Hardly any of the characters are ever on model. Whether this adds or detracts from the movie is a matter of opinion.
- Offscreen Crash / Drives Like Crazy: Played for laughs, of course. It actually consists of sound effects of much squealing of tires and several crashes, culminating in a huge explosion. The Beatles then run back onscreen, completely unharmed.
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Jeremy Hillary Boob (AKA the Nowhere Man) claims to be a physicist, botanist, and dentist, and shows engineering talent as well.
- On Three: As the Beatles are about to sing Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
John Lennon Ok, fellows on the beat...A-one, a-two, a-three, a-four, a-five, a-six...
Ringo Starr Can't you make it three?
John Lennon Oh, alright! On the beat...A-one, a-two, a-three...
- Oop North: Liverpool.
Ringo: Liverpool can be a lonely place on a Saturday night. And this is only Thursday morning.
- Our Monsters Are Weird: Given the trippiness of the rest of the movie, this is understandable.
- Apparently John Lennon designed some of themnote , which explains even more.
- Palate Propping: John Lennon to the giant Glove, using the word "Nothing".
- Parental Bonus: See if you can find one kid who can even see the Stealth Pun.
- Planet of Hats: Pepperland is a musical realm.
- Plot-Driven Breakdown: Two in quick succession, in fact.
- The Power of Love: Literally the power of love when John defeats the Glove with "All You Need Is Love." Then the movie ends with everyone holding hands to "It's All Too Much" and "All Together Now" written in various languages, set to the song of the same name.
- The Power of Rock: The entire universe is powered by it.
- Product Placement: One of the Meanies' weapons is the symbol of Apple Records.
- Pursued Protagonist: Old Fred.
- Rapid Hair Growth: While the Beatles are in the Sea of Time they undergo Rapid Aging and their head hair (including beards and mustaches) start growing out quickly. Watch it here.
- Reality Warper: George.
- Real Song Theme Tune: "Yellow Submarine," of course. It was written in 1966 for the Revolver album. Even the songs that debuted in the film were unused songs that the Beatles had written for other reasons.
- Remaster: In preparation for the Blu-ray release, Paul Rutan Jr. and his team restored the original negative in 4K resolution. They feared that using automated computer software to fix the picture quality would erase unique details, and consequently restored each frame of the movie by hand. The resulting Blu-Ray looks stunning thanks to their labors.
- Renaissance Man: Jeremy Hillary Boob, Ph.D. He describes himself thusly: "Eminent physicist, polyglot classicist, prize-winning botanist, hard-biting satirist, talented pianist — good dentist, too."
- Rhymes on a Dime: Jeremy again. As he explains: "If I spoke prose, you'd all find out / I don't know what I talk about."
- Rotoscoping: In the "Eleanor Rigby" and "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" segments
- Rule of Three: See Apathetic Citizens above.
- Running Gag: Old Fred's repeated incoherent explanation of what's going on in Pepperland:
Fred: Ggggaakbunkahbdonkaglrigabpbr music lmrapqlifrheabffffunkahhluh blue gegahdahmaeroohthe s-s-submarine nbnhh explosion grfl BLUUEEE MEANNNIEESS!
- Later, when they pick up John:
Ringo: (When they pick up John) Now, listen to old Fred.
Fred: Ggggaakbunkahbdonkag music lmrapqlffunkah blue gemaeroohthe s-s-submarine nbnhh explosion grfl BLUUEEE MEANNNIEESS!! — So what d'you think?
John: [to Ringo] I think it needs a rehearsal.
- By the final repetition, John and Ringo are chiming in on the last three syllables:
Fred, John, and Ringo: BLUUUUUUEEEEEEEEEEEE MEEEEAAAAAAANIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEES!!!
George: [to John and Ringo] Ah, you're nuts, the pair of yer.
- Saving The World With Art: The Beatles defeat the Blue Meanies and save Pepperland by The Power of Rock.
- Scenery Porn: The drawing style isn't technically perfect, but the backgrounds during many of the musical sequences is visually stunning.
- Schmuck Bait: Ringo and the lever. (Granted, of course, he's a born lever-puller.)
- And again with Ringo and the Panic Button. Poor guy never gets a break in this movie.
- Scooby-Dooby Doors: At least three different points in the film could be legitimately claimed as Scooby Dooby Doors moments, though only one features doors outright. In the Beatles' mansion, a weird alien creature, a floating hat, a black guy in a yellow suit, a butterfly, a woman's hand, an eggcup, a tobacco pipe with a face, a rocking horse, a skull and crossbones, Batman, an umbrella and pair of glasses. All going in and out of doors in about five seconds.
- Another moment occurs when the Blue Meanies chase the Beatles through Pepperland, after the band inadvertently awakens them from their sleep.
- Security Cling: The Lord Mayor jumps into Old Fred's arms during the Blue Meanie attack.
- Shout-Out: So many, that they now have their own page for the references within the film and those to the film.
