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"My philosophy is this: If you don't have a good sense of humor, you're better off dead!"
Roger Rabbit
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Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a 1988 combination live-action/animated film, 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 Dork Age — Disney's animated films from the 90's and onward, the Pixar films, The Simpsons, Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs, Batman: The Animated Series, Nicktoons, MTV cartoons, and any other cartoon 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), it is so far the only official crossover with classic Disney, MGM, and Warner Bros. cartoon characters.

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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 on the run from the police after having been accused of murdering Marvin Acme, a human manufacturer of cartoon props, with whom Roger's wife Jessica happened to be "playing patty-cake".note  His only hope is Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins), an alcoholic human ex-cop turned private investigator who used to specialize in this kind of case, but has refused to work for toons ever since one killed his brother by dropping a piano on his head. He winds up getting sucked into the investigation after Roger hides out at his apartment. Together, the two of them uncover something much bigger than either of them expected.

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The film 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), but it really owes more to Roman Polanski's Chinatown, as the basic plot was originally intended as the final installment of a trilogy which tanked due to the second film, The Two Jakes, flopping.

The title of the film officially has no question mark at the end; rumor has it this is 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-50's 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. 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 BY HAND — no computers of any kind were used, not even 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 and Daffy Duck's piano duelnote .

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 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' 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 which could, in theory, co-exist with the Zemeckis sequel. However, it too has lapsed into Development Hell. Following Bob Hoskins' death of pneumonia in April 2014, the sequel remains in Development Hell. In 2016, Robert Zemeckis announced the reason why there hasn't been anything new on Roger (in both shorts, film, and other small projects) is because the current people at Disney do not like Jessica at all.

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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    A-C 
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Lena Hyena couldn't possibly be any more of one to Eddie in their only encounter. She even provides the page image (seriously, go look).
  • Achilles' Heel: Dip, for the toons—and, consequently, Judge Doom.
  • Acid Pool: The Big Bad threatens to throw Roger into a barrel full of 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: Some traits of Judge Doom seems to be paying homage to Doc Emmett Brown also played by Christopher Lloyd. His screams during the climax, when he's run over by the steamroller, sound like Doc's and there's also the fact that he invented a vehicle with a peculiar characteristic, like Doc did with the time machine. In Doom's case he designed a truck who can spray Dip everywhere. Moreover, after finishing his New Era Speech about the freeway he also says "My God..." just like Doc does sometimes in 1st episode.
  • 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.
  • 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 hero, is played by the heavy-set Bob Hoskins.
  • Adult Fear: A brief example 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.
  • The Alcoholic: Eddie, after his brother's death. He's almost a booze-seeking warhead, in fact.
    "Didn't you used to be Eddie Valiant? Or did you change your name to Jack Daniels?"
    Roger: "I didn't know where your office was, so I asked the news-boy. He didn't know, so I asked the fireman, the greengrocer, the butcher, the baker, they didn't know! But the liquor-store guy, he knew!"
  • 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, his presence is felt way too much for them to continue.
  • 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.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Judge Doom's scheme to buy up the trolley company for the sole purpose of dissolving it. General Motors did the same thing to kill public transit, only on a nationwide scale and about 10 years before the film is set.
  • 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 began use 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.
    • 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 sword that sings "Witchcraft" by Frank Sinatra, which wasn't released until 1957.
    • 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.
  • 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 seem the entertainment industry is the most profitable line of work for someone with their resiliance.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 playing 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 4 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.
  • Ax-Crazy: The Weasels, especially Psycho.
  • Badass Longcoat: Eddie Valiant wears one, as does Judge Doom.
  • Badly Battered Babysitter: Roger's role in the Maroon shorts with Baby Herman.
  • 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]
  • 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.
  • 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: Judge Doom. Surprising, we know.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    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!
  • Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce: Roger ends up drinking this by accident while trying to rescue Baby Herman in the opening cartoon.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 a ton of bricks has hit him in the head.
    • 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.
  • Butterface: Lena Hyena perfectly mimics Jessica Rabbit's everything, but her face, for obvious reasons.
  • 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 Coyoteandthe Road Runner, Tweety And Sylvester, Droopy, Betty Boop, Koko The Clown, Woody Woodpecker,...
  • Canon Foreigner: Dolores, Lt. Santino, The Weasels, Judge Doom, R.K. Maroon and many others did not appear in the original novel.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: The police arrive after Judge Doom has been liquidated.
  • 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.
  • Chairman of the Brawl: Eddie smashes a chair over one of the weasels 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
  • Chekhov's Gag: Benny's remark "If you ever need a ride, just stick out yer thumb!"
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The big mallet and portable hole, introduced for laughs early on and proving crucial in the final action sequence.
    • The Disappearing Reappearing! Ink.
    • Roger's love letter written on a blank piece of paper. It's Marvin Acme's will in disguise.
    • Roger's... destructive reaction whenever he takes a shot of alcohol is put to good use later.
  • 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.
    Jessica: OH MY GOD, IT'S DIIIIIIIIIIIIP!!!!
  • 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?
  • 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, 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 a Shrine to the Fallen. 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.
  • Community-Threatening Construction: The villainous plot which threatens the entire community of Toontown is the construction of a freeway.
  • Conspicuous CG:
    • Averted as hard as a ton of bricks. The filmmakers and fans continue to boast to this day how not a single frame of the animation was created any way other than old-fashioned hand-drawn animation and optical printing. Those unfamiliar with animation director Richard Williams' exhaustive animation techniques might actually mistake some of the more lavishly 3-dimentional-looking objects for primitive CGI rather than really, really good drawings!
    • Some of the hand props "real" people interact with are rotoscoped, traced and painted by hand on top of an original prop by a cel animator. Eddie's toon revolver is one of these, if you look fast in a few shots you can see Eddie is holding a plastic prop and not an animated gun.
  • 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.
  • Contagious Laughter: In the speakeasy. Also constantly among the weasels.
  • Contractual Genre Blindness: Most toons, including Doom at the end.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: In the famous deleted "pig head" scenenote , 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.)
  • 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.
  • 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 three and a half kilometersnote  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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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]

