In a galaxy very, very, very,
very, far away there lived
a ruthless race of beings
The evil leaders of Planet
Spaceball, having foolishly
squandered their precious
atmosphere, have devised a
secret plan to take every
breath of air away from
their peace-loving neighbor,
Today is Princess Vespa's
wedding day. Unbeknownst
to the princess but knownst
to us, danger lurks in the
If you can read this, you
don't need glasses.
SPACEBALLS: THE TV TROPES PAGE
Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga) — the bold, bossy and beautiful heir to the throne of planet Druidia — is fleeing her intended marriage to the painfully dull Prince Valium (Jim J. Bullock), the only eligible bachelor prince in her region of space. Unfortunately, Vespa and her robot servant Dot Matrix (performed by Lorene Yarnellnote ; voiced by Joan Rivers) acquire the attention of the Spaceballs, a group of spacefaring evildoers — led by Dark Helmet (Rick Moranis) and President Skroob (Mel Brooks) — who plan to seize Vespa and hold her hostage in exchange for access to Druidia's oxygen (in order to drain it away and use it to replenish their homeworld's own thinning atmosphere).
Everybody got that...?
All hope lies with two rogues-for-hire: Lone Starr (Bill Pullman) and Barf the Mawg (John Candy), who hope to use the substantial reward offered by Vespa's father to pay off their debt to crime boss Pizza the Hutt (Dom DeLuise). With a little help from wise-cracking mystic Master Yogurt (also Mel Brooks), Lone Starr fights to save Planet Druidia, defeat the Spaceballs, and (maybe) get the girl, too.
Noted for being the final film released by MGM to have been shot at the studio's historic backlot at Culver City. More specifically, Stages 27 and 30 were utilized to film all of the interior scenes at Yogurt's temple and the interior scenes for both the bridge of the Spaceball One and Spaceball City, respectively. Shortly after filming wrapped up, MGM sold the studio backlot to Lorimar-Telepictures.
An Animated Adaptation of the film, simply titled Spaceballs: The Animated Series, was in Development Hell for much of the 2000s. G4, who eventually gained the rights to it, ended up promoting the show a year before it was set to air and by the time it finally did, it had already been canceled after only 13 episodes.
Spaceballs: The Tropes!
- Abandon Ship: Played for Laughs. Everybody is shown running for the Escape Pods in the film's climax — the orchestra, a variety of circus freaks, and even a bear — but leaving behind Colonel Sandurz, President Skroob, and Dark Helmet. Many of these are part of the capper of a Brick Joke initiated when Colonel Sandurz orders the cancellation of a three-ring circus and the closing of the zoo aboard the Spaceball One as part of the preparations for Ludicrous Speed.
- Actor Allusion:
- John Hurt plays a patron in "Gus's Galaxy Grill" who had the special. He even says "Oh no, not again!"
- President Skroob's name is a Sdrawkcab Name of director and actor Mel Brooks' last name.
- After a few uncomfortable minutes of silence in her ship, Dot Matrix (voiced by Joan Rivers) turns to Vespa and asks "Can we talk?"
- Actually Pretty Funny: Some of the Spaceballs start snickering when President Skroob finds out he has a big ass.
- Adventurer Outfit: Dark Helmet has a brief costume switch into a safari outfit during the part of the movie that took place on the Tatooine-spoof planet (it's actually a moon). Complete with huge pith helmet with peep-holes.
- Affectionate Parody: Star Wars, and sci-fi in general, of course.
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: When Princess Vespa and Dot get attacked by the Spaceballs, she calls her father for help. Pretty gutsy, since she ran out on the wedding he organized and arranged.
- Alter Kocker: Yogurt, like many characters played by Mel Brooks.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: Third or fourth sons of kings and queens often were sent to monasteries in Real Life.
- Always Chaotic Evil: The Spaceballs. 'Cause what you got is what we need, and all we do is dirty deeds.
- Amusing Alien: Is there an alien in this film who isn't?
- Amusing Injuries: Dark Helmet suffers some of these as a result of crashing headfirst into a control panel while coming out of Ludicrous Speed, and he asked for that one by refusing to use a seat belt.
- Anachronism Stew: Played with. Like the franchise it mimics, Spaceballs appears to be set "in a galaxy far, far away," only with futuristic trappings. However, with the exception of Druidia, every locale in the film features contemporary details: a Winnebago RV, Heavy Metal music, pizza, videotapes, The Merch (including a flamethrower!), Washington, D.C.-like government buildings, and references to such things as Disneyland and Wide World of Sports. Rule of Funny, of course.
- Antagonist Title: The Spaceballs are The Empire in the film.
- Arbitrary Maximum Range: Especially the scene when the Spaceball One is chasing Princess Vespa's car.
- Arranged Marriage: Vespa and Valium.
- Artistic License Physics: In reality, a vacuum cleaner would never work to steal an atmosphere on a normal planet (else Earth would be uninhabitable, as it's surrounded by vacuum). But it's a comedy film, so we should really just relax.
- As You Know: Spoofed — Dark Helmet addresses the audience to make sure they're up to speed after an infodump from Colonel Sandurz.Dark Helmet: Everybody got that?
- At Arm's Length: Lone Starr holds Dark Helmet back by the helmet during their Schwartz fight, leaving Helmet to ineffectually flail at the air.
- Autocannibalism: Pizza the Hutt gets locked in his limo and eats himself to death, freeing the heroic duo from their debt.
- Awesome, but Impractical: Ludicrous Speed is too fast to be useful. Sure, it's good for catching up to people... or would be if you could actually stop in time.
- "Awesome McCool" Name: Lone Starr.
- Badass Boast: The Spaceballs' theme song has a surprisingly good one.We're so bad and mean — we make nightmares out of dreams.
- Banister Slide: The three main villains, in order to get to the Self-Destruct Mechanism's cancellation button.
- Bathos: The Chest Burster alien breaking into a dance number.
- Batman Can Breathe in Space:
- Barf evacuates Vespa and Dot from their spaceship using a ladder. At least Dot is a robot.
- Lone Starr later uses the same ladder to descend into a portion of the Spaceball One that appears to be open to space, which contains a door into a bathroom.
- Bears Are Bad News: One takes the last escape pod on the Spaceball One, much to the President's dismay.
- Bedouin Rescue Service: Parodied with the Dinks who rescue the heroes before the Thirsty Desert can take its toll and take them to see Yogurt.
- Berserk Button. Don't. Shoot. Vespa's. Hair. Do, and you'll be gunned down with a fury that would make Rambo look like a pussy.
- Big Bad: President Skroob, albeit a largely incompetent one.
- Big "NO!": Princess Vespa, when she's threatened with being given her old ugly nose back.
- Big Red Button: One that activates the Spaceball One's Self-Destruct Mechanism.
- Bilingual Bonus:
- Cyrillic letters appear in the Eagle 5's targeting scope, including a combination that does make perfect sense — "ПЁС — КОТ" (Dog — Cat).
- And a minor one — after Dr. Schlotkins and the Hospital Hottie get caught making out in the dark, Helmet tells him, "Get back to the golf course and work on your putts!" Putz is also Yiddish for penis/dick.
- Biting-the-Hand Humor: The "merchandising" gag was this. George Lucas gave his blessings to loan out some of the more distinct special effects for this parody on the provision that there be no real licensed merchandise, and the gag was Brooks' way of tweaking his nose about it. While many of these are out in the open or are meta examples (like the title), more subtle examples show up, e.g. Spaceballs: the toilet paper!
