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"True friendship and adventure
Are what we can't live without
And when you're a professional pirate,
That's what the job's about!"
— "Professional Pirate"
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Brian Henson's 1996 take on the classic Treasure Island story by Robert Louis Stevenson, featuring the old cast favorites of The Muppet Show, and Tim Curry playing Long John Silver. In the English seaside in the 18th Century, Jim Hawkins, played by Kevin Bishop, is now given two friends... Gonzo and Rizzo, who are once again paired together as a comedy team and are the focus for much of the movie. When sailor Billy Bones (Billy Connolly) warns of a treasure that legendary pirate captain Bernie Flint hid, and Jim's harridan-employer's inn is burned down by Flint's surviving pirate crew, Flint's treasure map ends up in Jim's possession. Fozzie Bear (playing rich-dolt Trelawney) confirms the map's authenticity, so they all set sail on the Hispaniola to find the treasure. Bunsen Honeydew plays Dr. Livesey, Kermit the Frog plays the ship's master Captain Smollett, Sam the Eagle is Mister Arrow, the first mate. Miss Piggy plays a gender-flipped version of Ben Gunn; a castaway marooned on the relevant island.

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It isn't that high on the radar for most of the public memory, but is considered by fans to be one of the darkest and grittiest Muppet films and one of their funniest productions.

Followed by Muppets from Space.


This film contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Miss Piggy, as always.
  • Actor Allusion: Animated Actors version. While Lew Zealand is never identified by name and gets barely any lines, he plays a more prominent role in the "Cabin Fever" musical number, where he's shown brandishing a fish, a reference to his trademark boomerang fish act in The Muppet Show.
  • Adaptational Comic Relief: Blind Pew. In the book, his blindness made him more menacing and threatening. Here, he makes one Blind Mistake after another and Hilarity Ensues. That said, he's still a competent fighter and a legitimate threat.
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  • Adaptational Heroism: Samuel Arrow is a foolish drunk in the original novel, while Sam the Eagle as Mr Arrow is a little stiff and obsessed with the safety of the ship, but receives Spared by the Adaptation treatment and is vital in recapturing the Hispaniola at the end.
  • Adaptational Karma: In the book, Long John Silver escapes with his life and a few hundred pounds from the treasure. Here, however, as he's escaping his dinghy sinks, forcing him to swim back to Treasure Island with only a talking statue for company. Unusually, he's actually more sympathetic here than his book equivalent.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Abraham "Kermit the Frog" Smollett is far more affable than the Good Is Not Nice Alexander Smollett from the book.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Some of the pirates are played by good Muppets, notably Lew Zealand.
  • Adapted Out: In the original novel, Jim Hawkins's mother was around. In this movie, no such luck.
  • Adventurer Outfit: Trelawny gains one after being rescued from the pirates with a khaki-colored shirt, netting and goggles on his tricorn, and a "no pirates" patch on his shirt.
  • An Aesop: Spoofed at the end.
    Clueless Morgan: Well... you know, I for one feel better about myself. Yeah, and I believe that I have learned a valuable lesson...
    [other pirates just beat him up]
  • Affably Evil: Long John, which is true of every other adaptation. Plus, it's Tim Curry.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Long John is genuinely conflicted when he points a gun at Jim to scare him off from blowing the whistle. And when Jim calls him Mr. Silver and tells him to leave forever, Long John is genuinely wounded.
  • The Alcoholic: Billy Bones, so much so that he gets the DTs in the middle of the night.
    Billy Bones: I've got the horrors! Give me rum! Rum! Rum 'til I float!
  • Anachronism Stew: As is typical of a Muppet movie. One of the more prominent examples: Rizzo makes extra money by taking a group of rats along on a modern-style cruise on the ship, who dress as Hawaiian Shirted Tourists and use camcorders, speedboats and scuba gear.
    • Also, the contents of Bones's sea chest, which includes the book Diplomacy by HENRY KISSENGER.
  • And Starring: The opening credits are impressive as they list all the lead actors (human and Muppet) and the characters they play, complete with two "with" credits, an "and", and an "introducing":
    Starring Tim Curry as Long John Silver
    with Kermit the Frog as Captain Smollett
    Miss Piggy as Benjamina Gunn
    The Great Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat as Themselves
    with Billy Connolly as Billy Bones
    and Jennifer Saunders as Mrs. Bluveridge
    introducing Kevin Bishop as Jim Hawkins
  • Anti-Villain: Long John is a Type I. He's very charming, polite, and actually cares for Jim.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When Benjamina reminds Captain Smollett of how he left her at the altar.
    "My mother came all the way from France! I was wearing her white lace dress! The cake was filled with LEMON! CUSTARD!"
  • Asshole Victim: When the song says "Every man on board would have killed his mate/For a bag of guineas or a piece of eight", it's hard to feel bad when Flint executes them to cover his tracks.
  • Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: The island Boars show up and are about to provide reinforcements against the pirates, but are scared off when Long John Silver shoots off the headdress of the lead boar.
    Chief Boar: Stop! Give up now, weak and tiny pirate mans, or die like stinking dogs!
    Chief Boar: Hmm. We see you have boom-boom sticks. [Beat] Bye-bye.
    [tribe runs away]
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Mr. Arrow shows why he is the first mate in the climax. He rows to an island he finds, after the Hispaniola accidentally strands him in the middle of the ocean, which helps Jim, Gonzo and Rizzo take back the ship from Silver's men. Then when he sees his Captain cornered, he swings into battle, tosses Kermit a sword, and battles by his side. Captain Smollett says he's glad to see his first mate alive.
  • Award-Bait Song: Love Led Us Here. May or may not be a parody.
  • Badass Baritone: A few characters, notably including the alligator with a singing part in "Shiver My Timbers".
  • Bad Boss: Captain Flint. In the opening of the film, he has his crew bury his treasure on a deserted island and, while they're right in the middle of it, he kills them all in order to keep the location a secret. Pretty dark for a Muppets movie.
  • Bathos
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Before the pirates took Jim as a hostage, Smollett was planning to maroon them for a year to proactively prevent the mutiny. Smollet is also fairly competent with a sword and, given that he's a frog in this adaptation, has the added ability to leap extremely high for pounce on an opponent. If only his fingers weren't so slippery...
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Gonzo weaponizes starfish against one of the pirates. It successfully pins the latter to a wall.
  • Big Bad: Long John Silver
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Hilariously parodied by the island Boars, when Long John Silver shoots off the headdress of the lead boar. "Me see you have boom boom sticks... bye-bye."
    • Played straight with Statler and Waldorf catching the captain and Benjamina. They saved the pig and the frog because "it was too late to save the movie."
    • Also played straight when Smollett rescues Benjamina from Silver's pistol. Then Jim saves Captain Smollett when the latter loses his sword.
  • Big Eater: Rizzo the Rat polishes off most of a roast chicken bigger than he is within a few minutes.
    Gonzo: I'm Gonzo... and the guy in the chicken is Rizzo.
    Rizzo: <nom nom nom nom> Yo! <nom nom nom nom>
  • Big Good: Captain Smollet
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Cabin Fever. Acknowledged in-universe, as only Clueless Morgan seems to even remember it.
  • Black Comedy: A surprising amount of it.
    • During the "roll call" scene, the list of sailors includes Old Tom, Really Old Tom, and Dead Tom. There's also Headless Bill, who is present...but can't speak for himself because he doesn't have a head.
  • Black Comedy Burst: The upbeat, generally adventurous tone of "Sailing To Adventure" jolts sideways into this when Rizzo pipes up with "And people die by falling overboard!" (which is then repeated very loudly by the ensemble).
  • Black Spot: One is delivered to Billy Bones in the beginning and he dies.
  • Bowdlerise: Some TV showings remove the scene in which Long John Silver unsuccessfully attempts to get the officers drunk, as well as references to Hell and demons.
  • Brawn Hilda: Mrs. Bluveridge personally hands several vicious pirates their butts as her Inn burns down.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Those life boats look decidedly... unsafe.
    • As Arrow is rowing safely to the island, he's STILL gauging the boat's safeness.
    • Pants full of starfish.
  • Broken Pedestal: Long John is revealed to be a pirate, after taking on a surrogate father role to the (orphan) Jim Hawkins.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: The island boar tribe shows up like this after Smollett, Gonzo, and Rizzo bed down for the night.
  • Cabin Fever: During a period of no wind, the majority of the crew suffers this... and sings about it.
  • Call-Back:
    • Towards the beginning of the movie, Jim and Long John have this exchange:
      Jim: "But we're just cabin boys, Mr. Silver."
      Long John: "Long John, to his friends."
    • Then, towards the end of the movie...
      Long John: "Oh, hell, Jim. I could never harm you. You're honest and brave and true. You didn't learn that from me."
      Jim: "I learned it from my friends, Mr. Silver."
    • Also, at one point, Sweetums turns out to be on the side of Smollett and his men, despite being a pirate. When Smollett questions this, he replies, "Are you kidding? I love you guys!" which is a Call-Back to the original movie.
    • From the start, and the end of the movie:
      Jim: "Wherever the wind may take us!"
      Gonzo: "Off to Zanzibar to meet the Zanzi-barbarians!"
      Rizzo: "Here they go again...."
    • Unsafe lifeboats.
  • The Cameo:
    • The Swedish Chef, who appears towards the end of the film wearing a fake pig snout on the island of the "cannibal pigs". Lampshaded by the Singing Fruit who break the fourth wall to address the audience, asking "How else d'you think we were gonna get him in this movie?"
    • In the same scene, very briefly, Link Hogthrob as the gong-ringer.
    • Someone who sounds a lot like Uncle Deadly can be heard during the "Shiver My Timbers" number, implying that he may be under (or in) the pile of singing skulls.
      And when greed and villainy sail the sea, you can bet your boots there'll be treachery! [Evil Laugh]
    • Several characters from Fraggle Rock appear throughout the film Sprocket appears briefly at the start as a patron at the Admiral Benbow Inn. Murray, Brool and Wander Mcmooch are among the pirates that raid the Inn. Mudwell and Begoony are members of Long John Silver's pirate crew. The small Inkspot creatures sing in "Shiver My Timbers". Aretha can be seen briefly as a townsperson at the docks.
  • Captain Obvious: "Dead Tom is dead!"
    Mudwell: "Long John shot him!"
    Walleye Pyke: "But Dead Tom's always been dead. That's why he's called 'Dead Tom.'"
    Mudwell: "Oh." [Drops him.]
  • Carnivore Confusion: Running an 18th-century inn is problematic when many of your customers are considered edible in non-talking form.
    Mrs. Bluveridge: Don't forget to come back tomorrow for our lunchtime special! Roast suckling...
    Pigs: Huh?
