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Film / Who Framed Roger Rabbit

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"He always this funny, or only on days when he's wanted for murder?"

"My philosophy is this: If you don't have a good sense of humor, you're better off dead!"
Roger Rabbit

Blend Chinatown, L.A. Confidential, Mulholland Falls, and Dick Tracy, then throw it in a pressure cooker with healthy portions of Warner Bros.' Looney Tunes and Disney's Silly Symphonies. Let it cook to perfection, and Voila! Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Enjoy your dish of madcap, murderous, sexy, animated mayhem.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a 1988 combination live-action/animated Film Noir, with Robert Zemeckis directing the live-action and Richard Williams directing the animation. Its success is largely responsible for setting off The Renaissance Age of Animation, having had a huge influence on executives' attitudes toward seeing animation as more than what it had been in the Dark AgeDisney's animated films from the '90s and onward, the Pixar films, The Simpsons, Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs, Batman: The Animated Series, Nicktoons, MTV cartoons, Cartoon Network original series, and any other influential animated series or film from 1989 and onward, would probably never have existed if it weren't for this film.

A co-production between Touchstone Pictures (i.e. Disney incognito) and Amblin Entertainment (Steven Spielberg), Who Framed Roger Rabbit is currently the only official crossover with classic Disney, MGM, and Warner Bros. cartoon characters. Roger Rabbit is loosely based on Gary Wolf's 1981 novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit? (so loosely, in fact, that you might more accurately say the book merely inspired the movie, though Wolf enjoyed the film adaptation enough to base his sequel books directly off of it). The film really owes more to Roman Polański's Chinatown, with its main plot following a detective who stumbles into a conspiracy related to Los Angeles real estate.

Set in an Alternate Universe in the city of Los Angeles in 1947, during The Golden Age of Animation to be specific, this Hardboiled Film Noir depicts a world where cartoon characters are a real ethnic minority living alongside human beings. At the center of the story is Roger Rabbit, a toon movie star falsely accused of murdering Marvin Acme, a human manufacturer of cartoon props, after photos surfaced of Acme "playing patty-cake" with Roger's wife.note  His only hope is Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins), an alcoholic human ex-cop turned private investigator. Eddie used to specialize in this kind of case, but he has refused to work for toons ever since one of them killed his brother. He gets dragged into the story anyway, and he and Roger ultimately uncover a conspiracy far greater than either of them imagined.

The title of the film officially has no question mark at the end; rumor has it this was the result of a marketing survey which said films with question marks in the title make less money. The film is notable for being the biggest crossover of famous Western cartoon characters pre-50s than anything that has come before it (it is the first and only official time Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny appear in a scene together).

It also had three Spin-Off theatrical shorts that ran from 1989 to 1993, all of which were included in the film's special edition DVD release. There were also two novels, both written by Wolf as sequels to the movie and not his original novel: Who P-P-P-Plugged Roger Rabbit? (1991) and Who Wacked Roger Rabbit? (2013). The book series itself used the film as canon.

It should be noted for historical purposes that the entirety of the animation that appears in the film was done 100% by hand — no computers of any kind were used, not even for Jessica Rabbit's sparkling dress during her song — except for the necessary blue-screening when Eddie Valiant went to Toontown, where everything was animated, and to operate the player pianos during Donald Duck and Daffy Duck's piano duelnote . Computer graphics owed mostly to integrating the toons in the live-action plates, particularly the lighting to make like the people and the toons were under the same illumination.

A sequel was planned shortly after the booming success of the original, but it never came to light. The first obstacle was that the film was intended to be a prequel set during World War II, but Steven Spielberg refused to work on a movie that satirized Nazis after finishing Schindler's List, and he was moving on to start DreamWorks SKG at the time. Then, a skyrocketing (for the time) budget and the advent of computer animation, landed the second movie in deeper waters.

On October 30, 2009, director Robert Zemeckis had confirmed that a second Roger Rabbit movie was on the way, with Zemeckis himself returning to direct the film and the original screenwriters, Seaman and Price, returning as well, but with the dismantling of Zemeckis's studio, the sequel's fate is now uncertain.

In February 2013, Wolf himself proposed a Roger/Mickey Mouse vehicle to Disney called The Stooge. Apparently, this will be an all-animated movie that could, in theory, co-exist with the Zemeckis sequel. However, it too has lapsed into Development Hell. Following Bob Hoskins's death of pneumonia in April 2014, the sequel remains in development hell. Despite this, Roger appeared in the 2022 Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers live-action film, which essentially presents a modern look at Toontown in the age of CGI dominance.

Compare and contrast Ralph Bakshi's Cool World, which began as only having similar filmmaking techniques but was watered down into a raunchy version of this.

This film provides examples of:

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  • Abhorrent Admirer: Lena Hyena couldn't possibly be any more of one to Eddie in their only encounter. She even provides the page image.
  • Absurd Altitude: Eddie Valiant falls off an incredibly high building in Toontown, so high only clouds are visible below and even an airplane flies underneath him. And in one of the Roger Rabbit shorts that were released with the movies as promos, Roger and Baby Herman go on a rollercoaster that goes this high.
  • Absurd Brand Name: The Maroon Cartoon "Something's Cookin'" features an Acme Suck-O-Lux vacuum cleaner as a prop in a slapstick gag.
  • Accidental Truth: Eddie falsely claims to have Acme's will in order to meet with R.K. Maroon. Turns out he really did: Roger's love letter to Jessica (which was in one of his pockets) was actually written on the same piece of paper as the will, which turns out to have been written using disappearing-reappearing ink.
  • Achilles' Heel: Dip, for the toons —and, consequently, Judge Doom.
  • Acid Pool: The Big Bad repeatedly threatens Roger with the Dip, a green-colored concoction that is the only thing that can kill toons.
  • Acme Products: Justified: In the tooniverse, Acme is a major manufacturer of props used in cartoons.
  • Acrofatic: Okay, Eddie is more chubby than fat, but nobody was expecting such quick reflexes, somersaults, or freaking backflips.
  • Actor Allusion: The Ink and Paint Club is clearly a reference to the Cotton Club. Bob Hoskins played gangster Owney Madden in The Cotton Club.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The original book, Who Censored Roger Rabbit?, was about Valiant, originally hired by Roger to investigate his bosses' broken promises. When Roger is murdered (or "censored"), Eddie investigates things with the help(?) of Roger's antagonistic wife, Jessica. The movie was basically "An anti-hero and a toon, forced together in a strange bedfellows kind of way, investigate someone else's death, with a plot built around the Los Angeles Streetcar Conspiracy." All other books that followed retconned this into Jessica Rabbit having a dream.
  • Adaptation Title Change: Who Framed Roger Rabbit is loosely based on the novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Jessica and Roger himself. In the original book this film is based on, the former was a Femme Fatale Gold Digger and former porn actress, while the latter was revealed to be a murderer who tried to make Eddie the Fall Guy. Their cinematic counterparts have their negative traits toned down a bit and has them both on good terms with Eddie.
  • Adaptational Ugliness: This happens with Eddie Valiant. The Eddie from the original book, as a parody of a pulp hero, is noted by several characters as being very attractive. Film Eddie, as a parody of a noir anti-hero such as Edward G. Robinson, is played by the physically unimpressive Bob Hoskins (though it's implied he's a washed-up version of what he used to be).
  • The Alcoholic: Eddie, after his brother's death. He's almost a booze-seeking warhead, in fact. A detective lampshades this during Acme's crime scene: "Didn't you used to be Eddie Valiant? Or did you change your name to Jack Daniels?" When Roger lists the people he asked about Eddie, only "the liquor store guy" knew who he was.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: As Wheezy dies, he desperately tries to get back his angelic soul.
  • Almost Kiss: Twice, between Dolores and Eddie. One time, Roger yells at them. The second time, his presence is felt way too much for them to continue.
    Roger: [with his ears curled up in a heart shape and hearts in his eyes] P-p-p-p-p-p-please, don't mind me!
  • Alternate Tooniverse: In the story's Alternate Universe, toons are something of an ethnic minority living alongside humans—though they prefer to stick to their subsection of L.A.: Toontown.
  • Amusing Injuries:
    • Relied upon heavily in-universe. Since toons are nigh invulnerable, they can receive a lot of these in the cartoons they perform in without sustaining lasting damage. Roger's opening short is one long string of these.
    • Eddie inflicts several of these on himself while performing for the weasels, including stepping on a rake twice, electrocuting himself, and dropping bowling balls on his own head.
  • Anachronism Stew: Word of Godinvoked once admitted to the film's many anachronisms, stating that this movie provided a special opportunity to feature so many different cartoon characters together that justified any inaccuracies created. As one of the writers claimed, the aim was "entertainment, not animation history." Though it's always possible that in this universe the toons existed earlier than we thought and just hadn't made their debuts yet.
    • A number of cartoon characters appear who had not yet been created in 1947, the year the film takes place.
    • The Bugs Bunny model sheet used in his brief scene was out of date; it had been phased out by Warner Bros. by early 1942. The "modern" model sheet was used in mid-1941 in Bob Clampett's unit and had spread to the rest of the animators by the following year. He reverts at the end, however — Daffy doesn't, sticking with his Clampett-era (i.e. pre-Chuck Jones) design.
    • In the movie theater where Eddie and Roger hide, the cartoon playing on the screen is a Goofy cartoon, Goofy Gymnastics, which, in real time, was released in 1949.
    • Freeways already existed by 1947. Judge Doom's vision is essentially the real-life Pasadena Freeway, which opened in 1940. Could be justified in that freeways weren't exactly commonplace until the 1950s and 1960s... and Rule of Funny. And that this film evidently takes place in a different universe than ours, what with the sentient toons.
    • During Valiant's fight with Judge Doom, he grabs a musical toon sword that sings "Witchcraft" by Frank Sinatra, which wasn't released until 1957.
    • Smartass the weasel carries a Colt Trooper Mk III in .357 Magnum. Colt did not offer a .357 revolver until 1953 and introduced the Trooper Mk III in 1969.
    • Kuzco is also there, dancing on the Maroon lot in the DVD menu. The same menu also features Elliot the Dragon, appearing and disappearing in rapid succession. Justified though since Maroon Cartoons on the special features DVD looks to be in modern times.
    • Eddie suggests Kokomo to Judge Doom as being a place where Roger could have escaped to, saying, "I hear Kokomo's very nice this time of year." This is a reference to a Beach Boys song released the same year as the film. There are several real-life places called Kokomo (most famously the city in Indiana), but it's not an island in the Florida Keys.
  • Angry Collar Grab: After Roger is confronted with evidence of his wife Jessica cheating, Eddie Valiant jokes that "the dames will be breaking his doors down". An angry Roger jumps on him and grabs him by the collar, ranting that he and his wife were going to be happy again before storming out through the window.
  • Animated Actors: The premise is that all cartoon characters we know and love are actually these. It seems the entertainment industry is the most profitable line of work for someone with their resilience.
  • Animation Bump: The opening sequence is very lush for even a modern animated short. The entire film is pretty lavishly animated compared to the cartoons it borrows from, as necessitated by matching the drawings to the lighting and frame rate of the live-action footage. One of the few exceptions is the Toontown sequence, where everything is (relatively) more lax traditional animation with a blue-screened Eddie.
  • Antagonist Title: Disregarding that the title might be a question and instead interpreting it as a phrase, the "who" is referring to Judge Doom, the Hanging Judge who decides to chase down Roger under a weak conviction that he's the true culprit of Acme's murder, when the judge himself is the one responsible.
  • Any Last Words?: When Judge Doom captures Roger and is about to sentence him to death over the murder of Marvin Acme, he asks Roger if he has any final words. Roger is about to answer, but Doom just strangles his neck to keep him from speaking.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: The Dip is functionally this. Although its ingredients —turpentine, acetone, and benzene— are solvents that can be used to remove paint and have been used by animators to clean cels and reuse them due to budget limitations, this aspect goes unexplained in the film.
  • Aren't You Forgetting Someone?: After Eddie Valiant rescues Jessica and Roger, Jessica says, "My hero!" Eddie thinks she's talking about him, but she actually goes over and hugs Roger.
  • Artistic License – Biology: In the Terminal Cafe scene where Doom and the weasels are looking for Roger, he finds the record that was playing earlier, and throws it. It ends up in Stupid's mouth, causing the other weasels to laugh. He whacks Smart Ass, and angrily warns them that they will end up dead if they don't stop, mentioning their "idiot hyena cousins". Joke's on him since hyenas and weasels don't belong to the same animal family, only the same order; they're as closely related to each other as cats and dogs are.
  • Artistic License – Law: Los Angeles Judges don't investigate crimes or have deputized goons and can't perform summary executions. Presumably, the existence of toons has really warped the law.
  • Artistic License – Music: In the scene where Eddie Valiant is mingling with the toons at Maroon Studios, he comes across a saxophonist standing next to the enchanted brooms from Fantasia. However, the saxophonist isn't doing anything else besides just swaying his body while holding the saxophone. That is, he isn't even moving his fingers while playing.
  • Aside Glance:
    • Jessica Rabbit seems to love looking at the camera and makes at least four of these. There's a subtle one during her singing number right before she sits on Eddie, then another after knocking out Roger with a frying pan and dumping him in the trunk of a car, a very quick one as she's getting into Benny the Cab in Toontown and then one right before Rogers bursts into the Acme factory via the storm drain.
    • Roger looks into the camera at the end of the film, right after Jessica tells him she'll bake him a carrot cake after they get home.
    • Tweety's cameo in Toontown has him looking at the camera at times.
  • Automated Automobiles: Benny the Cab: "No, I'll drive, I'm the cab!" After being injured by some Dip, he ends up driving a car.
  • Ax-Crazy: The Weasels, especially Psycho.
  • Backup Bluff: When Eddie Valiant confronts R.K. Maroon in his office at night, Maroon tells Eddie he's got guts for coming alone. Eddie coolly pours himself a drink and says, "Who says I'm alone?". While Eddie is technically not alone, his only backup is Roger, whose only instructions if things go south is to alert Eddie with the car horn, and has already been knocked senseless as soon as Eddie was out of sight (turning Eddie's aforementioned line into a Gilligan Cut).
  • Badass Longcoat: Eddie Valiant wears one (obviously, being a pulp detective and all), as does Judge Doom. The Judge's is an impeccable black and looks quite like an executioner's shroud.
  • Bad Girl Song: Although a preexisting song, "Why Don't You Do Right?" serves as this for Jessica Rabbit, in spite of her not actually being bad, just drawn that way.
  • Badly Battered Babysitter: Roger's role in the Maroon shorts with Baby Herman.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • Roger's wife Jessica Rabbit is set up for the audience and Eddie to be perceived as the Minnie to his Mickey or the Daisy to his Donald- i.e., a female counterpart of the same species, which leaves Eddie surprised that she seems so popular. When Jessica emerges at the club, however, she's revealed to be a sultry, sexy human toon- she just took Roger's surname.
    • When Judge Doom arrives in the bar in search of Roger, he offers a reward for whoever finds him and turns him in. Angelo (the drunk man who made fun of Eddie earlier) tells him he's seen a rabbit, and that he's right there in the bar. It looks as if he's about to rat Roger out, but then he turns to an invisible presence on the stool next to him:
    Angelo: Say hello, Harvey.
  • Bait-and-Switch Character Intro: On the opening cartoon, Baby Herman acts just like an innocent little baby. But when the director yells "Cut!", Herman stands up and, in a gruff, adult voice, bellows out "What the hell was wrong with that take?" While the director chews out Roger for blowing his lines, "Baby" Herman curses under his breath and then storms off to his trailer, flirting with a woman on the way. This establishes him as a Nice Character, Mean Actor and The Prima Donna who is Older Than They Look.
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: Jessica pulling a gun on Valiant... and shooting at Judge Doom instead. At least she gives Valiant a split-second warning.
    Jessica: [takes aim] Valiant...
    Eddie: [slowly raises his hands] I always knew I'd get it in Toontown... [Doom's silhouette appears on the wall in front of him]
    Jessica: BEHIND YOU! [shoots; Doom falls to the ground]
  • Bait-and-Switch Silhouette: An outline of what appears to be Jessica Rabbit is actually a similarly dressed Lena Hyena.
  • Bathos: Dolores explaining why Eddie becomes so angry on the subject of toons:
    Angelo: So what's his problem?
    Dolores: A toon killed his brother. [tearfully] Dropped a piano on his head.
  • Bathroom Break-Out: Roger attempts to save Eddie and Jessica from Judge Doom by sneaking into the Acme factory through a bathroom window. His heroic attempt is ruined when the Rule of Funny takes over and he falls head-first through the window and splashes into the Disgusting Public Toilet bellow. The toilet flushes swirling Roger around the bowl in circles before sucking him down the drain turning his failed Big Damn Heroes moment into a naughty one (the Squick being flushed down a real public toilet instead of a clean prop toilet on a cartoon set).
  • Bathroom Stall Graffiti: Eddie ducks into a Toontown bathroom which has a written message on the wall. In its theatrical release, it was replaced with Michael Eisner's phone number in a frame. This was removed for the VHS/DVD release.
  • Bear Trap: When one of the weasels attempts to search Jessica's bosom.
    Eddie Valiant: Nice booby trap.
  • Beautiful Singing Voice: Once the Ink And Paint Club has cleared the stage after the Daffy Duck versus Donald Duck piano duel, the place goes silent as Jessica Rabbit comes on, singing "Why Don't You Do Right." Except for a tiny exchange between Eddie Valiant and Betty Boop, nobody, neither human nor cartoon, makes a peep. Of course, the mostly male audience was Eating the Eye Candy, yet this wet bar club is library quiet during Jessica's number.
  • Bedmate Reveal: After finding out Acme did indeed have a will, Eddie decides he doesn't care, folds down his hide-a-bed and turns onto his side to go to sleep, only to find himself inches away from and face-to-face with Roger. Cue them both screaming and jumping away from each other.
  • Berserk Button:
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Roger is the kind of sweet guy who responds to his wife cheating by writing her a love letter, but if you mess with someone he cares about, he'll pull a gun on you.
    Roger: We 'toons may act idiotic, but we're not stupid! We demand justice! Why the true meaning of the word probably hits you like a ton of bricks! [gets a ton of bricks dropped on him]
  • Big Bad: It's Judge Doom. Surprising, we know. Even so, how big he turns out to be — he's the Toon who murdered Teddy Valiant, during the robbery that allowed him to buy an election and become judge — is a major wham moment.
  • Big Damn Heroes
    • In Toontown, as the Weasels come barreling at them in their black truck, Eddie and Jessica each try to pull the other in different directions to escape and Eddie sticks out his thumb for emphasis. Suddenly, up zips Benny the Cab. They climb into him and they escape being mowed down by the Weasels in the nick of time.note 
    • Later, in the Acme Factory, as Doom tells Eddie and Jessica his plans to wipe out Toontown and replace it with a freeway, Roger blasts into the warehouse through a drainage grate and tries to hold Doom and the Weasels at gunpoint. Too bad one of the Weasels also gets blasted up onto a Ton-of-Bricks that he uses to bury the rabbit, giving Doom the upper hand.
  • Big Finale Crowd Song: The movie ends with the whole crowd of Toons, having learned that Toontown has been bequeathed to them, all singing a Triumphant Reprise of "Smile, Darn Ya, Smile".
  • Big "NO!": Doom yells "No" as he gets hit by his own Dip at the end of the film.
  • Bigotry Exception: Eddie Valiant may hate toons in general due to his Freudian Excuse, but he is very cordial to Betty Boop despite this. It's implied this stems from the two being friends who go back quite a bit, possibly from before said Freudian Excuse soured him towards toons.
  • Bigot with a Crush: A rare heroic example, Eddie starts the film as a Tragic Bigot who hates Toons because one killed his dear brother. However, he finds himself strongly attracted to Jessica Rabbit and acts chummy with his old friend Betty Boop, which shows that there's more to Eddie. His hatred fully ebbs away by the end as he becomes Fire-Forged Friends with Roger.
  • Bitch Slap: Eddie Valiant gets slapped by Jessica Rabbit at the crime scene of Marvin Acme's death. He thought he was slapped by her because he was staring at her boobs and smirking at her earlier, but the reason for slapping him was because he took pictures of her playing Pat-a-Cake with Marvin Acme and for getting her husband framed as a murderer.
    Jessica Rabbit: I hope you're proud of yourself and those pictures you took!
  • Black Comedy: Judge Doom's secret weapon.
  • Blackmail: The real reason Jessica "cheated" on Roger with Marvin Acme. R.K. Maroon planned to use the pictures that Eddie Valiant took of the two to blackmail Acme into selling his Gag Factory to Cloverleaf Industries, as without Acme selling Maroon's deal to sell Maroon Cartoons would fall through. Jessica herself was blackmailed into "cheating" on Roger because he would have been out of a job if she wasn't in the scheme. Little did Maroon know, however, that Cloverleaf had its ulterior motives for the deal.
    R.K. Maroon: The truth is I had a chance to sell my studio. But Cloverleaf wouldn't buy my property unless Acme sold them his! The stubborn bastard wouldn't sell, so I was gonna blackmail Acme with pictures of him and [Roger Rabbit]'s wife. Blackmail, that's all!
  • Blackmail Backfire: R.K. Maroon's plan to blackmail Marvin Acme fails when Acme is murdered, and Maroon tries to repair the damage by trying to find Acme's will, and ends up murdered as well.
  • Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce: Roger ends up drinking this by accident while trying to rescue Baby Herman in the opening cartoon.
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: R.K. Maroon owns a gold plated Colt 1903 Pocket Hammerless, which Eddie takes and temporarily uses.
  • Blood from the Mouth: During the fight in the Acme warehouse between Eddie Valiant and Judge Doom, Doom morphs his right hand into an anvil and then punches Valiant with it so hard that Valiant is sent flying, landing on his back and sliding along the floor. Somehow, Valiant survives this blow and remains conscious, but there is a trickle of blood from his mouth. This indicates that although Judge Doom is a 'toon, he's perfectly capable of inflicting severe to fatal damage on living people.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Given that a massive safe had been dropped on Acme's head, the crime scene is surprisingly clean, even as they're wheeling Acme's body away.
  • Bluebird of Happiness: Several greet Eddie on his return to Toontown.
  • Bond One-Liner:
    Eddie: [after moving the street line into a wall, which Lena Hyena crashes into ] Toons. Gets 'em every time.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Judge Doom leaves his Quirky Miniboss Squad in charge of Eddie. Justified later. Doom is a toon, and has pretty obviously damaged his fake/glass eye (note the way he carefully keeps his hand over it, to keep his toon eye from bugging out). He has to leave in order to replace it.
  • Boob-Based Gag:
    • Jessica Rabbit's ample breasts find themselves involved in quite a lot of visual comedy, including funny bounces and turning out to contain a bear trap for handsy men.
      Eddie: Nice booby-trap.
    • Jessica's "doppelgänger", Lena Hyena's breasts droop all the way to the floor for a split-second.
  • Boobs-and-Butt Pose: Jessica, though she's reluctant about it.
    Jessica: I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way.
  • Boomerang Bigot:
    • Judge Doom seems to cater to this. Once you find out his true identity, all the stuff he's been spouting about toons earlier in the film becomes even more disturbing.
    • The Toon Patrol as well. invokedFridge Brilliance is in place when you consider that Toons are supposed to make people laugh. Laughter is the thing that kills the Weasels.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: While Eddie makes a point that Angelo would rat out Roger for money, Roger also makes a point that making him laugh would get him to change his mind.
  • Brass Balls: Heard when Eddie confronts R.K. Maroon.
    R.K. Maroon: You got a lot of brass coming in here by yourself.
  • Brick Joke:
    • In the first scene, Roger gets into trouble with Raoul, his producer, because "tweeting birds" circle his head after he's hit with a refrigerator when the script says he should be "seeing stars." At the end of the film, Roger finally "sees stars", prompting him to exclaim "Look! Stars! Ready when you are, Raoul!", after he gets hit in the head by a literal ton of... bricks.
    • At the Ink and Paint Club, Eddie orders a "Scotch on the rocks... and I mean ice!" Guess what he finds in his drink at the end of the scene.
  • Bullying a Dragon:
    • Angelo joking to Eddie about working with a toon unaware that Eddie's brother was killed by one, though it was, of course, only a joke. Eddie promptly fights back and tells him angrily that he doesn't work with toons.
    • After Acme's murder, Eddie picks up Acme's buzzer after it falls off his hand, though he gets interrupted by Judge Doom when trying to grab it. Doom is very obviously a big Jerkass from the moment Eddie meets him, but he has the guts to shock him with Acme's buzzer. It turns out this was more of a foolish move in hindsight because Doom is the Big Bad and he's a ruthless sadist who has completely selfish motives for his schemes.
  • Butterface: Lena Hyena perfectly mimics the appearance of Jessica Rabbit, except for her face.
  • Buxom Beauty Standard: Jessica Rabbit. She is based on a pinup drawing after all.
    "I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."