- Blade Lock: Parodied as Lone Starr and Dark Helmet's Laser Blades get twisted around each other: "I hate it when I get my Schwartz twisted!"
- Blowing a Raspberry: Parodied. Dark Helmet exclaims, "There is only one man who would dare give me the Raspberry! Lone Starr!" after the hero has jammed the Spaceball One's radar literally with... jam... Raspberry-flavored jam.
- The Bore: Prince Valium is so boring that he puts himself to sleep.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Spaceballs: The Trope Example!:Yogurt: Spaceballs: The T-Shirt! Spaceballs: The Coloring Book! Spaceballs: The Lunchbox! Spaceballs: The Breakfast Cereal! Spaceballs: THE FLAMETHROWER!! note
- Break Her Heart to Save Her: From the (rather more serious) novelization only; on realising that Vespa is in love with him and wants to refuse to return to Druidia to stay with him, Lone Starr stages a loud discussion with (a rather bewildered) Barf about how much of a pain she is and how he can't wait to drop her off home to receive their million space-buck reward. This adds a certain extra weight to Vespa's anger towards Lone Starr at the wedding, and an extra poignancy to her realisation that he really did love her when he turned down the money.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: What's that "fourth wall" you're speaking of?
Dark Helmet: Fuck! Even in the future nothing works!
- At one point, the villains believe they've captured Lone Starr, Barf, Vespa, and Dot, only to learn they've mistakenly captured their stunt doubles.
- After Colonel Sandurz takes a brief turn as Mr. Exposition, Dark Helmet lampshades it by turning towards the camera to ask, "Everybody got that?"
- When on the desert planet, at one point there's a transition from Barf and Lone Starr to the sun beating down on the desert, with it shining through behind them in a dissolve effect. Halfway through, Barf comments, "Nice dissolve!"
- During the duel between Lone Starr and Dark Helmet, one of the camera crew gets killed by a wayward strike.Dark Helmet: Um, he did it!
Lone Starr: What?
- A camera collides with Dark Helmet during a zoom-in shot. Just before, Colonel Sandurz blatantly sees the camera approaching and backs out of the way.
- Dark Helmet and Colonel Sandurz watch the movie on video to find out where the heroes are at that moment. Dark Helmet has a bit of a freak-out when they accidentally fast forward to the current moment in the movie, so that's he's watching himself watching himself watching himself (ad infinitum), and he (all of him) turn to look out of the screen. May be the record setter for recursive fourth wall breaks.
- As the heroes attempt to elude a squad of guards firing lasers at them, Dot comments "Ooh, I HATE these movies!"
- As President Skroob comes running into the bridge of the Spaceball One:Skroob: (panting) The ship is too big. If I walk, the movie'll be over.
- Pretty much half of Yogurt's lines are breaking the fourth wall, with him hawking merchandise for the movie in the middle of the movie.Yogurt: Merchandising, merchandising, where the real money from the movie is made!
- Even his last line spoken in person gets it:Lone Starr: Will we ever meet again?
Yogurt: Who knows? God willing we'll all meet again in Spaceballs II: The Search For More Money.
- After the Spaceballs force King Roland to give them the air shield code, Sandurz goes to turn off the wall communicator... and instead turns off the movie.
- When the villains find the self-destruct cancellation button... and it's OUT OF ORDER.
- Brick Joke:
- While preparing for Ludicrous Speed, Sandurz mentions cancelling the three-ring circus and closing the zoo. When it comes time to abandon ship, the crowd includes several circus freaks and a bear.
- Dark Helmet lamely covers for mistaking a coffee maker for the radar by claiming he always gets coffee before watching the radar. In a later scene, he's watching radar again with another cup of coffee.
- Early in the "you're looking at now" bit, the shelves of videotapes include several Rocky sequels, setting up the Rocky 5000 gag near the end of the movie.
- After the Princess's wedding, Dot mentions she won't be needing the virgin alarm anymore.
- During the first rescue of Vespa, Barf mentions that she doesn't look like a Druish princess... about an hour later, we see her original nose.
- Bridal Carry: Lone Starr carries Princess Vespa while trying to find help on The Desert Moon of Vega until:Lone Starr: Must go on... Must go on... Who am I kidding?
(drops her and faints)
- Bumper Sticker:
- Spaceball-One's is "WE BRAKE FOR NOBODY."
- Lone Starr's ship has I (heart) Uranus.
- Butter Face: Princess Vespa's stunt double. Because it's a bearded guy.
- Butt-Monkey: For an evil warrior feared the universe over, Lord Dark Helmet seems to have very unfortunate things happen to him on a near-hourly basis. Just for funsies, here are some examples — he burns his mouth with coffee in his introductory scene, gets hit in the head with the door of Vespa's car, is sent flying into the front control panel of Spaceball-One when they decelerate from Ludicrous Speed, is found role-playing a liaison between himself and Vespa with dolls, and can't keep his helmet visor up to save his life. And that's before the climax of the movie.
- Camera Abuse: The camera hits Dark Helmet in the face during a close-up. Later, a cameraman gets slashed during the climactic battle sequence between Lone Starr and Dark Helmet.Dark Helmet: Um... (points to Lone Starr) He did it!
Lone Starr: What?!
- Camp Gay: The "You've captured their stunt doubles" Spaceball guy played by Stephen Tobolowsky.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Dark Helmet and all of the Spaceball race.
- Check, Please!:
- Chekhov's Gun: The fortune cookie Yogurt gives Lone Starr contains his translation of the Orphan's Plot Trinket that Lone Starr has carried his whole life.
- Child Marriage Veto: King Roland never has to back off from his demand that his daughter shall marry a prince. Sure the horribly boring Prince Valium was the only prince left in the galaxy, but it turns out that the hero is actually also a prince. Problem solved.
- Close-Call Haircut: Which proves to be Princess Vespa's Berserk Button: "He shot my hair... Son of a bitch!" Also coincides with Nobody Touches the Hair.
- Clothing Damage: The hem of Vespa's wedding dress gets increasingly torn and ragged during her trek through the desert, baring quite a bit of her legs by the movie's climax.
- Colonel Bogey March: Dink dink! Dink dink dink dink, dink, dink! Dink dink! Dink dink dink dink, dink, dink!
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Lone Starr's Schwartz is red-orange, and Dark Helmet's is green, since the ship lasers in Star Wars were as well.
- Comically Cross-Eyed: At least two minor characters are cross eyed — Major Asshole and Philip Asshole (employed as a gunner!) — see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sen8Tn8CBA4.
- Comically Missing the Point: When Lone Starr tries the Vulcan neck pinch on a guard, the guard just tells him how to properly do it, and then passes out when it's done right.
- Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Princess Vespa will not be rescued by such filth!
- Composite Character: Lone Starr is a combination of Luke Skywalker (training in the resident magic source and rivalry with the lead villain) and Han Solo (criminal ties, Only in It for the Money, cynical, best friends with a furry alien and romantically involved with the princess), with the costume design of Indiana Jones. Yogurt is Yoda (name and appearance) and Obi-Wan (training style). Colonel Sandurz represents the various Imperial officers that appeared through the movies.
