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Film / Bohemian Rhapsody

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Roger Taylor: You're a legend, Fred.
Freddie Mercury: We're all legends, Roger. All of us.

Bohemian Rhapsody is a 2018 biopic concerning the life of singer Freddie Mercury, focusing primarily on the 15-year period from the formation of the band Queen in 1970 up to their performance at Live Aid in 1985, six years before Mercury's death. It was initially directed by Bryan Singer, who was fired late into production. The remaining work was handled by Dexter Fletcher. However, only Singer is credited in accordance with Directors Guild of America rules. note 

The film stars Rami Malek as Freddie, Ben Hardy as Roger Taylor, Gwilym Lee as Brian May, Joseph Mazzello as John Deacon, Allen Leech as Paul Prenter, Lucy Boynton as Mary Austin, Aidan Gillen as John Reid, Dermot Murphy as Bob Geldof and Tom Hollander as Jim Beach. Mike Myers also appears as "Ray Foster," a Composite Character, representing the general opinions of EMI Records, who first signed the band.

This film holds the distinction of being the final home media release by 20th Century Fox prior to its purchase by Disney.

Previews: Teaser Trailer, Official Trailer, Final Trailer.

"It's my party, and I demand you trope!"

  • The '70s: The first half of the film takes place from the very beginning of the decade up until 1977.
  • The '80s: The last half of the film jumps to 1980 and continues from there, concluding with Queen's legendary performance at Live Aid in 1985.
  • Actor Allusion: Mike Myers plays a fictional EMI executive who doesn't think "Bohemian Rhapsody" will sell— specifically that teenagers won't crank it up in their cars and bang their heads to it. In Wayne's World there's a famous scene where he and Dana Carvey lip-sync to the song in a car and start headbanging.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: The real Freddie Mercury had dark eyes, but the film retains Rami Malek's natural light colored eyes. Gwilym Lee also kept his blue eyes as Brian May (the real deal has hazel eyes).
  • Adapted Out:
    • No mention is made of the soundtrack for Flash Gordon (1980) and its eponymous album released in 1980. Because the film cuts off at Live Aid, it also excludes their later repertoire such as doing music for Highlander (though "Who Wants To Live Forever," written for that film, plays at a dramatically appropriate moment).
    • As mentioned below under Artistic License – History, several albums are skipped out. In particular, Queen II and Sheer Heart Attack are omitted, making it seem like A Night at the Opera was their second album.
    • The film doesn't cover their collaboration with David Bowie and the writing of "Under Pressure"note . Relatedly, Hot Space is only briefly alluded to (its cover appearing on a standee during a press conference), and the band's Sun City performance in South Africa is completely omitted. Consequently, the only reference to their decline in Stateside popularity during the 80's is Freddie lamenting the backlash towards the "I Want to Break Free" video.
  • Adaptation Origin Connection: Inverted thanks to Artistic License – History. The film begins showing Freddie as a total stranger to Brian, Roger, and Tim Staffell. He doesn't even meet Tim in person, who quits the band and leaves the scene just before Freddie introduces himself to Brian and Roger, conveniently creating an opening for lead singer. In real life, they were already well acquainted when Freddie joined the band; in fact it was Tim who introduced Freddie to Brian and Roger.
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: Several elements from Queen's life and career were Played for Drama. The most notable being the band breaking up after Freddie's option to go solo comes to light, which didn't happen in real life.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: Zig-Zagged. Due to Artistic License – History, many elements and people from Queen's life and career were either introduced much earlier or much later than they originally were in real life.
  • Adaptational Job Change: The real Jim Hutton was a hairstylist when he and Freddie Mercury first met, not a waiter like what he's presented as in the film.
  • Adaptational Sexuality: John Reid is gay, and was actually in a relationship with Elton John for several years. There is no hint of that in the film.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Ray Foster is based on Roy Featherstone, Queen's manager, who, unlike the film's portrayal as the band's biggest doubter, was actually their biggest supporter. Particularly egregious is the scene where Queen pitches "Bohemian Rhapsody" as the single. While it's true that Featherstone did agree that the song was too long to be a single, he otherwise loved the single and decided to give it a shot anyway; in the film, Foster notably trashes the song and shows him demanding that "I'm in Love With My Car" be the single. Not helping matters is the last we see of him shows him watching the Live Aid performance, with the line "no time for losers" playing in the background, and that the film is basically demonizing him for invokeddoing his job.
