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Film / Popeye

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Or is he?

Popeye is a 1980 Musical Live-Action Adaptation produced by Paramount and Disney, starring Robin Williams as the eponymous character and directed by Robert Altman, with a song score by Harry Nilsson, and a screenplay by Jules Feiffer.

The plot is effectively the origin tale of the two-fisted sailor man. After years on the sea, Popeye arrives in the ramshackle town of Sweethaven searching for his long-lost father (Ray Walston) and winds up not only getting caught up in a Love Triangle with Olive Oyl (Shelley Duvall) and Bluto (Paul L. Smith), but also becoming an adoptive father to an abandoned baby boy he names Swee'Pea...

This movie provides examples of:

  • #1 Dime: One of Bluto's motivations for villainy (other than "I'm mean if you know what I mean") is getting his hands on Poopdeck Pappy's treasure. When the treasure is finally revealed, it turns out to be things like an empty picture frame of Popeye (Pappy's son) as an "infant", his baby rattle, baby booties, and other sentimental mementos of childhood.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: In the cartoons, Popeye is bald, homely, and has no teeth. Robin Williams' Popeye has a full head of hair and a full set of teeth. He's also not nearly as homely as the cartoon Popeye.
  • Adaptational Dumbass: Downplayed with Castor. He's not stupid, but he doesn't have the sharp wit he displays in the comic strip.
  • All That Glitters: The treasure that everyone is hunting in the final act turns out to be...Pappy's mementos of his son, which he shows the items to Swee'Pea.
  • Alternate DVD Commentary: A Patreon subscriber bonus episode of the '80s All Over podcast is this, featuring critics/hosts Drew McWeeny and Scott Weinberg — massive fans of the film — discussing its history and merits.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: The entire town of Sweethaven. (You can remove the "Ambiguous" from Geezil.) It's worth noting that Bluto was played by Paul L. Smith, a Real Life Badass Israeli.note 
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing:
    • After Popeye easily bests Oxblood during their boxing match, the townsfolk celebrates.
    • Practically the entire town rejoices again when Popeye takes down the tax collector.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Castor to Olive. This is a complete turn-around from the original Thimble Theater comic, where it was Olive who was the Annoying Younger Sibling to Castor.
  • Anti-Mentor: Geezil acts as coach for both Castor and Popeye against Oxblood Oxheart. In both cases, he is absolutely no help.
  • Arranged Marriage: Between Olive and Bluto — initially.
  • Aspect Ratio Switch: The film starts out with a small screen showing a black-and-white Popeye cartoon. When an animated Popeye notes that he's in the wrong movie, the film switches to widescreen to start the actual movie.
  • Auteur License: Robert Altman, best-known at the time for iconoclastic comedies and dramas like M*A*S*H and Nashville, getting the reins to a family musical is a perfect example of this (and he replaced Hal Ashby, a similar New Hollywood talent). Because the film wasn't as profitable as hoped and reviews were so mixed, he immediately lost it and while he did a lot of film and TV work over the rest of The '80s, none of it got mainstream attention until 1992's The Player, which triggered a Career Resurrection.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Swee'pea! Finding and taking care of him brings Popeye and Olive Oyl closer together. Even Poopdeck Pappy has a change of heart when he starts bonding with Swee'pea in a grandfatherly way after rescuing him and the treasure from Bluto's clutches.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: The film begins with his old cartoon opening, then, where the title of the short is, Popeye sticks his head up and says, "Hey, what's this? One of Bluto's tricks? I'm in the wrong movie!" and we enter live-action.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: When Popeye undercuts Olive's parental authority, Olive calls him on it in bizarre mix of irritation and flirtation. She even ends with with a "Phooey," which (maybe accidentally, maybe not) brushes her lips against his, and walks off in a huff. Even Popeye seems confused about what the hell just happened.
  • Big Bad: Bluto does most of the work in running Sweethaven for the Commodore/Poopdeck Pappy, and even schemes to take Poopdeck Pappy's treasure for his own.
  • Big Eater: Wimpy, as per usual.
  • Briar Patching: An unintentional example, as Popeye doesn't even know that spinach will make him strong until Bluto forces it on him out of cruelty.
  • Broken Record: Cole Oyl when demanding an apology.
  • Call-Back: "It's Not Easy Being Me" has three: two to "He's Large", and one to "I'm Mean".
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Bluto. He even gets a whole song about how mean he is as he smashes up the Oyls' residence.