    D-F 
  • Dance Party Ending: The assembled toons singing and dancing to "Smile, Darn Ya, Smile".
  • 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...
  • 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?
      RK 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 the 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).
  • 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, showing just how insane cartoon characters would really be in the real world, and how deadly and nightmarish their antics would if humans were the victims. Being much more well-known and popular than the original novel, it probably became the Trope Maker for this trope.
  • 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 fly on-screen today.
  • 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.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: What Judge Doom really is.
  • Die Laughing: The Quirky Miniboss Squad of weasels are killed by laughter.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Amusingly subverted with Jessica. Eddie has never seen her before the Ink-N-Paint Club and expects her to be nothing more than a goofy-looking female version of Roger, ala 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?
  • 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 bellow, 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 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 pattycake 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".
  • Dolled-Up Installment: Believe it or not, the basic plot premise, corrupt judge teams up with automobile companies to dismantle the public transportation system in favor of creating freeways, was originally meant to be used for the third movie in a Film Noir trilogy that began with Roman Polanski's Chinatown. The second movie was stuck in Development Hellinvoked for years due to Polanski's legal troubles, but was eventually made in 1990 (with Jack Nicholson directing) under the title The Two Jakes.
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: Judge Doom.
  • Dope Slap: Eddie Valiant delivers one to Roger Rabbit.
  • The Dragon: Smart Ass, the chief weasel, to Judge Doom.
  • Dramatic Curtain Toss: When Judge Doom reveals the Dip.
  • Dramatic Shattering: Happens to any glass nearby whenever Roger has a drink.
  • 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 to 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.
  • Eat the Camera: Played straight and immediately inverted afterward on Baby Herman crying after dropping his cigar.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
  • Eternally Pearly-White Teeth: Judge Doom. Justified in that he's not human.
  • 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. "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!*.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Maroon thinks little of blackmailing his neighbor with patty-cake pictures, but never intended for Acme to get killed over it and doesn't want Toontown destroyed.
  • 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 Albino: Judge Doom.
  • Evil Gloating/Motive Rant: Judge Doom delivers this after revealing himself as the Diabolical Mastermind behind the plot to destroy Toontown.
  • 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 Is Hammy: Just take a wild guess.
  • 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.
  • 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: "That's the closet!"
  • Expy: Jessica Rabbit's design and career is a more vampish version of Tex Avery's Red Hot Riding Hood.
  • Eye Shock: In the nightclub scene when Jessica Rabbit is on stage, combined with Wolf Whistle.
  • Eye Take: A common toon reaction to imminent danger.
    • 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.
  • 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: Just about 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 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.
  • Fantastic Noir: A classic, run-of-the-mill Hardboiled Detective murder mystery—with living cartoon characters thrown in for good measure.
  • 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.
  • 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: The underlying plot is almost classic film noir—"I'm going to listen you spin Cloverleaf's scenario — the story of greed, sex, and murder".note  But the addition of outlandish cartoon elements forces it into a parody of the genre.
  • 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.
  • 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 sending her to get a racing form.
  • 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.
  • For the Funnyz: According to Roger, a toon's whole purpose in life is to make people laugh, humans and fellow toons alike.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Valiant comments wondering how Doom could be a judge, Lt. Santino mentions that he bought the election in Toontown with a lot of money. He acquired it by stealing during the robbery where he killed Eddie's brother.
    • About Jessica playing patty-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."
    • Pretty much 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 when Roger said he could only do something when it was funny?
      • Eddie's line "I don't know who's toonier; you [Roger] or Doom!"
      • 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. (This is mentioned in the commentary.) 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.
      • 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. 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. Speaking of...
      • Maroon tries to warn Eddie: "Unless Acme's will shows by midnight tonight, Toontown's gonna be land for the free—" (the gun, aimed discreetly at Maroon by Doom, goes off, hitting and killing him)
      • A subtle clue that Doom is Teddy's killer is seen in one of the first things he does onscreen: Dip a toon shoe. Shoes come in pairs, like Eddie and Teddy did. Doom Dipping the shoe deprives the other of its companion and partner, which is exactly what happened when Teddy was killed.
    • Cloverleaf, as in the shape of highway on-ramps.
    • The aforementioned 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.
  • 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.
    • After the car crash, when Jessica is whirling away with her legs spread, freezing a specific frame reveals that she "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.
  • 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: While trying to sneak into the Acme factory, Roger falls on the toilet and gets flushed down. He later comes out a drain pipe in the factory floor for a (failed) Big Damn Heroes moment.
  • 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".