  • Americans Are Cowboys: When Queen performs "Fat Bottomed Girls" in their USA tour, Freddie adds the line "Ride them cowboys!" after "Get on your bikes and ride!".
  • Amicable Exes: A case of Truth in Television, as Freddie and Mary remained life-long friends after the end of their engagement.
  • And Starring: Mike Myers gets this treatment in the opening credits.
  • Artistic License – History: Has its own page.
  • Audience Participation Song: "We Will Rock You" is shown to be born from Brian May's desire to create a song that the audience performs.
  • Awesome Ego: Deconstructed In-Universe. Freddie has a very high opinion of his abilities as a singer and performer, with just about everyone in the film agreeing. However, he ends up being arrogant and condescending to an extent that even his talent doesn't fully justify (most notably when he tells the others that they'd be nothing without him even though he was an airport worker before Brian and Roger hired him), causing Queen to temporarily separate. However, he's left unimpressed by his own solo career and blames his crew for doing the songs exactly as he wanted; he admits to the others he needs their input as much as they need him.
  • Back for the Finale: Ray Foster, just for the sake of a Brick Joke (see below).
  • Badass Boast:
    • John Deacon of all people gives a good one when the band gets signed by EMI.
      John Reid: Every band wants more.
      John Deacon: Every band's not Queen.
    • Right before the band's triumphant appearance at Live Aid:
      Freddy Mercury: You give me a chance to get my bitchy little vocal chords in order, and we'll go and punch a hole in the roof of that stadium.
      John Deacon: (jokingly) Actually Wembley doesn't have a roof. (everyone laughs)
      Brian May: He's right, it doesn't.
      Freddie Mercury: (smiling) Then we'll punch a hole in the sky!
  • Badass Crew: Queen. All the members are at the very least great musicians in their own right and all contribute to the success of the whole. The movies makes a point of highlighting that all members wrote great songs and that if Freddie is the most celebrated member of the group, he wouldn't be as celebrated without all the others giving their own inputs.
  • Betty and Veronica: A very odd example and taken to extremes, but still present. In his Love Triangle, Freddie is the Archie, with the Betty being Mary (Freddie's first love interest, a very Nice Girl and a supportive and loyal friend to count on, even after Freddie's sexuality is revealed and they break up) and the Veronica being Paul (a cruel, possessive and manipulative Hate Sink who induces Freddie to a very dissolute and toxic lifestyle).
  • Bisexual Love Triangle: Between Paul/Freddie/Mary.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Queen reunites triumphantly at Live Aid and Freddie reconciles with his friends and family and begins a meaningful relationship with Jim. But Freddie knows he has AIDS and he wouldn't have much longer to live. The epilogue tells us he dies from the disease in 1991, six years after Live Aid. He was 45.
  • Book Ends: The film begins with Freddie about to perform in Live Aid, and concludes with said legendary performance.
  • Blatant Lies: During their time together in Munich, Paul is the one answering the phone, and he lies to all that call that Freddie is working or resting, even if a party can heard in the background, and assures whoever calls that he'll pass their message on to Freddie. Exactly no one believes that Paul is telling the truth.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Brian is the straight-up Brainy Brunette, Roger is at times a Dumb Blonde ("Who even is Galileo?"), and auburn-haired John is, unexpectedly, the least fiery of the group. Freddie, of course, adds the absolutely-not-Token Minority.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Freddie coughs specks of blood in his tissue during a recording session, signaling that he's become sick.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: "If anyone would like some coffee, tea, bladed weapons..."
  • Break the Haughty: Freddie finds out that going the solo route with only Paul as his manager doesn't suit him. He apologizes to the other band members and says that he needs them.
  • Brick Joke: When Queen had enough of Ray Foster's invokedExecutive Meddling towards the release of the eponymous song, the band Rage Quits and Freddie tells Foster that the latter will be forever remembered as the loser who lost the band from his company. When Queen is singing "We Are The Champions" in the climax, the scene cuts to a dismayed Foster during the line "no time for losers!"