- The Consigliere: Vinny, perhaps, to Pizza the Hutt.
- Contrived Coincidence: Of all the planets Lone Starr could've crashed on after running out of fuel, it just happens to be the one where Yogurt lives.
- Conveniently Close Planet: Lone Star's Winnebago comes out of Hyperspeed and promptly runs out of gas. Cue nearby desert planet to land on.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: The Spaceballs threaten to undo Princess Vespa's nose-job and return her nose to its original grotesque size unless the King hands over the access codes to Druidia's planetary defenses. It works.
- Cool Spaceship: Lone Starr's Eagle 5. Theres not many other things you can call a spaceworthy 1986 Winnebago Chieftain 33 with wings glued to the side.
- Corrupt Politician: Not only is Skroob one, he's an incompetent one. See The Ditherer, below.
- Creator Cameo: Co-writers Ronny Graham as the Minister, Thomas Meehan as the King's assistant, and Mel Brooks himself as Yogurt and Skroob.
- Curse Cut Short: Twice in the same scene.Lone Starr: YOU are a royal pain in the—
Barf: Whoa, time out!
Lone Starr: Listen, you royal b—
Lone Starr: ...Highness.
- Darth Vader Clone: Dark Helmet spoofs the trope in as many ways as possible. All-black getup? It's too silly-looking to be threatening. Deep voice? He does that on purpose. Vader Breath? He really can't breathe with his faceplate down.
- Death by Gluttony: Pizza the Hutt eats himself to death after getting accidentally locked in his limousine.
- Decoy Getaway: "You've captured their stunt doubles!"
- Delegation Relay:Skroob: Helmet, what's going on?
Dark Helmet: Sandurz, what's going on?
Skroob: (to Helmet) Do something!
Dark Helmet: (to Sandurz) Do something!
Sandurz: (into PA) Do something!
- Determinator: Spoofed.Lone Starr: (exhausted and dehydrated) Must go on... must go on... must go on... who am I kidding? (collapses)
- Digital Destruction: On original, non-anamorphic DVD, the scene where Dark Helmet threatens to restore Vespa's old nose became cropped so strongly, viewers can't see the crooked tip of her old nose. The Collector's Edition DVD fixed this, but might prove harder to find than the original release, which MGM has repackaged a number of times.
- Disposable Fiancé: Princess Vespa dumps Prince Valium for Lone Starr at their wedding.
- Distinction Without a Difference:
- Done twice:Barf: Look, Your Highness, it's not that we're afraid — far from it! It's just that we've got this thing about death. It's... not us.
- Then, once they've accepted the deal.
- Done twice:
- The Ditherer: President Skroob.President Skroob: Sandurz, Sandurz. You got to help me. I don't know what to do. I can't make decisions: I'm a president!
- Doesn't Like Guns: Vespa, until someone shoots her hair.
- The Don: Pizza the Hutt.
- Double Entendre:
- Lone Starr and Dark Helmet square off with their "Schwartz" lightsabers suggestively held at crotch height. Dark Helmet remarks "Hmm... I see your Schwartz is as big as mine. Now let's see how well you... handle it!" Made even better when they both glance down to check.
- Also, this line: Sandurz: It's Mega-Maid, sir. She's gone from "suck" to "blow"!
- And: "Oh, yes, sir. Snotty beamed me twice last night. It was wonderful."
- Also, after King Roland gives Dark Helmet and President Skroob the combination to his planet's air shield therefore preventing Princess Vespa from having to be given back her once ugly nose by the plastic surgeon, Dark Helmet dismisses the surgeon by telling him: You can go back to the golf course now and work on your "putts."
- When checking out a Sexy Nurse, Dark Helmet notes that she "must give great helmet."
- Prince Valium is a reference to both Prince Valiant and the common phrase in The '50s that a woman "was sleeping with Prince Valium tonight" (that is, taking pills to sleep after a long day). In fact, the latter idiom was a reference to the comic strip, making it a doubly enforced double entendre.
- Dramatic Timpani: Provided by an actual timpanist, who reappears during the evacuation sequence.
- Droste Image: The "Now" scene.
- Drum Roll, Please: Sandurz pauses in mid sentence for this.
- Earth All Along: Parodied. The remains of Mega Maid crash-land on the Planet of the Apes. The implication is that this ending in the original film may not have been the truth.Ape 1: Dear me. What are those things coming out of her nose?
(a second ape looks through binoculars, sees President Scroob, Dark Helmet, and Colonel Sandurz climbing down a Bedsheet Ladder out of Mega Maid's nose)
Ape 2: Spaceballs?!
Ape 1: Oh, shit. There goes the planet.
- Easily Conquered World: Dark Helmet is able to convince King Roland to turn over the codes to Druidias air lock simply by threatening to reverse Princess Vespa's nose job. Downplayed by the fact that the plastic surgeon wasn't going to use any anaesthesia, and on live video.
- Emergency Refuelling: The need to keep their ship fueled is Played for Laughs; "I told you we should've put more than five bucks in," — right before they make a crash landing on a desert planet. Fortunately, they eventually find some fuel.
- The Empire: The Spaceballs, though apparently technically a republic, being led by a President and not a monarch.
- Entitled Bastard: Princess Vespa starts out this way. She gets over it pretty quickly, however... She kinda lost the attitude along with the matched luggage.
- Ermine Cape Effect: The king of Druidia is always wearing his crown and ermine robes.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: Vespa.
- Extreme Close-Up: Played for Laughs — the camera zooms in for a closeup on Dark Helmet and runs into him.
- Failsafe Failure: The Self-Destruct Cancellation Button. It turns out to be out of order.Dark Helmet: Fuck! Even in the future, nothing works!
- Fainting: Princess Vespa faints twice: once when she realizes that her reunion with her father was a sham and a trap, and once when she is about to be mutilated as part of an extortion attempt on her father.
- Fairytale Wedding Dress
- Fake Static: Barf uses this ploy to make King Roland promise a million space bucks to rescue Princess Vespa. Note that he wasn't pretending to lose picture to get away from the conversation as is standard of this trope, but rather as a way of saying "I'm losing interest in this deal."
- Famed In-Story:Lone Starr: Who hasn't heard of Yogurt?
Vespa: Yogurt the Wise!
Dot: Yogurt the All-Powerful!
Barf: Yogurt the Magnificent!
Yogurt: Please, please, don't make a fuss. I'm just plain Yogurt.
- Fanfare: Can't be a parody of Star Wars without one.
- Fantasy Helmet Enforcement: Parodied and Double Subverted. After Dark Helmet refuses to fasten his seat belt after ordering Colonel Sandurz to shift to Ludicrous Speed, their ship bypasses their target, and Dark Helmet can barely hang on. The villain tells Sandurz to hit the emergency brake (which Sandurz does, despite a warning sign on it that says "Never Use") and Dark Helmet is Blown Across the Room headfirst. Luckily, as Sandurz points out, he was wearing the helmet, so he survives (but the helmet itself does not, and Dark Helmet collapses a few seconds later).
- Faster-Than-Light Travel: Light Speed < Ridiculous Speed < Ludicrous Speed. Somewhere in there is presumably "Hyperactive," courtesy of the Eagle 5's Hyper-Jets.
- Fast-Forward Gag: When they are watching themselves in the movie, Helmet doesn't want to see the part where his plan to go Ludicrous Speed backfires. "Go past this. Pass this part. In fact, never play this again." It then leads to another gag involving the villains watching themselves.