    G-L 
  • Gag Boobs:
    • 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.
  • Gainaxing: Jessica Rabbit's breasts, which have a habit of bumping into things. In general, they reverse-gainax, moving in the opposite direction of normal walking movement (basically, they bounce up rather than down when she walks), in part to make her more cartoony.
  • 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: Lots.
    • Most prominent example: A Booby Trap.
    • The brand of oven in the opening cartoon is *Hotternell* - i.e., "hotter than hell."
    • Eddie showing rather than telling Smart-Ass what rhymes with "walls."
    • Dolores "had to shake the weasels". It Makes Sense in Context, but still...
    • "Don't bust a button, Dolores. You've only got one left." is a PG-13 remark about Dolores' low-V-cut blouse. Even though Dolores' blouse actually has two buttons.
    • Marvin Acme and Jessica Rabbit playing "Patty Cake" would look totally innocent taken at face value by a kid who didn't understand the context and setup.
    • As Eddie enters the "out-of-order" restroom in Toontown, there's a particular message written on the wall beside him (See the Bathroom Stall Graffiti example above).
    • When Lena Hyena notices Eddie she licks her lips and fixes her breast. It's implied that she wasn't simply planning to kiss him. Ugh.
    • Near the end of the film when the toons are discussing Judge Doom's true identity and a number of animal species are are being suggested, Sylvester says "A Pussy?" prompting a Signature Laugh from Woody Woodpecker.
  • 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.
  • Good-Guy Bar: The Terminal Station Bar is where Eddie's at least morally neutral pals congregate, and Dolores keeps them in line.
  • G-Rated Sex: Roger reacts to secret photos of his wife Jessica and Marvin Acme playing "Patty-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 patty-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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Judge: Judge Doom, who happily attempts to use Dip on toons whenever he can.
  • 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.
  • Happily Married: Roger and Jessica, as it turns out.
  • Hates the Job, Loves the Limelight: Baby Herman.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hello, Nurse!: Jessica Rabbit.
  • 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 above, 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.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Roger and Jessica are both redheads and are madly in love with each other.
  • "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.
  • High-Pressure Emotion: Roger's reaction to alcohol is rather... explosive.
  • 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.
    • The machine itself is destroyed by a train. The vehicle that was being used to phase out trains/trams is destroyed by one.
  • 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.
  • Human-Focused Adaptation: One of the problems Chuck Jones and a few other classic animators had with Who Framed Roger Rabbit was that it seemed that the cartoons themselves were secondary characters to the human actors. Perhaps this movie is a rare example of the trope not getting too far out of hand, though. 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.
  • The Hyena: Well, weasels in this case. Their hyena cousins are mentioned. (Poor guys, laughed themselves to death.)
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: Cartoon characters from just about every animation studio in existence in the 1940s appear in the movie.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder:
    Marvin Acme: 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.
  • Illogical Safe: Done with a fridge, and an elevator in one of the Maroon Cartoon shorts.
  • 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 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.
  • Impossibly-Low Neckline: Jessica.
  • Improvised Zip Line: Judge Doom uses his cane to slide down a wire.
  • Incessant Music Madness: The director is arguing with Roger after he blows his lines when he finally shouts, "Can we lose the playback please!?"
  • 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 premise (toons living alongside humans), the basic set-up (toon rabbit suspected of killing a human and enlists help from a human private eye), and a few characters are about all the movie has in common with Who Censored Roger Rabbit?.
  • 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.
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • Jessica and Roger—possibly averted because they are toons, in which surface forms do not necessarily reflect species difference.
    • 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.
  • 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: 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.
  • 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.
      Bugs Bunny: Ain't I a stinker?
  • 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 workd through the trauma of his brother's death.
    • Baby Herman is harsh and unapologetic but cares deeply for his friends and costars.
    • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • Lampshaded Double Entendre: Jessica's infamous "pattycake" session with Marvin Acme.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 scheme.
    Eddie: 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's Get Dangerous!: Subverted. Roger attempts this when he shows up during the final confrontation, gun in hand, but he gets defeated easily.
  • Lighter and Softer: When compared to the original book.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: The classic Disney cartoon characters joins forces with the Looney Tunes and various other studios to bring an extraordinary ensemble cast of classic cartoon characters.
    • Basically all the big name characters of the "Golden Age" made it in this movie, at least for a cameo. Fleischer studios is represented by Betty Boop and a quick cameo from Koko the Clown. Walter Lantz Studios is represented by its biggest star, Woody Woodpecker. MGM Studios loaned out Droopy. The only studio without any characters included was Terrytoons. As huge as this cast is, there were plans for even more- the Popeye characters, Felix the Cat and Tom & Jerry weren't included because of rights issues.note 
  • 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..