  • Character Catchphrase:
    • "I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam!" Even turned into a song.
    • Wimpy gets to say a few of his famous Catch Phrases over the course of the movie, such as "I'm buying, he's paying" and of course the classic "I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."
    • Geezil never misses an opportunity to tell Wimpy that he hates him — or tell other people that he hates Wimpy.
    • Popeye's signature "Phooey!" proves to be both hereditary and contagious, as Poopdeck Pappy and Olive Oyl both use it in his presence.
    • Cole Oyl is very prone to tell people that they owe him an apology.
    • "You're not thinking of doing [random activity], are you? Because there's a xx cent [same random activity] tax."
  • Children Are a Waste: Deconstructed in Poopdeck Pappy's "Kids" song that focuses on kids' brattiness, fickleness and the ingratitude of human nature:
    Poopdeck Pappy: Bless their little hearts, if they was made out of gold, I'd like to sell 'em on the open market. I could make me a fortune. Kids! Eh, they don't know what they're doing. Kids, dadblast 'em! They're gonna lead you to ruin. That's what they're gonna do, lead you to ruin. They cry at you when they're young, they yell at you when they're older, they borrows from you when they's middle-aged and they leave you alone to die. Without even paying you back! Children, phooey. You give them everything they want, and what do you get back in return? You get nothing! Why they're just smaller versions of us you know, but I'm not so crazy about me in the first place, so why would I want one of them? I'm asking ya. Children. Ah, children. Little children. You'll pour your heart to them, you give them everything they want. Give them candy and a lot of toys, and what do you get in return? You get a lot of noise: "Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, my poppa's a mean old man!" I'm through with children, I'm through with kids. They ain't nothing I'm never gonna do about it!
  • Children Are Innocent: Poopdeck sees the pure innocence of Swee'pea, making cute baby talk noises as he bonds with him in a gentle way, becoming a grandfather figure to Swee'pea.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Pappy delivers a "Cluster 'Haul Ass' " during the climactic rescue mission.
  • Composite Character: Swee'pea has taken on the "fortune-telling" traits of Eugene the Jeep, who was originally going to be in the movie; see What Could Have Been on the Trivia page.
  • Continuity Nod: A lot of them. The movie was criticized for not being very faithful to the cartoons, but it actually has a lot in common with the original Thimble Theater comic. (As discussed in film critics Drew McWeeny and Scott Weinberg's 80s All Over commentary track podcast, the film is really a prequel to the cartoons.)
  • Cowardly Yellow: At the end, a humiliated Bluto's clothes turn yellow as he swims away from Swee'haven.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Bluto is less than pleased when he sees Olive with Popeye and carrying Swee'pea.
  • Creator Cameo: The Falcons, formed by Harry Nilsson to perform for the songs featured in the film, appear as characters in Sweethaven in the film:
    • Klaus Voorman and Doug Dillard play Von Schnitzel (the conductor) and Clem (the banjo player), two musicians at the boxing match.
    • Hoagy, a piano player for the Rough House, is played by Van Dyke Parks, who arranged and conducted Nilsson's songs as well as "I'm Popeye the Sailor Man".
    • Percussionist Ray Cooper, who would later become famous for his work with Elton John, plays the town's preacher.
  • Credits Medley: Harry Nilsson and Tom Pierson's instrumental medley of "I'm Popeye the Sailor Man", "I Yam What I Yam", "He Needs Me", "I'm Mean" and "The Sailor's Hornpipe" closes out the film.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Several...
    • Popeye destroys the six bar toughs singlehandedly and doesn't even break a sweat.
    • Popeye initially fights Oxblood for entertainment and is obviously having no trouble. Then Oxblood tries to fight dirty, which riles Popeye - who ends the fight very decisively shortly after!
    • Bluto brutally and decisively trashes Popeye at the engagement party.
    • Before the spinach, Bluto had the upper hand for pretty much the entire duel on Scab Island.
    • The killer octopus is first pummeled silly by a spinach-powered Popeye, and then it gets hit by an uppercut of such ridiculous power that it is launched not just out of the ocean, but several hundred feet in the sky. It's difficult to think of another movie monster who was annihilated *that* badly in a final fight.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: Bluto in "He's Large".
  • Damsel in Distress: Olive Oyl in the final stretch.