  • British Teeth: When Freddie is asked by a journalist whether he wants to do something about his extra teeth, Freddie ironically answers that he's British and that he doesn't want to stand out.note 
  • Butt-Monkey: John Deacon gets the short end of the stick several times during the movie, for instance getting the smallest room in the basement of the group's countryside home.
  • Call-Forward: Freddie says without the band, Brian would be "Dr. Brian May" with a dissertation on the cosmos no one would read. Brian May actually earned his PhD in astrophysics in 2007. May had already completed most of the work toward the degree, including his doctoral thesis, when the band began taking off. His final defence was put on the back burner for... a few decades.note 
  • Camp Gay: Freddie Mercury was quite famously an extremely flamboyant man. Though, later on, especially with his change of looks, he might come across as more of a Straight Gay or Manly Gay, with his Carpet of Virility often in evidence.
  • Cargo Ship: Played for Laughs In-Universe. Roger wrote "I'm In Love With My Car" as a rock ballad, which earned him mockery from his band mates.
    John: It's just a bit weird, Roger. What exactly are you doing with that car?
  • Casting Gag:
    • Mike Myers, whose breakout role in Wayne's World helped re-popularize the song "Bohemian Rhapsody" after Freddie Mercury's death, has a part in the film as EMI executive Ray Foster who is skeptical of releasing it in the first place.
    • Aidan Gillen, whose most famous role is Littlefinger on Game of Thrones, plays a character who is removed from his position through the scheming of a sleazy, manipulative abuser.
    • Freddie Mercury was a famous cat lover and owned several, while Rami Malek is allergic to them. This is why you never see Freddie together with them in the same shot.
  • Closet Key: Surprisingly, Paul is this for Freddie who realizes he is bisexual.
  • Comically Missing the Point: During a luncheon, Roger makes a move on Kashmira and asks her what she will be doing after the meal to which Kash answers "Homework?".
  • Coming Out to Spouse: The movie features a scene where Freddie must come out to his wife, Mary, about being bisexual. She insists on breaking things off with him and insists to him that he's gay, not bi, despite his attempts to clarify.
  • Composite Character: Mike Myers' character, Ray Foster, is a fictionalized character who represents the general opinion of several EMI executives.
  • Costume Porn: Freddie Mercury's wardrobe choices were a huge part of his legacy, and the film certainly didn't forget that.
  • Critical Dissonance: In-Universe, Bohemian Rhapsody is shown to be a huge hit while excerpts of all the negative reviews are shown on screen.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Freddie.
      Foster: It goes on forever, six bloody minutes!
      Freddie: I pity your wife if you think six minutes is forever.
    • Roger Taylor also has moments of this.
    • Even John Deacon, the man of few words, isn't above making snarky remarks.
      Freddie: You've got families, children, wives. What have I got?
      John Deacon: You've got $4 million. Perhaps you can buy yourself a family.
  • Depraved Homosexual: Paul Prenter, who kisses Freddie despite knowing he's already in a relationship with Mary. It doesn't get better from there, as he abuses and manipulates Freddie to go down a path of drugs and constant partying, leading to Freddie getting AIDS.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance:
    • When Freddie first performs, plenty of audience members freely chant "Paki" at him. It’s also used while still working at the airline at the start of the film, and by Paul Prenter in an interview after their breakup.
    • The bi-erasure towards Freddie's sexuality given the time periods.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Freddie's relationship with Mary is both a literal and figurative example, though both remained on good terms afterwards and found happiness with their respective Second Love.
    • Although Mary did later divorce her husband, and Freddie, by his own admission, could never love anyone like he'd loved her.
  • Domestic Abuse: Paul Prenter, Freddie's manager and lover, takes several pages out of the standard domestic abuser handbook. This includes isolating Freddie from his friends (and intentionally never telling him when they call), gaslighting him ("I did tell you, you forgot!"), freely spending his money by convincing him he "needs" it, blackmailing Freddie when he threatens to leave him, and being a Mood-Swinger who says he never meant it when the latter doesn't work.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: Freddie's attitude to this diagnosis. As he tells his band, he wants to spend the little time he has left making music. No one is going to make him a "poster boy, a cautionary tale". Freddie Mercury will go out in a blaze of glory.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: After Freddie is diagnosed with AIDS and reveals it to the others, he requests that they don't dwell on it or tell anyone else. He wants to spend his remaining time making as much music with the band as he can and doesn't want the public to make a spectacle out of him.