- Sissy Villain
- So Long, Suckers!: In the Sea of Monsters, after the submarine manages to escape being sucked up and swallowed by a vacuum monster, one of the Beatles, most likely George, says, "So long, sucker!"
- The Something Song: Only A Northern Song.
- Space Jews: "Are you... blueish? You don't look blueish..." Production supervisor John Coates claims this moment was meant as commentary on the stereotypical casting of Jewish actors as villains. Interestingly, apparently the Blue Meanies were originally planned to be a different color, like red or purple; it was an accident that they turned out blue. Granted, "Blue Meanies" does sound better than "Purple Meanies."
- Spot of Tea: According to the Novelization, this is required to submerge the submarine.
- Stealth Pun:
Fred: Hey, what would your friends be doing here?
Fred: Displaying what?
Ringo: Dis-playing around. (Sound of rimshot)
- Stock Soundtrack: Apart from George Martin's orchestral music and four new Beatles songs all other songs have appeared on other Beatle albums before.
- Stoner Flick: And how!
- Sudden Anatomy: At one point the titular submarine sprouts a toothy grin to disarm a school... er... university of whalesnote
- Suddenly Shouting: This is one of the Chief Blue Meanie's traits, speaking with eerie calm one moment and yelling hysterically the next.
- Sugar Apocalypse: Page quote.
- Sugar Bowl: Pepperland before the Blue Meanie attack.
- Suicide as Comedy:
Ringo: I'd jump into the River Mersey, but it looks like rain.
- Taken for Granite: Citizens of Pepperland being shot by the Meanies' magic arrows and being petrified (or at least drained of color.)
- Take That: Most Blue Meanies have Mickey Mouse ears. The Chief Meanie has ears that look somewhat like Oswald the Lucky Rabbit's.
Aaaaah... the hills are alive... Max: [sings off-key]
With The Sound of Music
! Chief Meanie: [immediately shoots Max]
- Talking the Monster to Death: They defeat one monster by making fun of how ugly it is.
- Technobabble: In a parody of his tendency towards profound pronouncements, Lennon's character attempts to explain the uncanny resemblance between themselves and Sgt. Pepper's Band. The other characters promptly laugh it off and attempt to bash open their glass prison while he's still talking.
- It gets better. If you listen closely, John's explanation eventually evolves into some kind of recipenote
- And while John starts talking about relativity, Paul spins around and starts singing the old music-hall number "Any Old Iron" as "Any old Ein, Any old Ein, Any-any-any old Ein-stein".
- Tempting Fate
Ringo: Nothing ever happens to me.
- That Reminds Me of a Song: Naturally.
- Theme Park: The Sony Entertainment Centers of Berlin and Tokyo featured "The Yellow Submarine Adventure" during 2000. The CGI cutscenes for the ride were made about a decade before the remake was announced.
- Today X, Tomorrow the World!: Variation: the Chief Blue Meanie says, "Let us not forget that heaven is blue... TOMORROW THE WORLD!"
- Trap Door: Ringo pushes a button and drops a monster out of the submarine.
- Twenty Minutes into the Future: Just about any of the musical segments (especially "Nowhere Man", "Only a Northern Song", "Eleanor Rigby" and "When I'm 64") could easily pass for 80s style music videos (in content if not for actual animation style).
- Unflinching Faith In The Brakes: Old Fred as Ringo drives a car toward him in the mansion.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight
- Utopia: Pepperland, before and after the Blue Meanienote invasion.
- Vehicle Title
- Those Wacky Nazis: Blue Meanies, to the point where the defeated second in command suggests fleeing to Argentina, no less!
- Watch It Stoned
- Waxing Lyrical: Songs that aren't featured outright often get slipped into the dialogue, such as when Fred pounds on the door while reciting the words to "Help!".
I'm your alter ego, man! John:
Then I'm the ego
-man, goo goo g'joob."
- Weirdness Censor: The only possible explanation for Ringo's boredom, considering where he lives.
- What Does This Button Do?: Too bad it was the panic button...
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: When a monster gets inside the submarine, everyone comments on how incredibly ugly it is until it's driven to tears, at which point they kick it out of the sub.
- Later, when Jeremy is also brought to tears by the Beatles singing "Nowhere Man" to him (in their defense, the lyrics are an accurate portrait of him), Ringo is the only one who seems to care that they've hurt Jeremy's feelings, the other Beatles want nothing more to do with him. But Ringo gets him to come along anyway, and he does turn out to be of some assistance.
Ringo: Poor little guy.
Paul: I dunno, Ringo is just a sentimentalist.
Ringo: First time I saw that "Nowhere Man"...that "nobody"... I knew he was somebody.
- World of Chaos: Most of the film is set there — even the parts in Liverpool.
- World-Healing Wave
- Zeerust: the title was presented in a pseudo-MICR typeface, that being the 1960s idea of a "futuristic" typeface. (The only relationship most people had with computers being the MICR numbers printed on cheques.)