  • Darker and Edgier: For a Popeye adaptation, this film has a gritty feel to match the dilapidated town of Sweethaven. Bluto imposes curfews, intimidates the entire town with his demeanor, has a tax collector who is implied to be bleeding the townspeople with little to show for it in quality of life, and despite the townspeople trying to put on a happy face, you can get the impression that they'd relish the opportunity to move somewhere else.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: The diner toughs, after a fashion. They all are (understandably) uncomfortable when they next see Popeye (at the engagement party), but when he exiles the tax man, they jubilantly carry him aloft. Later when he goes to have it out with the commodore, they shout encouragement to him.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Olive is rather snooty at the beginning of the film — especially towards Popeye. She starts to mellow out and warm up to him after they find Swee'pea.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Pressed to find good things to say about Bluto, Olive keeps coming back to "He's large" while singing "He's Large"!
    "He's tall... good lookin'... and he's large... he's large... large... tall... large..."
  • Destination Defenestration: When Popeye fights with the gang in the Rough House, a cook escapes through a window, shattering the glass in the process.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Bluto tells the Commodore that they can use Swee'Pea's ability to pick winners at the gambling house. The Commodore has to point out to Bluto that he owns the gambling house, and would thus be winning money from himself.
    • Castor Oyl when getting into the ring with Oxblood Oxheart.
  • Diner Brawl: Popeye first springs into action at the aptly named Rough House. As the gang taunts him in the leadup to the brawl, note that the workers are setting up gates/barracades, suggesting that this trope is a common occurrence there!
  • Disproportionate Retribution: On the mere SUSPICION that Olive has cheated on him with Popeye, Bluto singlehandedly destroys her home, manhandles several party guests, attempts to kill Popeye, and levies a ridiculous amount of trumped-up taxes on her family, nearly driving them all to financial oblivion.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Almost all of the diner patrons, and even some of the staff, start to freak out when it's obvious a brawl is imminent. However, Roughhouse doesn't even look up from his solitaire game.
    • Likewise, Bluto only glances at the carnage with passing curiosity, not even stopping his meal.
  • Does Not Like Spam: Popeye does not like spinach. While this is a surprise to any fan, it would make sense as an origin story.
  • Driven to Suicide: Popeye over losing Swee'Pea, in a scene that was cut because it was considered too dark.
  • The Dragon: The Taxman of Sweethaven.
    • Wimpy becomes one when he brings Swee'pea to Bluto in exchange for a big plate stacked with hamburgers, and after Olive makes him confess what he knows about where Swee'pea and Bluto are going, he makes a Heel–Face Turn and joins with Popeye's and Poopdeck Pappy's crew to rescue Swee'pea, Olive, as well as stopping Bluto from taking Poopdeck Pappy's treasure.
  • Epic Fail: Spike attempts to break a chair over Popeye's head, but failed to notice the ceiling fan in the way. The chair gets harmlessly caught on a blade. Spike can only give a lame shrug and pathetic grin before Popeye clobbers him.
  • Especially Zoidberg: A sign on the wall at the Rough House:
    Positively NO credit! Especially you, Wimpy!
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Oxblood Oxheart very clearly loves his mother.
  • Evil Debt Collector: The Tax Man will come up with all sorts of frivolous charges to squeeze arbitrary amounts of tax from the townspeople... and he demands exact change!
  • Evil is Petty: Bluto, after his wedding with Olive falls apart, not only destroys her house, but also taxes her family (which had nothing to do with this turn of events) into near ruin.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: A subverted example: Bluto is played by Paul L. Smith, who also sung on the soundtrack, but his deep baritone singing voice in the film proper is provided by "Big" John Wallace, who was Harry Chapin's bassist. Bluto's "I'm Mean" song shows a prime example of his baritone voice.
  • Fooled by the Sound: Popeye and Olive find a box and hear a rattling sound from inside. This startles Olive, who thinks it's a rattlesnake, but it's then revealed to be Swee'Pea shaking a baby's rattle.
  • Funny Background Event: All over the place. From the first scenes we see all the extra background characters and main characters doing something at any given moment throughout, such as the hairy, bearded hobo who is seen taking a random swim in one scene, and Popeye ripping off the helm of the Commodore's boat trying to steer it.
    • When the diner toughs come into The Rough House Cafe, Mort snatches a chair up from under Ham Gravy. However, Ham remains aloft as if the chair is still under him. In the background, you see that he's still aloft like this for five or more minutes!