  • Dumb and Drummer: Roger is often portrayed as the Stupid One, albeit sympathetically. Especially jarring is how downplayed his contribution as a songwriter is: Freddie gets a memorable scene composing "Bohemian Rhapsody", Brian gets one composing "We Will Rock You", and John gets one for "Another One Bites the Dust". By contrast, the only song for which Roger is mentioned as having written is "I'm In Love With My Car", which is mostly a Running Gag and mocked by the rest of the band. This despite the fact that he also wrote "Radio Ga Ga", which makes for one of the film's most climactic moments; the fact that Roger wrote it is never mentioned.
  • Eccentric Millionaire: Freddie spends a lot of money in incredible parties where he wears incredible clothes.
  • Embarrassing Old Photo: At a family and friend lunch, Freddie's parents take out old photos of him in his boxing days and the young man decides to go play the piano to escape the embarrassment.
  • Epic Rocking: The length of the titular song is brought up.
  • Executive Meddling: In-Universe, this is the reason why Queen left EMI, as Ray Foster is preventing the band from releasing the eponymous song.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Whenever there's a Time Skip, people's hairstyles will change. With a couple it also marks a change in attitude.
    • Freddie's hair is completely short once he starts living more openly as a gay man.
    • Mary's hair becomes shoulder-length as she starts moving on from her relationship with Freddie.
    • John's hair gradually getting shorter, through the later 70's/early 80's scenes, then becomes a perm in the mid-80's.
    • Roger's hair grew somewhat shorter, but not as dramatic as Freddie's or Deacy's.
    • As in Real Life, Brian May averted this and always kept his long, curly hair. (Although in the earliest scenes, his hair was more wavy than curly)
  • Face Death with Dignity: Freddie after getting over the shock of his diagnosis is relatively calm. He reconciles with his family, finds Jim Hutton, apologizes to his bandmates, and asks to do the Live Aid concert. The other band members are sadder than he is about his impending death.
  • Family of Choice: Freddie's lifestyle and natural flamboyancy quickly estranges him from his conservative family, Queen becomes his family and the band reaffirms constantly that they consider themselves family. This contributes to Freddie's break from the group, as he throws the idea of being a family back in their faces, stating that they all have actual families, wives and children, while he's Lonely at the Top.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Freddie's father Bomi Bulsara disapproves of Freddie's liberal way of life, going constantly out, performing music instead of studying for more serious careers and so on. However, he still cares about his son even years into the music life, and reconciles with him when he sees that Freddie does follow his motto on "good thoughts, good words, good deeds".
  • Foregone Conclusion: Anyone who is familiar with Queen's history will know that the group will perform at Live Aid and Mercury will die of AIDS.
  • Forceful Kiss: Manager Paul plants one on Freddie while he's at the piano.
  • Foreshadowing: Paul kisses Freddie, when the latter is still engaged to Mary. Although Freddie obviously enjoyed the kiss, he tells Paul that his heart belongs to Mary and a manager shouldn't date the band leader. This foreshadows that Paul uses the imbalance in their "business" relationship to control and isolate Freddie.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The four Queen members fit quite nicely into the template.
    • Lead singer Freddie Mercury is the Sanguine one, being a self-professed drama queen, extraordinarily flamboyant on and off scene, both cheerful and very melancholic at the same time, having deep-seated relationship problems, and quite undisciplined (he improvises the lyrics on his first gig or comes late to band-related business).
    • Lead guitarist Brian May is the Melancholic one, being way more stable (both emotionally and in his private life) than Freddie is, level-headed, the most leader-like member of the band when it comes to technical approach, and more methodical when composing songs.
    • Drummer Roger Taylor is the Choleric one, being the most outspoken and passionate member of the group after Freddie. He is rather quick to anger (he is shown almost fighting the other members twice) and is a womanizer, trying to make a move on Kash early on and then alluded to cheating on his wife after that. However, he's also more open to show his friendship.
    • Bass guitarist John Deacon is the Phlegmatic one, being quite reserved and almost invisible in comparison to his flamboyant mates, but very reliable and no nonsense when it comes to making music.