    M-R 
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Roger's glass-breaking "steam whistle" after drinking strong liquor.
  • 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 and 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 using that language, and I'm gonna have to wash that 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".)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Jessica Rabbit was drawn to be this to the humans she entertains—including the movie's audience.
  • Multi-Armed Multitasking: The bar-tending octopus toon at the Ink and Paint Club.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Judge Doom. Say it with me. Doomy Dooms of 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.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Nobody's That Dumb: When confronting Judge Doom, Roger says that "We toons may act idiotic, but we're not stupid!"
  • Non-Indicative Name:
  • Noodle Incident:
  • 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 So Different: There's a brief scene where both Roger and Eddie are simultaneously looking over photographs and reflecting over happier times, to highlight the similarities between the two.
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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!!!"
  • 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 it 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.
  • 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.
  • Opera Gloves: Jessica wears them.
  • Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?: Dolores, referring to the bulge caused by Eddie hiding Roger under his coat.
  • 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!"
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Jessica Rabbit.
  • 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.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: Marvin Acme's, for which Roger is framed.
  • 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: Eddie is visibly stunned after Jessica kisses him as part of her on-stage act.
  • Pretend Prejudice: Eddie's attitude to toons in general. He tries to avoid them whenever possible, but 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".
  • 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: Judge Doom to Eddie Valiant using his "anvil hand".
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • Race Lift: For a film about oppressed minorities, the fact the original book's brown rabbit is turned white in the film has some Unfortunate Implicationsinvoked.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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: See eyes, above.
  • 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 open 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.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: Named itinvoked, made it famousinvoked, and probably perfected it.
  • 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.
  • Rump Roast: "My biscuits are burning!"