  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Eddie finds out from his photos that Marvin Acme did indeed write a will, and that it may very well be the key to determining who really killed him, but decides he wants nothing to do with the case anyway. Only to find that the prime suspect behind the murder, Roger, has already gotten into his home and dragged him into the mess.
  • The Cameo: Virtually almost every possible iconic cartoon character from The Golden Age of Animation has a cameo: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, Sylvester the Cat and Tweety Bird, Droopy, Betty Boop, Koko The Clown, Woody Woodpecker,...
  • Cameo Cluster: The film features many cartoon characters from The Golden Age of Animation. Two notable scenes include the piano duel between Disney's Donald Duck and Warner Bros.' Daffy Duck, as well as the scene where Disney's Mickey Mouse and Warner Bros.' Bugs Bunny appear onscreen at the same time. To date, this film is the only official crossover featuring characters from Disney, Warner Bros., and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, among other studios.
  • Canon Foreigner: Dolores, Lt. Santino, The Weasels, Judge Doom, R.K. Maroon, and many others did not appear in the original novel.
  • Car Chase Shoot-Out: As Eddie and Roger escape on Benny the Cab, the weasels chase them on the Toon Patrol van, and the head weasel fires a couple of shots at them.
  • Cardiovascular Love: While watching Eddie and his girlfriend, Dolores, make up, Roger not only has heart pupils, he also forms a heart-shape with his ears.
  • Car Fu: Judge Doom gets run over by a steamroller. It doesn't work, but it does reveal his true form: a cartoon.
  • Cartridges in Flight: This is justified due to the bullets being sentient, sapient and self-propelling. Cartoon logic at its finest.
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: Dolores walks into Eddie's apartment and found Eddie's pants around his ankles and Jessica Rabbit holding hands with him. It's obviously Not What It Looks Like.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: The police arrive after Judge Doom has been liquidated.
  • Cessation of Existence: It's implied this is what happens to Toons who have been killed using the dip, since the weasels who laugh themselves to death become angels, while the one who falls into the dip does not.
  • Chained Heat: As a joke, Roger cuffs himself and Eddie together... with cuffs Eddie doesn't have the key to. They remain stuck together until Eddie gets his hands on a hack saw, at which point Roger reveals he could have slipped his wrist out at any time via Toon Physics. Provides the trope image.
  • Chairman of the Brawl: Eddie smashes a chair over Wheezy when he and Roger make their escape from the bar.
  • The Chanteuse: Jessica Rabbit moonlights as one, as shown in her first scene.
  • Character Exaggeration: Roger, compared to his original book counterpart. While the Roger Rabbit of the original book had some notable eccentric traits, he was also somewhat shifty and definitely not the Nice Guy he pretended to be. The Roger of the movie is a lot wackier and more, well, cartoony, and is genuinely a Nice Guy. In the sequel to the book, Roger is a lot more like his animated counterpart.invoked
  • Cheer Them Up with Laughter: Eddie takes it to the extreme: During the climax of the movie, he does all sorts of stupid things to make two goons literally laugh to death. And he came up with the idea after hearing Roger mention the benefits of laugh.
    Roger Rabbit: A laugh can be a very powerful thing. Why, sometimes in life, it's the only weapon we have.
  • Chekhov's Gag:
    • After helping Eddie and Roger escape the Toon Patrol, Benny the Cab remarks "If you ever need a ride, just stick out yer thumb!" Later in the movie, Eddie gestures with his thumb while arguing with Jessica over which way to go to get away from the Weasels in Toontown, and who should show up but Benny.
    • Roger's destructive reaction whenever he takes a shot of alcohol is put to good use later.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The film editing machine in Maroon's office gets used on him in the second act.
    • The Disappearing Reappearing! Ink.
    • Roger's love letter written on a blank piece of paper. It's Marvin Acme's will in disguise.
    • The weasels' weakness to fatal hilarity is mentioned three times before Eddie decides to exploit it.
    • The big mallet and portable hole, introduced for laughs early on and proving crucial in the final action sequence.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The toon that killed Eddie's brother.
  • Chekhov's Skill: If you blink, you miss it, but a quick reference to Eddie and Teddy growing up in a circus with their father being a clown ends up helping him improvise a comedy dance routine to make the Weasels laugh themselves to death.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Jessica, cool as ice most of the film, completely loses it when she realizes what Doom has planned—complete with a Wild Take.
  • Chute Sabotage: Played for laughs. While visiting Toon Town, Eddie Valiant falls out of a skyscraper and, in mid-fall, runs into Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse, who are both skydiving. Bugs loans Eddie his "reserve" parachute, which turns out to be a spare tire.
    Bugs Bunny: Ain't I a stinker?
  • Cigar Chomper: When Baby Herman's off the set and shows his real personality, he's gladly smoking a big one, crying as, well, a baby, when Eddie grabs it and throws it away.
  • Circling Birdies: Both Roger and Eddie Valiant see birds once. Roger sees a lot of other things too, as he repeatedly clobbers himself in a desperate attempt to get his lines right (he's supposed to be seeing stars) and placate irate director Raoul J. Raoul. When Eddie tries to shoo away the birds, he ends up hitting one of them, making it see stars.
  • Clear Their Name: An A-list cartoon star is set up for murder. His only hope: a toon-hating human detective.
  • Cloudcuckooland: Toontown.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Roger. Most if not all toons are this in some shape or form (Jessica and maybe Betty are the only real exceptions), but since Roger has the biggest role it's definitely most notable with him.
  • The Cloudcuckoolander Was Right: In a fit of despair and denial at his wife's infidelity, Roger says "Someone must have made her do it!". He was right.
  • Cobweb of Disuse: Eddie keeps the desk of his late brother and partner Teddy untouched since his death as an Empty Chair Memorial. It is covered in cobwebs and layers of dust.
  • Coincidental Broadcast: The newsreel that plays just as the protagonists are preparing to leave the theatre spills the missing clue Eddie needs to blow the case wide open. It reveals that Cloverleaf are buying up a lot of 'toon-related property including Toontown and the Maroon Cartoon studios
  • Cold Ham: Judge Doom. It makes sense when it's revealed he's actually a toon, meaning his demeanor is the result of him trying to act like a human and not quite succeeding.
  • Comedy as a Weapon: Eddie defeats the Weasels by literally making them "die laughing".
    Roger: A laugh can be a very powerful thing. Why, sometimes in life, it's the only weapon we have.
  • Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are: Judge Doom, correctly suspecting that Roger is hiding in a secret room in the bar, begins circling the room, tapping out the first five beats of Shave And A Haircut with his cane—because toons simply can't leave the rhythm unfinished when the final two bits aren't completed.
  • Comically Cross-Eyed: Roger is slightly cross-eyed to go with his goofy personality.
  • The Comically Serious: Droopy as the elevator operator. He always look serious as the elevator's speed squash Eddie like a pancake and then send him right into the ceiling. as he stops it.
  • Community-Threatening Construction: The villainous plot which threatens the entire community of Toontown is the construction of a freeway.
  • Conspicuous Gloves: Judge Doom wears black leather gloves all the time, but he puts on a larger rubber glove in his first appearance to Dip a poor toon shoe. At first it looks like he's making a point, as he even makes a pun by referring to his incredibly harsh tactics as "not kid gloves". Later it turns out they also hide the fact that he's a toon himself. The rubber gloves are a vital piece of protection that keep him from being harmed by the Dip, though considering the harsh chemicals that Dip is made of, a real person would want gloves too.
  • Conspicuous Trenchcoat: Judge Doom wears a trenchcoat and fedora with sunglasses and a rubber mask, to hide the fact that he is actually a Toon himself.
  • Contagious Laughter: In the speakeasy. Also constantly among the weasels.
  • Contractual Genre Blindness: Most toons, including Doom at the end.
  • Convenient Photograph: Eddie Valiant is hired to take candid photos of Roger Rabbit's wife, Jessica, to prove that she's cheating on him with gag mogul Marvin Acme. When Acme is found murdered the next morning and it's believed that Roger did it out of jealousy, Roger's friend Baby Herman insists that he's innocent and that Acme got killed for his last will and testament, which granted ownership of Toontown to its Toon populace. Eddie doesn't believe it at first, but he then takes a closer look at one of his incriminating photos and notices the will in Acme's coat pocket.
  • Conveyor Belt o' Doom: The movie contains elements of this trope along with Chained to a Rock near the climax of the film, when Roger and Jessica Rabbit are suspended by chains while a nearby contraption spraying The Dip, Judge Doom's weapon of choice, inches ever closer. Notably comparable to Goldfinger, although this plays with the tension by having the stream swung back and forth haphazardly. The scene where Judge Doom gets his hand stuck to the steamroller and is slowly crushed contains the inescapability of the trope.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: In the famous deleted "pig head" scene,note  Doom and the weasels punish Eddie for getting too involved in the case by dragging him kicking and screaming into Toontown and putting an animated pig mask on his head. (A remnant of this scene can be seen when Jessica appears in Eddie's apartment—he's getting out of the shower because he just washed away the last of the painted pig's head.)
  • Cool Car: Judge Doom's 1938 Packard Eight All Weather Panel Brougham by Rollston, the Toon Patrol's 1936 Dodge Commercial Panel truck, Jessica's 1939 Packard One-Twenty Convertible Coupe and Doom's infamous "Dip-Mobile" built around a World War II surplus White 666 6-ton truck.
  • Coolest Club Ever: The Ink & Paint Club, a speakeasy run by cartoon characters.
  • Corporate Conspiracy: Judge Doom, being the sole stockholder of Cloverleaf Industries, murders Marvin Acme, the owner of Toontown (framing Roger for it in the process), and then tries his hardest to make certain that Acme's will is never discovered so that Cloverleaf can win the bidding war to buy Toontown so that he can demolish it and build a place adjacent to a soon-to-be-built freeway frequented by motorists. (And as if that weren't enough, his plan involves murdering every toon living there.)
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: R.K. Maroon. He tries to blackmail Marvin Acme into selling Toontown to Cloverleaf Industries because they won't buy his studio unless Marvin Acme sells them Toontown as well. However, he tries to get Marvin Acme's will back in order to save the toons and their home.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: Roger writes his love letter to Jessica using lipstick. The piece of paper he writes it on turns out to actually be Acme's will.
  • Covered in Kisses:
    • Downplayed: In one scene, Jessica blows a kiss at Eddie, which flies across room before sharply landing on his cheek. His girlfriend Delores (who had just caught Eddie with his pants downnote ) scornfully rips the mark off his face.
    • Jessica passionately smothers Roger in kisses after Eddie defeats the Big Bad and rescues them, though her kisses do not leave any visible marks.
    • Averted with Lena Hyena. Despite wearing as much red lipstick as Jessica, she doesn't leave any marks when she kisses Eddie on the cheek.note 
  • Crapsaccharine World: Played With. Toontown looks cheerful and nice, but go too far in, or spend too long there, and it becomes totally crazy. There are places in it that are genuinely dark and dangerous, but even there it's hard for humans to sustain lasting damage. Good thing too because Toontown is a good place to get your car wrecked beyond repair, squashed flat by a twenty-G elevator ride, or fall two milesnote  because wiseacre skydivers choose to interpret "spare parachute" as "spare tire." Luckily, it's limited to Amusing Injuries, but those are rarely amusing to those who suffer them. And that was before Doom figured out that a toon can kill a human as long as it could be considered "funny" QED dropping a piano on Teddy.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Jessica keeps a bear trap in her cleavage in case some tries to search through her, or probably even tries to molest her.
  • Creator Cameo:
    • Richard Williams voices Droopy in the character's cameo.
    • Split-second: Mel Blanc said he couldn't do Daffy Duck's high-pitched "WOOHOO!" laugh well enough anymore, so all the woohoo-ing is provided by Daffy's lead animator, Dave Spafford.
    • The version of "Smile, Darn Ya, Smile" performed at the end of the film actually includes most of the animation team, all doing their best Toon voices.
  • Creepy High-Pitched Voice:
    • The Big Bad Judge Doom's voice turns squeaky when he is revealed to be a psychopathic Toon in disguise. Due to his Uncanny Valley-looking transformation and extra-hammy behavior, it's absolutely terrifying. Justified because he had just inhaled helium in order to reinflate his flattened body.
    • Smarty, the leader of the Wicked Weasels, has a low voice, but the others' voices are higher, especially Psycho.
  • Creepily Long Arms: When Judge Doom's hand becomes a buzzsaw, the arm it's attached to extends alarmingly far to strike at its target.
  • Crossover Relatives:
    • In one scene, Roger mentions having an "Uncle Thumper".
    • The unmade prequel, of which a script exists, featured a storyline of Roger searching for his long-lost parents. In the end, he finally meets his mother, who then introduces him to the father: Bugs Bunny!
  • Cue the Falling Object: After Eddie crashes his car while in Toontown, he looks at the wreckage and sees a bowling ball rolling over and crushing a wind-up doll.
  • Curse Cut Short: Lampooned, during the ending comedy dance routine...
    Eddie: I'm through with taking falls
    And bouncing off the walls...
    Without that gun I'd have some fun
    I'd kick you in the—
    [A vase falls on Eddie's head, knocking him to the floor.]
    Roger: [desperately interjecting] Nose!
    Smart Ass: Nose? That don't rhyme with walls!
    Eddie: [getting up] No, But this does! [cue Groin Attack; Smart Ass flies across room into Dip]
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Eddie Valiant's bitter grudge against toons is revealed to have begun after his brother was murdered by one.
  • Dance Battler: Eddie Valiant uses his old vaudeville background, subduing the Weasel gang with a vigorous song-and-dance number. Though he's not physically fighting them, the technique is extremely effective; he's hilarious, and excessive laughter is literally lethal to the Weasels.
  • Dance Party Ending: The assembled toons singing and dancing to "Smile, Darn Ya, Smile".
  • Darker and Edgier: While the film is Lighter and Softer than the book, there are elements within the movie that are grimmer than even the original's already bleak narrative.
    • Eddie Valiant in the film is a hard-on alcoholic in order to repress the guilt of losing his deceased brother due to a Toon who is the true identity of Judge Doom killing him, projecting his hate towards this particular toon in a cynical distaste towards the entire race for half of the film, and suffering signs of trauma at certain points, compared to the smooth Deadpan Snarker he was in the book.
    • The Big Bad Judge Doom's plan involves town-sized genocide on the entirety of the toon population in order to make way for a freeway- an act made more repulsive with the revelation that he's a toon as well. A plan much grander and dangerous than anything that the villains of the book had schemed.
    • While the cartoon characters in the book have been shown to die, it is treated as a common occurrence within the story, in the film in contrast, the killing of Toons by the Dip treated as a dramatically unnatural and violently cruel death, with the Big Bad's ultimate plans to wipe out Toons on a mass-population scale to make way for a freeway.
    • Compared to the Disney brand at the time, the film is this, with the nature of being a Toon being examined to explore how potentially dangerous it would be if they existed in the real world, sex is a major subplot in the story, swearing is prominent, at least one violent murder is shown onscreen, and the Big Bad is a genocidal lunatic planning to wipe out the Toon race in a violent manner to fulfill his ambitions and being a monstrous Toon on top of this.
  • Dark Is Evil: Judge Doom's entire wardrobe is black as pitch, even his cane, a sure sign that he's not just bad news but the real mastermind behind the scheme to buy up Toontown. It also makes it easier to conceal his true toon form.
  • Dawson Casting: Parodied in-universe. Baby Herman looks like and plays a mindless newborn baby, but is actually in his fifties.
  • Deader than Dead: As demonstrated by the weasels, dying usually isn't such a big deal for toons. Being dissolved in Dip, however...
  • Dead Hat Shot: The chief weasel Smartass gets kicked in the balls and is sent flying into a vat of Dip. Afterward, his fedora floats down into it.
  • A Deadly Affair: Played with. The eponymous animated character is framed for committing murder after viewing photos taken of his cartoon wife literally "playing Pat-a-Cake" with a human man.
  • Deadly Disc: While he didn't really mean to use it as a weapon, Judge Doom threw a vinyl record at one of the Weasels when he found out Roger Rabbit was hiding in the bar.
  • Deadly Euphemism:
    • Eddie learns of Acme's death when Lt. Santino tells him "The rabbit cacked him last night".
    • The substance for killing toons is called "the dip."
    • Judge Doom also uses the word "execute" to describe what he is going to do to Roger after the rabbit is found guilty (Execute literally means "carry out an action").
  • Deadpan Snarker: Quite a few characters, befitting the hardboiled noir genre.
    • Eddie Valiant.
      Eddie: Well, I don't work for peanuts. Where's the other fifty?
      R.K. Maroon: Let's call the other fifty a carrot to finish the job.
      Eddie: You've been hanging around rabbits too long.
    • Roger gets in a few as well.
      Roger: Say, where is your brother, anyhow? He looks like a sensitive and sober fellow.
    • Dolores.
      Dolores: So tell me, Eddie, is that a rabbit in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?
      Dolores: Is [Roger] always this funny, or just on days when he's wanted for murder?
    • Lt. Santino.
      Eddie: So I took a couple of dirty pictures, so kill me!
      Santino: I already got a stiff on my hands, thank you.
  • Dead Partner: Eddie's brother ran the PI firm with him until a toon dropped a piano on his head.
  • Death by Irony: Judge Doom, himself a secret toon, is dissolved by the Dip he invented to exterminate toons.
  • Death from Above: Eddie's brother and Marvin Acme were killed by having heavy objects (a piano and a safe, respectively) dropped on them from a great height. The piano landed on Eddie as well and broke his arm, but he survived (obviously).
  • Deathly Dies Irae: Score by Alan Silvestri. The four notes are played several times in succession, each time by a different instrument, as Judge Doom reinflates his newly exposed toon form, just before he then reveals his identity as the killer of Eddie’s brother and tries to murder Eddie too.
  • Death Trap: Complete with Monologuing and leaving the room at a crucial time.
  • Deconstruction Crossover: No matter how family-friendly, the film is still a Deconstruction of classical animation. Juxtaposing cartoon characters with real humans and putting them in real environments makes it clear just how insane and dangerous they really are, and many characters try to avoid dealing with them. It also shows that cartoon violence would be a horrifying thing if real people were subjected to it; dropping a refrigerator or a piano on Roger's head is treated like a joke, but doing that to a human would certainly kill them, to say nothing of all the other typical cartoon gadgets that could be utilized to dangerous ends if they really existed.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Eddie's is more of a trauma recovery arc, as he gradually regains his sense of humor and kicks alcoholism.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance:
    • Some kids are implied to be smoking cigarettes early in the film, which would have been perfectly acceptable in 1947. Played for Laughs.
    • The Indian toon bullet, who gives a war-whoop before shattering the whiskey bottle Eddie was using for target practice with a tomahawk, would almost certainly not have flown onscreen except as a nod to the stereotypes often featured in older cartoons.
  • Deliberately Monochrome:
    • In contrast to all other toons, Betty Boop is shown in black-and-white. She blames this for her dwindling success in the industry.
    Betty: Work's been kinda slow since cartoons went to color.
    • Scenes set in the real world were desaturated for that film noir look. This contrasts with the opening cartoon and the scenes set in Toontown, which are fully saturated.
  • Determinator: Seemingly no known law of nature or science could stop Lena Hyena from trying to get a man (toon or human) apart from maybe tricking her into running into a brick wall.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: What Judge Doom really is. He became Toontown's judge for the sole purpose of erecting a freeway on its site. Also a sole stockholder in the construction company handling the demolition.
  • Diabolus ex Nihilo: The Big Bad becomes this with The Reveal that he's actually the toon who killed Eddie Valiant's brother. He remains an Unseen Evil behind his Human Disguise, and we have no idea how he got to the position he currently occupies under his assumed identity.
  • Didn't Think This Through: A twofold example. Roger is wanted for allegedly killing Marvin Acme, so he decides to go to Eddie for help because of how Eddie and Teddy helped out so many toons in the past, assuming he still does. Unfortunately for Roger, Eddie now hates toons and refuses to help them anymore because one killed his brother, so Eddie wants nothing to do with him. Initially, at least. Worse, Roger didn't know where Eddie's office was, so he went around town asking people until he found someone who did know, so by the time he gets there, it isn't long before the Toon Patrol shows up. Justified for three reasons: Roger's a toon, he isn't the smartest guy out there, and he was panicking because he knew that certain death awaited him if he was caught.
  • Diegetic Visual Effects: During the opening sequence, Roger gets Circling Birdies after having a refrigerator fall on his head, and is immediately berated by the director because the script calls for stars—not birds. While ranting, the director grabs one of the birds and throws it on the floor, before yelling at the remaining, chirping birds to shut up. As the director storms off, Roger is seen catching the birds and stuffing them back into his pants, suggesting that the birds are stage props for the filming.
  • Die Laughing: The Quirky Miniboss Squad of weasels are killed by laughter.
  • Dingy Trainside Apartment: Dolores' restaurant is right by the Red Car service station, which routinely shakes the plates in the diner. Dolores herself is so used to it, she instinctively reaches for the nearest pile of plates right before the shaking starts.
  • Dinner Deformation: Roger is hurled into an ironing board mouth first, and ends up stretched out over it.
  • Disappointed by the Motive: The villain, Judge Doom, wants to pave over Toontown to create a long freeway. Eddie is stunned that Doom would go through all the trouble he did, including murder and attempted murder, just for that. When Judge Doom turns out to be a Toon, Eddie isn't surprised, saying "That lamebrain freeway idea could only be cooked up by a toon."
    Judge Doom: Eight lanes of shimmering cement, from here to Pasadena. Smooth, safe, fast. Traffic jams will be a thing of the past.
    Eddie Valiant: So that's why you killed Acme and Maroon? For this freeway? I don't get it.
    Judge Doom: Of course not. You lack vision, but I see a place where people get on and off the freeway. On and off, off and on, all day, all night. Soon, where Toontown once stood will be a string of gas stations, inexpensive motels, restaurants that serve rapidly prepared food, tire salons, automobile dealerships, and wonderful, wonderful billboards as far as the eye can see! My God, it'll be beautiful!
  • Disgusting Public Toilet: The title character gets flushed down one of these while trying to sneak into the Acme factory. After accidentally falling through a jammed window Roger tumbles headfirst into the toilet below splashing water everywhere. The toilet flushes swirling him round and round in circles before finally sucking him down as he stretches his neck trying to avoid the nasty water.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Amusingly subverted with Jessica. Eddie had never seen her before the Ink-N-Paint Club and expects her to be nothing more than a goofy-looking female version of Roger, a la Minnie Mouse. Needless to say, what he sees instead is earth-shattering.
    Betty Boop: Mr. Acme never misses a night when Jessica performs.
    Eddie: Got a thing for rabbits, huh?
  • Distract and Disarm: Eddie Valiant goes to R.K. Maroon's office, claiming to have Marvin Acme's will, as a ploy to get him to confess to his part in Acme's murder. Maroon pulls a gun on him, demanding to see the will. Eddie gives him Roger's love letter to Jessica (ironically written on the will itself, which was in invisible ink), distracting him enough for Eddie to douse him with a nearby seltzer bottle, then punch him out and take the gun.
  • Disgusting Public Toilet: Roger gets flushed down one of these while trying to sneak into the Acme factory. After accidentally falling through a jammed window, he tumbles headfirst into a toilet below, splashing water everywhere. The toilet flushes, swirling him round and round in circles before finally sucking him down as he stretches his neck trying to avoid the nasty water.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • The Fantastic Racism towards toons resembles the treatment of American blacks by the entertainment industry and society at large at the same time. The toons are second-class citizens (or perhaps individuals with no legal status at all) forced to live in a ghetto, despite some of them being in very high demand as entertainers.
    • The movie has a masked reference to the real-life Great American streetcar scandal. Accusations were made that Los Angeles's omnipresent rapid transit system, the Pacific Electric's "Big Red" trolley, and the rest of the United States trolley systems, were secretly bought up by the automotive and oil industries so they could be dismantled and replaced with buses. San Francisco had to actually fight to keep their trolley system. The Los Angeles trial even occurs in the same year the movie is set (1947).
    • Jessica Rabbit playing Pat-a-Cake with another man is apparently the toon equivalent of having an affair. (It's also a pun on the kind of hardboiled Private Eye Monologue that uses "playing pattycake" as a euphemism for infidelity. In fact, the book uses the term to mean exactly that.)
    • "The Ink and Paint Club" is based on "The Cotton Club," a place in New York City with black performers and servers, but the clientele was strictly whites only.
    • Betty Boop's line about how she got displaced by color cartoons is pretty close to silent-era film stars who were displaced by "talkies".
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: Judge Doom. The name winds up changed in several foreign translations, usually to a pun on the word for "death".
  • Dope Slap: Eddie Valiant delivers one to Roger Rabbit.
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male: Leena Hyena's chasing of Eddie is a pretty cut-and-dry attempted sexual assault. One might be tempted to chalk this up to Deliberate Values Dissonance since many cartoon women indeed used to behave this way, but the fact of that matter is that it was still considered acceptable at the time Who Framed Roger Rabbit was made.
  • The Dragon: Smart Ass, the chief weasel, to Judge Doom.
  • Dramatic Curtain Toss: Occurs when Judge Doom pulls aside the curtains concealing his giant Dip spraying machine.
  • Dramatic Shattering: Happens to any glass nearby whenever Roger has a drink.
  • Dramatic Wind: Judge Doom's Black Cloak is always fluttering in the breeze even when he's indoors — as one of the many visual clues that he's not the human he pretends to be.
  • The Driver: Benny the Cab, who is literally one with his car.
  • Drives Like Crazy: All toons (except Jessica, apparently), whether they are driving human vehicles or toons like Benny the Cab, who drives himself like crazy!
    Benny: I can't believe they locked me up for driving on the sidewalk!... It was just a couple of miles!
  • Driving Question: Who framed Roger Rabbit?
  • Duck Season, Rabbit Season: Just before Roger is about to get "dipped", Eddie does this to trick him into drinking another shot of bourbon to produce the same effect the stuff had on Roger at R.K. Maroon's office.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Jessica reaffirms her love for Roger while both are tied together at a time when the situation looks hopeless.
  • Dynamic Entry:
    • The weasels bust their way into Eddie's office looking for Roger by shooting the doorknob out.
    • Roger bursts into the Acme factory through a sewer pipe and attempts to hold the weasels and Doom at gunpoint.