    Mrs. Bluveridge: ...potatoes!
    Potato: Hmpf!
    Mrs. Bluveridge: No offense, madam, no offense!
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • While in an apple barrel, Gonzo mentions starfish in his pants. Later, he whips the starfish out of his pants to fight against pirates. They prove to be quite effective.
    • Also, the keys Silver takes from Mr Arrow. He finds them in his pocket at the end while in his cell in the brig, and is able to escape from it and load part of the treasure into a lifeboat before Jim catches him.
  • Chronically Killed Actor: Billy Connolly as Billy Bones. Connolly is proud of being the only person to die onscreen in a Muppet movie.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander:
    • Clueless Morgan.
    • Squire Trelawney [Fozzie] talks to a little man who lives in his finger, and as he says upon greenlighting the voyage:
      Trelawney: What are rich half-wit sons for?
    • Plus there's Gonzo. Case in point:
      Gonzo: It just feels so weird.
      Rizzo: You mean that Mr. Arrow's dead?
      Gonzo: Yeah, that. And my pants are filled with starfish.
      (beat)
      Rizzo: You and your hobbies....
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: In the scene in which the remaining Hispaniola crew and Benjamina confront Silver, they are all dressed in pristine, heroic-looking white shirts with dark breeches, which we might as well chalk up to Rule of Cool since those outfits never show up anywhere else.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Gonzo is full of this.
    Mr. Arrow: [describing Captain Smollett's temper] "The man is a raging volcano, tormented by inner demons, the likes of which mere mortals cannot fathom!"
    Gonzo: "He's got demons? Cool!"
  • The Comically Serious: Arrow, which is pretty much the personality of Sam the Eagle anyway.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: Apparently this was the reason why they got an actual human to play Jim, as opposed to an early draft that had Gonzo and Rizzo play Jim and Hawkins as two characters.
  • Consulting Mister Puppet:
    Fozzie: "Oh, Mr. Bimble lives in my finger. He's very smart. He's been to the moon. [puts finger to his ear] Oh, thank you... twice."
Keep in mind that this is a puppet Consulting Mister Puppet. Yeah.
  • Crowd Song: Done at least three times, Lampshaded during "Professional Pirate":
    Long John: "Sing it, lads! Show 'im you've been practicing!"
  • Curbstomp Battle: And with Sweetums of all Muppets no less.
  • Cutlass Between the Teeth: Mr. Arrow does this briefly with Captain Smollett's sword near the end.
  • Darker and Edgier: It still has the usual Muppet goofiness, but it's a lot darker than the usual stuff:
    • The film's opening has a harsh male choir singing a rather morbid song with subject matter including such family friendly material as murder, greed, alcoholism, and even a reference to Old Nick himself.
    • Flint murders his entire crew (who are all humans, with the only muppets in the scene being the singing animals and statues). The remainder of the film is filled with somewhat intense scenes of threat, drinking and possible cannibalism.
    • In true Muppet fashion, this is lampshaded: "He died? And this is supposed to be a kids' movie!"
    • The first musical number on the ship, which talks about dying by falling overboard.
      "I love to see 'em cry when they walk the plank." "I prefer to cut a throat." "I love to hang 'em high and watch their little feet try to walk in the air while their faces turn bluuue."
    • Long John tells his fellow mutineers that Satan is heating his pokers for their heresy of tearing a page from the Bible to give him the black spot.
  • Dead Hat Shot: After Arrow is "washed overboard", one of the crew informs Captain Smollett that all that was found of him was his hat. Subverted in that it wasn't actually found in the water; Mr. Arrow had given it to Long John.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Rizzo, as usual.
  • Decomposite Character: Due to Jim’s mother being absent in the movie, Mrs. Bluveridge portrays as (initially)the primary guardian of the orphaned Jim Hawkins.
  • Did Not Do the Bloody Research:
    • "Billy's dead, and he hasn't got the bloody map!" Spoken not too long after the line about this being a kids' movie.
    • Also, Billy's line earlier "How does she bloody do that?!"
    • In later versions, the word "bloody" is taken out, and "bloomin'" is inserted in its stead.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: "Cabin Fever".
  • Disney Death: Nope, turns out Mr. Arrow's lifeboat was actually completely shipshape. Silver's, however....
  • Dressed to Plunder: Naturally, the pirates wear the standard pirate costumes that were codified by the original Treasure Island. Long John is particularly resplendent once he shows his true colors.
  • The Drunken Sailor: Billy Bones. Averted by Captain Smollett, however, who prohibits any consumption of alcohol even by his officers, in order to "set an example for this questionable crew."
  • Dual Wielding: Arrow, briefly, before he tosses the second sword to Smollett.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: A generic monkey who sings in "Shiver My Timbers" is a pre-Muppets Tonight Sal Minella.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • "I could have been a lawyer/but I just had too much heart."
    • Silver refuses to shoot Jim when the boy could raise the alarm.
    • Silver invokes this idea when he shames the pirates for giving him The Black Spot on a page torn out of The Bible.
    • (From the opening song) "The Devil himself would have to call them scum!"
  • Everything Talks: Especially in the "Shiver My Timbers" opening sequence.
  • Evil Laugh: Tim Curry unleashes the ham with a couple of exceptional ones.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Both of Blind Pew's eyes are covered with eyepatches.
  • Face Palm:
    • Benjamina when her tribe decides they're not going to tangle with "boom-boom sticks."
    • Also Mr. Arrow when Kermit's sword slips out of his hand.
    • And Mr. Arrow when he's told that the crew was hired by a man in a bear's finger based on the advice of the cook
    • Dr Livesey does this when he sees Big-Fat-Ugly-Bug-Face-Baby-Eating O'Brien.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Arrow reacts this way to dust on the ship, incorrectly assuming the captain will feel the same.
    ”Any man caught dawdling will be shot on sight!”
  • Finish Dialogue in Unison: When Bones finishes telling the story about Flint, he says "Now isn't that story worth the hearin'?" - as do most of the guests, followed by one of the patrons complaining, "It was the first dozen times we heard it!"
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Sweetums, as always.
  • Flynning: Mocked; when Kermit tries it the sword flies out of his hand (almost skewering another muppet), leaving him defenseless.
  • For Science!: Dr. Livesy, played by Bunsen Honeydew. The first we see of him is an exploding lab with Beaker flying into the wall.
  • Foreshadowing: A very small one, but is it any surprise that the three muppets we have singing about 'walking the plank', 'cutting throats' and 'hanging people' in "Sailing For Adventure" all turn out to be a part of the pirate crew in the end? The only reason Clueless Morgan says "Just kidding" is because Mr. Arrow comes up behind them as they're singing!
  • French Jerk: Blind Pew talks in a vague French accent.
  • Friendly Address Privileges: See the first example under Call-Back above.
  • Frivolous Lawsuit: Happened in real life. Hormel, makers of Spam, actually sued Jim Henson Productions over the boar named "Spa'am" - and lost.
  • From a Certain Point of View: Long John appeals to this while trying to convince Jim that pirates aren't all that bad in "Professional Pirate". Subverted in that everything in the song about how pirates are good people are Blatant Lies and Suspiciously Specific Denials.
    Now take Sir Francis Drake; the Spanish all despise him./But to the British, he's a hero, and they idolize him!
    It's how you look at buccaneers that makes them bad or good,/And I see us as members of a noble brotherhood!
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: Completely averted, though Captain Smollett does outlaw alcohol on the voyage.
  • Funny Bruce Lee Noises: Made by Gonzo, while throwing starfish as shuriken. In Spanish.
  • Furry Reminder: Sort of. Smollet/Kermit is showing off with his sword by cutting off Long John's clothing decor while swinging his sword about then the sword flies out of his hand. He blames his slippery hands on account of being a frog.
  • Gender Flip: The original maroonee Benjamin Gunn becomes Benjamina Gunn [Miss Piggy], and is also the love interest of Captain Smollet [Kermit].
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • When Benjamina sees Long John Silver, she greets him with...
      Benjamina: Well, hello, Looooong John~
    • Everything that happened with Benjamina and the pirates prior to the movie probably qualifies: "I took up with this Bernie Flint... Well, he was a pirate, I was a lady, you know the story." Most of the adults in the audience probably recognize that the "story" in question usually doesn't get a PG rating....
    • Also, when Long John's crew are about to give him the Black Spot, Clueless Morgan had to have been thinking of something entirely different.
      Polly: Clueless!
      Clueless Morgan: Yeah?
      Polly: Give it to him!
      Clueless Morgan: *pause* But uhh... it's not even his birthday.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Only the first two gunshots of Flint's massacre at the beginning of the film are shown, leaving how he "gullied" the rest of his men to the imagination.
  • Go Through Me: A whole succession of it in one scene, though for Rizzo you're going to have to "negotiate strenuously."
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Benjamina Gunn (Miss Piggy) is built up this way by the native boars prior to her entrance. The chief boar tells Smollett and the others, "Now you suffer the wrath of our queen, Boomshakalaka!" She then enters the scene riding an elephant, obscured by palm fronds, and serenaded by an increasingly frantic beating of drums and chanting of her name.
  • Gratuitous German: The German lines in Cabin Fever.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: As per the source material, the titular treasure is the accumulated loot of the brutal and treacherous Captain Flint, and the pirates in the story proper are his old henchmen.
  • Handicapped Badass: Blind Pew may be visually challenged, but he can hear a gun being cocked from the other side of the room and be over there in seconds.
  • Hat Damage: The chief boar's big, elaborate headdress gets blown off his head when Long John Silver shoots it.
  • A Hero to His Hometown: Long John Silver says this of Sir Francis Drake in his song.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Invoked by Silver in the song Professional Pirate, where he insists pirates are victims of bad press.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard Arrow knows Silver's lifeboat was unsafe because Silver disposed of him earlier by stoking paranoia about leaky lifeboats and persuading Arrow to take one out for a test run. At the time it looked like Arrow had been killed by this.
  • The Hyena: Long John Silver cackles at pretty much every occasion, including things that appear to make him furious.
  • Ignored Epiphany: When Long John is found escaping by Jim, he eventually puts the gun down and says that he couldn't harm a lad as honest and brave as Jim, and even looks misty-eyed as he says Jim didn't get any of that from him. But he still says that they would have made a wonderful team as he rows away.
  • I'm Dying, Please Take My MacGuffin: Billy entrusts the treasure map to Jim right before he dies.
  • "I Want" Song: "Something Better," sung by Jim, Gonzo, and Rizzo.
  • Improbable Weapon User: How does a starfish-wielding Muppet sound to you?
  • Insistent Terminology: Blind Fiends prefer Visually Challenged Fiend according to Gonzo.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: During the song "Professional Pirate" Long John Silver begins addressing "misconceptions" about pirates, how they'd never stab you in the back (someone falls dead a split second later with a knife in his back) or lie or cheat (as one of them picks another's pocket).
  • Ironic Nickname: Big Fat Ugly Bug-Faced Baby-Eating O'Brien and Angel Marie.
  • Interscene Diegetic: The "Love Led Us Here" number is heard while the camera cuts away to the pirates.
  • Jaw Drop: Captain Smollett and Mr. Arrow's reaction upon seeing "Big Fat Ugly Bug Faced Baby Eating O'Brien", who is a woman (with the voice of a man). (And not exactly bad-looking.)
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Despite her bossy and overbearing nature, Mrs. Bluveridge does genuinely care about Jim, Gonzo and Rizzo, telling them not to worry about her and run to safety.
    • Long John Silver is a backstabbing, manipulative pirate, but he retains a soft spot for Jim.
  • Killed Off for Real:
    • Billy Bones dies at the start of the film. According to his biography, Billy Connolly is apparently very proud of his record as the only character ever to die in a Muppets film.
    • Hilariously spoofed (alongside the Posthumous Character trope) by Dead Tom. Despite being "dead" from the beginning, he ends up getting killed (yet again?) during a confrontation between Long John and the other pirates. Made even funnier when one of the unnamed pirates cradles his body and mourns his passing, only to be informed that Tom has "always been dead" (thus his being "Dead" Tom), to which said pirate stops crying, exclaims an "Oh" and promptly drops the "corpse".
  • Knife Outline: Gonzo uses starfish as shurikens to leave one of these. And it's one heck of a Brick Joke seeing as it gets a throwaway line earlier.
  • Large and in Charge: Mrs. Bluveridge.
  • Large Ham: Tim Curry (in fact, he says that out of all the movies he has been in, this is his favorite), Billy Connolly, Jennifer Saunders and, of course, the Muppets themselves.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: After Silver gets away with part of the treasure, Arrow comes up behind Jim and Smollett and mentions that the boat he just took was unsafe. Sure enough, it and the treasure sink, forcing Silver to swim to Treasure Island.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Quite a bit as part of the Muppets-style goofy humour, when they're not pushing it all the way to No Fourth Wall.
    "He died? And this is supposed to be a kids movie!"
    "Safely now, Mr Silver. Let's not get sloppy, just because we're singing!"
    "Upstage lads, this is my only number!"
  • Leave No Witnesses: The intro shows Captain Flint and a band of pirates lugging several treasure chests up on Treasure Island to bury them. When they chests are in the pit and the pirates start to cover them, Flint draws his guns on his crew and fires. The intro song ends simultaneously on the fitting line "Dead men tell no tales!"
  • Let's Get Dangerous!:
    • Kermit as Captain Smollett is a stern Reasonable Authority Figure, but even he has his limits. When he finds out Long John is planning mutiny and takes Jim hostage, he goes with Gonzo and Rizzo to rescue the cabin boy. Then when Long John threatens Benjamina with a gun, Kermit hops into action, tosses the gun away with several sword strokes, and fights impressively.
    • Mr. Arrow has spent most of the movie as a stick-in-the-mud first mate. Then in the climax, he helps Jim retake the Hispaniola with some clever trickery, and goes to rescue Smollett when Silver's pirates corner the latter and Benjamina. He swings to the beach with two swords, tosses one to the Captain, and fights alongside him.
    • Jim gets to show off his fencing skills as well. He defeats one of the human pirates, gets Clueless Morgan to surrender, and leads the Go Through Me charge against Silver.
  • Losing Your Head: Headless Bill's current status does not get in the way of him faithfully saluting during the roll call, though it obviously prevents him from speaking (but not hearing, oddly enough...)
  • Lovable Coward: Rizzo, even more than usual.
    Rizzo: I've gone waaay beyond afraid! Right now I'm somewhere between bed-wetting and a near-death-experience!
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Downplayed The tone of "Sailing to Adventure" does get a lot quieter and darker for the part where Clueless Morgan, Angel Marie and Polly Lobster are talking about killing people. It doesn't get quieter and darker for the bit where Rizzo talks about people dying by falling overboard.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Long John. He befriends Jim and gets him to fess up about the map's whereabouts, tricks Arrow into giving him the keys and removing himself from the ship, and then when the other pirates turn on him, he wins them back by literally putting the fear of God into them 'cause they defaced a Bible.
  • Meaningful Name: Not so much 'meaningful' as 'literal' amongst the crew. It includes such specimens as Wall-Eyed Pike, Black-Eyed Pea, Headless Bill, Old Tom, Really Old Tom, and, of course, Dead Tom. Subverted with "Big Fat Ugly Bug-Faced Baby-Eating O'Brien", who apparently switched names with Angel Marie.
  • Mind Your Step: Benjamina (Ms. Piggy) ruins her huge entrance by tumbling down the stairs. She blames her pet anteater.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Clueless Morgan.
  • Mook–Face Turn: Sweetums does this at the end, during the big fight, when it looks as though he is going to bash Smollet and Mr. Arrow on the head with a large log, but actually hits some of his fellow pirates on the head instead. This is immediately lampshaded:
    Smollet: Well, thank you. But aren't you supposed to fighting against us?
    Sweetums: Are you kidding? I love you guys!
  • Mundane Made Awesome: "MARGARITAS AT THE MIDNIGHT BUFFET!"
  • Never Say "Die": Completely averted; the characters use the words "die" and "kill" several times, often in a comedic context.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Gonzo.
  • No, Except Yes:
    Smollet: Your finger hired the crew?
    Trelawney: No, that's silly. The man who lives in my finger hired the crew, Mr. Bimbo.
  • No Fourth Wall:
    • Repeatedly and gleefully broken by Gonzo and Rizzo.
    • And a line from the Cabin Fever sequence:
      "I got cabin fever, I think I lost my grip!"
      "I'd like to get my hands on whoever wrote this script!"
    • Also from Long John, who gives stage directions during what he calls "his only number".
    • Along with the Swedish Chef.
      Tomato: Well, how else d'you think we were gonna get him in this movie?
    • The rat tourists appear in some scenes being told they're at the actual shooting location for the movie Muppet Treasure Island.
    • And of course:
      Statler: Take a cruise you said.
      Waldorf: Huh?
      Statler: See the world you said.
      Waldorf: Huh.
      Statler: Now here we are stuck on the front of this stupid ship!
      Waldorf: Well it could be worse. We could be stuck in the audience!
    • As well as
      Statler: Waldorf you old fool! We're heroes! We saved the pig and the frog!
      Waldorf: Well, it was too late to save the movie!
      Both: DOH-hohohohoho!
  • No Honor Among Thieves:
    Every man on board would have killed his mate
    For a bag of guineas or a piece of eight.
  • Obviously Evil: Smollet and Arrow come to this conclusion after the roll call.
    • And even those audience members who've never read or heard about Treasure Island reach that conclusion upon seeing Tim Curry. Then there's Long John's one leg and Billy's previous warning about the one-legged man and not to mention the occasional ominous music....
  • Ocean Madness: Results in the showstopping "Cabin Fever" musical number.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: Big Fat Ugly Bug-Faced Baby-Eating O'Brien.
  • Offhand Backhand: Arrow [Sam the Eagle] does this to Polly Lobster. Twice. Once while in mid-Face Palm.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Black Dog utters "Oh woof..." in shock before the powder explodes and destroys the inn.
    • Rizzo when Polly, Mad Monty and Clueless Morgan are going to torture him. Then, Arrow has one when he walks in on them.
    • Jim, Gonzo and Rizzo when they overheard that Long John caused Arrow's assumed death.
    • Also when they saw the pirates captured Jim just when they plan to leave Long John and his crew on the island. Though it wouldn't do much good since other pirates are still on his ship and outnumber Smollet's crew.
    • Silver's crew flees in panic when they realize that the Hispaniola is heading towards the island.
    • Gonzo and Rizzo when the Hispaniola is going to crash onto the island's shore.
  • One-Hit Polykill: Assuming he doesn't reload offscreen (or finish off the survivors through some other means) Captain Flint manages to kill all his crew, which is something like a dozen guys at least, with two flintlock shots.
  • One-Woman Wail: Towards the end of "Shiver My Timbers".
  • Parental Bonus: It's a Muppet movie. Of course it's going to be packed with Parental Bonus. Among the many instances are at least two references to Star Trek, also counting as Late to the Punchline moments for viewers rewatching it.
    • There is also the moment where Kermit is talking about leaving Miss Piggy at the altar:
      Kermit: I got cold feet.
      Miss Piggy: You're a frog; you're supposed to have cold feet!
  • Pirate Girl:
  • Pirate Parrot: Subverted and lampshaded. While Polly does screech for crackers and pieces of eight, he is a lobster. When Gonzo says that he thought sailors had talking parrots, he receives a blank look from Polly and Silver.
  • Pirate Song:
    • The opening number, "Shiver My Timbers." Although the song accompanies a scene of pirates raiding an island, the song is not sung by the pirates themselves, but by Muppet animals, statues, and skulls on the island. The song is all about the nature of pirates, and as such, it's surprisingly grim for a Muppet movie, not at all sugarcoating how pirates can be treacherous, ruthless, and even murderous when it comes to making a profit.
    • Long John Silver's Villain Song, "Professional Pirate", where he explains a pirate's life to Jim Hawkins.
  • Played for Drama: Though the entire movie is fairly dark, especially for a Muppet movie, the confrontation between Jim and Silver when Silver is leaving the ship for the last time and threatens to shoot Jim could very well come from a completely different movie given the dead serious tone it has.
  • Properly Paranoid:
    • Mr. Arrow calls Captain Smollett a "raging volcano". While Captain Smollett is more a Reasonable Authority Figure, he does get raging angry when provoked, and is not someone to be underestimated.
    • Smollett is paranoid of the crew and trusts none of them, not even the cook offering complimentary sherry. It turns out his suspicions were completely correct.
  • Powder Trail: Gonzo and Rizzo meander all around the cellars with a leaking powder barrel when pirates attack the inn... which, of course, gets ignited by a falling candle. Cue Mass "Oh, Crap!" from them and the pirates.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The story is pretty much left untouched - Billy Bones is still The Alcoholic, but he only has the one drunken fit on-screen, and whilst he's not exactly shy about letting people know he was the first mate of one the most bloodthirsty pirate crews who ever sailed the Seven Seas, everyone thinks he's making it up. Meanwhile, Squire Trelawney is replaced by Young Squire Trelawney, and the pirates' camp from the original novel is left out entirely.
  • Public Service Announcement: From Billy Bones, of all people.
    Billy Bones: Beware lads! Beware!
    Jim: What? The one-legged man?
    Billy Bones: Aye! But also, beware running with scissors, or any other pointy objects! It's all good fun, until someone loses an EYYYYEEEEE...! <dies>
  • Punched Across the Room: When Benjamina and Kermit meet again after several years, she ends up punching him so hard that it sends him flying into the gong.
  • Put on a Bus: Scooter does not appear in this movie following the passing of Richard Hunt. He also does not appear in The Muppet Christmas Carol either.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: Polly, Mad Monty and Clueless Morgan.
  • R-Rated Opening: The opening song "Shiver My Timbers" explicitly makes clear what pirates do and ends with Flint murdering his own crew, showing that this may be a Muppets movie, but it will deal with themes not normally considered child-friendly.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: And how! So awesome it reverses a mutiny. Tim Curry manages to give Willem Dafoe in The Lighthouse a run for his money 23 years early:
    Silver: "The Black Spot? You dare to give me the Black Spot? And it's drawn on a page from the Bible? You tore a page from the Holy Scriptures to make a pirate’s death sentence? Oooooh, the red hot gates of Hell are creeping open! Satan is a-heatin' his pokers for you, you blasphemous heathens! Fall down on your knees and beg for deliverance from damnation!"
  • Rule of Cool: The elephant may not make a whole lot of sense, given the time period, but it does make for a cool entrance. Until Benjamina's pet anteater wrecks it.
  • Runaway Bride: Or in this case Groom. Before the movie, Smollett left Benjamina standing at the altar.
  • Running Gag: Samuel Arrow (played by Sam the Eagle) is presented as an over-the-top disciplinarian who "paraphrases" all of Abraham Smollett's Nice Guy comments into Disproportionate Retribution for minor infractions, such as threatening to lash Sweetums and make him walk the plank for not dusting the deck properly and claiming that anyone that slacks will be shot on sight. Abraham will then point out that he said nothing of the sort, belaying the threats.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Big-Fat-Ugly-Bug-Faced-Baby-Eating O'Brien.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
    • The pirates on the Hispaniola flee upon seeing Mr. Arrow disguised as a ghost.
    • Silver's men on the island attempt to flee upon seeing the Hispaniola coming straight for them, but it doesn't work out and Silver has to get his crew back.
  • Selective Obliviousness: The rats purchased tickets to go along on the adventure with the understanding that they were going on a cruise ship, and behave accordingly. Lampshaded (isn't everything?) when several of them take a tour of the island and the tour guide points out that they are currently viewing "the actual jungle location for the movie Muppet Treasure Island!" Yet later, during the climactic battle with the pirates, several of the female rats act as cheerleaders for Captain Smollett.
  • "Setting Off" Song: "Sailing For Adventure."
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Inverted with "Cabin Fever". Smollet, Long John, Jim, and Mr. Arrow are all absent from the lunacy. (In fact, it's almost all of the canonical Treasure Island characters, except that Fozzie-as-Trelawny and Honeydew's Livesy are there.)
  • Shout-Out:
    • In "Professional Pirate":
    I could have been in politics, cause I've always been a big spender./And me... I coulda been... a contender.
    • The "Dead Tom is dead!" scene is a Shout-Out to Fraggle Rock, in that the pirate who cries over Dead Tom's "death" is Mudwell the Mudbunny from episode Gone, But Not Forgotten; a true Tear Jerker story that takes up the themes of death and rebirth.
    • Gonzo, early on:
    "We'd be out searching for that treasure! Sailing the seas on a five-year mission, boldly going where no man has gone before! Say, that's catchy."
    • When Polly Lobster comments on how talking parrots are a preposterous idea, he also mentions a singing, dancing mouse with his own amusement park.
    • To Casablanca:
      Benjamina: Of all the backwater, no-class piles of sand in the ocean, you had to wash up on mine!
    • The part of the fight scene when Kermit cuts all the buttons off of Long John's coat may be a Shout-Out to a similar scene in The Scarlet Pimpernel.
    • When Smollet says "Don't cry for me Benjamina", it's almost certainly a reference to the song "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" from Evita.
  • The Song Remains the Same: The Japanese dub kept all of the songs in their original English-language versions.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Mr. Arrow, which even becomes a plot point later on.
  • Spiritual Successor: To The Muppet Christmas Carol, both films being adaptations of British classic novels, starring well known British actors alongside of the Muppets and having Gonzo and Rizzo as a comedy duo.
  • Stealth Pun: "I'm a pig! I need commitment!" Many viewers did not get that joke the first time they saw it.
  • Superstitious Sailors: Dr. Livesey puts together a plan to scare the pirates on account of his scientific fact about pirates being superstitious.
    Sam: Boogie, boogie, boogie. I am the ghost of Samuel Arrow.
    [beat]
    Sam: BOOGIE!
  • Terrible Trio: Polly Lobster, Mad Monty and Clueless Morgan.
  • That Poor Cat: In what was a Throw It In! by the sound crew that they decided to go with.
    • And then lampshaded in dialogue. "Watch where you're going, you stupid cat!"
  • Theme Tune Extended: "Cabin Fever" originally had six verses and three choruses, but the first chorus was left out of the film.
  • Those Two Guys: Gonzo and Rizzo, of course.
  • The Voiceless: Janice and Dr. Teeth are the only members of the Electric Mayhem to not have any lines in the movie though their lack of dialogue is understandable; Jim Henson and Richard Hunt, their puppeteers who played them before died so as to pay tribute to the two late puppeteers, the two were given background roles in The Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island.
  • Too Clever by Half: Captain Smollett actually devises a good plan when Jim warns him that Long John is planning a mutiny and has the treasure map. He orders Silver to go ashore and get food and water, and to take as many men as he'd like. In his cabin, he says the plan is to maroon the pirates that Silver will obviously take with him and return in a year. Thing is, he doesn't realize that Silver is so suspicious that he would have a contingency: take Jim as a hostage.
  • Too Good to Be True: Long John realizes to "never trust a silver platter" when Captain Smollett orders him to go ashore with as many men as he likes. He leaves behind a score of men to take over the ship in the evening, and grabs Jim as a hostage to ensure that Smollet won't sail away and leave them.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Gonzo. As they say on the DVD Commentary, "They picked the wrong guy."
    Gonzo: <stretched on the rack> Oh! Oh... yes! Look at this! I'm taller! This is so cool! I may even have a future with the NBA!
    "Angel Marie said that later on he'd throw a line out the back and let me drag along the bottom!"
    [Probably how he got those pants full of starfish.]
  • Tour Guide Gag: An Establishing Shot of an island location gets interrupted by a tour group walking into the shot:
    Tour guide: And here's a photo opportunity you will not want to miss: the actual jungle location for the movie Muppet Treasure Island.
  • True Companions: Jim, Gonzo and Rizzo.
    Rizzo: Okay, all right, so I'm a rat, and you're a human being, and Gonzo's a... uh...
    Gonzo: Whatever.
    Rizzo: Yeah! I mean, we're still — we're still family!
  • Up to Eleven: The three pirates Old Tom, Real Old Tom, and Dead Tom.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Squire Trelawney is the half-wit son of a ship-financier who doesn't know what the ocean is and thinks that he has a super-intelligent person living in his finger named Mr. Bimbo. He is one of the more benevolent examples of the trope, as he is shown to be a Nice Guy and finances the search for the treasure himself.
  • Villain Has a Point: Jim has no response when Long John asks him if he thinks Smollet and Trelawney will share the treasure with the crew. Long John recalls that they are Flint's former crew, who "shed our blood" for him, so they deserve the treasure. Yeah they're evil, but he's not wrong.
  • Villain Recruitment Song: "Professional Pirate".
  • Villain Song: "Professional Pirate". Lampshaded by Long John Silver as the second verse starts:
    "Upstage, lads! This is my only number..."
  • "The Villain Sucks" Song: "Shiver My Timbers".
  • Villainous Valor: Long John tells Jim that if the latter gives his father's compass, he'll get a share of the treasure. It seems he isn't lying about that since later on when they find the treasure, all the pirates join in and split the money. When the pirates mutiny against Silver on finding empty treasure chests, he draws his guns and shouts at Jim to run for it. As Jim flees, Long John fires at his crew to make a distraction.
  • Visual Pun: During the "Shiver My Timbers" intro, the upcoming betrayal and murder of Flint's crew are portended in song by local fauna... including two snakes... in the grass.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Big Fat Ugly Bug-Faced Baby-Eating O'Brien is actually a beautiful woman... and she has a deep voice that's completely at odds with her appearance.
  • Wacky Wayside Tribe: The island boars
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Benjamina lays into Smollet for leaving her at the altar. She tells him that "sorry" isn't enough for jilting her and "cold feet" isn't an excuse because he's a frog and frogs are supposed to have cold feet.
  • Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: When Kermit grabs Miss Piggy when she falls off a cliff.
  • Wingding Eyes
    Gonzo (dollar signs in eyes): We're gonna be rich!
    Rizzo (skulls and crossbones in eyes): We're gonna be dead!
  • Worrying for the Wrong Reason: When Captain Smollett vents his frustration on his officers for having hired "the seediest bunch of cutthroats, villains, and scoundrels I have ever seen," and he learns that Mr. Bimble (who lives in Young Squire Trelawney's finger) had hired them with help from Long John Silver, Smollett's response is "A cook? And a guy who lives in a bear's finger? I'm starting to worry about this voyage."
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Take a child hostage? Yes. Tie him up and toss him around as part of a game with his crew? Yes. But Silver could never physically harm Jim. He genuinely offers him part of the treasure, and refuses to shoot him when Jim catches him escaping with all the treasure.
  • Written by the Winners: Referenced by Long John Silver when he sings about Sir Francis Drake:
    ". . .The Spanish all despise him / But to the British, he's a hero, and they idolize him."
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Both Smollett and Long John engage in this. Smollett locks up the map? Silver gets Mr. Arrow stranded in the ocean and takes his keys to steal it during the "funeral". Smollett finds out about the mutiny and the map is stolen? He lets the pirates go ashore and plan to maroon them. Then a suspicious Silver takes Jim hostage since it was Too Good to Be True that they'd be allowed on shore with the map, and Smollett goes ashore to rescue Jim. This ends up accidentally saving him from the mutiny onboard.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    • Done by Captain Flint at the end of the intro. "SHIVER MY TIMBERS, SHIVER MY SAILS, DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES!" [BANG]
    • Long John is no different. He hangs Smollett off a cliff to make Benjamina confess where the treasure is. Smollett shouts at her not to, because once she does, she'll be killed. She does, and begs Long John to free Smollett. He gives her a spiteful kiss and hangs her off the cliff as well.
  • You Are Worth Hell: "Love Led Us Here."

 
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"Professional Pirate"

Long John Silver and his crew explain the appeal of being a pirate to Jim Hawkins.

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