- Flipping the Bird: Done by Barf to the guards at the prison to get their attention. (So he and Lone Star can beat them up.)
- Flynning: The entire Laser Blade fight consists of a few pirate halves done so slowly that a higher intensity scene could have been had by hopping two children up on sugar and giving them foam swords. It was probably intentional, as the slow, clumsy fight choreography of Star Wars: A New Hope was legendary.
- Foe Yay :
- Lord Helmet playing with a Princess Vespa doll says to the Lord Helmet doll, "Oh, your helmet is SO big!"
- Later, he and Lone Starr are comparing the size of their... um... schwartzes.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus:
- Slow down the "Instant Cassettes" scene to find what possibly looks like a Working Title for the movie: Spaceballs Chapter Eleven: The Spaceballs Grow Desperate.
- When Skroob is called while in bed with the twins, the title of the book he's holding (upside-down) is "Don't Blame Me," written by himself.
- Freudian Slip: "I'll have the cleavage. Uh, the special." (Barf at the diner staring at the waitress)
- Funny Background Event:
- The Merch, as a Running Gag.
- The stuff in the back of the Winnebago includes a fire hydrant labeled "Mawg's Room."
- When Rico is getting his groin zapped, Colonel Sandurz is looking away with a traumatized facial expression, as if he knows all too well how that feels. Later on, Dark Helmet gives out an instruction, the soldiers around him give an affirmative... while covering their crotches.
- The "You're looking at now" bit includes several Rocky sequels (see Brick Joke).
- Dr. Schlotkin and the nurse suddenly making out when Sandurz turns the movie back on.
- Mr. <Insert Product Here> machinery in the background of various scenes.
- When Dark Helmet declares "Prepare to attack!" while the Spaceball One is pursuing Lone Starr's Winnebago, the two Spaceball guards behind him can be seen readying their guns.
- The one Spaceball (ostensibly replacing the guy that got Schwartzed at the beginning of the movie) turning around in confusion when Dark Helmet asks how many Assholes they have on the ship.
- Glasses Pull: Of a kind. Dark Helmet pulls the mask down over his face whenever he wants to be scary and dramatic, and pops it up when he starts expressing exasperation or confusion. Or when he realizes he can't breathe in that thing.
- Good Is Dumb: The Trope Namer, when Helmet tricks Lone Starr and takes his Schwartz ring, saying "So, Lone Starr, now you see that evil will always triumph, because good is dumb."
- Good Republic, Evil Empire: More like "Good Kingdom, Evil Republic."
- Greasy Spoon: Lone Starr and Barf visit one after the climax; this film provides the Image Source. The special has the nasty surprise of a Chest Burster.
- Groin Attack:
"Say goodbye to your two best friends. And I don't mean your pals in the Winnebago!"
- Dark Helmet's preferred use of his Schwartz powers is to Schwartz-choke the nads of subordinates who fail him. Or annoy him. ("You went over my helmet?") After the first time, they start covering themselves immediately when he gets angry.
- He also attempts to blast Lone Starr's junk with his Schwarts.
- Half-Human Hybrid:
- Have a Nice Death: Self-Destruct Voice: "Have a nice day."
- Head Turned Backwards: Skroob, thanks to a Teleporter Accident.Skroob: Why didn't anyone tell me my ass was so big?!
- Helpful Mook: Literally. When Lone Starr tries to knock out a Mook guarding a door with the Vulcan Nerve Pinch, he pinches too high. The Mook tells him that, and he does it right the second time.
- Ho Yay: Invoked: Lord Helmet and Lone Starr are comparing the size of their... um... schwartzes.
- Hospital Hottie: The assistant to the plastic surgeon brought in by Helmet when he threatens to give Vespa her old nose.Dark Helmet: I bet she gives great helmet.
- Hurt Foot Hop: Barf gets his foot crushed under a massive statue. When he removes his foot, not only does he hop about in pain, but his foot is comically flattened.
- Hyperspeed Escape: Lone Starr pulls one on the Spaceball One. Dark Helmet tries to follow by going to Ludicrous Speed, but overshoots by a very wide margin.Barf: What the hell was that?
Lone Starr: Spaceball One.
Barf: They've gone to plaid!
- "I Can't Look!" Gesture: Colonel Sandurz, when Dark Helmet is zapping one man's balls.
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: Spoofed. It appears Dark Helmet is gloating to Vespa over her capture, but all it turns out is him playing kissy-kissy with his dolls.Colonel Sandurz: No, sir! I didn't see you playing with your dolls again!
- Improv: The entire sequence of Dark Helmet playing with dolls was unscripted. Mel Brooks had a sudden idea to shoot the scene and simply gave the dolls to Rick Moranis and told him to roll with it.
- Imperial Storm Trooper Marksmanship Academy: Played straight, since the majority of the Spaceball One's crew, being members of the Asshole family with their eyes naturally crossed, cannot aim very well.
- Instant Awesome: Just Add Mecha!: Mega-Maid.Barf: It's not just a spaceship, it's a Transformer!
- Jewish American Princess: Vespa is a play on this stereotype. She's a rich, vain and spoiled brat who had plastic surgery to get rid of her hooked nose. Since she's daughter to the King of the Druids, she's literally a "Druish Princess." Barf remarks that she doesn't "look Druish," referencing when people comment on whether someone "looks Jewish."
- Keep the Reward: Near the end, Vespa laments how greedy Lone Starr was to take the money and leave, only for her father to tell her that he only took 248 spacebucks for food, gas, and tolls. (Lone Starr had asked him not to tell her.)
- The Key Is Behind the Lock: When a guard shoots the lock on the Winebago.Dot: Open the door!
Barf: I can't, the lock is fused!
Vespa: What about this door?
Barf: Its locked!
Vespa: Where are the keys?
Vespa: Oh, great!
- Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: Vespa, while still in her dress, is handed a gun. She refuses to use it until her hair is singed. Then she goes "good enough for Rambo" by mowing down a line of Spaceballs.
- Knows a Guy Who Knows a Guy: Dark Helmet is Lone Starr's father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate.Lone Starr: So... what's that make us?
Dark Helmet: Absolutely nothing... which is what you are about to become!
- Large Ham: Dark Helmet, Lone Starr and many more!
- Laser Blade: Used in the climactic battle.Dark Helmet: And I see your Schwartz is as big as mine!
- Laughably Evil: Might as well be the Spaceballs' hat. They're out to rob a planet of all its air and kill off all life on it, but everyone aboard the ship, from the rank-and-file to the leadership, are comically-inept imbeciles.
- Lawful Stupid: Lone Starr. Don't ever trust something if you can't see where it keeps its brain! Dark Helmet even lampshades this (naming a trope in the process) after stealing the Ring of the Schwartz from Lone Starr:Dark Helmet: Evil will always triumph because Good Is Dumb.
- Leave the Camera Running: The intro, which pans over the Spaceball One for about ninety seconds. Heck, even the orchestra gets tired of it.
- Left the Background Music On: The timpani player!
- Let Us Never Speak of This Again: After watching the painful footage of being catapulted into the bulkhead of the Spaceball One, Dark Helmet says, "No, no. Go past this part. In fact never play this part again," and nervously drinks his coffee.