  • Frame-Up: Paul frames John Reid (Queen's first manager) as a backstabbing man by claiming to Reid that Freddie isn't on good terms with the group at the moment and says that there is a contract ripe for the taking. When Reid presents it to Freddie, it turns out Freddie is still quite content with the group and Paul plays dumb, causing Freddie to fire Reid on the spot.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: By virtue of being Freddie's lover and personal manager, Paul Prenter hangs out a lot with the group. However, no one likes him at all, except Freddie, and all members and managers see him as a slimeball, regularly throwing diss at him for interfering with group business.
  • Gaslighting: Freddie breaks up with Paul when he realizes that Paul deliberated neglected to tell him about Live Aid, and Paul tries gaslighting him, claiming he did tell Freddie about it, saying that Freddie’s “always forgetting things.” It doesn’t work.
  • Get Out!: See Frame-Up above. When Freddie fires Reid as a result of Paul's actions, Freddie orders him numerous times to get out of his car.
  • Good-Times Montage: Shown when Queen are touring America for the first time.
  • Group Hug: After Freddie tells Queen about his diagnosis, at first they are shocked and sad. Then when Freddie tells him not to pity him, they all hug for a long time.
  • Hairstyle Inertia: Brian is teased for keeping the same hairstyle long after it's out of fashion. He's also depicted as the most stable and dependable member of the group.
  • Happily Ever Before: The movie ends triumphantly at the Live Aid performance, only telling us that Freddie died of AIDS in 1991. In reality, this was before his diagnosis too, but the movie moves that further in the timeline for Rule of Drama.
  • Hate Sink: Paul. He’s a slimy, bigoted, racist, and manipulative piece of shit with no redeeming characteristics who leads Freddie down the life of sex and alcohol.
  • Historical Domain Character: It's a biopic, so of course there's this:
    • David Bowie is briefly glimpsed (his head obscured by a camera, but the hair is unmistakable and he's addressed as David) in the opening scenes, backstage at Live Aid.
    • Kenny Everett appears as the DJ who gave "Bohemian Rhapsody" radio play when EMI refused to release it and Freddie smuggled him a copy.
    • Bob Geldof appears in the third act when the Live Aid concert is featured.
  • Historical In-Joke: When talking about what the various band members would have done if Queen had not succeeded, Freddie says that Brian would be "Dr Brian May, author of a paper on astrophysics that no one would read". As of 2007, the real May does indeed have such a Phd. However, due to his fame, it is much more widely read than Freddie predicts.
  • Historical Relationship Overhaul: Paul Prenter's relationship with Freddie Mercury didn't end until after Live Aid. His big betrayal was a written interview with The Sun, which was published on May 4, 1987 and followed by thematic two-front covers about Mercury's homosexual relations with titles like "All the Queen's Men". These enraged Mercury, in part because he had never come out of the closet "officially". In the movie, this is changed to a TV interview before Live Aid, shown briefly and without much impact on the story or Mercury's character.
  • Honorary True Companion: Mary - who Freddie considers his closest friend even after their break-up.
  • How We Got Here: The first shots of the film are of Freddie getting up and getting ready before leaving his home in London, and showing up at Live Aid to get ready to perform. Then the film backs up to 1970, before Freddie has met Brian May and Roger Taylor.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Brought up by Brian after Freddie complains that their video for "I Want to Break Free" was banned in the U.S.
    Freddie: MTV banned our video. The youth of America, we helped give birth to MTV!
    Brian: It's America. They're puritans in public, perverts in private.
    • Roger chides Freddie for his wild sex parties, only for Freddie to fire back that Roger is cheating on his wife, while Freddie himself isn't doing anything immoral since he's not in a relationship with anyone else.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: During the majority of the movie, Freddie struggles in his private life as he doesn't find a real companion unlike his married bandmates while he divorces with Mary (perhaps more importantly sees that she's moved on from him) and is stuck with an abusive relationship with Paul.
  • I Meant to Do That: How Freddie's bottomless microphone stand originates. Freddie is about to sing when the stand gets stuck, prompting some mockery by the audience, but Freddie finally pulls it apart and just sings like nothing happened.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: In one scene Freddie coughs up blood into a napkin, hinting that he has AIDS and that his inevitable death will come.
  • Ironic Echo: When Freddy calls the band members to Jim Beach's office to reconcile, they're deliberately late to the appointment. Freddy has a bad habit of coming to meetings late throughout the film.
