These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Big Lipped Alligator Moment: The scene at the restaurant/gas station towards the end. It comes, it goes, it's not spoken of again, and seemed to only be there to give John Hurt his cameo. It does help scare Lone Starr and Barf out of the diner and back on the path to Druidia, but... yeah, Rule of Funny
Chekhov's Gun: Optimus Prime depicted on the cover of a Spaceballs coloring book does not seem that out of place after Spaceball One turns into Mega Maid.
Ensemble Darkhorse: Lonestarr and company are fun but let's face it, Dark Helmet and Sandurz are the ones who carry the film. There's also the hilarious radar guy, played by the great Michael Winslow, who only appears in one scene.
"Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Yeah, the canned air was hilariously ridiculous... then someone actually starts selling it in China due to the air pollution problem over there. Add some Hilarious in Hindsight on it as it is a part joke, part political statement being made by a resident flamboyant philanthropist, and that the canned air being sold come in different flavors which are air from different places, like "Taiwan flavored" or "Tibet flavored" air. ("Druidia flavored" air, anyone?)
"God willing, we'll all meet again in Spaceballs 2: The Search for More Money." The closest it ever got was a not-very-well-received cartoon.
Genius Bonus: Just before the Spaceball One transforms into Mega Maid, Dark Helmet orders, "Get ready for Metamorphosis!" Then, he asks under his breath, "Ready, Kafka?" It's a reference to Franz Kafka's short story The Metamorphosis, in which a young man wakes up to find that he's turned into a giant cockroach.
Hilarious in Hindsight: Yogurt says that, "God willing, we'll all meet again in Spaceballs 2: Da Soich for More Money". And they do indeed meet again...in Spaceballs: The Animated Series.
Some behind-the-scenes video of Star Wars as it was being filmed reveals that David Prowse, Darth Vader's body actor, has a voice very similar to Rick Moranis. Hear Prowse as Vader for yourself Here.
Part of the plot! Space heroes rescue space royalty from bad guys. While the good guys are escaping, they drain their spacecraft's energy and have to land on a desert planet, where they find a powerful being. Sound familiar?
Lone Starr's line, "Did I miss something? When did we get to Disneyland?", becomes even funnier when Lucasfilm was bought by Disney.
The scene where they watch the VHS of the movie, explained by Colonel Sandurz as a technology breakthrough: instant cassettes in stores before the movie is even finished. In 2013, a certain discount retail store was already selling pre-orders for the Iron Man 3 DVD/Blu-Ray a couple of weeks before the film opened. We're getting closer...
A few other movies from that year came to home video before completing their theatrical runs.
With the advent of video on demand, feature films are occasionally being released a few weeks before the movies even come to theaters.
The closest we've come to this actually happening is when a work print of X-Men Origins: Wolverine was leaked to the internet before post-production was finished.
And, of course, when they actually do watch the movie, they end up watching themselves watching themselves watching themselves ad infinitum. Cue "We have to go deeper!" jokes.
The fact that there is a item used in the film called Space Jam.
The Black soldier 'combing' the desert has been compared to the black stormtrooper in the desert in the Star Wars 7 trailer.
Several of the characters seem like they could be parodies of Star Wars Expanded Universe characters from works that came out afterSpaceballs, e.g. Prince Valium maps pretty well to Prince Isolder and Commanderette Zircon could easily be Admiral Daala. The same also applies to the Prequels, for example Druidia looks like a parody of Naboo in retrospect with its opulent Renaissance style clothing and architecture, while Princess Vespa's Mercedes spaceship evokes Padmé's various royal yachts a lot more than Leia's relatively no-nonsense Rebel Blockade Runner.
Similarly, the Spaceballs are oddly "corporate" for a straight-up parody of the purely totalitarian, militaristic Empire, but it meshes nicely with the corporate capitalist parodies that made up the villains of the Prequel trilogy.
The alien bursting out of John Hurt's chest... right up until it starts singing.
Nightmare Retardant: Pretty much the whole point of Dark Helmet, who is a deliberate subversion of cool bad guys like Darth Vader. Any menace the man could have is lost once he pulls that helmet up.
Older Than They Think: Those who view the film for the first time nowadays might think that Dark Helmet's line "What's the matter Colonel Sandurz? Chicken?" is a Back to the Future reference. In reality however, Marty McFly's Berserk Button of being likened to poultry didn't show up until the second BTTF film, which was released two years after Spaceballs.
Rewatch Bonus: There's loads of subtle background gags and comical expressions that one probably won't catch on a first viewing. One notable example is the scene where the camera smacks into Dark Helmet; watch it again and look close and you'll see Helmut subtly push Sandurz away, prompting him to look at the camera and lean away from the shot.
Shallow Parody: While many would argue today that the film is far from one, when the film was first released in 1987, critics accused the film of being one.
Special Effects Failure: You probably don't need any help finding the mirror propping up Dark Helmet's "floating" Volkswagen. Or the obvious track underneath the chestbuster puppet during the dinner scene. In fact, given the film's nature this could just be deliberate.
Spaceball One, the prop looks just as good the ships in Star Wars.
The obvious track aside, the dancing Xenomorph is actually a pretty decent puppet for a comedy.
Woolseyism: Due to the extensive use of puns in the film, some jokes were changed in foreign dubs:
In the Latin American dub, the "Druish Princess" line was changed (due to the fact the Latin American audiences maybe didn't catch the joke about the Jewish sect) was changed to Princesa Druidosa (Noisy Druish Princess, when Druidosa is a portmanteau of Druida (Druish) and Ruidosa (Noisy girl)
Also in the Latin American dub, Major Asshole was renamed as Mayor Idiota (Major Idiot, as a pun of "The Greatest Idiot")
In the same dub, The "We ain't found shit!" line was translated (in the dubbed version) as ˇNo este jodiendo, por favor! (Stop fuckin' us, Sir!) and in the subbed version as ˇNo encontramos ni madres! (A more or less literal translation of the line, except that line is used normally in Mexican Spanish)