      • And when the brawl goes down, Popeye lays waste to the toughs. At the edge of the frame, Spike can be seen grabbing a ketchup bottle to use as a club, then realizing this isn't gonna do much good against this guy, and sheepishly placing it back on the table.
      • As Popeye is taking down the last tough, look in the far background. Slick the Milkman (whom Gozo forced to sit on a hot stove for several minutes) is being carried away to safety on his wife Rosie's shoulders, while fanning the charred seat of his pants!
  • Generation Xerox: Popeye and Pappy are practically identical save for a thirty-year age difference. They even get into two arguments that are actually the same argument with the speakers reversed.

  • Giant Squid: A giant octopus attacks Olive in the climax. Once Popeye gets empowered by spinach, he makes quick work of it.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: It's clear from Popeye's stories from his childhood that his pap was not a good father, even before he abandoned him. It's all Played for Laughs, since Popeye seems to either be in denial or trying to make excuses for his father.
    "One thing I remember about me pap was that he always used to throw me up in the air. Yeah, heh heh... but he'd never be there when I come down, you know. Heh heh heh. Boy, he had a sensek'a humor, didn't he? Yeah, that was me pap. I remember the time he gave me a electric eel as a toy. Hah hah hah — eep! Hah, yeah, that was fun. Or, or he'd rock me cradle real, real, real hard and I'd lose me formula. And then he'd say 'One day, you'll be a sailor.' Heh heh heh, that's... that's what I yam today, yeah. Hm. Yeah. Sometimes he'd bounce me on his knee. Heh heh, most o' the time he'd miss, though, 'cos he couldn't see too well with one eye.... heh heh heh, oh, me pap, yeah..."
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: If Bluto hadn't chosen to shove spinach into Popeye's throat before trying to kill him, he'd have won the day.
  • Hong Kong Dub: Whenever Swee'Pea talks, it's obviously not really the baby talking.
  • "I Am" Song: Popeye gets two of these: "I Yam What I Yam" and, for the film's finale, "I'm Popeye the Sailor Man".
  • I Am What I Am: "I Yam What I Yam" fits this trope perfectly as Popeye stands up for his principles when the others are interested in exploiting Swee'pea's abilities for profit.
  • Iconic Attribute Adoption Moment: Throughout the film, Popeye refuses to eat his spinach. It's not until the end of the film, when Bluto force-feeds him a can of spinach, that it becomes his Power-Up Food.
  • I Do Not Like Green Eggs and Ham: Until the last scene, anyway. Seems he never really gave it a chance. This is not as farfetched as it sounds: When the character first debuted, way back in 1929 in Thimble Theater, he found out about spinach the same way. By which time he'd already proven himself to be fantastically tough, in fact indestructible. Comics historian Bill Blackbeard (yes, that's his real name) calls Popeye the first comic superhero.
  • I Have No Son!: When Popeye meets his father, the latter refuses to acknowledge him as his son at first; subverted when Pappy asks Popeye to eat his spinach straight from the can, and then Pappy knows by his whiny disobedience that it can only be Popeye.
  • I Own This Town: The Commodore/Poopdeck Pappy pretty much owns everything important in Sweethaven. When Bluto suggests using Swee'Pea's gift to make a bundle at the gambling hall, Pappy scoffs, saying he owns the gambling hall.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten!: Parodied when Popeye meets Poopdeck Pappy and Pappy orders his son to eat the spinach from the can. By the time Popeye starts whining about it and refuses to do it, Pappy recognizes Popeye as his disobedient son.
  • In the Style of: Very reminiscent of the work of Federico Fellini, and intentionally so. The cinematography was by frequent Fellini collaborator Giuseppe Rotunni.
  • Intimidating Revenue Service: Sweethaven's Taxman, in spades. His actual legitimate authority to collect revenue is as dubious as the taxes themselves ("a nickel, question tax"), but he's undoubtedly the most feared individual in town after Bluto.
  • Jerkass: Oh yes:
    • Bluto, of course. He's not merely the blowhard bully from the cartoon... he has no problems resorting to kidnapping and murder. This is much closer to his comic strip personality.
    • "Jerkass" may be a little harsh to describe Wimpy, but he's a supremely selfish doofus who doesn't care a whit about who may be hurt by his shenanigans and shady dealings. Which perfectly captures his character from the comics.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Poopdeck Pappy comes across as a genuine Jerkass at first, but towards the end proves to have had a heart all along when he starts warming up to Swee'Pea and sharing his "treasure" with him, which turns out to be an old sea chest filled not with gold or jewels, but an empty picture frame, some cans of spinach, bronze baby shoes, and a toy trumpet.
  • The Juggernaut: Bluto actually crushes Popeye in any fight they have until the very end of the movie, where he makes the mistake of trying to rub salt in the wound by force-feeding him spinach...
  • Karma Houdini: Wimpy causes a lot of complications for Popeye and The Oyls — as the 80s All Over podcast points out, he sells a baby for burgers — yet he never really seems to pay for any of it. However, Olive did nearly cause him to fall to his death off a rickety bridge in the course of interrogating him about Swee'Pea's whereabouts...
    • Somewhat with Bluto, ultimately. Sure, he got a super-charged whack on the jaw... but when you consider the terrible things he did in the movie (attempted murder, kidnapping, theft, assault, vandalism, corruption, vindictive taxing, child endangerment, extortion, hijacking)... it still seems like he got off pretty easy.
  • Kick the Dog: Bluto tries to pull this with Popeye at the end of the film. It backfires on him rather emphatically. The Taxman also takes Nana Oyl's big sunflower (while confiscating all the family's worldly goods) out of sheer meanness (And one sunflower, 'embarrassing a taxman tax'!)
  • Literal Metaphor:
    • When Bluto spots Olive with Popeye and Swee'Pea, he sees red.
    • "Look at Bluto! He's gone yellow!" at the end.
  • Logo Joke: As the Retraux opening recreates the opening credits of the Fleischer Bros.-era Popeye cartoons Paramount distributed (see below), the 1930s-era Paramount logo used for those substitutes for the then-current one, seen here.
  • Loves Me Not: Bluto does a variation on this, going from "She loves me" to "She'll marry me". Everyone at the party is on edge, fearing his rage if he gets a "She won't marry me".
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": Most of the Sweethaven citizens are absolutely terrified when Popeye enters their village.
  • Megaton Punch: Both Bluto and the octopus are on the receiving end of one by Popeye once he's empowered by spinach, though the one Bluto receives is less powerful given how it merely blows him a feet back into the water, whereas the one Popeye uses to propel the octopus in the sky is winded up.
  • Mickey Mousing: All the fighting is choreographed like elaborate dance sequences, just like one of the old Popeye shorts where he'd line 'em up and knock 'em down.
  • Mugging the Monster: When several thugs at the Rough House start harassing Popeye as he tries to talk to Wimpy. Popeye keeps his fuse in check until they physically try to attack him. Naturally, he wipes the floor with them.
  • My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting: "Sweet, Sweethaven — An Anthem":
    Chorus: Sweet Sweethaven, God must love us,
    We the people, love Sweethaven,
    Hooray, hooray, Sweethaven...
    Flags are wavin',
    We're people from the sea, Safe from democracy,
    Sweeter than a melon tree, Put here for you and me,
    Sweet Sweethaven, God must love us,
    We the people, of Sweethaven...
    God must have landed here, why else would He strand us here, where the air is nice and clear?
    Sweethaven even sounds so close to Heaven...
    God will always bless Sweethaven...
  • Mythology Gag:
    • At Olive and Bluto's engagement party a man can be heard complaining about Olive getting married. This man is Harold Hamgravy, who was Olive's fiance in the original Thimble Theater comic strip before Popeye was introduced. After Popeye became the strips Breakout Character Hamgravy was Demoted to Extra.
    • Swee'pea's introduction in the movie is a big Shout-Out to the way he was introduced in the comic strip. note 
    • When Rough House asks who's going pay for the burger Wimpy replies "I'm buying, he's paying." This was one of his Catch Phrases in the original comic strip.
    • All the Rough House roughnecks — Spike, Mort, Gozo, Bolo, Slug and Butch — are all named after various thug villains Popeye encountered (and defeated) in the Thimble Theater comic strips. About half of them were henchmen for The Sea Hag.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Only Bluto could be so stupid as to force Popeye to eat his spinach (even if he still didn't like it before then), and get the mega-knuckle sandwich he so deserves because of that.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Castor Oyl vs. Oxblood Oxheart ("The Dirtiest Fighter Alive").
  • No-Sell: During their boxing match, Popeye tanks two haymaker shots from the gigantic Oxblood Oxheart without even blinking before flattening him with two shots back, one of them being his Twister Punch.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Just imagine what Bluto thought when he saw Olive carrying Swee'pea and walking with Popeye.