- Lie to the Beholder: Dark Helmet makes himself appear as King Roland in order to lure Vespa into his clutches. Dot sees through the illusion, too late.
- Lightning Bruiser: Of the spacecrafts in the film, the Spaceball One is (of the three we see to any degree) not only the most heavily armed, but also the fastest, if Ludicrous Speed counts for anything.
- Love Makes You Dumb: At least during first meetings, "Now listen: on this ship, you are to refer to me as 'Idiot', not 'You captain!' I mean, you know what I mean." So much for Lone Starr always being right.
- Lots of Luggage: After the Winnebago crash-lands on the desert planet, Lone Starr tells Princess Vespa to take only what she needs to survive. She determines that this includes her industrial-strength hair dryer, carried in a very large suitcase (which, naturally, she forces Lone and Barf to carry).
- Ludicrous Speed: The Trope Namer, when Helmet says that they can't catch Lone Starr going at light speed. They need to go to ludicrous speed.
- Oddly enough, it's actually an aversion despite being the Trope Namer: the only harm that really comes out of it is the Spaceball One overshooting Lone Starr by a minimum of several hours in non-Ludicrous Speed travel time, and Dark Helmet taking some Amusing Injuries from crashing into a bridge console when the Spaceball One decelerates.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Spoofed:Dark Helmet: I am your father's brother's nephew's cousin's FORMER ROOMMATE!
Lone Starr: ...What's that make us?!
Dark Helmet: Absolutely nothing. Which is what YOU are about to become.
- Magic Countdown: Lone Starr is given one day to get the money he needs to pay off Pizza the Hutt. He then spends two days stuck on the moon of Vega with Vespa, plus an unspecified amount of time rescuing Vespa from Planet Spaceball and defeating Dark Helmet, which means he was long past the end of his deadline when he learns that Pizza had died, cancelling the debt. Nobody brings this up.
- Magic Feather: The Schwartz Ring Lone Starr gets from Yogurt.Yogurt: The ring was bupkis! I found it in a Cracker-Jack box!
- Male Gaze:Dot Matrix: Hey, stop looking up my can!
- Man in a Kilt: Snotty, the Scotty parody, is the only Spaceball to wear a kilt with his uniform.
- Marshmallow Hell: The plastic surgeon finds his face smooshed into his sexy assistant's decolletage after the light comes back on.
- Matron Chaperone: Dot Matrix has this as one of her functions, even if she's actually not older than Princess Vespa.Dot: That was my Virgin Alarm. It's programmed to go off before you do!
- May the Farce Be with You: A very well known example. The DVD case actually uses the exact phrase "May the Farce be with you" as a tagline.
- Meaningful Name: Prince Valium.note
- Medium Awareness:
- Exploited by Colonel Sandurz to find the heroes, leading to the "You're looking at now now" scene.
- Barf appreciates a scene transition, saying, "Nice dissolve!"
- Yogurt knows exactly that he's living in a film. Not only does he mention a potential sequel, but he's the one behind all The Merch.
- Mega-Maw Maneuver: The Spaceball One eats Princess Vespa's spaceship.
- The Merch: Beautifully parodied. Taken one step further by some of it clearly being Transformers merchandise with Spaceballs stickers on them. The Merch helps the baddies find Lone Starr and company, and it's everywhere if you look for it. The gag is actually Mel ribbing George Lucas, who only gave his blessing (and lent out Industrial Light and Magic) for this film if Brooks didn't make any real-life merchandise.
- Mile-Long Ship: Subject of the opening Overly Long Gag. Justified by the fact that the Spaceball One has to be able to transport the entire atmosphere of an Earth-like planet.
- Misaimed Marketing: In-Universe:
- Mistaken from Behind: The scene where Dark Helmet captures the stunt doubles of Lone Starr's group.
- Moment Killer: Damn that Dot Matrix and her virgin alarm...
- Money, Dear Boy: In-Universe.Lone Starr: We're not doing this for money!
(quizzical look from Barf)
Lone Starr: We're doing this for a shitload of money!
- Mook Lieutenant: Colonel Sandurz
- Moses in the Bulrushes: As luck would have it, Lone Starr is really a prince who was sent off, Superman style, complete with Orphan's Plot Trinket.
- Mugged for Disguise: Lone Starr and Barf beat up two guards and steal their uniforms. Of course, Barf doesn't fit in his properly.
- Mundane Made Awesome: A meta case, considering how much a lot of special effects are done in post-production digitally nowadays is that everything, even the sounds of static and the terrible quality of the communicator, in the Jammed Radar sequence was done by Michael Winslow right there and then. He effectively adlibbed what would normally take hours of post-production work.
- The major evidence is when he drops an Precision F-Strike when the screen fails, since it smoothly transitions from the fake static he was doing to simulate the sound the screen SHOULD have been making.
- Musical Gag: At least two. First, the orchestra getting increasingly frustrated with the length of the Spaceball One. Second, when we go to Spaceball City the first time, we're treated to a rendition of "Hail to the Chief" with a very wrong final note.
- My Friends... and Zoidberg: "Meet Dr. Schlotkins, the best cosmetic surgeon in the entire universe and Beverly Hills."
- My Little Panzer: Spaceballs: The FLAMETHROWER! The kids love this one.
- My Sensors Indicate You Want to Tap That: The Virgin Alarm. "It's programmed to go off before you do!"
- Mythology Gag: The Mr. Rental unit contains VHS cassettes of every Mel Brooks movie made up to that point, from The Producers to... Spaceballs? note
- Nerd in Evil's Helmet: Dark Helmet. The surprise came to the audience only, since his staff already knew him (and was used to pretending they don't know he's playing with dolls).
- Nepotism: The reason Dark Helmet is surrounded by Assholes is that Major Asshole got all his cousins aboard the Spaceball One.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Lone Starr sneaks up behind a mook and tries to use the Vulcan neck pinch on him and gets it wrong. The mook gives him a few pointers and corrects his grip... and promptly passes out.
- Nitro Boost: Liquid Schwartz.
- No Fourth Wall: Among other things (see Camera Abuse and As You Know above), the bad guys manage to track down the good guys by watching Spaceballs: The Movie on VHS. They're literally watching their own movie within the movie itself! Many other examples abound in Breaking the Fourth Wall, above.
- Nobody Calls Me "Chicken"!:Dark Helmet: What's a matter, Colonel Sandurz? Chicken?
- Non Sequitur, *Thud*
- After the Spaceball One comes out of Ludicrous Speed and Dark Helmet takes a header into computer terminal and smashes the terminal, his head, and his helmet:Dark Helmet: Why don't we take a five-minute break? Smoke if you got 'em! (thud)
- Barf does it on the desert planet: "Oh waiter... Check, Please!" (thud)
- After the Spaceball One comes out of Ludicrous Speed and Dark Helmet takes a header into computer terminal and smashes the terminal, his head, and his helmet:
- Noodle Incident: Dark Helmet and Lone Starr had encountered each other prior to the movie, but no details are given. Same thing for why Lone Starr owes Pizza the Hut money.
- Not What It Looks Like: Dot's virgin alarm can't distinguish between sex and romance.
- Obvious Stunt Double: An In-Universe / Breaking the Fourth Wall example when the Spaceballs capture the heroes' stunt doubles. Princess Vespa's is a man."You idiot! These are not them! You captured their stunt doubles!"
