- Fair for Its Day: The books are rife with Burroughs' well-meant ethnocentricity and sexism. Burroughs repeatedly mentions the vicious and exploitative treatment the African natives received at the hands of white men, and attributes at least part of their bloodthirst to a desire for revenge. He usually finds something to praise about his various ethnic characters, even if it might be in a way that would be extremely offensive today. Jane may not be an Action Girl (let's not be ridiculous!), but she's intelligent and remains level-headed no matter how dire the emergency.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: A species of ape has been discovered in the Bili Forest of the Congo Republic that is a subspecies of chimpanzee with many gorilla-like behaviors — much like how Burroughs' Mangani mix traits of those same apes with some primitive human.
The Disney film
- Accidental Innuendo: In the song "Strangers Like Me", a lyrics goes "Why do I have/This growing need to be beside her?" Then again, the entirety of the song could be considered a metaphor for Tarzan's own romantic awakening.
- Alternate Character Interpretation:
- Did Kerchak not accept Tarzan for so long because he was different, or because he never got over the death of his first son?
- Did Terk not want Tarzan hanging around with her and the other gorilla children because she was embarrassed by him, or because she knew they didn't like him and didn't want him to feel like any more of an outcast than he already did?
- Big Lipped Alligator Moment: "Trashing the Camp." Other than letting Jane learn that Tarzan is part of the gorilla community, all the scene does is show off a cool scat jam written by Phil Collins. The commentary reveals that the directors considered cutting it several times, but it was a big hit with kids in the test audiences, so it was kept in.
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Thanks in no small part to the fact that the hugely popular Ákos Kovács did the songs for the Hungarian dub of the movie, this film's music is immensely popular in Hungary, enough so that Ákos regularly performs them at mainstream concerts.
- Ink-Stain Adaptation: While hardly anyone would think Disney invented Tarzan, the movie has had an impact on the public perception of the story. For instance, the fact that Disney portrayed Jane as English resulted in many people being surprised when The Legend of Tarzan portrayed Jane as an American. She was, in fact, American in the original books.
- Moe: The design Disney used for Jane evokes a protective instinct - but then, this is one of literature's archetypal Damsel in Distress characters.
- Moral Event Horizon: Clayton from the Disney version crosses this when he shoots Kerchak, Tarzan's adoptive father, then, much like Gaston, tries to kill Tarzan after Tarzan spares him, resulting in a gruesome Karmic Death afterward.
- Most Wonderful Sound: When Tarzan first lets loose his signature yell you know the awesomeness has only begun. The best known version from the Johnny Weissmuller films was a combination of two chorus singers and a hog caller.
- No Problem with Licensed Games: The PSX game is actually really fun platformer with various difficulty settings based on the levels and it's actually quite complete.
- Obvious Judas: Was anyone really surprised when Clayton, the hunter turned out to be evil?
- Viewer Gender Confusion: Sabor and Terk, both of whom are female, though Terk was apparently based off a male character. It doesn't help that in the stage musical Terk is now male. Terk is at least alleviated a little when you know she was voiced by a woman, but Sabor doesn't even have a voice to go by.
- Vindicated by Cable: Not to the extent of The Emperor's New Groove but it's getting there. It's slowly been recognized over the years as one of Disney's most underrated films, helped also by it's soundtrack.