  • It Amused Me: During Freddie's apology meeting, Brian tells him to step outside and give them a minute. Once Freddie is out of the room and Brian's asked why, Brian reveals he didn't have a real reason. He just wanted to do it.
  • It Will Never Catch On: EMI executive Ray Foster thinks six minutes is too long for a rock song like "Bohemian Rhapsody". Foster also predicts that nobody will know who Queen is by the end of the year. Mark his words. By the end of that year, 1976, "Bohemian Rhapsody" had reached number one in the UK and six other countries, plus top ten in still more.
    • Although Ray wasn't the only one, the montage also includes invokedreal negative reviews from music critics at the time trashing the song for also feeling it's too long and thinking they were a Led Zeppelin clone. Much like above, they were wrong about that considering it's in the title of the film.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: During the Prenter tell-all interview, he defines Mercury as afraid of being alone.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: The film shows Freddy's love of cats by showing how many he had and how well they were treated.
  • The Lancer: Brian May plays this role perfectly to Freddie. He's far more level-headed and reasonable, and when the band as a whole has a problem with Freddie, he leads the group in confronting Freddie about it. He's also clearly leading them during the reconciliation meeting with Freddie.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: On their first big television gig, Mary tells Freddie that the cameras get by on lipsync by avoiding showing the singer's lips. Sure enough that technique is used quite a few times in the movie, due to the fact that Freddie's actual singing voice was dubbed over Malek's acting.
  • Logo Joke: The 20th Century Fox logo has an invokedEpic Riff variation arranged by Brian May.
  • Lonely at the Top: Freddie during the middle of the film. By that time he and his band are already music icons and Freddie himself now owns a Big Fancy House. But at the same time, his friends are all starting families (or already has one in Roger's case), Freddie himself is still estranged with his own immediate family, and his hopes of reconciliation with Mary becoming impossible with her moving on with David Wigg.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy:
    • Roger has wavy blond hair that reaches his shoulders and he was the biggest member of the group at one point because of how pretty he was. He becomes Dude Looks Like a Lady when he's in drag for the "I Want to Break Free" music video.
    • Freddie counts as this in the earlier parts of the movie when he had long hair and was clean-shaven, before he adopts his iconic Manly Gay short-haired and mustached look in 1980.
  • Manly Facial Hair: Zig-zagged. Near the end of the movie, Freddie grows his iconic mustache with slicked back hair. Roger comments that it looks "gayer", although he's been asked his opinion about the decor of Freddie's new house, not his personal appearance.
  • Match Cut: While showing a chicken in the farm, once it opens its beak the caw is instead Roger singing "Galileo!"
  • Mis-blamed: In-Universe. When the music video of "I Want To Break Free" was released in the U.S., Freddie got all the flak despite the band dressing in drag being Roger's idea or that John wrote the song.
  • The Missus and the Ex: After a concert, Freddie is happy to see Mary; he is much less happy to meet her new boyfriend who attended the concert with her.
  • Mythology Gag: Roger allegedly loved his song "I'm In Love With My Car" so much he locked himself in a closet until the rest of the band agreed to make it the B-side to Bohemian Rhapsody. It gets a Running Gag in the movie with it coming up a few times and everyone but Roger (and Ray Foster) hating it.
  • Nice Girl: Mary. She's nothing but a sweet young woman who still remains very helpful, kind and supportive towards Freddie even after splitting up, until the end of his life. Not to mention she saves Freddie from the toxic relationship with Paul.
  • No Bisexuals: In-Universe. When Freddie comes out to his fiancee Mary that he might be bisexual, Mary just rebuffs it and calls him "gay".
  • Nobody Loves the Bassist: John Deacon's in-universe status as a Butt-Monkey, such as when he gets a much smaller room than the other band members. He's also the only member of the band whose pre-Queen job Freddie doesn't know.
  • Non-Indicative Name: When pitching A Night at the Opera to Foster, Freddie clarifies that it will be a rock album. It's just going to be a rock album with the scale and pathos of opera.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: When Roger proposes "I'm In Love With My Car", nobody in the band can take it seriously... not even Brian, who, as Roger points out, wrote the line "You call me sweet like I'm some kind of cheese" (for the song "Sweet Lady").