- Oh, Crap!: Everyone in the bridge of the Spaceballs One when Dark Helmet orders the ship to go to Ludicrous Speed.
- Only in It for the Money: Lone Starr and Barf, only, rather than it being a case of greed, it's justified by an urgent debt. Also counts as Distinction Without a Difference as well.
- Only Sane Man: Barf, as he often has to play negotiator between Lone Starr and Vespa during their desert trek. To a lesser extent, Colonel Sandurz serves as one to the Spaceballs.
- Opening Scroll:
- A direct Parody of the Star Wars scroll. As the scroll is almost off the screen, one more line pops up: "If you can read this, you don't need glasses." This parody provides that page's image.
- In an earlier version, seen in the Instant Cassettes scene, it even had a parody of A New Hope being Episode 4, with this being Episode 11. Star Wars itself is only up to Episode 9.note
- Orphan's Plot Trinket: Lone Starr's medallion. The ending reveals it to be an artifact confirming his royal heritage, making him a Suddenly Suitable Suitor for Vespa.
- Overly Long Gag: At the beginning of the movie, panning across the Spaceball One. Even the orchestra gets annoyed.
- Overused Running Gag: Lampshaded:Dark Helmet: Why are you preparing? You're always preparing! Just go!
- The Password Is Always "Swordfish": 1-2-3-4-5.Dark Helmet: That's the stupidest combination I've ever heard in my life! That's the kind of thing an idiot would have on his luggage!
Skroob: 1-2-3-4-5? That's amazing! I've got the same combination on my luggage!
- Phallic Weapon: Lone Starr and Dark Helmet comparing their Schwartz sabers while holding them at crotch height.Dark Helmet: I see your Schwartz is as big as mine. Now let's see how well you handle it.
- Phone Word: The King of Druidia's phone number is 1-800-DRUIDIA.
- Planet Looters: The Spaceballs.
- Planet Spaceship: The Spaceball One, a parody of the Death Star from Star Wars, has a similar moon-like scale.
- Pokémon Speak: The Dinks.
- Precision F-Strike: This occurs a few times in the movie, by Lone Starr, the Spaceball on radar duty, and Dark Helmet, in that order.Dark Helmet: "Out of order?!" FUCK! Even in the future, nothing works!
- Pressure Point:Lone Starr: (sneaks up behind a guard and grabs his neck)
Guard: (pause) What the hell are you doing?
Lone Starr: ...The Vulcan neck pinch?
Guard: No, no, stupid. You've got it much too high, it's more down here where the shoulder meets the neck!
Lone Starr: Like this?
Guard: Yeah! (collapses)
Lone Starr: Thanks.
- Prince Charmless: Prince Valium.
- Product Placement:
- Parodied. After issuing a denial regarding his planet's air crisis, President Skroob surreptitiously reaches into his desk drawer for a can of refreshing Perri-air. (The stylized "P" also happens to resemble a "D," and Skroob brings the can up to his nose....)
- Lone Starr has a Space Invaders pinball machine on-board his Winnebago.
- Mr. Coffeenote is name-dropped, and becomes a Running Gag of sorts (Mr. Radar, Mr. Rental, etc.).
- Goes straight to Parody Product Placement with all the Spaceballs merchandise throughout the movie. "Spaceballs: the toilet paper" anybody?
- Psychic Strangle: Parodied. Dark Helmet looks like he's going to do this to the technician who went over his helmet, but then aims lower and strangles the guy's balls.
- Pun: It's a Mel Brooks film. It's the standard humor.
- When you say you're going to comb the desert, out come the oversized prop combs.
- "Ugh! That's just what we need... a Druish princess!" "Funny, she doesn't look Druish." (Mel Brooks has said that the only reason he named the planet Druidia was so he could make that one joke.)
- "What's the matter, Colonel Sandurz, CHICKEN?"
- "PIZZA THE HUTT!"
- "Yogurt! I HATE YOGURT! Even with strawberries!"
- "Radar... about to be... jammed!"
- "There's only one man who would dare give me the raspberry!"note
- Punny Name:
- Also:Dot: OK, we all know Prince Valium is a pill...
- Put Off Their Food: At the end of the movie, when a diner patron who ate the Special begins moaning in pain, Barf — who'd also ordered the Special — quickly changes his order. After the alien bursts out and does its dance, both Lone Starr and Barf simply say "Check, Please!" and leave without eating.
- Putting on the Reich: The Spaceball military personnel, naturally, parody the use of this trope in Star Wars. Lampshaded, of course:Spaceball Trooper: Jawohl, Lord Helmet!
- Rage Helm: Dark Helmet, in an over-the-top parody of Vader.
- Reading Ahead in the Script: The Spaceballs watch the VHS of the movie to find out where the heroes have escaped to. This causes great weirdness when they first get to the part of the video that's currently going on.
- Reality Ensues: When the Spaceball One comes out of Ludicrous Speed, Dark Helmet follows Newton's First Law and smashes into the control panel in front of him.
- Reality-Writing Book: An example of a video rather than a book. The evil characters watch the video of the movie they are starring in — at one point their actions in the film universe and the video are perfectly synched up, which confuses the hell out of Dark Helmet.
- Really Royalty Reveal: At the end, Lone Starr is revealed to be a prince, which allows him to marry Vespa.
- Recursive Canon: The "you're looking at now now" scene... along with all of The Merch.
- Recursive Reality: The villains watch a video of their own movie, and end up on the scene where they are watching it, seeing an infinite number of themselves watching themselves.
- Recycled In SPACE:
- Although it is mostly a parody of Star Wars, the plot closely resembles the classic romantic comedy It Happened One Night. Down to Lone Starr only accepting the 248 dollars — sorry, space bucks — in travel expenses as pay, rather than the million space bucks.
- Parodied relentlessly, with the Millennium Falcon equivalent being a literal Winnebago with wings — lampshaded when Spaceball guards call it exactly that — and the currency being "space bucks," among other examples. Especially funny near the end, with the actual Millennium Falcon and the Winnebago both stopping for gas, IN SPACE!
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Subverted with the baby xenomorph.
- Ridiculous Future Sequelisation: Spaceballs features a review of Rocky Five... Thousand.
- Ring of Power: Subverted, save for the lightsaber part... maybe.
- Road Trip Across the Street: Sci-fi version. President Skroob is beamed from his office to the command center, then beamed back to reverse a Teleporter Accident. Skroob then walks to the command center, which is the next room over.
- Robot Buddy: Dot Matrix, Princess Vespa's robot hand-maid.
- Robot Maid
- Royal Brat: Vespa, who brought excessive luggage despite Lone Starr telling her to bring only what she needs to survive. Well, she certainly didn't see it that way.
- Runaway Bride: Vespa runs away from her Arranged Marriage with Prince Valium.
- Running Gag: Both within the movie — Spaceballs merch everywhere — and reusing several gags from previous Mel Brooks movies.
- Russian Reversal: "Or else Pizza is gonna send out for YOU!"
- Say Your Prayers: Barf does this at one point when they're about to crash on Vega.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Princess Vespa, when she's attacked by the Spaceballs. "I don't have to put up with this; I'm rich!"
- See the Whites of Their Eyes: "Radar about to be... jammed!"
- Self-Destruct Mechanism: The Spaceballs' giant ship has one, complete with a big red Self Destruct Button.