  • Ear Ache: Eddie Valiant repeatedly grabs Roger Rabbit by his long ears and swings him around.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The photos of Acme and Jessica playing Pat-a-Cake show an earlier design for Jessica. This is because these scenes were filmed before Jessica's design was changed and it was a little late and costly to change it for that one scene.
  • Eat the Camera: Played straight and immediately inverted afterward on Baby Herman crying after dropping his cigar, zooming in and then out of his wailing mouth.
  • Electric Joybuzzer: Featured prominently. "The hand buzzer. Still our biggest seller." Marvin Acme's joy buzzer was designed to look like a fancy jeweled ring, befitting a millionaire businessman/prankster.
  • Emergency Taxi: Whenever you need a ride from Benny the cab, just stick out your thumb. Eddie Valiant does this involuntarily when he and Jessica escape from the Weasels.
  • Empty Chair Memorial: The other chair in Eddie's office is his brother's. When Roger tries to sit down in it, Eddie goes bonkers.
  • Enhanced Punch: Judge Doom gives Eddie a devastating punch by turning his fist into an anvil.
  • Epiphora: Also Something Else Also Rises and split over two speakers:
    Jessica: You don't know how hard it is being a woman, looking the way I do.
    Eddie: Yeah, well... you don't know how hard it is being a man, looking at a woman looking the way you do.
  • Era-Specific Personality: Most of the classic cartoons act according to their shorts the film's timeline represents. Most notable with Daffy, who acts much more akin to his Cloudcuckoolander persona from the 1940s (he gets in his later "You're Dethpicable!" catchphrase once though). Occasional references from later appearances are made however, see Anachronism Stew above.
  • Escalating War: Donald Duck and Daffy Duck do this for show during their piano duel at the Ink and Paint Club.
  • Escape Route Surprise: Detective Eddie Valiant, while sleuthing the eponymous question, mistakes the Butter Face Lena Hyena for Jessica Rabbit, and flees from this haywire Stalker with a Crush. Eddie finds a door labeled as a men's rest room, and runs in, shutting the door behind him. Only then does Eddie notice the room is outside the towering building, and that it has no floor. Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress takes it from there.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Eddie derisively remarking, "Toons." and knocking back a bottle. The fact that he's there to begin with despite his disdain also implies he's down on his luck and needs to get any sort of job.
    • Another for Eddie pretty early in the film is when he meets Betty Boop at the Ink & Paint Club, the two talk like old friends and with respect to one another. Eddie may have become an alcoholic cynic towards toons...but this part shows that inside, he does still care.
    • Jessica Rabbit's entire entrance at the Ink and Paint Club emphasizing her appearance and Femme Fatale personality — but the song she picked for her performance doesn't quite fit the femme fatale stereotype; the lyrics aren't seductive or romantic, they're full of disdain for men who don't "do right" by their women. Additionally, Jessica's first real interaction with Eddie is to slap him in the face and tell him off for stooping low enough to photograph her and Acme and possibly destroy her and Roger's marriage all for the sake of a hundred bucks.
    • One of the first things Doom does upon his introduction is to kill an innocent toon shoe for no other reason than it was the nearest thing with which to prove the Dip's efficacy.
  • Establishing Character Music: Judge Doom is introduced accompanied by an ominous bell tone and a menacing bassoon and bass violin.
  • Eternally Pearly-White Teeth: Judge Doom. Close-ups show that his teeth are an unnatural solid white. Once he's been dipped, you can see a pair of false teeth amongst his clothes and rubber mask.
  • "Eureka!" Moment:
    • Eddie finding Marvin Acme's will in one of the pictures he took—first through the base of a whiskey glass, then with his magnifying glass. Subverted a moment later when he says, "the hell with it" and would have promptly crawled into a bottle and out of the movie if Roger hadn't shown up to pull him back in.
    • Eddie's revelation on Cloverleaf while listening to the newsreel in the theater, where Cloverleaf buys Maroon Cartoon Studios.
      Eddie: That's it! That's the connection!
    • Then again when Judge Doom harangues the Weasels, "One of these days, you idiots are going to laugh yourselves to death!". Comes complete with the eureka *ping!*.
    • A very subtle one occurs right at the end of the film when the ink stain on Eddie's shirt reappears, Roger explains that Marvin Acme had invented disappearing/reappearing ink, and Eddie realizes where the will is.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • While Eddie hates Toons at the beginning of the film, even he reacts in horror when Judge Doom kills a Toon Shoe with Dip during Doom's introductory scene.
    • The toons keep emphasizing that all of their stunts are for show business or for fun; they would never actually kill someone. This is why Baby Herman knows that Roger is innocent of murdering Acme. When Doom is melted, they all say there's no way he was a duck, dog, or woodpecker like the friendlier toons.
    • Maroon thinks little of blackmailing Acme with Pat-a-Cake pictures but never intended for Acme to get killed over it and doesn't want Toontown destroyed.
    • Eddie is a heavy smoker and has no problem with a group of children giving him some cigarettes, but even he is horrified when it looks like a woman is about to give a cigar to a baby.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: Jessica's dress on stage. The dress was supposed to sparkle throughout the whole movie, but it would have been too difficult and expensive to animate by hand.
  • Evil Gloating: Judge Doom delivers this after revealing himself as the Diabolical Mastermind behind the plot to destroy Toontown. He delivers another one when it's revealed that he is a toon, and the one that killed Eddie's brother
  • Evil, Inc.: Unsurprisingly, Cloverleaf turns out to be this when Valiant uncovers their motivations for trying to lay claim on Toontown. Considering who their sole stockholder turns out to be...
  • Evil Plan: Judge Doom wants to destroy Toontown and use the land to build a freeway.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Completely inverted. Judge Doom's true voice is high, squeaky, and incredibly irritating. Still terrifying for Eddie, and the audience
  • Exact Words:
    • Never ask a toon to give you a "spare" of something if you don't want a tire. And it's not a good idea to ask for a drink "on the rocks" if you actually want ice. Again, this is because toons follow the logic of Rule of Funny.
    • When Roger and Eddie use Benny to escape from the weasels, a couple of cops on motorbikes give chase too, and Roger remarks there are cops right behind them. Benny reassures him, "Not for long, Roger!" before reversing into an alleyway:
      Benny: Now they're right in front of us!
  • Exactly What I Aimed At: How Eddie deals with Judge Doom, given that he knows from extensive experience that a toon punch-hammer wouldn't even slow him down. Releasing the Dipmobile's spigot, on the other hand...
  • The Exit Is That Way: Done by the title character when, after Eddie refuses to help him, he walks out in a huff... or tries to, anyway. Eddie helpfully shouts "That's the closet!"
  • Exotic Detective: Eddie is a type two example, being a mostly straightforward noir protagonist in a world populated by cartoon characters that live among flesh-and-blood humans. Comedic tropes from The Golden Age of Animation serve as both major and minor plot points, further contrasting Eddie's otherwise straightforward characterization.
  • Expo Label: During the chase scene, Benny the Cab yells for his passengers to "pull the lever!" Asked "which one?", a sign pops out of the dashboard, marked with a pointing arrow and the words THIS LEVER, STUPID.
  • Expy: Jessica Rabbit's design and career is a more vampish version of Tex Avery's Red Hot Riding Hood.
  • Extendo Boxing Glove: As detectives nose around the crime scene of Marvin Acme's murder, one man discovers a cartoon mallet, and points it at Eddie Valiant. Suddenly, one end hinges open, and a boxing glove on a pantograph zooms out. The glove narrowly misses Valiant, smashing instead into some boxes behind him. The device recoils, and the glove returns to the inside of the mallet, which closes up afterward. Valiant will use this same peculiar weapon on Judge Doom. While the boxing glove also narrowly misses Doom, it strikes a much more effective target.
  • Eye-Dentity Giveaway: Also takes the form of a Wham Shot, as Judge Doom is revealed to be a toon. His dummy eyes pop out, and he turns to reveal drawn red eyes, not only revealing his true identity as a toon but that HE was the one who killed Eddie's brother, causing Eddie to hate toons.
  • Eye Pop: Happens often with Roger. Other characters do it as well, including the weasels and Judge Doom. "Remember me, Eddie?!" When Eddie first lays eyes on Jessica Rabbit, his own eyes look as if they're about to do that.
  • Eye Shock: Done in the nightclub scene when the gorgeous Jessica Rabbit is on stage, combined with Wolf Whistle.
  • Eye Take: A common toon reaction to imminent danger.
    • An especially good one comes from Roger in the opening sequence as he gets himself out of the ironing board cabinet and sees a bunch of sharp objects flying at him.
    • The weasels do one that fills the windscreen of their wagon during an Oh, Crap! moment when Benny evades them and they realize they're about to crash into two cops.
    • Roger's eyes become as big as saucers when he realizes that he and Eddie are about to crash Benny into a bridge.
    • When Judge Doom realizes that Eddie wasn't aiming a toon punch-hammer at him but at the spigot of the Dipmobile, his eyes don't just get as big as tennis balls, he Screams Like a Little Girl as he takes its payload of five thousand gallons of heated Dip right to the face.
  • The Faceless: Mrs. Herman from the opening short (as well as the theatrical shorts that followed) is never shown above her legs. If you look in the background after the opening short ends, you can see that Mrs. Herman's lower body was just a prop with a human standing on stilts with fake legs attached to the bottom.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: Roger Rabbit's angsty reaction to Eddie going to call the cops fails, as he walks into the closet. When Eddie opens the closet door, Roger cuffs himself to him, so maybe he planned it all along.
  • Fake Shemp: Visual effects supervisor Ken Ralston played Judge Doom in the scene where Eddie Valiant shoots cartoon bullets at Doom in Toontown, as Doom runs away from Valiant.
  • Fallen-on-Hard-Times Job: Betty Boop, who has remained monochrome and largely forgotten over time, is seen working as a nightclub cigarette girl following the arrival of color cartoons.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death:
    • The cute little cartoon shoe that is shoved in the dip, slowly and gradually as it squeals in pain, is rather painful to watch, especially after Doom emphasizes beforehand that, unlike usual cartoon deaths, this is very real.
    • R.K. Maroon being shot by Doom with a long bleak shot of his corpse afterwards. Adds a slightly dark tint since Eddie inadvertently assisted it via his Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique.
    • Double-subverted. Doom's death by steamroller would have been a hell of a nasty way to go, but then he stands back up. The double-subversion comes when he gets melted by Dip, in a slightly more family-friendly but no less horrifying way.
  • Fanservice: Any scene involving Jessica. Subtlety doesn't come into it.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • The scene where Jessica meets a shirtless and very hairy Eddie in his office.
    • Lena Hyena, the exact polar opposite of Jessica.
  • Fantastic Noir: A classic, run-of-the-mill Hardboiled Detective murder mystery—with living cartoon characters thrown in for good measure.
  • Fantastic Racism: "Toons" are treated as second-class citizens by most humans during the events of this film, paralleling 1940s race relations. This is especially apparent in the scene in the "Ink and Paint Club", a direct reference to real-life venues like the Cotton Club where members of the oppressed demographic (African-Americans in that case, toons here) were allowed to be employees and entertainers but not members. Eddie himself toes the line. He's certainly prejudiced against toons, tossing "toon" around like a slur, but much of this is later suggested to be Aggressive Categorism acquired after an outlier toon killed his brother. He eventually warms back up to toons at large, with Roger's help. Hopefully, race relations between the Toons and humans get a lot better over the decades.
  • Fat and Skinny: Eddie Valiant is short and stocky. Teddy Valiant, in the one brief glimpse we see of him in a photograph, is tall and slender.
  • Fear Is the Appropriate Response: When Eddie Valiant is confronted by Baron Von Rotten, his brother's killer, he is utterly horrified and tries to flee at first. While understandable since Von Rotten is a maniacal sadist who can't be harmed by anything at Eddie's disposal, Eddie's frightened reaction is ironic since his last name is "Valiant", a synonym for "brave".
  • Feel No Pain:
    • Roger demonstrates this with the refrigerator that's dropped on his head 23 times and repeatedly when the record player skips, resulting in several broken dishes.
    • Averted when it comes to his ears. He hates having them pulled and thinks that Eddie's repeated yanking of them is a sign of contempt. Truth in Television since rabbits' ears are generally very sensitive and grabbing one by the ears can cause serious harm.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Roger's deeply in love with his wife Jessica, and is horrified when Eddie finds photographs of her and Mr. Acme "playing patty-cake." If you're wondering what "playing patty-cake" is a euphemism for...Toons seem to consider it the equivalent of sex. Roger is deeply hurt.
  • Femme Fatale: Jessica. What would a hard-boiled detective story be without one? Ultimately subverted though: she was never actually evil or even unfaithful to Roger — she was forced into it under threat of Roger being blacklisted.
    Jessica: I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way.
  • Fictional Currency: "Simoleons", a real-world slang term for money, are actual currency in Toontown.
  • Film Noir: While loaded with genuine, hilarious cartoon mayhem, the Film Noir elements are played almost completely straight giving the film genuine texture, suspense and pathos. The underlying plot is classic film noir—"I'm going to listen you spin Cloverleaf's scenario — the story of greed, sex, and murder".note 
  • Final Solution: Judge Doom wants to do this to all Toons by way of The Dip. In the original version of the script, he even calls the stuff the "Final Solution".
  • Fire Is Red: After being forced to drink an entire bottle of Acme Chili Sauce "Extra Hot" the tea kettle on Rogers's head began to turn bright red like a thermometer. Eventually the entire tea kettle was glowing fiery red with steam whistling out giving a Stock Visual Metaphor of how "Extra" spicy the hot sauce was.
  • First-Step Fixation: Roger is compelled to play out this gag, demonstrating how Toons are bound by the Rule of Funny. To wit: Roger handcuffs himself to Eddie Valiant, only to learn Eddie lost the key to those cuffs. Eddie and Roger, cuffed together, narrowly avoid getting discovered by Judge Doom's goons, then sneak into a secret room behind Dolores' bar. There, Eddie starts cutting off the cuffs with a hacksaw—at which point Roger effortlessly slips his hand out of the cuff to help Eddie with the sawing. Eddie thanks Roger, then does a double-take, and Roger sheepishly slips his hand back into the cuff.
    Eddie: You mean you could've taken your hand out of that cuff at any time?
    Roger: No, not at any time, only when it was funny.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing:
    • When Eddie folds down his hide-a-bed, a moving lump can be seen under the covers behind Eddie. Seconds later, Eddie discovers Roger in the bed with him.
    • Near the end, Eddie is perplexed at an ink stain on his clothing, which Roger explains as an old stain made with Acme's disappearing-reappearing ink. This prompts Eddie to take another look at Roger's love letter to Jessica, where he finds the will.
  • Flat "What":
    • Eddie says this when he is first informed that Marvin Acme was killed by, supposedly, a cartoon rabbit.
    • He responds the same way when Dolores informs him that it is Cloverleaf that seeks to own Toontown and will do so if Acme's will doesn't show by midnight that night.
  • Flirtatious Smack on the Ass: Baby Herman dispatches his nursemaid/handler with a smack on her ass as well as sends her to get a racing form.
  • Flirty Voice Ploy: Jessica "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way" Rabbit.
  • Foil: Eddie and Roger are this for each other. Roger is an overly-idealistic toon who's forced to deal with the fact that things aren't as perfect as he likes to pretend they are, while Eddie is an overly-cynical human who needs help remembering that the world isn't as horrible as he thinks it is.
  • Food Shove Gag: When Angelo is stepping on Eddie's Berserk Button at the bar, Eddie kicks his stool out from under him, growls at him, then shoves a hard-boiled egg in his mouth.
  • Forceful Kiss: After catching sight of Eddie, Lena Hyena believes he's come to her out of romantic pursuit. After finally catching him, she gives him a big kiss with her Gag Lips, much to his chagrin. The recoil from this kiss sends Eddie flying down the street.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: When Judge Doom first appears, his appearance is marked with a single bell tone followed by ominous music as the camera pans up his black-clad figure.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Doom's plan to dismantle the Red Car system is first hinted at when Eddie hitches a ride on the back of one after leaving Maroon's office.
    Boy: Hey, mister, ain't you got a car?
    Eddie: Who needs a car in L.A.? We got the best public transportation system in the world.
    • When Valiant comments wondering how Doom could be a judge, Lt. Santino mentions that he bought the election in Toontown with a lot of "simoleons." When Eddie finally tells the story of how his brother died, he relates how the killer had just stolen a bunch of "simoleons".
    • Subtle foreshadowing, suggesting something peculiar, when Eddie photographs Jessica and Marvin:
      You gotta be kidding me.
    • About Jessica playing Pat-a-Cake: "Somebody musta made her do it!"
    • "Stop that laughing! You know what happens when you can't! Stop! Laughing?! [shuts up Stupid by throwing a plunger at him] One of these days, you're gonna die laughing!"
    • "A laugh can be a very powerful thing. Why, sometimes in life, it's the only weapon we have."
    • Eddie manages to free himself from being magnetized to a metal barrel with a Portable Hole that some of the detectives investigating Acme's murder were seen playing with earlier.
    • Likewise to the above, Eddie manages to release the pressure valve on the Dipmobile using the toon punch-hammer they were also playing with.
    • We see the box containing Eddie's toon gun long before he actually takes it out; it's in his bag right next to the magnifying glass he uses to re-examine the photos.
    • Everything about Judge Doom. He's Obviously Evil in every sense of the word.
      • In outfit, name, and the way he presents himself. While the other characters are played more realistically, he's not subtle in the least, in actions or appearance. This makes a lot more sense when it's revealed he's a toon, who are by their nature over the top.
      • Doom's clothes dramatically blow in the wind despite the fact that no one else's does because there's no wind. Just another dramatic effect adopted by a toon.
      • Doom allows Eddie to give Roger one last drink, and even lets them do a Duck Season, Rabbit Season bit. Remember the moment with the handcuffs when Roger said he could only do a certain action (i.e. slipping out of a handcuff) when it was funny?
      • Eddie's line to Roger: "I don't know who's toonier; you or Doom!"
      • Doom never blinks, not once, because those aren't his actual eyes, they're fakes.
      • Notice the way Doom slips on the fake eyeballs, flailing in midair for a moment instead of falling right away. Also, he's covering one eye with his hand when he gets up, for reasons that will be evident later.
      • Doom's special aversion to the Dip. When Eddie knocks over the drum while escaping from the bar, Doom backs away from it. Also explains why Doom puts on a big rubber glove to Dip the shoe: It'd take his hand off because he's a toon, not just because it's toxic (though even a regular human would want protective gloves, considering what's in the stuff). Similarly, he doesn't remove the glove he already is wearing when he puts on the protective glove (like a normal person would probably do), which also foreshadows what his hands really are in the climax.
      • When Jessica gets the drop on Eddie in Toontown she shoots Doom, clearly hitting him straight in the chest. He's up and running away, perfectly fine, moments later and the way he runs is hugely exaggerated which, is very odd for such a collected man. In his getting hit, he drops the gun he was going to use on Eddie, which was the same one used to kill R.K. Maroon.
      • Maroon tries to warn Eddie: "Unless Acme's will shows by midnight tonight, Toontown's gonna be land for the free—" getting him Killed Mid-Sentence before he can say "freeway."
      • Also notice the way Doom reacts to getting shocked by the Hand Buzzer and compare it to how Eddie reacted to getting shocked early in the film.
    • R. K. Maroon's assailant positions their gun over a poster of a gun-toting toon "Pistol Packin Possum", allowing the audience to see that both guns are the exact same model. The toon also has bright red eyes, hinting that the killer is the same one who murdered Eddie's brother.
    • Cloverleaf, as in the shape of highway on-ramps.
    • The photo on Teddy Valiant's desk of him, Eddie, and their father in the circus wearing full clown gear foreshadows some of Eddie's behavior in the climax.
    • Eddie: "Sure, I got the will" (knowing full well it was really Roger's love letter to Jessica). Turns out the "clean piece of paper" Roger wrote his letter on was indeed Acme's will all along which was written in disappearing/reappearing ink.
    • When R.K. Maroon gets shot, Eddie rolls out of the way, showing how nimble and acrobatic he is before he goes into the dance routine for the weasels.
    • When Angelo is teasing Eddie about working for a toon, the latter doesn't blow his top until Angelo's laugh hits a particularly high pitch—reminding Eddie of the laugh of the toon that killed his brother.
  • For the Funnyz: According to Roger, a toon's whole purpose in life is to make people laugh, humans and fellow toons alike.
  • Freak Out: Even the normally stoic Jessica is scared of "The Dip".
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • Fans of Golden Age cartoons have worn out their pause buttons trying to count all of the cameos from classic cartoon characters. The closest estimate is 90.
      • During the elevator scene in Toontown, blink and you'll miss the Road Runner and Coyote's shadows.
      • There's a plaque inside Eddie's toon gun case that reads, "Thanks for getting me out of the Hoosegow. Yosemite Sam"note 
      • The out-of-order bathroom that Eddie steps into in Toontown has graffiti that reads "For a good time, call Allyson Wonderland, the best is yet to be".
    • Eddie hangs his hat on a Maltese Falcon when he enters his office.
    • In some of the faster, more intense shots during the car chase scene with Benny and The Weasels (namely the one of Benny landing in a spin and driving down an alley), Eddie is animated rather than portrayed by Bob Hoskins, as the action would have been too impractical or dangerous for a live actor to perform.
    • When Eddie is firing at Doom as he runs from him and Jessica in an alley, Jessica notably freezes animation for several frames.
    • After the car crash, when Jessica is whirling away with her legs spread, freezing on frame 2170 of side 4 (CAV Laserdisc) reveals that she's "Going Commando." This has been censored in the subsequent digital editions.
    • After the Dip machine crashes through the wall over into Toontown, watch one frame at a time and see a different murder or death going on in each window of the train it gets hit by.
  • Freudian Threat: This accidentally happens to Roger in the opening cartoon "Somethin’s Cookin" when a meat cleaver hits the wall in between his legs almost resulting in a Crippling Castration, Roger reacts (understandably) with a Loud Gulp.
  • Frying Pan of Doom:
  • Functional Genre Savvy:
    • Eddie Valiant and Judge Doom both know enough about cartoons to manipulate the various toons they work with (mostly Roger).
    • Eddie still remembers only a second too late that when you order a scotch "on the rocks" at a toon-staffed club, you better specify you mean ice.
  • Fun with Flushing: This happens to the title character as he is breaking into the Acme Factory. After a failed attempt to sneak through an outside window into the factory Roger sighs “wouldn’t you know?.. locked” as he leans against the glass. The window un-jams and Roger falls through tumbling head first into a Disgusting Public Toilet. He accidentally flushes the toilet as he falls in swirling him round and around until it sucked him down. Because toons live by the Rule of Funny Roger was forced to fall in and be flushed down a toilet as that was the funniest way for him to get inside the factory. And judging by his reaction (Rogers’s disgusted expression was obvious given he had his tongue stuck out the whole time as he was swirling around, and he clearly tried to stay out of the water for as long as possible stretching his neck out as he was being sucked down) it also forced Roger to endure some trauma as he is used to doing these types of gags on a cartoon set and not in real life.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • When walking out of the cartoon set for "Somethin's Cookin'", it is revealed that Baby Herman's mother is actually played by a human walking on fake legs.
    • In the Toontown scene, there's a picture of a rabbit in Lena Hyena's room who looks away in disgust. The end of Lena's bed has a repulsed expression too.
  • Funny Octopus: There's an octopus working the wet bar of the Ink And Paint Club, where it mixes drinks, serves patrons, polishes glassware, and examines notes for counterfeits all at once.
  • Furry Confusion:
    • Benny the Cab hops behind the wheel of a non-sentient Alleged Car that Roger was driving after his own tires are damaged.
    • In Toontown, there's a poster of Porky Pig's own brand of "All-Beef Sausage".

  • Genius Loci: Some of the buildings in Toontown have eyes as windows and even move around. Justified, since they're toons, and toon versions of typically inanimate objects can be alive.
  • Genocide from the Inside: Doom is in fact a toon, and attempts to wipe out all toons and Toontown.
  • Genre-Busting: A Hardboiled Detective story in a world where The Golden Age of Animation has turned the laws of physics into very rough guidelines.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • A subtle joke in the opening sequence has a Show Within a Show example of Getting Crap Past the Radar: the brand name on the oven is "Hotternell" — while the film's PG rating would certainly allow for language as mild as "hell", The Hays Code that was in effect during the film's period setting would not. This is actually a combination of this trope, and a Shout-Out. Tex Avery, in that same period, managed to get away with including an Alaska town labelled as Coldernell in two of his short films, and the Roger short in production is very much in Avery's style.
    • Sylvester manages to slip in saying Doom definitely wasn't a "pussy" by nature of him being a cat.
    • The original cut of the movie had three frames showing that Jessica's dress hiked up to show that she was not wearing underwear. Once laserdisc made frame-by-frame viewing possible, this crept out from Under the Radar and was later edited — first by digitally putting white panties on Jessica, then by elongating the skirt so everything is covered.
  • Getting the Boot: Eddie Valiant attempts to eavesdrop on Jessica Rabbit's dressing room. Unfortunately for him, Bongo kicks him out of the Ink and Paint Club into a pile of garbage. Eddie also tries to throw Roger out of his office later on.
  • Give Me a Reason: During Roger's Big Damn Heroes moment.
    Judge Doom: Put that gun down, you buck-toothed fool!note 
    Roger Rabbit: That's it, Doom! Give me another excuse to pump ya full of lead!
  • Glass-Shattering Sound: When Roger drinks alcohol, he inexplicably emits an ear-splitting steam whistle sound that rises in pitch until all nearby glass has shattered.
  • Gleeful and Grumpy Pairing: The movie teams up Eddie Valiant, a disgruntled and grumpy private eye with a prejudice against Toons, with the titular Roger, a high-strung, optimistic Toon goofball who has trouble taking anything seriously.
  • Gloved Fist of Doom: While in the Acme factory, Judge Doom pulls on a large rubber glove before putting a Toon shoe in the Dip. (Watch it here, 4:00-5:20. He doesn't make the fist, but he does put it on menacingly.
  • Going Commando: There's an infamous scene where Jessica is thrown from a crashing car with her legs spread. A few blink-and-you'll-miss-it frames reveal that she wears nothing under her dress. This has been censored in the subsequent digital editions by giving her white panties.
  • Good-Guy Bar: The Terminal Station Bar is where Eddie's at least morally neutral pals congregate, and Dolores keeps them in line.
  • Good Hair, Evil Hair: Roger Rabbit wears a moustache like this on a Wartime Cartoon poster featuring Baby Herman.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking:
    • The era-appropriate exemption is played with, as Eddie Valiant either borrows or buys some cigarettes from some people he met on the Red Line trolley. The exemption is also thrown into sharper relief by the fact that it's a bunch of kids that supplied them.
    • Among the cartoon characters, Baby Herman (not really a baby) smokes a (real) cigar to show that he's a tough guy when not performing; one of the evil weasels, named Wheezy, is constantly smoking several cigarettes at once, giving him a weak, raspy voice; and Roger himself poses with a cigarette holder on a publicity photo seen in a newspaper to look sophisticated, as was the fashion back then.
  • Goofy Print Underwear: Lena Hyena is revealed to be wearing a pair of these when Eddie tricks her into flattening herself against a wall.
  • Goo Goo Getup: Roger's coworker Baby Herman is a literal baby toon, but his personality is that of a middle-aged man. For his job portraying a baby, he dresses and acts like a baby on set.
  • G-Rated Mental Illness: Psycho the weasel. His eyeballs spin around constantly, he's wrapped in a straight jacket, his tongue hangs out, and most of his dialogue consists of either laughter or "kill the rabbit!"
  • G-Rated Sex: Roger reacts to secret photos of his wife Jessica and Marvin Acme playing Pat-a-Cake as if he'd been presented with photographs of them having acrobatic sex. This is carried further in the short films, where, at the end of the "Tummy Trouble" Maroon Cartoon shoot, Jessica seductively promises Roger a game of Pat-a-Cake as a reward.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: Eddie escapes into a men's bathroom, which is out of order. After a few seconds of Delayed Reaction, he discovers himself in open air miles high in the sky and only then plummets countless stories.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Los Angeles City Council, who were the ones who came up with the whole "freeway" plan that Judge Doom then seized upon to enrich himself....and wipe out the Toons in the process. (They may or may not be an Unwitting Instigator of Doom (pun intended), depending on whose idea it was and if Toontown were originally not the intended location of the freeway's path.)
  • Groin Attack: At least four different ones during the course of the movie. Two of them were cut off from the 20-year celebration edition DVD.
  • Guns Do Not Work That Way: This is parodied by Eddie Valiant pulling out a cartoon gun, with cartoon "bullets" that are alive, that he's able to talk to. After he shoots them, they go a distance then stop, trying to figure out which way to go. They make a 90 degree turn, the wrong way. Valiant remarks, "Dum dums."
  • Hair of the Dog: The first thing Eddie does after being woken up after a night of Drowning My Sorrows is to grab a fresh bottle of Wild Turkey and start pounding it down.
  • Hanging by the Fingers: Tweety makes a cameo in the Toontown scene, playing "widdle piddies" with Eddie Valiant's fingers, which are precariously holding onto a flagpole (this is a reference to the Merrie Melodies cartoon A Tale of Two Kitties).
  • Hanging Judge: Judge Doom. What makes him even more sinister than the other judges is the fact that Toontown is undisputedly under his power, and he certainly has enough influence around LA to say that he IS the law-enforcement of the city. The good police forces are nothing more than pawns just doing their work. The worst part is that he can kill toons, who are practically invincible otherwise.
  • Happily Married: It turns out that Roger and Jessica are Happily Married and even Sickeningly Sweethearts. What does Jessica see in him exactly? When asked that by Eddie Valiant, she replies, "He makes me laugh."
  • Hardboiled Detective: Eddie Valiant. Subtly lampshaded when he force-feeds a minor character a hard-boiled egg for mocking him over the fact he's working for a cartoon producer.
  • Hats Off to the Dead: As Judge Doom prepares to dip Roger, a bar patron removes his hat in anticipation of what's to come.
  • Head-and-Hip Pose: While confiding to detective Eddie Valiant, Jessica Rabbit does a variant by walking with both hands on her wide, wiggly hips. Jessica's hairstyle, a la Veronica Lake, makes the hand-to-head gesture unnecessary. She does the pose while speaking the line:
    Jessica: You don't know how hard it is, being a woman looking the way I do.
  • Head Crushing: Marvin Acme is murdered by having a safe dropped on his head. When his body is taken away, it is clear that his head has been crushed.
  • He Didn't Make It: Eddie does this when telling Roger the story of how his brother Teddy got killed by a 'Toon.
  • Held Gaze: Eddie and Dolores have one before their Almost Kiss that is interrupted by Roger.
  • Helium Speech: Judge Doom, when he reveals his true identity, and does so to unnerve Eddie.
    Judge Doom: Rememeber me, Eddie?! When I killed your brother, I talked... JUST... LIKE... THIIIIIIIS
  • Helping Granny Cross the Street: When the shot of the gigantic pile-up of cars in Toontown pulls out, Snow White can be seen helping the "old peddler woman" (aka her Wicked Stepmother) across the street.
  • Heroes Gone Fishing:
    • According to the photos in Roger's wallet, he and Jessica spent some time at the beach (possibly on their honeymoon) and at the Brown Derby Restaurant.
    • After the aforementioned scene, Eddie also looks at photos, which include him with Dolores (probably during their trip to Catalina), and then some of him with Teddy on a beach.
    • Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny go parachuting in their spare time, apparently, as seen when Eddie falls out of the building in Toontown.
  • "Hey, You!" Haymaker: Jessica does it to Eddie while at the site of Acme's murder.
    Jessica: Mr. Valiant? [Eddie turns around; Jessica slaps him across the face] I hope you're proud of yourself, and those pictures you took!
  • Hidden Depths: One reason the movie goes over so well with multiple ages is because, underneath the very mature, hard-boiled tone, all the good guys have redeeming depths. Eddie's still got a tiny bit of humor left and still respects those he hates, Dolores sees through Eddie's hard exterior and knows what a good person he is deep down, Roger's forever optimistic, Jessica truly loves him, Baby Herman thinks of Roger as a good friend and supports his innocence, and Benny helps Eddie and Roger despite being a loudmouth.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Marvin Acme's Lost Will and Testament. It was printed in disappearing-reappearing ink in the paper Roger used to write his love letter to Jessica.
  • High-Pressure Emotion: Roger's reaction to alcohol is rather... explosive.
  • His Name Is...: R.K. Maroon is shot before he can finish telling Eddie the truth about the Acme murder.
  • Historical In-Joke: The villain's plan is revealed to be buying Toontown to destroy it and build a commercial district to capitalize on a freeway that's soon to be built, and to ensure the freeway will see heavy traffic he bought the Red Car trolley company and intends to shut it down. This is all a reference to the conspiracy theory that car and oil companies secretly worked together in the 1940s to buy mass transit systems and shut them down so people would have to drive cars instead.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard
    • Eddie tries to use the giant magnet on a sword. His opponent simply doesn't let go, resulting in Eddie dragging him closer. He reverses the magnet to stop the opponent from getting any closer, so it wraps around his waist and attracts the nearest metallic object behind him—a trash can—which slams into Eddie's back, trapping him. He barely escapes via a portable hole.
    • Judge Doom is killed by the Dip machine he was going to use on Roger and Jessica Rabbit and all of Toontown. Also, Smart Ass is the only weasel to not die from laughter. Instead, he, too, gets killed by the Dip when Eddie kicks him so hard that he sends him flying into the Dip vat.
    • The machine itself is destroyed by a train. The vehicle that was being used to phase out trains/trams is destroyed by one.
  • Hollywood Acid: The Dip, comprised of solvents and paint thinners—specifically turpentine, acetone, and benzene—acts like this for any toon it comes into contact with.
  • Hollywood Magnetism: Parodied when Eddie uses a large toon magnet to try and wrest a sword out of an opponent's hand. The magnetic force is depicted as lightning bolts that literally grab the sword and pull it, dragging his opponent along with it.
  • Horrible Hollywood: Humans are intolerant and exploitative towards toons, while the toons themselves tend to wreak havoc with their wacky antics. There's also the one director who berated Roger for forgetting his lines and the film producer who was complicit in Roger's frame-up.
  • Human-Focused Adaptation: This movie is a rare example of the trope not getting too far out of hand. Notably the romance between Roger and Jessica Rabbit was more important than Eddie's romantic subplot. It's Justified, as it would have cost a lot more to give the toons more screen time.
  • Hurricane of Euphemisms:
    • First...
      Dolores: It's a rotgut room. Holdover from Prohibition.
      Roger: Oh, I get it. A speakeasy, a gin mill, a hooch parlour!
    • And also:
      Roger: I didn't kill anybody, I swear! This whole thing's a set-up, a scam, a frame job!
    • Roger's prone to this:
      Roger: Jessica's the light of my life, the apple of my eye, the cream in my coffee...
      Eddie: You better start drinkin' it black, 'cause Acme's takin' the cream now.
    • Earlier, Yosemite Sam experiences a Rump Roast;
    Yosemite Sam: Mah biscuits are burnin'! Fire in the hatch! Great horny toads, that smarts!
  • The Hyena: Well, weasels in this case. Their hyena cousins are mentioned. (Poor guys, laughed themselves to death.)
  • Hypocritical Humor: At the bar, a frustrated Daffy Duck vows to stop playing music with someone whose speech is hard to understand, even though Daffy himself talks with a lisp.
    Donald Duck: [about Daffy] Doggone stubborn little...
    Daffy Duck: [about Donald] This is the latht time I work with thomebody with a thpeech impediment!
    Donald Duck: Oh, yeah?! [grabs Daffy and throws him into his piano]
    Daffy Duck: [his beak sticking out of Donald's piano] Thith meanth war...

  • "I Can't Look!" Gesture:
    • Eddie watches as most of Judge Doom succumbs to the driverless steamroller, but averts his gaze as Doom's head meets the roller. It takes Roger Rabbit to point out to Eddie that Doom is not finished yet, despite having been rolled flat.
    • Lt. Santino does this as Doom melts the toon shoe.
  • Idea Ding: A little trill in the score can be heard when Eddie gets the idea to make the weasels laugh themselves to death.
  • I Fell for Hours: Eddie Valiant's long drop from the top of a skyscraper in Toontown, during which he encounters Bugs and Mickey on the way down, takes enough time for him to have a short conversation with them.
  • If I Wanted X, I Would Y: In a deleted scene, after Eddie Valiant is caught snooping in the Ink and Paint Club, and Jessica Rabbit assumes he was staging a solo panty raid:
    Eddie Valiant: Look, doll, if I'd've wanted underwear, I'd've broken into Frederick's of Hollywood!
  • Illogical Safe: Done with a fridge, and an elevator in one of the Maroon Cartoon shorts.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder:
    R.K.Maroon: You've got it all wrong! I'm a cartoon maker, not a murderer!
  • I'm Melting!: Judge Doom's death. He even declares this verbatim meanwhile.
  • Impact Silhouette: The result of Roger running off in a fit of pique... through Mr. Maroon's office window. He leaves a Roger-shaped hole not only in the window itself but even in the blinds covering them.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Smart-Ass shoots at Eddie and Roger twice with an actual gun (not a toon one) when he and the weasels give chase to them and Benny after the bar scene, but misses both times.
  • Impossible Hourglass Figure: Jessica Rabbit. Intentionally invoked by the animators to forestall accusations of rotoscoping over a live actress.
  • Improvised Zipline: Judge Doom uses his cane to slide down a wire and attack Eddie Valiant on top of the Dip wagon.
  • Incessant Music Madness: The director is arguing with Roger after he blows his lines. The wacky cartoon music continues playing in the background, until the director finally shouts, "Can we lose the playback please!?"
  • Indignant Slap: Eddie Valiant was hired to get evidence of Jessica Rabbit's infidelity and shoots photos of her with Toontown owner Marvin Acme. Not long afterwards, Acme is murdered, and Roger is the chief suspect. While at the scene of the crime, Eddie is approached by Jessica, who slaps him across the face.
    Jessica: I hope you're proud of yourself, and those pictures you took!
  • I Need a Freaking Drink:
    • Eddie's standard coping strategy.
    • Roger is more than happy to knock back a shot after getting photographic evidence that his wife is cheating on him.
    • Almost Inverted when he really needs the drink. Eddie had to trick him into taking the drink, to save his life.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: Roger blubbers inelegantly after he's told his wife is playing around. This scene is an almost exact remake of the opening from Chinatown.
  • Inflating Body Gag:
    • The first scene, taking place in the Show Within a Show "Somethin's Cookin'", has Roger accidentally smack face-first into an ACME vacuum's out-vent and inflate to a massive size. When he dislodges himself, the air shoots out of his mouth, propelling him around the room like an out-of-control balloon.
    • A much more disturbing example when Judge Doom does this to himself after he reveals that he's a toon.
  • In Name Only: The movie may as well be a separate entity from its source novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit? to the point where the only things they kept was the general world-building (toons living alongside humans), the basic story set-up (toon rabbit suspected of killing a human and enlists help from a human private eye), two lines ("I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way" and "50-year-old lust and a three-year-old dinky") and a few character names (Eddie Valiant, Roger Rabbit, Jessica Rabbit, and Baby Herman). That's really about all the movie has in common with its source material.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Roger inadvertently hits Eddie's Berserk Button when making reference to his brother ("He looks like a sensitive and sober fellow"), not knowing that Teddy died a few years previously in a robbery in Toontown.
  • In One Ear, Out The Other: Roger demonstrates this with a carpenter's rasp. Apparently, it tickles.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: Cartoon characters from every animation studio in existence in the 1940s appear in the movie.
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • Jessica and Roger—possibly averted because they are toons, in which surface forms do not necessarily reflect species differences.
    • This is reversed with Marvin Acme and Jessica playing "pattycake"—although she resembles a human, she is a toon.
  • Intimidation Demonstration: Judge Doom, after being revealed to be a toon in human disguise, advances toward a disoriented Eddie Valiant with his right hand having formed into a cartoon buzzsaw. He mockingly frightens Eddie by extending the handle with every step he takes and slices through metallic chains, with lots of sparks flying out, to show that it can kill Eddie.
  • Investigator Impersonation: Judge Doom claims to be after Marvin Acme's murderer, when in fact it was him who committed it.
  • Invisible Writing: Mr. Acme is the inventor of 'disappearing-reappearing ink' which becomes invisible almost immediately, but becomes visible again through time. Mr. Acme also wrote his will with it, leading it to be believed lost.
  • Iris Out: The movie fades out to the credits this way.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • "One of these days, you idiots are gonna laugh yourselves to death!"
    • "You're killin' 'em! You're slayin' 'em! You're knockin' 'em dead!"
  • It Will Never Catch On:
    • Benny jibes about what "bums" the Brooklyn Dodgers are; the film takes place in 1947, exactly ten years before the Dodgers played their last game in Brooklyn, before making their new home in Los Angeles.
    • Judge Doom's vision of the freeway after its construction. One reason Eddie isn't that surprised to learn Doom is actually a toon is because, as he sees it, only a toon could have come up with such a wacky scheme.
  • It's Up to You: A meta example. There's a reason many people felt Bob Hoskins was snubbed for an Academy Award nod here: it's so easy watching Eddie Valiant to forget that Bob Hoskins is almost invariably by himself, talking to air or a ridiculous contraption.
  • I Was Never Here: After Roger is framed for murder, he hides out in Eddie Valiant's office, to Eddie's chagrin. When he sees the Toon Patrol showing up to search the place for him, he hides inside a drawer in Eddie's desk and tells him "Remember, you never saw me!".
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Eddie does this to R.K. Maroon.
  • Jaw Drop: Eddie Valiant's first vision of Jessica Rabbit. Complete with Betty Boop closing his mouth for him.
  • Jerkass:
    • That elevator operator in Toontown. Seeing as it's Droopy Dog, this is to be expected.
    • Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, and Tweety Bird act like this (quite in-character) during the famous falling scene. Somewhat justified in that they wouldn't let Eddie actually die.
      Bugs Bunny: Ain't I a stinker?
    • Judge Doom and the weasels are the worst of all, though, as they're corrupt and murderous law enforcements who plan to erase Toontown from the face of the Earth for their greedy agenda.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Roger has no response when Baby Herman points out that Toontown isn't saved at the end. Another greedy capitalist can buy the land and destroy their home. Everyone is relieved when it turns out the blank sheet of paper is the will that gives the toons the ownership of Toontown.
    • Bongo, the toon gorilla, violent as he was, had every right to throw Eddie out of the Club as he caught him sneaking through the keyhole of Jessica's dressing room.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Eddie Valiant is a cynical, world-weary P.I. with a racist streak, but most of this disappears once he worked through the trauma of his brother's death.
    • Baby Herman is harsh and unapologetic but cares deeply for his friends and costars. He offers to pay Eddie to clear Roger's name.
    • Benny the Cab comes across as a sarcastic Jerkass and a road hog, but despite that, it's clear he and Roger are good friends and despite knowing Roger is a fugitive, he takes him and Eddie to a place they can hide, shows up in a Big Damn Heroes moment to save Eddie and Jessica from the weasels, and drives Roger (in Eddie's trashed car) to the Acme factory so Roger can attempt to pull off his own Big Damn Heroes moment.
  • Joe Sent Me: The password to the Ink and Paint Club is "Walt sent me".
  • Judge, Jury, and Executioner: "I'll catch the rabbit, Mr. Valiant, and I will try him, convict him and execute him."
  • Jump Scare: Eddie gets one from Dumbo, causing him to hide beneath a shelf out of fear.
    R.K. Maroon: Kind of jumpy, aren't you, Valiant?
  • Just Between You and Me: Judge Doom explains his nefarious scheme to our heroes in the third act.
  • Just Whistle: "If you should ever need a ride, just stick out your thumb!"

  • Kick the Dog: Judge Doom demonstrates his Dip on a toon shoe at the Acme warehouse just to show his willingness to follow through.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: R. K. Maroon
    Maroon: Unless Acme's will shows by midnight tonight, Toontown's gonna be land for the free[two gunshots]
  • Kill the Cutie: As a display of how deadly the Dip is, Judge Doom snatches a cute little toon shoe and lowers it slowly into the concoction as it squeaks in agony. This is also an Establishing Character Moment for Doom himself, showing the audience just how despicable he is.
  • Knee-High Perspective: "Something's Cookin'", the opening cartoon, uses this knee-high kind of perspective to pay homage to classic cartoons that take place in this setting. In the ensuing studio scene, it's shown that the mother character, who is only seen from the waist down, is actually played by a human actor on giant leg stilts.
  • Knife Outline: Happens in the Show Within a Show "Somethin’s Cookin": Roger is pinned to the wall by flying knives after popping out of an ironing board. A pairing knife parts his hair, and a large meat cleaver hits the wall in between his legs, barely missing his crotch.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Eddie Valiant wants nothing to do with any case involving toons. It takes some cajoling (and removal of choice in the matter), but he eventually follows through because it's the right thing to do.
  • Kryptonite Factor: Toons are virtually unkillable, except by contact with Doom's deadly paint-thinner-based Dip.
  • Lack of Imagination: This film has Judge Doom deliver a Motive Rant to Eddie Valiant, explaining why he seeks to dismantle the Red Car system and replace it with a freeway. When Valiant poo-poos the idea of asphalt ribbons criss-crossing California, Judge Doom chides him: "Of course not; you lack vision."
  • Lampshaded Double Entendre: Jessica's infamous "pattycake" session with Marvin Acme (though it's hinted that, at least for toons, this is a single entendre).
  • Large Ham:
    • Roger, both when he's acting and off the set. Toons are just like that.
    • Judge Doom. He's plenty scary, but bless him, Christopher Lloyd just cannot play a role without lending it the piquant aroma of a lovely apple glaze. Given who Lloyd is, you could call Judge Doom Dr. Emmett Brown's evil twin. The hammy behavior is possibly justified after The Reveal that Doom was really a toon disguised as a human all along and toons can be hammy by nature. Doom's status as Doc Brown's evil twin is cemented as he channels Doc Brown in his vision for the former Toontown.
  • Last Request: Eddie Valiant asks Judge Doom to grant one to Roger before "dipping" him into the Acid Pool, in order to give him some alcohol, which will save him through his explosive reaction to it. Roger would prefer nose plugs.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: Played with in the form of a song:
    Eddie: I'm through with taking falls
    And bouncing off the walls
    Without that gun, I'd have some fun
    I'd kick you in the... (bottle falls on his head)
    Roger Rabbit: Nose!
    Smart Ass: Nose? That don't rhyme with "walls"?
    Eddie Valiant: No, but this does! (kicks Smartass in the crotch)
  • Latex Perfection: Judge Doom's human disguise is so perfect and vivid-looking that nobody knows he's a toon until circumstances force him to reveal himself.
  • Least Rhymable Word: During his song-and-dance routine against the Weasels, Eddie has trouble finding something to rhyme with the word "rhyme." Jessica helpfully interjects:
    Eddie: This singing ain't my line
    It's tough to make a rhyme
    If I get stuck
    I'm... I'm outta luck...
    Jessica: I'm running out of time!
    Eddie: Thanks!
  • Left Stuck After Attack: Judge Doom tries to punch Eddie Valiant, but Valiant blocks the blow with a cardboard tub of glue. Judge Doom shakes off the tub, then tries again to slug Valiant. Valiant dodges and Doom's fist strikes the roller of a moving steamroller, where it sticks. Doom eventually ends up rolled flat, though this doesn't finish him.
  • Left the Background Music On: "Can we lose the playback, please?!"
  • Let Me Get This Straight...: While Roger and Eddie are in the bar's hidden room, Roger sums up what they know about the enemy's scheme.
    Roger: Let me get this straight: You think my boss, R.K. Maroon, dropped a safe on Marvin Acme's head so he could get his hands on Toontown?
  • Let No Crisis Go to Waste: Following the theft of "A Zillion Simoleons" and the resulting tragic death of Detective Teddy Valiant by a Toon, Doom became the judge of Toontown in order to prevent similar crimes of that magnitude from happening again. As it turned out, Doom was that very same Toon that robbed the bank and killed Teddy in the first place and used some of the stolen money in order to buy out the election.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Subverted. Roger attempts this when he shows up during the final confrontation, gun in hand, but he gets defeated easily.
  • Libation for the Dead: In combination with a serious take on No More for Me, Eddie, who's been defined by his alcholism through the film, decides to pour out his last bottle of whiskey rather than drink it before heading into Toontown.
  • Lighter and Softer: When compared to the original book. Also for the Film Noir genre as a whole. Most of the characters are either unambiguously good (Roger), or turn out to be good people in the end (Valiant and Jessica), and everyone gets a happy ending. The extra dose of cartoon silliness helps a lot too.
  • Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!: The Toon characters include a mix of Funny Animals (Roger, the weasels), humans (Jessica, Baby Herman) and Animate Inanimate Objects (Benny the Cab, the bullets on Eddie's toon gun). All of them are freely interacting with live-action humans, although they are considered an ethnic minority.
  • Literal Metaphor:
    • The best thing about hiring toons:
      Maroon: They work for peanuts! [feeds Dumbo a peanut]
    • Dolores after she sees Eddie with Jessica (shortly after he emerged from the shower):
      Dolores: C'mon, Eddie, I caught you with your pants down!
    • A dark one mentioned by Eddie when he discloses to Roger a toon killed his brother, as on the day his brother was killed, the two of them trailed Judge Doom to a dive but he literally got the drop on them, dropping the piano from 15 stories which killed Teddy and broke Eddie's arm.
    • The bouncer at the Ink-n-Paint Club is a (literal) gorilla in a tux.
      Eddie: Nice monkey suit.
      Gorilla: Wiseass!
    • Toon!Doom literally looks daggers at Eddie.
  • Literal-Minded: The toon penguin waiters, which Eddie knows in advance, as after ordering a "Scotch on the rocks", he yells after them that he means ice. Being toons, they give him a drink with rocks in it anyway.
  • Literal Soapbox Speech: When Eddie chews out Roger for entertaining the bar patrons when he's supposed to be hiding, Roger defends his nature to make others laugh and stands on a soapbox while making his case.
  • Living Forever is No Big Deal: A Toon doesn't age, although mentally their spirit can evolve. Death is literally unknown among toons, may it be by old age or injury. They're crazy enough not to care about it.
  • Living Shadow: Played for Laughs in Toontown when Eddie sneezes and the toon shadow he leaves turns to him and says "gesundheit". Eddie thanks him and does a Double Take realizing he's talking to his shadow.
  • The Load: Roger is this to the film crew when he keeps blowing his lines in the opening cartoon. He's also this to Eddie who's trying to find out who framed him as he keeps blowing his cover when he's wanted for murder.
  • Loose Lips: When Roger was wanted for murder, he asks the people where Eddie's office is, which include: the newsboy, the fireman, the green grocer, the butcher, the baker, and the liquor store guy. Only the liquor store guy knows where he is and it leads to the Toon Patrol to find out Roger's hiding place.
  • Lost Love Montage: Of the brotherly variety. After Eddie arrives back at his apartment post him delivering the incriminating Pat-a-Cake photos to Roger, he falls asleep at his desk with the camera panning over his and Teddie's history as detectives and circus clowns. Once the camera pans back to him, the sun has risen.
  • Lost Will and Testament: Much of the plot is concerned with trying to find Marvin Acme's will, in which he promised to leave Toontown to the toons. Its absence will mean a bidding war and Toontown's acquisition by a considerably less friendly personage. It turns out that, as a joke, Acme wrote the thing in disappearing-reappearing ink.
  • Luxurious Liquor: Studio honcho R.K. Maroon has a crystal decanter of whiskey in his office, which Eddie makes a beeline for when he drops by.
    Maroon: [sarcastically] Have a drink, Eddie.

  • Malaproper: Smart Ass, the leader of the weasels.
    • "Search the place, boys, and leave no stone interned." (It's "leave no stone unturned".)
    • "Look, Valiant, we got a reliable tip-off the rabbit was here; it was corrugated by several others." (He probably meant "corroborated".)
    • "So cut the bull-shtick." (No guess as to what he meant there, as lampshaded by Eddie: "You keep talking like that, and I'm gonna have to wash your mouth out.")
    • "You want we should dis-resemble the place?" (Judge Doom corrects him on this one. "No, Sergeant. Disassembling the place won't be necessary.")
    • "Shall I repose of him right now, boss?" ("dispose")
  • Mask of Sanity: Throughout the film, Judge Doom appears somewhat malevolent, but not blatantly so. Near the end, he's revealed to be a Toon who's even more crazy than most.
  • Meaningful Echo: Roger is seen entertaining the bar patrons with an improvised song and dance routine to "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down" (aka the Looney Tunes theme) with a few of the lyrics made about Eddie. Later, during the climactic fight in the Acme warehouse, Eddie foils the weasels with an improvised routine to the same theme with some of his lyrics made about Roger. This may show that not only is Eddie getting his sense of humor back, but also how he's warmed up to Roger over the course of the movie.
    Roger: My buddy's Eddie V, a sourpuss you see, but when I'm done, he'll need no gun, 'cuz a joker he will be!
    Eddie: Now Roger is his name, laughter is his game, come on you dope, untie his rope, and watch him go insane.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Eddie Valiant.
    • Judge Doom works twice over. In addition to his intentions towards toons, it's a ridiculously over-the-top name. The kind a toon would have.
    • Smart Ass, Greasy, Wheezy, Psycho and Stupid, the Toon Patrol.
  • Medium Blending: Defines this movie, and the trope. It prominently uses the Roger Rabbit Effect, but also Stop Motion briefly for when Judge Doom, flattened by his own steam roller and while still in his human guise, gets up to inflate himself.
  • Mind Your Step: When Eddie takes Droopy's elevator, he exits in a hurry, only to fall flat on his face after the two-foot drop. Then Droopy advises him to be careful.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Eddie Valiant's investigation of a celebrity's wife's infidelity (so to speak) → the murders of Marvin Acme and R.K. Maroon as part of an overall attempted genocide of the toons.
  • Mirror Character: There's a brief scene where both Roger and Eddie are simultaneously looking over photographs and reflecting on happier times, to highlight the similarities between the two.
  • Misplaced Accent: Bob Hoskins admitted that he used a New York accent for Eddie Valiant...except that the film is set in California.
  • Missing Child: A brief example is seen in the newspaper clippings on Teddy's desk. In the past, Donald Duck's nephews were kidnapped. Luckily, Eddie and Teddy managed to track them down.
  • Misspelling Out Loud:
    Roger: Dames? What dames? Jessica's the only one for me! You'll see! We'll rise above this piddling peccadillo! We're gonna be happy again! You got that? Happy! Capital H-A-P-P-I!
  • Moment Killer: Eddie and Dolores are about to kiss when they hear Roger sighing. "P-p-p-please, don't mind me." Again after the mystery is solved, and everyone is celebrating, Eddie and Delores try once again to kiss, but Roger pulls Eddie away to ask him a question.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Eddie is chuckling to himself as he looks at photos of himself with Dolores, probably on their trip to Catalina that Dolores had earlier mentioned, but he stops smiling the second he comes across some photos of himself with Teddy.
    • Our first arrival in Toontown plays like this. The entrance to the town is at the end of a long dark tunnel, there's foreboding music playing as Eddie drives down it, and he seems quite nervous and agitated while doing so (since it's the first time he's been back there since his brother was killed). Then a curtain rises, there's a comical Boiiiiiiing! sound effect, and we're suddenly in a bright, cheerful world surrounded by happy toons singing "Smile, Darn Ya, Smile!"
  • Motive Rant: Judge Doom has a hilarious one.
    Judge Doom: I see a place where people get on and off the freeway. On and off. Off and on. All day, all night. Soon where Toontown once stood will be a string of gas stations, inexpensive motels, restaurants that serve rapidly prepared food, tire salons, automobile dealerships, and wonderful, wonderful billboards reaching as far as the eye can see. My God, it'll be beautiful.
  • Mouse Trap: Jessica's "booby trap" (fittingly, a larger rat-trap—it injures one of Doom's weasel lackeys.)
  • Move Along, Nothing to See Here: Uttered by Porky Pig at the end of the movie, as the original form of his catch phrase, "Th-th-th-th-that's all, folks!"
  • Ms. Fanservice: Jessica Rabbit was drawn to be this to the humans she entertains—including the movie's audience.
  • Multi-Armed Multitasking: The bartending octopus toon at the Ink and Paint Club.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The aforementioned Motive Rant above. Doom delivers his speech about a road lined with gas stations, motels, car dealerships, and fast food restaurants with so much fire and zeal, you'd think he just took over the world.
  • Murphy's Bed: Eddie Valiant, at one point, deliberately uses his Murphy Bed against the Weasels.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • "The problem is I got a 50-year-old lust and a three-year-old dinky" is the only line of dialogue lifted directly from the novel, although, in the original, Baby Herman was 32.
    • Benny is a Volkswagen Beetle, as in the book the otherwise unrelated character named Benny is an actual insect.
  • Nails on a Blackboard: Since he wears gloves, Judge Doom makes the noise with the chalk instead.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Judge Doom. The Judge's name changes in some of the foreign translations, but the new name is usually a pun on the language's word for "death".
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name:
    • Judge Doom evokes one. His dress is reminiscent of a typical Gestapo trenchcoat, and Doom himself shares some resemblance with Roland Freisler or even Arnold Toht from Raiders of the Lost Ark. His Weasels as the Toon Patrol remind one of the Gestapo or the Schutzstaffel, and the Dip which is carried on the Weasel's wagon is like the Nazi Gas Van used during Aktion T4. Doom's master plan sounds like Hitler's Final Solution for toons instead of Jews — In the third draft of the film script, from September 2, 1986, Lt. Santino tells Eddie that Doom refers to the Dip as the Final Solution, although this was not included in the final film.
    • One pair of squeaky shoes at the Acme factory is a set of goose-stepping black boots.
  • Near-Miss Groin Attack: This happens in the Show Within a Show "Somethin's Cookin'". Apparently, every knife in the kitchen goes flying and pins Roger to the wall. The last knife is a giant meat cleaver that hits the wall in between his legs, barely missing his crotch. Roger gulps loudly.
  • Neck Lift: Judge Doom does it to Roger in the bar. More justified than most examples in that he can easily close his fist around Roger's neck because it's so compressible.
  • New Era Speech: Judge Doom's vision of freeways.
    Judge Doom: Several months ago, I had the good providence to stumble upon this plan of the City Council's, a construction plan of epic proportions. They're calling it a freeway. Eight lanes of shimmering cement running from here to Pasadena. Smooth, safe, fast. Traffic jams will be a thing of the past...I see a place where people get on and off the freeway. On and off, off and on, all day, all night! Soon, where Toontown once stood, will be a string of gas stations, inexpensive motels, restaurants that serve rapidly prepared food, tire salons, automobile dealerships, and wonderful, wonderful billboards, reaching as far as the eye can see! My God, it'll be beautiful.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Lampshaded and played for laughs. Roger Rabbit meta-explains his ability to escape his handcuffs easily, when he left them to help stabilize the table as Eddie Valiant was trying to saw them off.
    Eddie Valiant: You mean you could've taken your hand out of that cuff at any time?!
    Roger Rabbit: NO! Not at any time — only when it was funny.
  • Newspaper Backstory: As Eddie Valiant mourns his late brother Teddy, the camera pans over Teddy's scrapbook, which contains newspaper clippings of their cases involving toons.
  • Nice Character, Mean Actor: In-universe. Baby Herman is a cute, innocent infant on screen, but when the cameras are off he's a foul-mouthed Cigar Chomper with "a fifty-year-old's lust and a three-year-old's dinky."
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Doom's enraged comment to his weasel henchmen "One of these days, you idiots are gonna laugh yourselves to death!" provokes Eddie's "Eureka!" Moment.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: A key element of Toon Physics.
    • Toons are more or less immortal, as any physical violence you bestow upon them results in an enormous overreaction, agonized expressions, bleeding, skeleton visible through skin in the case of electrocution, etc...but five minutes later they're perfectly fine. The only way to do any real harm to a toon is with the Dip or in the case of the weasels, making them laugh themselves to death. note 
      Maroon: You've seen the rabbit blowing his lines. He can't keep his mind on his job, and you know why?
      Eddie: One too many refrigerators dropped on his head?
      Maroon: Nah, he's a toon! You can drop anything you like on his head and he'll shake it off. But break his heart, he goes to pieces just like you or me.
    • Humans can also invoke this trope under the right circumstances. (Being around toons/close to Toontown helps.) Eddie manages to walk away from a car-smashing wreck and survive a zillion-story fall in Toontown itself, but he also drops bowling balls on his own head and electrocutes himself with a ceiling lamp while exploiting this trope against the weasels to make them die of laughter.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: While holding Eddie hostage, the Judge shouts at the weasels not to laugh themselves to death. Eddie quickly uses this to his advantage in order to escape their clutches while Doom is out of sight.
  • No Badge? No Problem!: Ex-police officer (and current private investigator) Eddie Valiant is brought along to the Acme Factory crime scene by his friend Lieutenant Santino. While there he tries to steal a piece of evidence: the joy buzzer in Marvin Acme's hand. He's caught red-handed by Judge Doom but Santino explains away his action by saying that Valiant was just getting the item for Doom.
  • Nobody's That Dumb: When confronting Judge Doom, Roger says that "We toons may act idiotic, but we're not stupid!"
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Two of Eddie's toon bullets are caricatures of Walter Brennan and Andy Devine.
    • R.K. Maroon is basically a sleazy, backstabbing composite of Walt Disney and early Looney Tunes producer Leon Schlesinger.
  • No Name Given: The unspoken names of the Weasels are Smart Ass, Wheezy, Greasy, Psycho, and Stupid. Guess who's who.
  • Non-Indicative Name:
  • Noodle Incident:
  • The Noseless: When viewed from the front, Jessica's nose is drawn just as one or two nostrils. Profiles reveal that she does have a very small nose.
  • No Sense of Humor:
    • Judge Doom. A very serious case, considering he's a toon.
    • And Eddie Valiant, due to his brother being murdered by a toon. That toon happens to be Judge Doom. He gets better.
  • Not Growing Up Sucks: For Baby Herman.
    Baby Herman: I got a 50-year-old lust and a 3-year-old dinky!
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: Jessica Rabbit isn't actually a Femme Fatale:
    Jessica: I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Jessica Rabbit really wants to help her husband escape Judge Doom. She spends her screentime seemingly flirting with Eddie when begging him to save Roger, knocking out the rabbit as he goes with Eddie to confront R.K. Maroon, and fleeing after someone shoots Maroon. Valiant lampshades it, naturally.
  • Notice This: During a car chase, Benie the Cab orders Eddie and Roger to pull the lever. They panic and ask which lever of his dash to pull, causing a large sign to pop up pointing to the lever in question that reads, "THIS LEVER, STUPID", while the round ball on the lever blinks.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You…: Eddie would splat on the ground, did Lena Hyena not catch him on the ground. But then, they are in Toontown, so Rule of Funny applies.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Dolores catches Eddie with his pants down with Jessica in the room.
    Jessica: I'm desperate, Mr. Valiant. Can't you see how much I need you?
    Dolores: Ahem. Dabbling in watercolors, Eddie?
  • Not So Above It All: You might think because of her cool Femme Fatale persona and the fact that she's more of a "mature" toon that Jessica Rabbit isn't quite as looney as the others. The movie sets her up like that, and then wittily breaks down the assumption.
    Jessica: [sees open trunk]] Oh, no! Where's Roger?
    Valiant: Roger? He chickened out on me back at the studio.
    Jessica: No he didn't. I hit him on the head with a frying pan and put him in the trunk... so he wouldn't get hurt.
    Valiant: Makes perfect sense.
  • Not So Invincible After All: Before Dip was even invented, it was a well-known fact that toons were virtually impervious to pain, and killing one was considered implausible, indeed impossible. Break a toon's heart, however, and they go to pieces, just like any mortal.

  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Roger implies this about toons' behavior:
    Roger: We 'toons may act idiotic, but we're not stupid!
  • Obviously Evil: Black clothes, skull-topped cane, Scary Shiny Glasses, ominous soundtrack theme, surname Doom. Say hello to the Big Bad, folks.
  • Odd Couple: Roger and Jessica Rabbit. Jessica is drawn as a human being, and Roger is, well, a rabbit.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Eddie does this when he realizes the woman he mistook for Jessica Rabbit is actually Lena Hyena. Then a second one when he escapes into the out-of-order restroom. Then a third one on his encounter with Tweety. And a fourth one when the "spare" turns out to be a tire. But by far, his biggest one is when Judge Doom reveals his true identity. He's so terrified he tries to run away.
    • Doom gets off a pretty good one too, just before getting hit with a high-pressure blast of Dip.
    • Roger gets one during the cartoon at the very beginning, after lifting up the fridge and then letting go to grab Baby Herman: He realizes his mistake just before the fridge crashes down on his head.
    • Roger when he realises the Toon Patrol, looking for him, has arrived outside Eddie's office and is making its way in.
    • Eddie and Roger when they're chased by two cops on bikes down an alley and the Toon Patrol wagon pulls into the same alley in front of them.
    • The weasels, accompanied with an Eye Take, when they're about to crash into the same two cops mentioned above after Benny evades them.
    • And, of course, Jessica: "Oh my God, it's DIIIIIIIIP!!!"
  • Older Than They Look: "Baby" Herman. He's actually in his fifties.
  • One-Winged Angel: Judge Doom's toon form, complete with transforming appendages. Made more horrifying knowing that it is his true form and the only parts visible are his crazy eyes.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • When Eddie abstains from taking a drink and instead uses the bottle for target practice, you know he's going into Let's Get Dangerous! mode.
    • Unlike most toons, Jessica is cool, calm, and collected. This makes her terrified Freak Out at Dip a lot more impactful. It's one of the few times we actually see both of her eyes.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping:
    • For the most part, Bob Hoskins as Eddie Valiant does an impeccable American accent, but he does have one moment where he slides from "hard-boiled American detective" to "British West-country farmer": when he sees Roger hiding in a desk drawer and yells at him to "GET OUTTA THERE!" In this case, it's not the pronunciation so much as the inflection; most Americans would put the emphasis on "outta", but Hoskins as Eddie puts the emphasis on "there". In the same scene, when he says "not anymore" (in response to Roger saying, "When a toon's in trouble, there's only one place to go: Valiant and Valiant.") and "don't ever" (as in "For starters, don't ever kiss me again."), he suddenly sounds more like Miles O'Brien than Sam Spade. The accent slips again when he says "murder" to R.K. Maroon (as in "A story of greed, sex, and murder.") when pretending to. In short, he seems to have trouble with words ending in the "r" sound.
    • For that matter, English actor Alan Tilvern, who plays Maroon, has moments like this himself. (Listen in particular to how he pronounces "murderer" when he says "I'm a cartoon-maker, not a murderer.")
  • Open Mouth, Insert Foot: Lt. Santino immediately realizes how awkward it is to scoff about how it's just like a toon to kill someone by dropping a safe on their head in front of Eddie.
  • Opposites Attract: Roger and Jessica Rabbit. He's an energetic and goofy rabbit, she's a sexy and glamorous woman. They are married and couldn't be happier. Why?
    Jessica Rabbit: He makes me laugh.
  • Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?: When Eddie is rather obviously hiding Roger underneath his trenchcoat, Dolores sarcastically asks "Is that a rabbit in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?" Eddie immediately asks her to "cut the comedy".
  • Outlandish Device Setting: The film begins with Roger appearing in the Maroon Cartoon "Somethin's Cookin'." Baby Herman escapes his playpen and manages to crawl along the kitchen countertops. During his crawl across a stovetop, Baby Herman's foot turns on the gas burners, and rolls the oven knob through "Low, Medium, High, Volcano." So, hot enough to melt rock. Of course, the oven brand is Hotternell.
  • Outside Ride: Eddie hitches a ride on the back bumper of a Red Car, along with a gaggle of urchin boys.
  • Pain-Powered Leap: Yosemite Sam jumps all the way from Toontown when his butt is lit on fire.
  • Paper People: We learn the truth about Judge Doom when he is completely flattened by a steamroller... and stands back up.
  • Parental Bonus: The Film Noir Parody, several of the Lampshaded Double Entendres, and the much older cartoon characters appearing in the background (Betty Boop, Harvey Toons, etc.)
    "Didn't you use to be Eddie Valiant? Or did you change your name to Jack Daniels?"
    "Not prostate, you idiot, probate!"
  • Pelican Package Pouch: There's a pelican postman, who falls off his bicycle as Eddie is exiting Maroon Studios. Although he doesn't use its pouch to carry mail, you can see a fish peeking out just before he falls.
  • Percussive Prevention: Jessica Rabbit hits her husband Roger with a frying pan to keep him out of harm's way. It does make perfect sense in Roger's case; as he's a Toon, physical violence will only temporarily incapacitate him. The villains, however, are using Dip, which can kill him.
  • Perverse Sexual Lust: Most men's intense interest in Jessica Rabbit is portrayed as this.
  • Pervy Patdown: When Judge Doom tells the weasels to frisk Jessica for Acme's will, Greasy eagerly reaches down her ample cleavage to do so and to cop a feel (seriously, his tongue droops out his mouth in excitement), but all he gets is his hand caught in a Bear Trap.
  • Piano Drop: How Eddie's brother and partner died.
  • Pink Is Erotic: Jessica Rabbit is a sultry, voluptuous toon-human who works as a lounge singer. Jessica Rabbit wears a red and pink outfit and has a way of impressing men.
  • A Plot in Deed: Marvin Acme's last will and testament includes who inherits the deed for ownership of Toontown. Several parties try to steal the will for their own ends after Acme is murdered. In the end, it turns out it was the 'blank' paper Rodger wrote an impromptu love letter to Jessica on - Marvin wrote it in disappearing-reappering ink.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: Marvin Acme's, for which Roger is framed.
  • Polite Villains, Rude Heroes: Eddie Valiant is a bitter and sarcastic alcoholic trying to untangle a web of conspiracy around the murder of Marvin Acme. Judge Doom uses a refined and respectable facade to hide his true nature as a deranged killer Toon.
  • Pop the Tires: Judge Doom takes out Benny's tires by pouring Dip on the road.
  • Portable Hole: An Acme Product. During the film's climax, Eddie gets pinned against a steel drum by a cartoon magnet but manages to free himself by wrapping a Portable Hole completely around the magnet, breaking it in half.
  • Post-Kiss Catatonia: Subverted. Eddie is visibly stunned after Jessica nearly kisses him as part of her on-stage act.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The book deals with comic book and comic strip characters, not cartoon characters, who all speak in physical, tangible word balloons. This is clearly unadaptable to film, wherein all toon characters would have had to be mute, so they received the power of speech. Additionally, they became animated cartoon characters and the story was set in 1947, smack-dab in the middle of the golden age of American theatrical animation. And toons went from being just as vulnerable as humans but possessing an elaborate method of faking their own deaths for theatrics' sake (it's complicated) to really being as unkillable as they seem. When Gary Wolf later wrote sequels that adjusted the books' universe to more closely match the movie's, he left in the word balloons and other comic-strip elements from the first book, but adopted the movie's mostly-invulnerable toons.
  • Precious Photo: Eddie has a desk full of old photos of him and his brother Teddy having fun together before Teddy was killed.
  • Predators Are Mean: The Toon Patrol weasels are this, because they are evil and, although they and Roger Rabbit are Toons, real weasels hunt real rabbits.
  • Pretend Prejudice: Eddie's attitude to toons in general. He tries to avoid them whenever possible, but he isn't that hard on them when he does meet them if his meeting with Betty Boop is any indication. He still has some shades of a Politically Incorrect Hero, such as when he calls Angelo the barfly a "meatball".
  • Projectile Kiss: Jessica Rabbit blows a kiss at Eddie Valiant. Since she's a toon, her kiss flies on Eddie's face like a red butterfly.
  • Projectile Toast: It's not toast but a plunger that gets lodged in the toaster during the opening cartoon.
  • Prone to Tears: Roger Rabbit is quite an emotional fellow, which is best demonstrated when his wife Jessica supposedly cheats on him with Marvin Acme and when Eddie tells him about his tragic backstory in which his brother got killed by a toon.
  • Proscenium Reveal: The cartoon short starring Roger Rabbit and Baby Herman at the start of the movie is cut short by a human director calling "Cut!" This is followed by shots establishing that the animated characters are working on a live-action soundstage, thus setting up the concept of humans and toons living in the same world.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Judge Doom often has this.
  • Pun: Eddie speaking about the stupidity of the cartoon bullets: "Dum-dums."
  • Punched Across the Room:
    • Eddie dispatches Smart-Ass Weasel by kicking him in the crotch hard enough to send him flying into an enormous vat of "Dip".
    • During their big climactic fight, Judge Doom hits Eddie with an anvil-fist...knocking him across an entire factory warehouse. Justified because he's a toon.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
    • Eddie: "I! DON'T! WORK! FOR! TOONS!"
    • When Judge Doom reveals his true identity to Eddie.
      Judge Doom: Remember me, Eddie? When I killed your brother, I talked... JUST... LIKE... THIS!!!
    • Smart Ass's reaction to the weasels' laughing:
      Smart Ass: Stop! That! Laughing! You know what happens when you CAN'T! STOP! LAUGHING!? One of these days, you're gonna die laughing.
  • Put Down Your Gun and Step Away: A rare heroic example: Roger to the weasel leader Smart Ass, while threatening Judge Doom.
  • Quaking with Fear: Eddie and Roger are at Maroon Studios to talk to R.K. Maroon about the sale of the studio to Cloverleaf. Eddie accuses Roger of wanting to leave because he's too scared. Roger says "Me, scared? Don't be ridiculous!", followed by him chattering his teeth in an exaggerated manner appropriate for a cartoon character like him.
  • Questioning Title?: Only without a question mark (apparently, in the film industry, it is considered bad luck to have a question mark even in a Questioning Title).
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Weasels, a.k.a. "the Toon Patrol".

  • Rack Focus:
    • When Eddie has his "Eureka!" Moment, with Eddie in the foreground and the newsreel footage in the background.
    • Also done when Jessica is standing outside Maroon Studios after knocking out Roger and putting him in the trunk of her car, the focus shifting from her in the foreground to the lit window of Maroon's office in the background, where Eddie is confronting him.
  • Race Lift: For a film about oppressed minorities, the fact that the original book's brown rabbit is turned white is unintentionally ironic.
  • Railroad Plot: Judge Doom intends to wipe out Toontown with a gigantic Dip-spraying machine so a new freeway can go through its former location.
  • Rake Take: Eddie does this on purpose as part of his comedy routine to make the weasels laugh themselves to death.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Roger gives Judge Doom a short, but notable one about his blatant corruption of his position and his soon abandonment of said position to get more wealth. Considering how Judge Doom was rightfully feared by almost everyone- including Roger himself, it shows that even Roger has limits of what he can tolerate from someone.
    Roger Rabbit: That's it, Doom! Give me another excuse to pump you full of lead! So you thought you could get away with it, didn't you? Ha! We Toons may act idiotic, but we're not stupid. We demand justice. Why, the real meaning of the word probably hits you like a ton of bricks!
  • Recognizable by Sound: Eddie and Roger are attempting to escape from the weasels by stealing the weasels' police van when Roger recognizes the voice pleading to be released from the containment area as Benny the Cab.
  • Reconstruction: Of both the Film Noir genre and Looney Tunes-style cartoons.
  • Recursive Ammo:
    • Eddie Valiant has a Toon revolver (given to him by Yosemite Sam) that fires Toon bullets - each one a different western stock character, each one then taking on their target with their own weaponry. Although they're pretty much the opposite of smart ammunition, demonstrated when a bunch of them hare off in the wrong direction.
      Eddie: Dum-dums.
    • Of particular note is the bullet that worked right when it shattered the liquor bottle. It whipped out an axe (or tomahawk) to shatter the bottle.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Judge Doom after he's revealed to be the toon who killed Eddie's brother. This is foreshadowed earlier, when it's mentioned that all Eddie can remember about the killer is his high laugh and glowing red eyes.
  • Red Herring: It's made to look like Jessica murdered R.K. Maroon and possibly orchestrated the whole plot, but the real killer turns out to be Judge Doom and that she only wants to help her husband.
  • Reflexive Response:
  • Remember the New Guy?: R.K. Maroon alongside all of the toon characters introduced in this film (including the falsely "human" Judge Doom) are treated like familiar members of the Warner Bros. continuity, even though they never existed beforehand. It is hinted at the end that this is a Stealth Prequel to that continuity when the "That's All, Folks!" line comes to be, courtesy of Porky Pig, but that part is never quite confirmed.
  • Reminiscing About Your Victims: Judge Doom gives Eddie Valiant a truly terrifying version of Would You Like to Hear How They Died?:
    Remember me, Eddie? When I killed your brother, I talked JUST...LIKE...THIIIIIIIIIIIS!
  • Repetitive Audio Glitch: In the scene where Roger sings and dances at a bar to the tune of "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down", the end of the song skips as he starts breaking plates on his head, and he continues to do so until Eddie stops the record and pulls him away.
  • Repetitive Name: The name of the director in charge of the opening theatrical cartoon is Raoul J. Raoul.
  • Rescue Sex: Roger Rabbit gets this as a reward played for laughs. After Eddie defeats the Big Bad and rescues Jessica and Roger from the Dip machine Jessica scoops Roger up in her arms and smothers him in Smooch of Victory kisses and swoons over his "bravery", much to the annoyance of Eddie. She later seductively promises to bake Roger a "carrot cake" when they get home. Her sensual delivery implies she wants to have Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex with Roger instead of her actual rescuer.
  • Retargeted Lust: After Eddie risks life and limb to save Roger and Jessica from Judge Doom Jessica, overcome with Rescue Romance, swoops Roger into her arms covering him in Smooch of Victory kisses and swooning over his bravery. She later seductively promises to bake Roger a carrot cake when they get home. Her sultry delivery is met with an Aside Glance from Roger as he melts in her arms in anticipation of the passionate Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex he’s about to get.
  • Retraux: The Show Within the Show shorts are done in the style of (or at least similarly to) cartoon films from the 1940s-50s.
  • The Reveal: The movie has a disturbing one as the callous Judge Doom whose glasses often lighted up to cover his stare is revealed to be the Toon who killed Eddie's brother, complete with an insanely high pitched voice and cartoonish eyes that could be best described as coming straight from a mentally disturbed animator or Hell itself. Eddie was likely not the only one who was terrified of this scene.
  • Revealing Reflection: While Eddie is "chatting" with R.K. Maroon, he notices a gun reflected in Maroon's office window and dives for cover just as it opens fire. Maroon, however, is not so lucky as he is caught out in the open (Eddie had trapped him by sticking his tie into a film projector), but he was the actual target anyway.
  • Reverse Whodunnit: Played with immensely. Though you don't actually see who murdered Acme, the film is not in any way subtle about who the real culprit is (hint: it's the mean, Obviously Evil guy in black accompanied by the ominous Leitmotif). Even then, there are still some moments with other characters to somewhat keep you guessing and you still don't know the whole story about the Big Bad until the climax.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: The movie named it and made it famous. The special effects included several mechanical props covered by the animation to create the illusion of Toons being able to interact with real objects. A barroom had slots in the floor and puppeteers with large poles so animated penguins could carry real serving trays. A sink was built with a robotic pipe thingy so Roger Rabbit could splash in the sink and spit out a mouthful of water. One of the most elaborate effects was for the scenes with Benny the Cab; they were filmed with a custom rig which was essentially a steel frame with tires and a small gasoline engine to move about, with Bob Hoskins sitting on an elevated platform holding a fake steering wheel while the actual driver was down below, concealed by overlaying Benny in post. As one critic said in their review, "although this wasn't the first time that cartoon characters have shared the screen with live actors, it was the first time they did it on their own terms and made it look real."
  • Rule of Funny: For toons, the Rule of Funny can be exactly that — a rule (Law of Funny?) that they must follow.
    • Explicitly spelled out by Roger:
      Eddie: You mean you could've taken your hand out of that cuff at any time?
      Roger: No, not at any time, only when it was funny.
    • Toontown itself also operates on this, which can make it very dangerous — a bathroom stated to be "out of order" turns out to be missing entirely.
    • Doubles as a rather brilliant Foreshadowing of Doom's true identity. Why else would a judge, and one about to execute someone, willingly allow a last request and the Duck Season, Rabbit Season gambit between Roger and Eddie?
  • Rump Roast:
    Yosemite Sam: "My biscuits are burning!"
  • Running Gag: Most (though not all) of Eddie's attempts to drink on screen are scuppered in various ways.
    • He spills his drink when startled by Dumbo.
    • Dolores covers his drink with her hand, preventing him from drinking it.
    • His order of "Scotch on the rocks" at the Ink & Paint club has actual rocks in it.
    • He notices Marvin Acme's will in a photograph through the bottom of his whiskey glass.
    • A powerful one when he's about to swig some whiskey before going into Toontown for the first time since his brother died. He instead stops himself and dumps the bottle out demonstrating self-restraint and potentially overcoming alcoholism.
  • Running on the Spot: Roger in "Something's Cookin'". "I'LL SAVE YA, BABYYY!"
    • Lena Hyena does this upon first sight of Eddie making it to her Toontown hotel room.
    • A variation of this occurs when Judge Doom slips on fake eyeballs in the Acme Factory when, normally, a human would just fall instantly. A subtle clue that to him being a toon disguised as a human.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: The red toon shoe that Judge Doom kills in the Dip to demonstrate the threat he poses.
  • Sarcastic Well Wishing:
    • When Jessica learns that Eddie Valiant took some Pat-a-Cake pictures that somehow lead to Marvin Acme's murder, she slaps him in the face and says, "I hope you're proud of yourself and those pictures you took."
    • As Roger tries to explain to Eddie that he is being framed for murder, Eddie, who wants nothing to do with this, decides to call the cops on Roger, who responds in this manner (see also Screw This, I'm Outta Here below)...
      Roger: [sadly] Go ahead, call the cops. I come here for help, and what do you do? You turn me in. So don't feel guilty about me. So long... and thanks for nothing!
      [He goes out the nearest door.]
      Eddie: That's the closet!
  • Scare Chord: Shortly after the reveal that "Judge Doom" is a toon, his voice builds higher in pitch until his eyes turn into daggers and pop out and the soundtrack jolts.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Doom pulls off one of the scariest live-action invocations of this trope when staring down Eddie.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Judge Doom, having started talking in a high-pitched, squeaky, almost girlish voice all too familiar to Eddie once he is exposed as a toon, screams in this manner after getting hit by the Dip.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: When Eddie threatens to call the cops on Roger, Roger decides to leave out the nearest door he finds, only for Eddie shout at him that said door is the closet. This is subverted later. Eddie thinks Roger is doing one when he sees a car driving out of the studios after Maroon is shot dead. It turns out to be Jessica, who had Roger in the trunk.
  • Secondary Character Title: Roger Rabbit is not actually the main character. He's just the one who solicits the services of the story's actual protagonist, human detective Eddie Valiant. Roger steals every scene he's in and is pivotal to the case, though.
  • Second-Person Attack: In a deleted scene, Eddie is caught snooping in Jessica's dressing room and there's a POV shot of the gorilla bouncer as he knocks him out cold.
  • Seesaw Catapult: at Maroon Studio, a hippo ballet dancer sits down on a bench next to a man, launching him into the air.
  • Selective Magnetism: The Acme magnet Eddie uses against Judge Doom.
  • Self-Referential Humor: During the climax, Judge Doom offers a line that intentionally prods at Disney's mascot, within a Disney film, while describing his Toon genocide plot. Considering he's nothing but a jerk who's been antagonizing Roger and Eddie the entire time, this is him offering humor completely inappropriately.
    "Who's got time to wonder what happened to some ridiculous talking mice when you're driving past at 75 mph?"
  • Sentenced Without Trial: This seems to be Judge Doom's modus operandi, immediately sending any Toons caught breaking human law outside of Toontown straight to the Dip. Indeed, when he briefly captures Roger at Dolores' bar, he immediately tries to have him Dipped without trial despite earlier telling Eddie that he'd "try him, convict him, and execute him."
  • Setting Update: A rare inversion of this as the original novel was published and set in then-Present Day early 1980s, but the movie pushes the setting back over 30 years to 1947, having been inspired by classic Film Noir Hardboiled Detective mysteries of the time.
  • Sexophone: Jessica's Leitmotif makes heavy use of this, in keeping with her Femme Fatale characterization.
  • Sexy Silhouette:
    • Subverted. When Eddie visits Toontown and thinks he's stumbled on to Jessica Rabbit, he actually runs into Lena Hyena. One word: "butterface".
    • Jessica makes a real one when she visits Eddie's office and when she's running to her car outside Maroon Studios.
  • Shapeshifter Weapon: In the final battle, Judge Doom uses this ability to attack Valiant, turning one fist into an anvil and then a buzzsaw.
  • Shave And A Haircut: It drives Toons (like Roger) absolutely insane to hear someone doing the knock and not finishing with the "two bits" at the end.
    Judge Doom: No Toon can resist the old "shave and a haircut" trick...
  • Shocking Voice Identity Reveal: When Judge Doom reveals his cartoon form, namely the one he had when he killed Acme:
    Judge Doom: "Remember ME EDDIE? When I killed your brother, I TALKED JUST LIKE THIS!!!"
  • Shoot Out the Lock: The weasels use a machine gun to shoot a hole around the lock on Eddie's door to open it.
    Eddie: Hey boys. Didn't hear you come in.
  • Shout-Out: There are dozens of these: Golden Age cartoons, live-action films (The Maltese Falcon, The Wizard of Oz, Sunset Boulevard, Chinatown, and Back to the Future), and the play Harvey.
    • In Maroon's second scene, he's wielding what looks like the Golden Gun.
    • Jessica's Veronica Lake hairstyle.
    • Tweety reprises his "Dis widdle piddy" routine from his debut appearance in A Tale of Two Kitties, right down to the same punchline.
      Tweety: Uh-oh. Wan outta piddies.
    • Eddie gets Roger to drink some alcohol with a Duck Season, Rabbit Season ploy reminiscent of Rabbit Fire.
    • In the shot of the busy traffic at Toontown, Goofy appears twice: Once as Mr. Walker from Motor Mania, and once hopping on a pogo stick like in the Wartime Cartoon Victory Vehicles.
    • Lena Hyena herself is a reference to the Li'l Abner character of the same name.note 
  • Show Within a Show: The film opens with the unfinished Maroon cartoon "Somethin's Cookin'", starring Roger Rabbit.
  • Shrine to the Fallen: Eddie keeps the desk of his dead partner/brother in the same state as it was the day he died and yells at anyone who sits at it. It has been covered in dust and cobwebs over the years.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Eddie literally has this attitude toward Roger.
  • Sincerity Mode: Roger's apologetic tone when explaining the Rule of Funny suggests that he's not just trolling, and isn't any more pleased than Eddie is about how he couldn't slip out of the cuffs any sooner.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Jessica and Roger. So much that her "He makes me laugh" is the page quote.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Roger and Eddie occupy opposite ends of the scale, allowing them to serve as foils for each other.
  • Slipped the Ropes: Roger Rabbit can slip out of his cuffs at any given moment, but ''only'' if it's funny to do so. He doesn't seem any happier about this fact than Eddie is.
  • Slippery Skid: During the showdown at the Acme factory, a crate of false eyeballs is scattered across the floor, and Judge Doom skids on them and falls down.
  • Slippery Soap: Slipping on soap is one of the lesser indignities Roger Rabbit has to suffer in the opening cartoon
  • Smelly Feet Gag: The weasels burst into Valiant & Valiant to find Roger, currently handcuffed to Eddie. All they find is Eddie washing something in the sink.
    Smart-Ass: [sniffing] What's in there?
    Eddie: [lifting out a sock] My lingerie.
    Smart-Ass: Sheesh, Valiant. [turns away in disgust holding his nose, just missing Roger as he sticks his head up to breathe]
  • Smooch of Victory: Played with. After Eddie defeats the villain and rescues Jessica, she plants lots of kisses... on Roger. Eddie does get a kiss... from Roger earlier in the movie, after he fools the weasels searching for him.
    Roger Rabbit: Jeepers Eddie, that was swell! How can I ever repay ya! (Big Toon Kiss)
    Eddie: For starters, don't EVER kiss me again!
  • Soap Punishment: Smart-Ass is threatening Eddie to tell him where Roger is and to "cut the bullschtick". Eddie tells him to watch his language or he'll "wash your mouth out" and shoves a bar of soap into his mouth.
  • So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Jessica Rabbit is a Ms. Fanservice lounge singer and it's such a blatant case of Ugly Guy, Hot Wife, she's the prime suspect in Roger being framed for murder; Eddie assuming she's a Femme Fatale after catching her seemingly cheating on him. Not only was she set up to be in that position for the framing, she sincerely loves her husband, and bemoans how people judge her.
    "You don't know how hard it is being a woman looking the way I do."
    Eddie: Yeah, well... you don't know how hard it is being a man, looking at a woman looking the way you do.
  • The Sociopath: Judge Doom is a particularly nasty one.
  • Somber Backstory Revelation: The audience has already been told by his girlfriend Delores that Eddie Valiant's hatred of toons is because one killed his brother and partner Teddy. Eddie himself doesn't open up about the event until he's hiding out with Roger at the theater after saving the rabbit from Judge Doom. He tells Roger how he and Teddy used to patrol Toontown and "thought it was a lot of laughs"; then, while chasing a bank robber, they get a piano dropped on them by the culprit, which hurt Eddie's arm and killed Teddy. Eddie remembers the robber laughing at him "with those burning red eyes and that high, squeaky voice." This turns out to be foreshadowing for the reveal of Doom's real identity.
  • Someone Else's Problem: Eddie decides this after noticing Acme's will in the photograph.
  • Something Else Also Rises: The Funny Animal version of this trope happens in the movie. Rogers’s ears stick straight up in arousal as Jessica passionately smothers him in Rescue Romance by covering his face with Smooch of Victory kisses and swooning over his “bravery”.
  • So Much for Stealth: Wanted for murder or not, Roger is not good at keeping a low profile.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • Roger himself.
    • In the official comic book adaptation (published by Marvel), R.K. Maroon is mentioned to have survived being shot and is recovering at the hospital.
  • Species Surname:
    • Roger Rabbit.
    • Subverted with Jessica Rabbit, who turns out to be only a Rabbit by marriage.
  • Spectacular Spinning: Happens to Benny when Judge Doom dumps a drum of Dip on the road, partially melting his wheels and causing him to spin out of control and hit a street lamp, knocking Eddie and Jessica Rabbit out of him.
  • Spontaneous Skeet Shooting: At the end of the movie, the crowd that forms to gawk at Judge Doom's body was awfully close at hand and made up of some awfully prominent citizens of Toontown given how quickly they gathered.
  • The Spook: Judge Doom's true identity is never revealed and we never even find out what he really looks like, except for his blazing red eyes.
  • Spring Coil: After Judge Doom is revealed as a Toon, he uses Toon springs on his feet to jump after Eddie Valiant.
  • Squashed Flat: Occurs even with the live-action actors (Valiant in the elevator, Doom run over by a steamroller.)
  • Stab the Scorpion: Jessica ultimately proves her trustworthiness when she shoots an unseen assailant behind Eddie (Judge Doom) just after it looked like she was holding him at gunpoint.
    Jessica Rabbit: (Aims a gun at Eddie Valiant) Valiant.
    Eddie Valiant: I always knew I'd get it in Toontown.
    (as he turns around, A shadow of Judge Doom with a gun appears on the wall)
    Jessica Rabbit: Behind you!
    (Shoots at the shadow; it falls back and the gun drops on the floor)
  • Star Scraper: Parodied with the Toon Hotel in Toontown which according to the lobby elevator is "450 floors" even though it still looks like it exceeds that.
  • Start of Darkness: The graphic novel sequel Roger Rabbit: The Resurrection of Doom reveals Judge Doom's origins.
  • Stealth Insult: At the beginning, after Roger blows his lines again by seeing Circling Birdies instead of stars after getting a refrigerator dropped on his head, the frustrated director Raoul J. Raoul calls for a lunch break, but Roger wants to keep trying.
    Roger: I'm a professional, I can take it! Don't worry about me!
    Raoul: I'm not worried about you, I'm worried about the refrigerator!
  • Stealth Parody: While containing many elements of one, this isn't your typical Film Noir.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • When Valiant fires the cartoon revolver and the bullets go the wrong way, he calls them "dum-dums", meaning "idiots". Dum-dums are a type of expanding bullet.
    • Also, at one point, Roger delivers a passionate speech to Eddie while standing on a literal soapbox.
    • After his reveal, Judge Doom "stares daggers" and has a "spring in his step".
  • Still Got It: Betty Boop claims to, despite having been outclassed by the newer color cartoons.
  • Stop Being Stereotypical: Jessica has this complaint about herself. She is ashamed of how she was created to be a well-endowed Femme Fatale-type character who constantly speaks in a breathy voice unless she's really forcing herself not to. Half the reason she loves Roger so much is that he's one of the few people who cares for her solely for her personality rather than her looks.
  • Storyboarding the Apocalypse: A parody of this occurs near the end of the movie, referring to the interstate bypass, and eerily foreshadowing the modern strip mall.
    Judge Doom: I see a place where people get on and off the freeway. On and off, off and on, all day, all night! Soon, where Toon Town once stood will be a string of gas stations; inexpensive motels; restaurants that serve rapidly prepared food; tire salons; automobile dealerships; and wonderful, wonderful billboards reaching as far as the eye can see! My God, it'll be beautiful.
  • Strongly Worded Letter: After finding out that Jessica was caught playing Pat-a-Cake with Marvin Acme, Roger Rabbit in a drunken stupor wandered out of the office vowing that he will make his wife Happy. The next day Marvin winds up dead due to a safe; but it wasn't done by Roger, because he was actually at Jessica's apartment to write her a Love Letter saying how much he loved her.
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion:
    Eddie: I'm through with taking falls / And bouncing off the walls / Without that gun / I'd have some fun / And kick you in the—[gets hit in the head]
    Roger: Nose!
    Smart Ass: 'Nose'? That don't rhyme with 'walls'!
    Eddie: No. But this does!
  • Suddenly Shouting:
    • Mrs. Herman to Baby Herman:
      Mrs. Herman: I'm leaving you with your favorite friend, Roger. He's going to take very, very good care of you. Because if he doesn't, HE'S GOING BACK TO THE SCIENCE LAB!!!
    • Eddie to Roger:
      Eddie: I've been out there risking my neck for you, and what're you doin'? SINGIN' AND DANCIN'!
    • When Jessica sees the Dip:
      Jessica: Oh my God, it's DIIIIP!!!
    • And of course, when Doom reveals his true identity:
      Judge Doom: Remember me, Eddie? When I killed your brother, I TALKED! JUST! LIKE! THIIIIIIIS!!!
  • Sudden Musical Ending: The ending shows the main cast of the movie and half the population of Toontown parading out of the factory as "Smile, Darn Ya, Smile" plays in the background from out of nowhere. A less out-of-left-field example than most, since the song had been heard earlier and it had already been established that Toontown was a naturally song-filled place.
  • Sunshine Noir: Exaggerated by the cheery/goofy animated elements of the backdrop this hardboiled noir is set against.
  • Supernormal Bindings: After Judge Doom captures Jessica and Roger, he has the weasels tie them up with escape-proof toon rope.
  • Super Window Jump: When Roger leaves Mr. Maroon's office in a huff after finding his wife Jessica was playing patty-cake with Marvin Acme, he goes out the window, leaving a Roger-shaped-hole in the blinds and glass.
  • Swiss-Army Appendage: Judge Doom, after being revealed to be a toon.
  • Sword Cane: It's revealed near the end of the movie that Judge Doom's cane is a sword cane. He uses it during his battle with Eddie Valiant.
  • Sword Fight: Subverted. Judge Doom has a Sword Cane. Eddie Valiant opens an Acme Products box marked "Singing Sword" and draws out the sword... which starts singing "Wicked Witchcraft" by Frank Sinatra. Eddie quickly picks another box.
  • Symbolic Blood: The poor unfortunate red shoe dissolves into a puddle of red paint when dipped by Judge Doom. Naturally, Doom ends up with this red paint all over his hand.
  • Symploce: Roger is confronted with proof that his wife cheated on him.
    Roger: I just don't believe it! I won't believe it! I can't believe it! I shan't believe it!
  • "Take That!" Kiss: Roger kisses Eddie Valiant, after which Eddie exclaims, "Don't ever kiss me again!" At the end, Eddie kisses Roger to show that he hasn't quite lost his sense of humor.
  • Talking Weapon: Eddie tries wielding a "singing sword" which does indeed sing but is useless when it comes to the "weapon" part.
  • Tap on the Head: Roger is bopped over the head with a frying pan and dragged out of the way. Later, Jessica reveals that she did it: she didn't want Roger to get hurt. In fairness, it's impossible to permanently injure a toon via this method.
  • Tempting Cookie Jar: The plot of the Show Within a Show "Somethin's Cookin'" has Baby Herman trying to get to a cookie jar atop the fridge, while poor Roger gets hurt trying to keep him safe.
  • Tempting Fate: Best noted on a re-watch, but early in the movie, while sitting on the back of a Red Car with some kids, Eddie tells them he doesn't need a vehicle because they have the best transportation around. Cue Cloverleaf, whose sole stockholder is Doom, buying out the Red Car just to dismantle it for the purpose of the freeway.
  • That's All, Folks!: Porky Pig says this at the end with Tinker Bell doing her ending shtick immediately afterward.
  • Theory of Narrative Causality:
    • Toons are "supposed to make people laugh", as Roger puts it, and are often unable to do certain things unless there's a proper comedic setup:
    • When Roger and Eddie get handcuffed together without keys, Eddie ends up dragging Roger around, avoiding Judge Doom's goons all the while. When he finally gets his hands on a hacksaw, Roger casually slips his hand out of the cuffs, much to Eddie's annoyance:
      Eddie: You mean you could have taken that cuff off at any time?
      Roger: Not any time! Only when it was funny.
    • Judge Doom exploits this to find Roger's hiding place by tapping out "Shave and a Haircut", but leaving out the last two notes to drive Roger crazy and bust out of the wall to finish the song.
    • Eddie also exploits this minutes later, using the old "Duck Season, Rabbit Season" joke to get Roger to drink a shot of hard liquor, causing him to explode and give them a means of escape.
  • This Is No Time for Knitting: Eddie asks Dolores for a bourbon as Judge Doom is trying to execute Roger. Dolores replies, "Fine time for a drink, Eddie — maybe you want some pretzels to go with it!" But Eddie wants the drink to offer to Roger and trigger his explosive reaction to alcohol, which allows their escape.
  • This Is Reality: As an armed Roger goes off to rescue Jessica and Eddie, Benny warns him, "Be careful with that gun! This ain't no cartoon, ya know." Justified, as Roger is an actor who regularly stars in cartoons in-universe as opposed to the very real stakes present now.
  • This Means War!: Daffy and Donald's "dueling pianos" set piece at the Ink and Paint Club involves a staged fight that culminates in Donald throwing Daffy into his piano and slamming the lid shut over the latter duck's head, with only his beak sticking out. Daffy dazedly splutters, "Thith meanth war...", and the competition heats up from there.
  • Toilet Teleportation: Roger Rabbit (accidentally) uses this trick.
  • Token Minority: The only black character in the movie is a one-armed black veteran with a Purple Heart who frequents Dolores's restaurant.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Roger has a few moments of this. He sings and dances loud enough to be heard from the street while wanted for murder despite knowing full well he faces certain death if he's caught. His defense when Eddie confronts him with this: "But I'm a toon! Toons are supposed to make people laugh!" It ends up working to his advantage, winning the bar patrons over to him and making them reluctant to hand him in.
  • Toon Physics: An Invoked Trope, from numerous angles.
    1. Not only do they apply to toons 24/7 — enabling them to squeeze through tight spaces and yank their hands out of handcuffs whenever it would be funny — but even to humans toons humiliate and/or inflict Amusing Injuries on. Toons can hit humans with frying pans and cars, fire cannons at them, set them on fire, or even throw them off of buildings, but the worst humans can experience at the hands of toons is Clothing Damage and Ash Face because Slapstick never inflicts permanent damage. Roger is absolutely heartbroken when he learns that a toon killed Eddie's brother Teddy, not just because he's a sweet dork but because he didn't think such a thing was even possible. This is a big hint that Teddy's killer was no ordinary toon and, possibly, the first to realize that while dropping a piano on someone's head is survivable in Slapstick, it's a guaranteed kill with Black Comedy. This is how he escapes the Valiants with the money he stole from the First Bank of Toontown and establishes his new identity as Judge Doom.
    2. Eddie is himself subject to toon physics when he is in Toon Town, such as when he's squashed flat in the elevator and as well when he's performing for the Toon Patrol. By using Comedy as a Weapon, he is able to shake off various self-inflicted injuries like a Rake Take, a Tap on the Head (repeatedly — with bowling balls), a Banana Peel, Harmless Electrocution.
    3. This is turned around again when Eddie fights Judge Doom: Initially, Eddie is completely unaware that Doom's a toon, let alone one using Black Comedy instead of slapstick. The result is a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown as Doom turns each of Eddie's efforts into something humiliating; Eddie crawls onto the Dipmobile and redirects the Dip away from Roger and Jessica, Doom kicks him off the Dipmobile via a zipline. Eddie puts up his fists, Doom pulls a sword. Eddie goes looking for something to deflect the sword with, and finds a useless "singing sword". Attempting to disarm Doom with a toon magnet gets him pinned to a barrel, whereupon Doom takes his act a bit too far by going to get a steamroller. That results in him squashing himself flat, in the process revealing he's a toon and throwing subtlety to the wind with spring-heeled jumps and anvil fists.
  • Toon Town: The Trope Namer (or Trope Codifier, depending on how you look at it...)
  • Toon Transformation:
    • Played with in a Deleted Sceneinvoked where Eddie has an animated pig's head painted over his own head when he exits Toontown with a burlap sack covering it. (This is also why he has just showered in the middle of the day when Jessica shows up in his office—he was washing off the last of the paint.)
      Eddie (after pulling the burlap sack off his head): I'VE BEEN TOON-A-ROONED!
    • Roger does this to Maroon's gun, which he found in Eddie's car, upon gaining entry to the ACME Factory.
  • Trick Bullet: Eddie uses a gun that fires toon bullets that are self-aware and can steer themselves in flight. Unfortunately, they aren't the brightest of toons.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behaviour: Played for laughs. Early on there is a rather heartwarming, nostalgic moment where Eddie rides on the back of the red car with a group of local boys. His parting words to the boys are "Thanks for the cigarettes."
  • Tuft of Head Fur: Roger Rabbit has a tuft of red hair on his head that is different from the white fur covering the rest of his body.
  • Twisted Echo Cut: When Valiant is photographing Acme and Jessica "playing pattycake", you can hear Acme saying "Pattycake... pattycake..." getting more excited each time. The scene then switches to Maroon's office, where Roger is screaming "PATTYCAKE! PATTYCAKE!" in disbelief. The cut keeps the repetition of "pattycake" unbroken between scenes.

  • Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: Donald Duck and Daffy Duck are seen in a piano battle that quickly escalates into an actual duel.
  • Uncanny Valley: the Uncanny Valley is invoked in Judge Doom as foreshadowing, considering that he's actually an Ax-Crazy toon disguised as a human. He is at least half a head taller than any other character. His eyes are often hollow and he never blinks. Christopher Lloyd only blinked between takes or when his face was out of frame. Every smile is a Slasher Smile. He has a lot more strength than an average man. He is shown ripping the industrial dip barrel open with one hand. His skin is pale and lifeless. His vocal cadence is either too clipped or too drawn out to be normal.
  • Uncanny Valley Makeup: Judge Doom, seeing as how he was intentionally meant to invoke Uncanny Valley (makeup was used to make his skin look unnaturally pale and flawless, and Christopher Lloyd avoided blinking when the camera was on him).
  • Unmoving Plaid: It's a little harder to detect than most of the examples, but Jessica Rabbit's sparkling cocktail dress is an unmoving Shiny.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Between Dolores and Valiant. It kind of makes the story sweet, in a G-rated way.
  • The Unsmile: Judge Doom seems very humorless, even when everyone else is laughing at a joke. When he does smile, it shuts them right up. It turns out that his true personality is more into Slasher Smiles.
  • Unusual Euphemism:
    • "Applesauce!" This is coming from Baby Herman, an old-timer in a toon baby's body. He uses euphemisms a few times in the movie. To be fair, "applesauce" was a common explicative in the twenties, used to denote frustration or disbelief, the way Herman used it.
      Baby Herman: My problem is I got a fifty-year-old lust and a three-year-old dinky.
      [later in the same scene]
      Baby Herman: The paper said Acme had no will. That's a load o' succotash.
    • It's obvious what is meant by Jessica and Marvin Acme "playing patty-cake". Subverted when it turns out they're playing actual Pat-a-Cake.
  • Unwilling Suspension: Roger and Jessica are tied together and suspended from a rope and are menaced by an out-of-control jet of Dip.
  • Unwitting Pawn:
    • Eddie's simple case in the beginning—to get proof that Jessica is cheating on Roger—was actually a ploy to give Roger a motive for killing Acme.
    • R.K. Maroon ends up on both ends of the trope. He uses Eddie in his plot to blackmail Acme, but turns out to have been a pawn in the larger plot to destroy Toontown.
  • Vader Breath: Wheezy the weasel, complete with hacking and coughing, due to his smoking habits.
  • Values Dissonance: In-universe: Roger and Jessica are considered an odd couple, but for different reasons depending on perspective:
    • Humans (like Eddie) wonder what a knockout bombshell like Jessica is doing with a goofball like Roger.
    • Toons think Jessica is the one who made out like a bandit, which makes sense if you compare their careers. Jessica is a Lounge Singer (albeit a high-class lounge singer), while Roger is an A-list celeb in the toon world, on par with Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny. It's an even bigger step up in the book, as Jessica got her start in Tijuana Bibles, which essentially makes her a porn starlet.
    • On a more philosophical note, the most important attribute in toon society is humor. Roger's Funny Animal looks and comedic chops make him something akin to a Leonardo DiCaprio, while Jessica not only looks like a human but is the only toon we see who actually acts like one.
  • Vapor Wear: Jessica Rabbit doesn't have any undergarments. She was given panties in the DVD release, though she's still obviously going bra-less.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Greasy Weasel eagerly tries to search Jessica's cleavage for Acme's will, and gets his hand caught in a Bear Trap she keeps there for that express purpose.
    Eddie: Nice booby trap.
  • Visionary Villain: Judge Doom's machinations are all in service of his vision of a gleaming new freeway.
    Doom: My God, it'll be beautiful.
  • Visual Pun:
    • The movie's poster. Roger Rabbit is "framed".
    • When Valiant meets with Maroon to take the job, he sees some toon furniture escape a crate and run around playing "Stars and Stripes Forever" on orchestral instruments. They're "musical chairs."
    • During a chase scene:
      Benny the Cab: Hey, Roger! Whaddaya call the middle of a song?
      Roger: Gee, I dunno— [sees they're about to crash into an overpass] A BRIDGE!
    • In Toontown, Eddie runs over a pie with a cow's face on it.
    • Roger sits on a soapbox while making a speech about the power of laughter.
    • Judge Doom's eyes pop out shaped like blades: "Glaring daggers". The soles of his shoes also manifest springs, when he leaps across the room, as in "spring in his step".
    • "Cattle Call"... literally for cows and bulls, who we see in Hollywood practicing their moos and even applying lipstick.
    • Lampshaded with Jessica's "Booby Trap", a bear trap concealed within her bosom that clamps down on Greasy's hand as he's inappropriately frisking her.
    • Eddie discovers that Acme's will is visible in his newspaper photo by literally "seeing through the bottom of a whiskey glass".
  • Waxing Lyrical: Eddie makes an Irving Berlin reference:
    R.K. Maroon: How much do you know about show business, Mr. Valiant?
    Eddie Valiant: Only that there's no business like it, no business I know.
    R.K. Maroon: Yeah, and there's no business more expensive.
  • We Have the Keys:
    Eddie Valiant: [Roger managed to slip his arm out of the handcuffs he and Eddie were attached to] You mean you could've taken your hand out of that cuff at any time?
    Roger Rabbit: No, not at any time, only when it was funny.
  • Weird Sun: At the start of the Toontown segment, a cartoon sun with a goofy face pops up above the horizon to lead the landscape in a chorus of "Smile, Darn Ya, Smile!".
  • We've Got Company: Roger and Eddy get into a chase, which prompts Roger to spout out the trope.
  • What Does She See in Him?: Why does Jessica Rabbit love Roger as a husband? He makes her laugh. And, when Eddie remarks that Roger is not the best driver:
  • Wham Line: Some of the most unforgettable ones in film.
    Eddie: Holy smokes, he's a toon!
    Doom: Surprised?
    Eddie: Not really. That lame-brained freeway idea could only be cooked up by a toon!
    Doom: Not just any toon! [re-inflates himself with an oxygen tank, then frightens Eddie by revealing his toon eyes] REMEMBER ME, EDDIE?! WHEN I KILLED YOUR BROTHER, I TALKED! JUST! LIKE! THIIIIIIIIS!!!!!
  • Wham Shot:
    • Jessica Rabbit's reveal. Eddie mocked Mr. Acme's interest in her as "got a thing for rabbits, huh?" Then Jessica enters the stage, and boy howdy, that Eddie himself had a Jaw Drop.
    • After being run over by a steamroller, a literally flattened Judge Doom starts standing up, revealing that he's actually a toon.
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: If Marvin Acme's will isn't found by midnight, the Diabolical Mastermind Judge Doom will legally own Toontown.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: Betty Boop (shown in black and white) is an unusually upbeat version of one, working at the Ink-n-Paint Club.
    Betty: Cigars? Cigarettes? [Beat] Eddie Valiant!
    Eddie: Betty?
    Betty: Long time no see.
    Eddie: What are you doing here?
    Betty: Work's been kinda slow since cartoons went to colorinvoked. But I Still Got It, Eddie. Boop-boop be-doo boop! [winks]
    Eddie: [smiling] Yeah. You still got it.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Doom has at least two chances to kill Valiant and instead chooses to wait or take a less practical approach. Justified since he is an over-the-top cartoon villain.
  • Wicked Weasel: Judge Doom's "Toon Patrol" is a band of these.
  • Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises:
    • Happens to Jessica in one scene.
      Jessica: Oh my God, it's DIP!!!
    • It happens again when Judge Doom gets an emergency release valve full of Dip in his face.
  • Widely-Spaced Jail Bars: A slight comedic variant occurs when Eddie Valiant and Roger Rabbit are trapped in handcuffs together and need to escape, and they are clearly cuffed practically. Eddie tries to saw the cuffs apart, and Roger easily yanks out his cuffed hand to ask if he can help. When Eddie gets angry at him because he could have done this whenever he wanted, Roger defensively replies that, because he is a Toon, he could only do it when it was funny to do so.
  • Wild Take:
    • Roger performs a lot of these. A particular one happens when Eddie feeds him alcohol as a Last Request.
    • Even Jessica does a minor one when she sees the Dip: her eyes grow much larger and her face is an exaggerated mask of fear—in a reminder that she, despite her near-human appearance, is still a toon.
  • Wingding Eyes: Judge Doom.
  • Winged Soul Flies Off at Death: The Weasels after they laugh themselves to death. Averted with the chief Weasel, Smart Ass, who meets his end in the Dip.
  • Within Arm's Reach: During the climactic fight with Judge Doom, Eddie Valiant is pinned to a drum by a toon magnet, as Doom approaches with a steamroller. Seeing a box of Portable Holes at his feet, Eddie struggles to move it towards him so he can grab a hole and use it to escape just before he gets flattened.
  • A Wizard Did It: Anything illogical a Toon does can be safely assumed to be Rule of Funny; the concept is implicit in a lot of cartoons, but this movie is one of the few to have it as an explicit in-universe rule.
  • Wolf in Sheep's Clothing:
  • Wrong Parachute Gag: Eddie is falling from a great height and is joined by Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny, both wearing parachutes. Eddie asks for a spare, so Bugs gives it to him. He opens it... and out comes a spare tire.
  • X-Ray Sparks: Happens to Roger during the short cartoon "Somethin's Cookin'" when his fingers get stuck in some electrical sockets.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Perhaps one of the shortest examples of a trope that is usually accompanied by a speech of some kind but when hiding in the theater, Valiant, who's had a pretty turbulent relationship with Dolores so far despite the fact that they used to be a couple before his brother's murder, gently tells her that she should find herself a good man, likely in regret for how he's treated her since his brother's loss. Dolores's response is a simple but very sweet "I already HAVE a good man..." while looking tenderly back at him, showing that despite all his flaws and their arguments, she still cares for him and believes in him.
  • You Are What You Hate: Judge Doom. You've probably guessed that by now.
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: Judge Doom calls Eddie "Mr. Valiant". It's not until it is revealed that he is a toon that he calls him "Eddie".
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Given what Eddie's seeing Marvin and Jessica actually doing when he says this, you can't really blame him.
  • You Killed My Father: Judge Doom is the same toon who killed Eddie Valiant's brother.

Porky Pig: Okay, m-m-move along! Th-th-there's nothing else to see. Th-that's all folks. ...hmm. I-I like the sounda' that! Th-th-th-th-th-th-that's all, folks! Hahahaha!


"Only When It Was Funny"

While trying to cut him and Roger out of a pair of handcuffs, Eddie discovers that the Toon was perfectly capable of slipping it off...but only in the moment of a gag.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (16 votes)

Example of:

Main / FirstStepFixation

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