* AlternativeCharacterInterpretation: Dave Jennings: CoolTeacher and a liberating figure much needed in a stuffy environment or a bad, toxic influence without boundaries?
* AndYouThoughtItWouldFail: The film was the ambitious foray of the ''National Lampoon'' magazine into silver-screen entertainment. Universal execs politely allowed the filmmakers to go wild in their own special way, quietly hoping ''Animal House'' wouldn't damage the company's checkbooks. Creator/DonaldSutherland famously chose several thousand dollars in payment over a percentage of the box-office gross, expecting the film to be a bomb and be quickly forgotten. However, ''Animal House''[='=]s charmingly dark and hard-hitting observations on college life, as well as its undeniably quirky brand of vulgar humor, was so refreshing to moviegoers in the late 70s that the film recouped its $2 million budget 50 times over. Sutherland, as you might imagine, was not pleased, and it probably explains why he never appeared in any interviews or in ''Where Are They Now?: A Delta Alumni Update'', a direct-to-DVD short which suggested the film had been a documentary and Creator/JohnLandis was catching up with some of the cast, played by their original actors.
* CrossesTheLineTwice:
** Otter pretending to be the ex-boyfriend of a dead coed in order to get grief/sympathy sex from her roommate.
*** Crosses the line ''[[UpToEleven twice]]'' more when it drops [[ExperimentedInCollege hints]] that the ''roommate'' is also using ''Otter'' for grief sex.
** Pinto has a passed out girl lying in bed directly in front of him, and is considering doing something... ''unsavory'' to her while she's unconscious. Cue the most bizarrely-placed GoodAngelBadAngel gag ever, played out ''exactly'' the way it would be in a Donald Duck cartoon.
** The 13 year old girl (you read that right) introducing her college-age boyfriend to her parents as "The boy who molested me last month. We HAVE to get married!" She just sounds so happy!
* DesignatedVillain: The Delta fraternity constantly engages in disruptive behavior and outright acts of vandalism. Its members overall have dreadfully low GPA (which they intend to remedy through cheating). Considering all this, Dean Wormer is perfectly justified in seeking to suspend and disband the fraternity. Some have even gone so far as to call Wormer a VillainyFreeVillain. However, even in the early 1960s it was ethically questionable to enlist one group of students to spy on another; to run a "disciplinary hearing" in which the spies try the spied-upon, and the latter have no reasonable chance to address the charges against them (some of which are absolutely false); and to justify all this with a "double-secret probation".
* DontShootTheMessage: Subverted. Otter's argument in Delta's defense before the tribunal, as he points out that one might as well logically [[SocietyIsToBlame blame the general breakdown of society]] for the disastrous toga party. But his insistence that Delta consists of a just a few "sick, perverted individuals" is disingenuous: the ''entire'' fraternity is like that, except for the relatively straitlaced Robert Hoover (and anyway, Hoover, while the Deltas' nominal leader and ostensibly opposed to every bad thing they do, still goes along with their antics). The boys gladly indulge in all sorts of depravity and then have the nerve to insist "Don't stereotype us like that."
* FairForItsDay: Neidermeyer screaming "Faggots!" over and over again during the finale tends to raise a lot of eyebrows when viewed by modern audiences. However, worth noting that in the 70s the word - while still generally used as an insult - had not quite risen to the level of hateful profanity that it occupies today (many gays at the time used it as a self-identifier).
* FunnyAneurysmMoment: Creator/JohnBelushi partied even harder in real life than Bluto did here. Unlike in the movie, John Belushi actually died from it in 1982.
* HilariousInHindsight: The actor who played the kid who yelled "Thank you, God!" after a PlayboyBunny drops into his room is now a preacher.
** In the original WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue, it's stated that Bluto became a United States Senator. While John Belushi never did get into politics, the idea of a ''Saturday Night Live'' cast member becoming a politician is now a reality thanks to Al Franken, who was a writer and feature player for ''SNL'' during the first five years [and later from 1985 to 1995, making Franken the longest-running feature player who was never promoted to repertory cast member], which was the same time that Creator/JohnBelushi was a cast member
* HilarityEnsues: Virtually the entire premise of the movie is about members of a college fraternity partying and getting away with anything and everything, things that would never be allowed (or, at the very least, severely curbed instantly) at any college in the United States in the new millennium.
* MemeticMutation: "Assume the position!" "Thank you sir, may I have another!"
** The iconic image of John Belushi in the "COLLEGE" sweatshirt. If you went to college, you saw the poster on someone's wall. Guaranteed.
*** If you go to ''THE'' Ohio State University, it's on the wall of the ''President's'' office. Sending what message, it's not exactly clear.
** Toga parties exist because of this movie.
** "You're all worthless and weak! Now drop and give me twenty!"
*** Heck, you could say that about the entire Neidermeyer character. He's appeared in two Twisted Sister videos, was mentioned in ''Film/TwilightZoneTheMovie'', and has a trope named after him. [[TheNeidermeyer Specifically...]]
** "Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son."
** The concept of "double secret probation".
** "[[PunctuatedForEmphasis Zero. Point. Zero.]]"
* MoralEventHorizon: Through most of the first and second acts of the movie, the Omegas have been sneaky, snotty and slimy, as well as physically sadistic (see the first MemeticMutation) - though, as shown in the stable scene, only Neidermeyer takes the latter UpToEleven. The rest don't cross the line into pure evil until the infamous Rainbow Motel incident. Granted Greg had an excuse, but the rest are just,as Otter says, acting like [[ThoseWackyNazis "Hitler Youth"]]. By the end of the movie Neidermeyer is so far gone he's willing to [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill respond to a seltzer bottle with rifle fire]]. This is even worse than it first appears, considering how many people are running around, and how easy it would have been to kill one of them no matter ''how'' intently he aimed at Flounder. At point-blank range, granted, Flounder would be hard to miss, but size notwithstanding he's not a BulletproofHumanShield against .30-06 Springfield ammo from an M-1 rifle.[[note]]This rifle and ammo combination was designed to be effective at up to 1000 ''yards''.[[/note]]
** Dean Wormer gloating about how he's notified the Deltas' local draft boards about their expulsion. As pointed out above under Designated Villain, he's completely justified in wanting the Deltas off his campus, but this makes it clear that he doesn't just want them off his campus, he wants them ''dead''.
** To be fair, at the time this movie was set, the draft was something that most young men had to deal with, and did ''not'' necessarily entail going to Vietnam. The Vietnam War didn't heat up in a large way until several years after the time of this movie.
* RetroactiveRecognition: Creator/KevinBacon in his film debut as the snotty frat dude that gets paddled to the ass. "THANK YOU SIR! MAY I HAVE ANOTHER?"
* SeinfeldIsUnfunny: This film was to Comedy what ''Film/{{Jaws}}'' and ''Film/StarWars'' were to Blockbusters. So many of its tropes (The idiotic but lovable protagonists, the strict authoritarian villains, the final scene where the slobs beat the snobs) have been used so many times it's impossible to see it the way audiences in 1978 saw it. Even worse is that its copiers haven't managed to be anywhere near as witty or talented, leading ''Animal House'' to be unfairly lumped in with its unoriginal, unfunny counterparts. ''Website/{{Cracked}}'''s "[[http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-works-art-so-good-they-ruined-their-whole-genre/ 5 Works of Art So Good, They Ruined Their Whole Genre]]" calls ''Animal House'' a tough act to follow in college comedy.
** Within a couple of years, enough ripoffs were created that a new genre name was coined - [[SlobsVersusSnobs "Us Against the Assholes"]] movies.
* SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped: Fat, drunk, and stupid ''is'' no way to go through life.
* ValuesDissonance
** The GoodAngelBadAngel scene where Pinto wonders whether he should have sex with the unconscious, teenaged Clorette has become ''extremely'' cringeworthy since rape, both among teenagers and in colleges, is an even bigger concern. Then again, some viewers think the cultural attitudes toward rape in college campuses makes the joke ''funnier,'' as it CrossesTheLineTwice.
** Jennings' affair with Katy is not quite ''as'' cringeworthy, but falls under the same category.
** The scene in which Otter, Boon, Flounder, and Pinto visit a roadhouse bar which turns out to have an exclusively black clientele and, as a result, immediately fear for their lives, is also cringeworthy for some viewers today. It doesn't help that several tall ScaryBlackMan stereotypes proceed to verbally intimidate the Deltas by "asking" to [[WhereDaWhiteWomenAt dance with their dates]].
** The "Thank you sir, may I have another?" scene, now that many universities are cracking down on hazing due to several deaths.
** Neidermeyer repeatedly calling his own men "faggots" during the finale comes across a little harsher now than it did in 1978.
** A (comparatively) small wince for anyone who works in higher education comes when the Dean discusses the Delta disciplinary files with Greg. Today, that runs afoul of a little thing called [[https://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/brochures/parents.html FERPA]] -- Wormer would be literally ''breaking federal law.''
* WeirdAlEffect: The WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue [[TropeCodifier which everyone has mimicked/spoofed]] was actually a parody of the epilogue of ''Film/AmericanGraffiti'', made just five years earlier.