  • Ordered Apology: In the lead-up to the brawl at the Rough House's, Popeye demands an apology from the thugs who mocked his pappy. They respond by seizing the hash houses's other patrons and forcing an apology out of each. This is just for fun, as they obviously intend to throw down with Popeye one way or another.
  • Origin Story: As with many movies that have launched superhero franchises, this is a tale of how Popeye gets started, establishing all his major relationships and iconic items along the way.
  • Papa Wolf: Popeye to Swee'pea, and Poopdeck Pappy to Swee'Pea when he rescues him from the octopus.
  • Parental Bonus: The town drunk is named Barnacle Bill, a reference to a Bawdy Song from the early 20th century. "Beware of Barnacle Bill" was even the name of an early Popeye cartoon, which contains a cleaned-up version of the song (and with Bluto in the role of Barnacle Bill). Behold!
  • Picky Eater: Popeye hates spinach in this version. Bluto makes the mistake of force feeding him spinach in the climax, with the expected result.
  • Pop-Star Composer: All of the songs, save the cartoon's theme song "I'm Popeye the Sailor Man", are written by Harry Nilsson.
  • Power-Up Food: You guessed it, spinach. Mitigated by how Popeye hates it in this movie, and only gets his usual unstoppable power boost from it when Bluto forces him to eat a can to mock the sailor man's seeming imminent demise at the end.
  • Precision F-Strike: There's a precision D strike in "I'm Mean". Popeye also jumps off a ship shouting "Oh, shee-yit!" near the end.
  • Pun: "A place of ill re-puke!"
  • Ramming Always Works: But not in this film! After blasting Bluto's ship with a cannon, Poopdeck Pappy decides to go full-speed and uses his own ship to ram Bluto's. The collision wrecks both their ships, forcing everyone to swim the rest of the way. Incidentally, Bluto had already taken Olive and Swee'pea into Scab Island.
  • Re-Cut: In the North American cut, Swee'Pea says "Popeye" just before it cuts to Popeye singing "Swee'Pea's Lullaby". In the European cut, Swee'Pea's "Popeye" is moved to the Iris Out after the song.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: When Bluto sees Olive with Popeye and the newly found Swee'Pea when she arrives late for their engagement party, he gets the wrong idea and his eyes glow red with anger, complete with a POV shot.
  • Retraux: The opening credits start with a hand-drawn throwback to the original Max and Dave Fleischer Popeye cartoons made during The Golden Age of Animation, albeit with the animation being outsourced to Hanna-Barbera (which was making new Popeye cartoons for TV at the time). The town of Sweethaven, for that matter, is a veritable Anachronism Stew of driftwood buildings and Retraux artifacts.
  • Ridiculous Repossession: On the orders of Bluto, the Tax Man takes literally everything from the Oyl home on trumped-up taxes - even a sunflower, as an "'embarrassing the taxman' Tax".
  • Say My Name: Bluto was waiting for Olive Oil but she didn't show up because she ran away from him. He yelled her name real loud, causing a nearby window to break.
  • Searching for the Lost Relative: This was the titular sailor's whole reason for arriving in Sweethaven, searching for his long-lost father after two years at sea. As it turns out Poopdeck Papi is secretly the Commodore squeezing the townspeople of taxes while his minion Bluto abuses his power to get Olive Oyl to marry him. Fortunately despite his cantankerous and greedy nature, Poopdeck still harbors love for his son and undergoes a Heel–Face Turn in time to help Popeye unlock his spinach-based powers.
  • See You in Hell: Bluto gives Popeye the sailor equivalent after force feeding him a can of spinach and shoving him underwater to drown.
    Bluto: See you in Davy Jones’s Locker.
  • Setting Introduction Song: "Sweethaven — An Anthem".
  • Small Parent, Huge Child: Mrs. Oxheart is a seemingly frail, bent old lady. Her son Oxblood Oxheart is a mountain of a man (and a Mighty Glacier in the boxing ring). He's still an unabashed Momma's Boy.
  • Smooch of Victory: Olive delivers one to Popeye after he saves her in the end, complete with a “My hero!” following it.
  • So Proud of You: At the end, when Popeye finally gets force-fed spinach by Bluto, Popeye knocks the octopus out of the water and sends Bluto swimming for his life, and Pappy is smiling and singing "I'm Popeye the Sailor Man" with the cast and chorus as Popeye learns that spinach gives him strength to face impossible obstacles.