- Sequel Snark:
- Share the Male Pain: Because Dark Helmet is a master of the Groin Attack.Dark Helmet: I always have coffee before watching radar. You know that!
Colonel Sandurz: Of course I do, sir!
Dark Helmet: (to crew) Everybody knows that!
Crew: (in unison, covering their crotches) Of course we do, sir!
- She's Got Legs: Princess Vespa spends most of the desert displaying this due to the condition of her dress.
- Ship Tease: There are things that suggest that Zircon has a thing for President Skroob.
- The alien creature bursting from the chest of John Hurt (causing him to lament, "Not again!") and then performing a song-and-dance number is a combined reference to Alien and One Froggy Evening.
- Star Wars references:
- Most main characters correspond to a character from Star Wars: Lone Starr is a Luke/Han combo, Barf is Chewbacca, Vespa is Leia, Dot is C-3P0, Yogurt is Yoda, Pizza the Hutt is Jabba the Hutt, President Skroob is Emperor Palpatine, and Dark Helmet is Darth Vader.
- The extremely long opening establishing shot of the Spaceball One, is a Shout-Out to the shot of the Star Destroyer in Star Wars: Episode IV.
- The Schwartz is a reference to the Force. Yogurt even has to clarify that he's not talking about the Force.
- Vespa's hair buns when leaving Druidia looks like Princess Leia's — until it's revealed they're just headphones.
- Lone Starr and co. make an emergency crash-landing on the desert moon of Vega, being a reference to both the desert planet of Tatoonie in Star Wars Episode IV, and the forest-moon of Endor in Star Wars Episode VI.
- The shape of the Spaceball One and the music that plays during its reveal also shout out to Jaws; the ship is shaped like a shark, and the music is a slower horn-version of the Jaws theme.
- The singing "dinks" are a reference to the dwarfs in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, while looking like Jawas from Star Wars.
- Star Trek references:
- Lone Starr tries the Vulcan neck pinch. The guard then tells him how to do it right, and then passes out due to the pinch now working.
- President Skroob gets "beamed" into another location by Snotty (instead of Scotty).
- The apes and the placement of Megamaid on the beach in the very end are a riff on the end of Planet of the Apes.
- Pizza the Hutt's mook Vinny Poker-Face seems to be a reference to Max Headroom, with his angular head and neck twitch.
- When President Skroob tells the crew to prepare for metamorphosis and Dark Helmet replies, "Ready, Kafka?"note
- Dark Helmet asks: "What's the matter, Colonel Sandurz...? Chicken..?"
- Skroob telling Marlene and Charlene to "chew your gum!" is meant to be a reference to Wrigley's Doublemint Gum, which used twins in their advertisements. These twins were a reference to the clones (Betty and Betty) in Quark, who were played by the Barnstable twins from the Wrigley's Doublemint commercials.
- Lone Star, Barf, Vespa, and Dot arriving at Yogurt's temple and approaching his fiery statue before finally meeting him in person is similar to the main characters of The Wizard of Oz first meeting the title character in a rather frightened state of anxiety. Making this Shout-Out more clear is the fact that the scene was shot in the same sound stage as Oz. This is furthered by the similarities in the groups: a girl; a scruffy, ragged man; an animalistic man; and a metal companion.
- Barf describes Megamaid as a Transformer.
- Princess Vespa is engaged to Prince Valium.
- "Hey, that was pretty good for Rambo."
- Sigil Spam: Overlaps with the various merchandising jokes, since "Spaceballs" is both the name of the movie and the name of the villains.
- Significant Anagram: "Skroob" is an anagram of "Brooks."
- Single-Biome Planet: The protagonists crash-land on the "desert moon of Vega," which bears a startling resemblance to Tatooine in A New Hope, and is also a reference to the forest-moon of Endor in Return of the Jedi.
- Sir Not-Appearing-on-This-Cover: The cover for the original DVD doesn't have Lone Starr, Vespa, or Dot on it.
- Skewed Priorities: This seems to run in the Druish royal family, with King Roland's case being more evident than his daughter's.King Roland: (concerned for his daughter's well-being) Just find her, bring her back safely! (normal voice) And it's at all possible, try to save the car.
- Skip to the End: It boils down to "the short, short version," thanks to the impatient priest annoyed at the constant interruptions.Priest: Do you?
Lone Starr: Yes.
Priest: Do you?
Priest: Good! You're married! Kiss her!
- Skirts and Ladders: Between Dot Matrix and Barf. "Stop looking up my can!"
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: Lone Starr and Princess Vespa.
- Sorry to Interrupt: Colonel Sandurz interrupts Dark Helmet while the latter is playing with his dolls.
- Space Friction:
- Lone Star's Space Winnebago actually leaves burnt rubber tracks while doing a U turn. In space. Lampshaded by Lone Star: "Hang on, Barfo, we're gonna make space tracks."
- The Spaceball One, however, "brakes for nobody."
- Space Jews:
- Mel Brooks has said the only reason that the planet in Spaceballs is named Druidia is so he could throw in the line about a "Druish Princess." Plus plenty of more scenes. That's okay because Mel Brooks has N-Word Privileges. "Funny, She Doesn't Look Druish!"
- President Skroob wears a traditional Jewish groom's tuxedo.
- Yogurt's over-the-top Yiddish accent.
- Space Trucker: Lone Starr driving a Winnebago through space. Near the end there's even a stop-off at a Space Truck Stop.
- Space "X": All over the place, as expected for a parody. "Space bucks," "space tracks," and more.
- Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: The climactic wedding where Lone Star interferes Just in Time to prevent Vespa from marrying Prince Valium.
- Spit Take: The Mr. Coffee scene. "Hot... too hot!"
- Spontaneous Weapon Creation: It's possible that this is how Schwartz weapons work. Yogurt claims that the rings from which they appear to come are really a Magic Feather.
- Squashed Flat: Barf's foot, after Lone Starr drops a statue on it.
- Standard Establishing Spaceship Shot: Parodied, see Overly Long Gag.
- Stealth Pun:
- One Spaceball guard yells at Barf, "You son of a..." before getting shot. Barf is half dog.
- The can of Perri-Air that Skroob uses turns out to have a second pun beyond the obvious Product Placement gag. The stylized "P" on the can also resembles a "D," and Skroob brings the can up to his nose. He's sniffing his Derri-Air ("derrière," which is French for "rear end").
- When the heroes start praising Yogurt, as 'Yogurt the wise!" and "Yogurt the incredible." Yogurt shows modesty and says "I'm just plain Yogurt." Plain yogurt is yogurt served without any additional flavors.
- Dark Helmet once calls Colonel Sandurz a "petty excuse for an officer." Derived from the naval rank, of course.
- Stock Scream: It's a parody of Star Wars — of course it's going to have the famous Wilhelm Scream (it's when the one trooper gets shot in the rump after Barf reflects the shots back).
- Strange Minds Think Alike: King Druidia uses the code 1-2-3-4-5 for the air shield. Dark Helmet lampshades this by commenting that it's "the kind of thing an idiot would have on his luggage!" A moment later, President Skroob comments that it's the same combination on his luggage. Dark Helmet and Colonel Sandurs share a meaningful glance at that.
- Strange Salute: The Spaceball fleet has a couple:
- Lord Helmet's minions covering their groins whenever they speak to him (though this might be a purely practical defensive action, given his preferred method of dealing with sub-par performance).
- President Skroob's salute: make a rude hand sign, then immediately pretend to wave politely; perfectly appropriate for a two-faced backstabbing organization.
- Streaming Stars: Parodied when Spaceballs One goes to Ludicrous Speed. "They've gone to plaid!"
- Stupid Evil: Too many instances to list. While Dark Helmet had a point when he said Good Is Dumb, the bad guys are even dumber.
- Stupidest Thing I've Ever Heard: Via Dark Helmet:(helmset down) So the combination is 1-2-3-4-5. (raises helmet) That's the stupidest combination I've ever heard in my life! That's the kind of thing an idiot would have on his luggage!
- Suddenly Suitable Suitor: Lone Starr discovers that his pendant is actually a birth certificate proving he's a Prince — making a marriage between himself and Vespa suddenly fine.
- Surprisingly Sudden Death: Parodied with the restaurant scene when Kane starts coughing and goes into convulsions, followed by a chestburster... which dons a top hat and cane and sings "Hello My Baby" in the voice of Michigan J. Frog. John Hurt reprises his role from the original Alien, lampshaded by his muttered, "Oh no, not again!"
- Surrounded by Idiots: "I knew it! I'm surrounded by Assholes!"
- Suspiciously Specific Denial:
- Lord Helmet always drinks coffee while he watches radar. Everybody knows that!
- Colonel Sandurz definitely didn't see Lord Helmet playing with his dolls again.
- Sword Pointing: Lone Starr and Dark Helmet duel with their lightsaber-like Schwartz sabers. At one point, they circle each other menacingly, sabers pointed at length, so the very tips crackle and spark when they come in contact with each other.
- Teleporter Accident: President Skroob winds up with his head on backwards after being beamed into the next room. Beaming him back undoes it.
- Thirsty Desert: When Lone Starr and his crew get stranded on the desert moon, the mantra they use as they get dehydrated is hilariously played with:Lone Starr: Water... water...
Barf: Water... water...
Dot Matrix: Oil... oil...
Vespa: Room service... room service...
- Title: The Adaptation: Lampooned, in all its adaptations.
- Title Theme Tune: 'Cause what you got is what we need and all we do is dirty deeds, we're the SPACEBALLS!note
- Time-Travel Tense Trouble: Happens during the aforementioned scene where Helmet and Sandurz are viewing Spaceballs: The Movie.Dark Helmet: When will "then" be "now?"
Col. Sandurz: Soon.
- Transforming Mecha: The Spaceball One's transformation into Mega-Maid.Colonel Sandurz: Prepare ship for metamorphosis!Skroob: Great! Get on with it!Dark Helmet: Ready, Kafka?
- Treacherous Spirit Chase: Dark Helmet manages to lure Princess Vespa out of Yogurts home by using the schwartz to disguise himself as her father, King Roland.
- Traitor Shot: When Not Roland asks, "Would I lie?" he briefly glances at the camera and smiles guiltily.
- Trend Covers: The Collector's Edition DVD case and menus evoke a Star Wars DVD.
- Twin Threesome Fantasy: Skroob indulges in this with Marlene and Charlene.
- Unfortunate Names: An entire family of them.
- Gunner's Mate First Class Philip Asshole.
- Philip Asshole's cousin, Major Asshole, who got him the job.
- Unmanly Secret: Dark Helmet plays with dolls that look like the main characters of the movie when he thinks he's alone. Of course, Col. Sandurz catches him in the act, but assures him that he didn't see him playing with his dolls again.
- Used Future:
- Lone Starr's Winnebago has seen better days.
- And then there's the issue of that non-functional self-destruct cancellation button on the Spaceball One...Dark Helmet: Fuck! Even in the future, nothing works!!!
- Vader Breath: Spoofed. It sounds like he's having trouble breathing because he is.Dark Helmet: I can't breathe in this thing!
- [Verb] This!: During the "ludicrous speed" scene Colonel Sandurz recommends Dark Helmet buckle up. Helmet just replies "aww, buckle this."
- Villain Song: "Spaceballs" is as close as it gets during this movie, and since this is a comedy, the song is played when the Spaceball One is evacuating during the self destruct.Cause what you got is what we need and all we do is dirty deeds
We're the Spaceballs, Watch Out! cause we're the Spaceballs
- Visual Pun:
- Lone Starr "jams" the Spaceballs' radar with raspberry jam, which clues Dark Helmet to his identity.
- When told to "comb the desert" for the heroes, Dark Helmet and Colonel Sandurz get their mooks to literally run giant combs (and one afro pick) along the desert sand. They wonder if they're being "too literal."
- When Lone Starr calls for Barf for the first time. By the way Lone Starr speaks and rocks, he looks like he really is going to vomit.
- Villainous Crush: Dark Helmet seems to harbor one for Princess Vespa from what one could tell from the doll scene.
- Vicious Vac/Planet Looters: Mega-Maid.
- Vocal Dissonance:
- The deep voice singing "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen" in Spaceballs prison turns out to be... Princess Vespa. Bark notes, "She's a bass!"
- And how Helmet has a normal voice with his mask up, and a deep one with it down. There's no vocal adjustment involved. It's just Dark Helmet making his own voice lower.
- Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: Gets a Lampshade Hanging — "That's all we needed... a Druish Princess!"
- Who's on First?: Two examples: First the argument between Dark Helmet and his crew of assholes... Who are all named Asshole. Then the exchange between Sandurz and Dark Helmet in the "instant videocassette" gag.
- Why Waste a Wedding?: Valium out, Lone Starr in.
- World of Pun: The radar gets jammed, they comb the desertnote , and of course there's the Druish princess.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Well, half-wrong. The guy who went over Lord Dark Helmet's helmet knew he was in trouble and anticipated a neck choke as punishment. He didn't expect Dark Helmet to aim a bit lower.
- Xenomorph Xerox: After experiencing severe stomach upset from ordering the Space Special at Gus' Galaxy Grill, an alien bursts forth from John Hurt's stomach, puts on a cane and top hat, and begins singing and dancing "The Michigan Rag" from One Froggy Evening. He mutters, "Not again..." at the sight of this.
- You Have Outlived Your UsefulnessYou may think that you are bad, but believe you can be had by the Spaceballs!
- You're Insane!: As an aside.Radar operator: I'm having trouble with the radar, sir.
Dark Helmet: What's wrong with it?
Radar operator: I've lost the bleeps, I've lost the sweeps, and I've lost the creeps.
Dark Helmet and Colonel Sandurz: The what, the what and the what?!
Radar operator: You know, the bleeps... [Makes bleeping sounds.] The sweeps... [Shakes his jowels.] And the creeps. [Makes more beeping noises.]
Dark Helmet: That's not all he's lost...
- Your Size May Vary: Mega-Maid, who at first starts off as big enough for a starship (albeit a star-Winnebago) to enter its "ear canal," then shrinks, but still big enough for a Spaceball to slide out its nostril.
- You Taste Delicious: Literally, since Vinnie starts picking up parts of his boss, Pizza the Hutt. He even says those Exact Words. Later, Pizza the Hutt eats himself to death after getting trapped in his limo, freeing up the duo's debt.
- Zeerust: That computer-letter font just doesn't look as futuristic now as it did in The '80s...
SPACEBALLS: THE STINGER!note