    S-Z 
  • Sacrificial Lamb: The red toon shoe that Judge Doom kills in the Dip to demonstrate the threat he poses.
  • 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!: Subverted. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sexy Walk: Jessica walks this way.
  • 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...
  • 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: to 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.
  • Show Within a Show: The film opens with the unfinished Maroon cartoon "Somethin's Cookin'", starring Roger Rabbit.
  • Shrine to the Fallen: Teddy Valiant's desk, completely untouched since his death. Eddie practically explodes when Roger attempts to sit in Teddy's chair.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Jessica and Roger.
  • Sickly Green Glow: The Dip.
  • Side Boob, and plenty of it, from Jessica.
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: Jessica Rabbit.
  • 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 vs. 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.
  • 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.
    Weasel: [sniffing] What's in there?
    Eddie: [lifting out a sock] My laundry.
    [Weasel turns away in disgust holding his nose, just missing Roger as he sticks his head up to breathe]
  • Soap Punishment: The lead weasel is threatening Eddie to tell him where Roger is and to "cut the bullschtick". Eddie tells him to watch his mouth or he'll "wash your mouth out" and shoves a bar of soap into his mouth.
  • The Sociopath: Judge Doom is a particularly nasty one.
  • Someone Else's Problem: Eddie decides this after noticing Acme's will in the photograph.
  • Something Else Also Rises:
    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.
  • 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.
  • Sphere Eyes: Roger.
  • Spontaneous Skeet Shooting: How Eddie disposes of a liquor bottle when he decides to give up drinking.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Start of Darkness: The graphic novel sequel Roger Rabbit: The Resurrection of Doom reveals Judge Doom's origins.
  • 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 soap box.
    • 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 because he's one of the few people who cares for her solely for her personality rather than her looks.
  • 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: Justified, since Toontown seems to be a very musical 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 ton rope.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Tap on the Head: Roger himself, courtesy of a frying pan wielded by Jessica.
  • Tempting Fate:
    Roger: No one gets the drop on Roger Rabbit! [CONK!]
  • That's All, Folks!: Porky Pig says this at the end with Tinker Bell doing her ending shtick immediately afterward.
  • This Is a Drill: Judge Doom at the end.
  • 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 which 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.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Roger and Jessica.
  • Toilet Teleportation: Roger Rabbit (accidentally) uses this trick.
  • Token Minority: Along with Positive Discrimination. The only black character in the movie is a one-armed black veteran with a Purple Heart who frequents Dolores' 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.
      • This also explains how Eddie survived his visit to Toontown; car-smashing crash, flattened by high-G elevator, falling over a thousand stories because Mickey and Bugs choose to interpret "spare parachute" as "spare tire", receiving a Big Damn Kiss that throws him about as far as the car crash should have.
    2. Turned around during the final confrontation. Eddie is able to apply Toon Physics to himself because 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, and ultimately literally knock them all dead.
    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.
    4. Turned around one last time because Eddie is really good at Improv; Hoist by His Own Petard is a touchstone of Black Comedy, so he pulls an Exactly What I Aimed At with a toon punch-hammer to dispose of Doom with his own Dip.
  • 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 enters Toontown. (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: I'VE BEEN TOONAROONED!
    • 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 virtually screaming "PATTYCAKE! PATTYCAKE!" in disbelief after being shown the pictures. 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.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Between Dolores and Valiant. 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: Santino refers to Acme's murder as getting "kacked."
  • 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.
  • 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 thus make him something akin to a Leonardo DiCaprio.
  • Vapor Wear: Jessica Rabbit doesn't have any undergarments.
  • 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 soap box 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".
  • 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:
    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... REMEMBER ME, EDDIE? WHEN I KILLED YOUR BROTHER, I TALKED! JUST! LIKE! THIIIIIIIIS!!!!!
  • 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.
      "Oh my God, it's DIP!!!"
    • It happens again when Judge Doom gets an emergency release valve full of Dip in his face.
  • 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 a 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.
  • 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 What You Hate: Judge Doom. You've probably guessed that by now.
  • 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!
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