  • Something Only They Would Say: When Popeye is trying to prove to Pappy that he's his son, Pappy tells him there's only one way he can be convinced. "Eat the spinach." Once Popeye refuses to eat it, whining like a baby, Pappy is convinced that he's his son.
  • Sound-Effect Bleep:
    • Pappy, during "Kids".
    • Bluto in his "I'm Mean" character song:
    Bluto (singing): I'm mean, I'm mean, I'm mean, you know what I mean, (he's mean, he's mean), you know what I say (he says he's mean), you know what I mean (he's mean, he's mean), mean! (he's mean, he's mean), you know what I mean (he's mean, he's mean). I'm meaner than *steam whistle* (so true, so true), I mean what I say (he do, he do). I'm so mean, I had a dream of beating myself up; I broke my nose, I broke my hand, I wrestled myself to the ground and then I choked myself to death and broke the choke and woke up, aargh! I'm mean, you know what I mean, if you know what I mean, I'm mean! (he's mean, he's mean) meaner than *scream*, I sure am mean, yeah me!
  • Speech Impediment: Another thing Popeye's got... is a senske of humiligration.
  • Spoiled Brat: When Poopdeck Pappy first sees Popeye and asks him to eat his spinach, and to a larger extent, Poopdeck Pappy's "Kids" song about ingratitude.
  • Stealth Pun: All the Wallfluer (i.e. "wallflower") sisters are named after flowers.
  • Strange Salute: While the Sweethaven civic (?) anthem plays before the boxing match, the townspeople hold their hands over their heads.
  • The Strategist: Amazingly enough, Bluto comes across this way for the first half of the movie. He keeps Popeye under scrutiny, from afar. He seems to be sizing him up before actually confronting him. Of course he takes a much more hands-on approach after he sees his fiancee with Popeye, holding a baby.
  • Stylistic Suck: Bluto's red eyes POV shot is just Popeye, Olive and Swee'Pea dressed in red in front of a red background. A similar Visual Pun comes at the end of the movie when Bluto "turns yellow" — i.e. he's dressed in yellow as he swims away.
  • Super Mode: Popeye finally transforms into his famous Spinach Mode at the end after being force fed spinach by Bluto. However, you only get to see his enlarged arms uppercutting Bluto from underwater.
    • As per the cartoons and comics, no villain stands the slightest chance, man or beast, once he's spinach-powered.
  • Talk Like a Pirate: During his "I'm Mean" number, Bluto does a pirate growl at one point.
  • A Twinkle in the Sky: The giant octopus gets propelled in the sky this way by Popeye's Megaton Punch.
  • Ungrateful Townsfolk: From the moment Popeye enters in Sweethaven, everyone, except for the Oyls, and Wimpy, either ignore him, or treat him with hostility. Once he gets rid of the tax collector however, everyone instantly loves him.
  • Victorious Chorus: At the end of the film, the main cast (including Popeye himself) and an offscreen chorus triumphantly sing Van Dyke Parks's arrangement of "I'm Popeye the Sailor Man".
  • Villain Song: Bluto has "I'm Mean" and his part of "It's Not Easy Being Me".
  • Villainous Breakdown: Bluto has one while impatiently waiting for Olive at their engagement party. He gets so angry that he destroys the house and attacks some of the guests.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Wimpy and Geezil seem to be this by the end of the movie — even dancing together. (In the strip, Geezil loathed Wimpy even more than shown in this movie, and Wimpy largely ignored him.)
  • Worthless Treasure Twist: Bluto's looking for Poopdeck Pappy's buried treasure, and with Swee' Pea's help manages to find a chest. While Bluto is distracted fighting Popeye, Pappy manages to get the chest back, and shows Swee' Pea what's in it; a bunch of keepsakes and some cans of spinach.
  • You Are Not My Father: Briefly, when Popeye and Poopdeck Pappy bicker while chasing after Bluto's ship...
    Poopdeck Pappy: Is that any way to talk to your father?
    Popeye: You ain't my father. My father was tall, and kind, and looked like Abraham Lincoln.


Video Example(s):



As the Retraux opening recreates the opening credits of the Fleischer Bros.-era Popeye cartoons Paramount distributed, the 1930s-era Paramount logo used for those substitutes for the then-current one, seen here.

How well does it match the trope?

4.88 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / LogoJoke

Media sources: