Paul Vitti (De Niro) is a high-ranking mafia member, involved in organizing the first nationwide summit since 1957. The Mafia is under threat by the FBI, as well as by their Chinese and Russian rivals in organized crime. Vitti also has to avoid assassination attempts by young upstarts. Meanwhile, psychiatrist Ben Sobel (Crystal) is agonizing over his problematic relationship with his son, how boring his patients are and his upcoming second marriage.
When Vitti starts having panic attacks, a first in his life, he deems psychiatric help is in order. Sobel is the lucky psychiatrist chosen for the job. Sobel's life is more or less taken over by his needy patient, who has no problem having his thugs regularly abduct Sobel for their sessions. More trouble comes into his life when the FBI decides to turn the psychiatrist into their newest informant.
The film is well-regarded for its partly serious and partly humorous look at the stress and depression of De Niro's character. It was also a commercial hit and received a sequel, Analyze That (2002). While not a complete flop, the second film was a critical failure, killing the idea of another sequel.
Interestingly, released the same year as the start of a TV series involving a Mafioso and his psychiatrist. Whether one inspired the other, or it was just coincidence, or if there was just "something in the air" isn't entirely clear.
Analyse This provides examples of the following tropes:
- Acronym Confusion:FBI Agent Steadman: Dr. Sobel, Ma'am: I'm Agent Steadman, Agent Ricci, Agent Provano, Federal Bureau Of Investigation, OCD.
Dr. Ben Sobel: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?
FBI Agent Ricci: Organized Crime Division. We need to talk.
- Black-and-Gray Morality: Paul Vitti is a criminal, a criminal with issues, but still a criminal, but the FBI agents are pretty unscrupulous too, threatening Doc Sobel and altering a recording of Vitti defending Sobel so it would sound like he was plotting to kill him, in order to get Sobel to wear a wire.
- Celebrity Paradox: Skirted. Sobel has a dream where he and Vitti re-enact the scene in The Godfather where Vito Corleone is gunned down while buying fruit, with himself as Vito and Vitti as Fredo. Recounting this dream to Vitti the next day, Vitti comments that it was a good scene from the movie. Which sounds very odd coming out of the mouth of Robert de Niro, who portrayed the younger Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II, and both he and Marlon Brando won Oscars for their respective performances.
- CIA Evil, FBI Good: Downplayed. The FBI are trying to catch criminals, but they do engage in questionable conduct. See above.
- Confess in Confidence: Vitti opens up to Sobel about his stress-related problems, both in his professional and personal life.
- The Consigliere: The role Dr. Sobel ends up in, quite against his will.
- The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much
- How Vitti's henchman Jelly avoided jail time in one case — a witness "stabbed himself in the back four times and threw himself off a bridge."
- Later mocked when a would-be assassin is thrown out of the penthouse window (during Sobel's wedding no less):
- Deconstructive Parody: Of the gangster genre and the adverse effects living like a criminal will produce.
- Dead Man Switch: If anyone kills Vitti, his documents on the other mobsters will go public.
- Destination Defenestration: An assassin sent to kill Paul in Miami ends up receiving this. And crashes into Sobel's wedding below...
- Doctor's Orders: Having difficulty asserting this is a major problem.
- The Don: Paul Vitti
- Epiphany Therapy: Vitti keeps expecting this, but it's never as neat and tidy as he wishes it would be.
- Fat Bastard: Zigzagged with Jelly, Vitti's right-hand man. He is fat (likely how he got his name), he is a mobster (and does kill a few people on-screen), but he's more of a Noble Demon.
- Fat Idiot: Jelly pretty much confirms this.Jelly: I'm a fuckin' moron.
- Played with a bit in that while Jelly frequently confuses big words that don't have to do with his profession, he intuitively senses how Paul is breaking down from the second it begins, does a fairly capable job dealing with him, and generally seems to be a fairly competent mobster.
- High-Altitude Interrogation
- Vitti and Jelly to a hitman in Analyze That.
- And later, Doc Sobel gets the same treatment for filming a scene in the Show Within a Show Little Caesar.
- Humiliation Conga: What dignity Vitti retains at the end of the first movie is utterly destroyed at the beginning of the second as he clowns in front of the other prisoners to keep them from trying to kill him.
- Large Ham: Paul Vitti
- I Have Many Names:
"I'm Primo Sidone. They call me Sonny Long. Some of you know me as Mikey Gaga. Some of you know me as Joey Boombatz."
- Played straight with Primo:
- I Have This Friend...: Vitti tries this, but it doesn't work. When Sobel "sees through it" he seems fascinated.
- Indulgent Fantasy Segue / Daydream Surprise: Sobel's fantasy of telling a patient exactly what he thinks of her. The sequel has him doing this at his father's funeral, although from what his wife comments his actual eulogy failed to totally hold back.
- More Dakka: The number of gun fights in this film should be a Drinking Game. In the climax, Vitti calls out his backup, who show up with increasingly powerful weapons, culminating with a gangster marching out with a machine gun with a smaller gangster at his side acting as the loader.
- Oedipus Complex: Mocked. "Have you seen my mother?"
Dr Sobel: Oedipus is a Greek story about a man who kills his father and marries his mother.Vitti: Fucking Greeks.
- Also lampshaded:
- Percussive Therapy: When Sobel suggests "hitting a pillow" to Vitti as a means of calming down, Vitti unloads a 9mm clip into a defenseless cushion.
- Precision F-Strike: " ... but the people who know me, call me the fucking Doctor." Sobel introduces himself to the gangster summit meeting.
- Shout-Out: Besides all the mafia and psychology films. One scene has Sobel saying "to find us, we need to get inside and let it out. Like that thing that got out and ate those in the spaceship. Rest in peace."
- [Verb] This!
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Vitti had been fighting with his dad and was very angry at him, but is haunted by guilt due to watching him die.
- Sobel has almost the same problem, coping with the success and popularity of his father who's also a psychiatrist.