  • The Oner: The Live Aid performance starts with a drone shot that hangs over Wembley and zooms right into Freddie performing on the piano.
  • One-Steve Limit:
    • The film has two Jims; the first is Jim Beach who is dubbed "Miami" by Freddie, the other is Jim Hutton.
    • Also Played for Laughs In-Universe; Jim Hutton gives his name to Freddie so they can meet up later if Freddie wants to; later in the film, Freddie is browsing a phone book trying to find his number, only to find out that there's several dozen Jim Huttons in London. When he finally finds the right one, the day of Live Aid, he asks Jim if he knows how many there are of him.
  • Only Sane Man: John is this to the band, as even Brian, who is generally levelheaded, has some rare mischievous moments such as Freddie and Roger.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: As frequently happens with Aidan Gillen, his Irish accent slips more than once as John Reid.
  • Painting the Medium: During a press conference, Freddie's disorientation and stress are enhanced by distorted, layered shots of the reporters and having their questions echo.
  • The Pete Best: In-Universe, Tim Staffell. He leaves Smile (the predecessor band to Queen) and is replaced with Freddie Mercury, who brings the band to stardom.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Freddie and Mary are portrayed this way after they break up. Even after having relationships with men for years, Freddie still refers to Mary as the love of his life.
  • Plot Hole: Before reuniting with the band for the Live Aid concert, Freddie quips his nervousness about not playing with the band for "years". The band went on hiatus immediately after the release of the music video of "I Want to Break Free", which in real life, was in 1984; the Live Aid concert took place the following year (it is possible though that Mercury was being hyperbolic). It's worth mentioning however that the timeline of the film is not exact to real events, and for the sake of the story, the release of the music video (and the falling out) could have happened in an earlier year.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Paul Prenter, while outing Freddie's homosexuality and lifestyle on a TV interview, refers to him as "a scared little Paki boy." Freddie Mercury, born Farrokh Bulsara, was of Parsi descent (the Parsis have their origins in Iran), which the film notes in a scene with his family early on. While "Paki" is a slur for Pakistani people in the UK, it often gets generically used to slander anyone of South or West Asian descent.note 
  • Poor Communication Kills: Brian and Roger probably would've been less angry at Freddie for firing Reid had Freddie actually explained why he did it instead of just shrugging off their protests with snarking.
  • Queer Colors: Fitting the film's focus on Freddie's bisexuality, one poster depicts him awash in pink, blue, and purple lighting.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Invoked by Freddie when pitching the group to John Reid:
    Freddie: We're four misfits who don't belong together, playing to the other misfits. The outcasts right at the back of the room... who are pretty sure they don't belong either. We belong to them.
  • Rags to Riches: None of the members of Queen start off wealthy, notably Freddie who begins as a baggage handler in Heathrow writing songs during commuting (while Roger, Brian, and John are on their way to becoming a dentist, astrophysicist and electrical engineer but they are still wannabe rock stars performing in bars). By the middle of the movie, all become celebrated music icons with the associated wealth.
  • Real Footage Re-creation: The film recreates many of Queen's most famous concerts and music videos, culminating in the 1985 Live Aid concert in London.
  • Real-Person Epilogue: The film ends with a blurb about the real-life Freddie Mercury's life post-Live Aid, touching on his 1991 death of AIDS, before playing archival footage of Mercury (specifically the Performance Video for "Don't Stop Me Now") over the credits.
  • Really Gets Around: Roger is frequently seen with young women who aren't his wife in the second half of the movie, which Freddie is quick to throw back at him when Roger criticizes his lifestyle.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: John Reid. He is fully supportive of the band from the start, always deferring to their creative decisions, and tries to broker a compromise when Ray refuses to release "Bohemian Rhapsody" as a single. The only reason he tried to convince Freddie to sign a solo deal was because Paul lied to him about Freddie being on bad terms with the rest of the band. He immediately realizes that he's been set-up and tries to apologize, but Freddie won't have it.
    • When Reid gets fired, their lawyer, Jim "Miami" Beach takes over as the band's manager, and helps to get the band squeezed into a last-minute slot in the Live Aid lineup during their reconciliation meeting.
  • Redemption in the Rain: Freddie breaks off his toxic relationship with Paul while standing out in the middle of a downpour.
  • Running Gag: Freddie is always late for band-related business. When he first meets Brian and Roger, he's too late to propose his songs to the lead singer since he quit five minutes ago. He then goes on to repeatedly miss the beginning of discussions and recording sessions, near the end of the movie the band pays him back by deliberately coming late to their reconciliation meeting.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: During one of Freddie's wild parties, his bandmates, Brian, Roger and John are initially in attendance, with their wives. However, when Freddie displays a diva-like attitude towards them, they abruptly leave. Then the party gets really wild.
    • Also when EMI Executive Ray Foster refuses to release 'Bohemian Rhapsody' as their single, the band pulls this.
  • Second Love: After they break up, Freddie found true love with Jim, while Mary found it earlier with David Wigg.
  • Secret-Keeper: Freddie's loved ones become the secret keepers for his positive AIDS diagnosis, telling them that he wants to keep it secret so that he can perform music instead of being made a victim by the public or an example by moral guardians.
  • Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll: Heavily downplayed. Queen's members are mostly shown touring and composing music, and only Freddie is shown throwing a hell of a party twice, only hinted to involve orgies and drugs.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Freddie did have four extra teeth and believed they gave him more singing range.
    • Paul Prenter did indeed sell information about Freddie to the press after he was fired (though he was fired in 1986 after the Live Aid concert).
    • Mary Austin was indeed one of Freddie's closest friends, and supported him while he was a starving artist.
    • The Live Aid performance is recreated pretty accurately, right down to Freddie blowing a kiss to the camera.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Straight arrow Kashmira Bulsara is the perfect foil to her wild, dramatic brother.
  • The Smart Guy: Brian May, going for his doctorate in astrophysics (which he did eventually attain). Downplayed in the actual film, but still present, such as when he quickly calculates the total potential audience for Live Aid. Freddie outright calls him "the smart one" when they first meet.
  • Straight Gay: Paul.
  • Straw Vegetarian: It's implied Roger thinks Brian is this when Roger throws freshly cooked bacon at Brian during an argument (although this only works if you know that the real Brian May is a proud longtime vegetarian).
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Paul, the band manager, kisses Freddie on a whim, while Freddie is engaged to Mary. Rather than reciprocate, Freddie tells him firmly that they only have a business relationship and his heart belongs to Mary, and that the manager dating the lead singer would be an inappropriate power balance. Sure enough, when Paul has Freddie under his grasp, he abuses that power.
    • When Freddie first meets Jim Hutton, the latter tells Freddie his name in the hopes that he'll find him later on. When Freddie does decide to find Jim, it turns out that there are dozens of Jim Huttons living in the UK, prompting Freddie to put off finding Jim until years later.
  • Titled After the Song: The film is titled after Queen's most well-known hit song.
  • Title Drop: The titular song, of course, gets namedropped a number of times.
  • True Companions: The band is portrayed this way, with the boys insisting that they're all a family.
  • Yandere: Paul Prenter is definitely this, being a selfish, possessive man who would do anything to keep Freddie to himself, manipulating him to the point of making him look insane and pushing away the ones who truly are kind and loving to him. Fortunately, Mary saves him from that toxic relationship.
  • Yes-Man: During his solo career, Freddie surrounds himself with crew members who do exactly what he wants them to do for his albums. However, he's left unimpressed by the final results and realizes that it was the pushback and criticism he received from the other Queen members that made his work with the band so good.
  • Yoko Oh No: Paul Prenter is portrayed this way in-universe, though the movie does emphasize that Freddie's own issues are what really broke the band up. Averted with the other band members' wives, who are shown helping come up with "We Will Rock You".
  • Your Days Are Numbered: The moment Freddie confirms that he has AIDS, he knows he's gonna die sooner than later.
  • Your Normal Is Our Taboo: After the filming of the "I Want to Break Free" video, the band is angry that the American audience and critics act outraged at them going in drag (a more popular joke in Great Britain than in the United States)note , with Freddie also pointing out that of course he's the scapegoat because of his flamboyancy while it was Roger who introduced the idea of dressing up to the band in the first place.


Video Example(s):


Bohemian Rhapsody (Live-Aid)

The end of Bohemian Rhapsody includes a 20 minutes recreation of Queen's famous Live-Aid performance.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / ShotForShotRemake

Media sources: