Follow TV Tropes


The Man in the Moon

Go To
"There liveth none under the sunne, that knows what to make of the man in the moone."
Endymion, John Lyly.

The brother trope to The Face of the Sun, the Man in the Moon is that old conception of the Moon as possessing a face, most often a male one. The moon is often an aged but benevolent figure who stands over the Earth, granting it natural bounty or serving as the destination for young adventurers. This trope, while at least Older Than Feudalism, is nowadays mostly only seen in quirky video games and animated children's media.

This conception, incidentally, is primarily Western. East Asian cultures, such as that of Japan, tend to see the Moon as having a rabbit on its face, rather than possessing human features.

Also, as the Moon appears to be flipped in the Southern Hemisphere (because people in the Southern Hemisphere are effectively standing upside down relative to the Northern Hemisphere), the traditional Man in the Moon is upside down and quite hard to discern.

Bears little to no relation to Weird Moon. See Moon Rabbit for the version more popular in East Asian cultures. Men on the Moon may be Lunarians. See also God of the Moon, for entities distinct from the moon itself but which otherwise embody or govern it.

Not related to the film of the same name.

    open/close all folders 


  • A man with a crescent moon for a head wearing Cool Shades, known as "Mac Tonight" was once part of the side characters for McDonald's, as well as an early role for Doug Jones.
  • In an older commercial, the Man in the Moon (shaped like a crescent moon) noticed Ronald McDonald and his friends having a picnic, and said he'd never had a cheeseburger, so Ronald used his Magic Pogo Stick to bring him one. When he landed back on Earth, the Man had become a full moon.
  • The Man in the Moon logo for Proctor and Gamble made them the target of Satanic Panic.
  • Space Channel had as one of its bumpers a parody of the famous A Trip to the Moon scene, only instead of the rocket hitting the Moon in the eye, it lands in its mouth, and the Moon starts smoking it like a giant cigar.
  • The last Vitalite advert where an anthropomorphic sun and a chorus of anthropomorphic sunflowers sang a spoof of "Israelites" by Desmond Dekker had a crescent moon with a face show up to take the sun's place after the latter Rage Quitted over not being able find a rhyme for "polyunsaturates". After the moon sings the jingle, the sun immediately returns due to not approving of being replaced.

    Anime and Manga 

    Asian Animation 

    Comic Books 
  • A 1940s text story from The Beano was titled "The Boy who bossed the Man in the Moon".
  • In Eight Billion Genies, someone made a wish that gives the Moon has a face, a huge mouth filled with teeth, and an appetite that eats anything that gets close enough to it.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • A female example in Im Juli. Daniel has a short hallucination sequence after drinking the drugged beverage served by Luna. In this sequence, his bus travels across the night sky while the full moon shows Luna's face watching the bus passing by.
  • The inspiration for the title and opening plot of the movie The Man in the Moon.
  • Appears during the 'Your Song' sequence in Moulin Rouge! and sings with the voice of Placido Domingo.
  • The 1902 film A Trip to the Moon (original French title Le Voyage dans la Lune) provides the Ur-Example in film. The moon is depicted not only being a sentient being with a face but is also covered in giant mushrooms, apparently has enough oxygen for the humans to breathe, and is inhabited by savage Rubber-Forehead Aliens called Selenites. Also, you can jump down from the moon to earth without getting hurt too much.
  • In The Truman Show, Christof and the other showrunners are shown to be working from behind the fake moon on the Seahaven set. Also, in one scene, Truman depicts himself as an astronaut by drawing a spacesuit in the bathroom mirror.

  • Medieval Christian tradition holds that the man in the Moon is Cain, who was forever doomed to circle the Earth. This is referenced in Dante Alighieri's Inferno and Paradiso.
  • Similarly, a Talmudic tradition holds that the face of Jacob is engraved upon the Moon.

  • From an old Nursery Rhyme:
    The man in the moon
    Came down too soon
    To ask his way to Norwich.
    He went by the south
    And burnt his mouth
    While eating cold plum porridge
  • Many of Eric Carle's books have the moon depicted as a huge full moon with a smiling face. This is especially prominent in Papa, Please Get the Moon For Me.
  • Isaac Asimov's Extraterrestrial Civilizations: (Discussed Trope) Dr Asimov credits the illusion of a man (or a woman, or a rabbit, and so on) in The Moon for inspiring humanity's search for civilizations from alien worlds.
  • In The Guardians of Childhood, the Moon is a broken down space sailing ship. Owned by the noble family of Lunanoff, it was attacked by the Nightmare King Pitch and damaged beyond function in the battle, leaving it in its disguised state as an ordinary moon. The only remaining member of the Lunanoffs, the Man in the Moon is raised to adulthood by the ship's crew of robots and large insects and keeps a watchful eye on the Earth to keep the children safe from Pitch's lingering influence beyond the can he was sealed in as result of the same battle.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien based one of his poems on the Nursery Rhyme listed above. He also put the Man In The Moon in his poem based on "Hey diddle-diddle, the cat and the fiddle." In Middle-earth the moon-ship is steered by a male Maia.
    • As a whole, the Man in the Moon seems to be a prevalent motif in Tolkien's work, dating first to his early writings in which he envisioned an elf living in a hut in the Moon
    • "The Cat and the Fiddle" was a famous (well, among philologists) mystery: nobody knew its origin or meaning. As a scholarly in-joke Tolkien claimed it was a remnant of Bilbo's original song.
  • In Tomi Ungerer's Moon Man, the eponymous character is initially crammed in a round shape on the Moon, with his face covering a large surface on it.
  • L. Frank Baum wrote a short story based on the above nursery rhyme in his book Mother Goose in Prose. In his version, the reason why the Man in the Moon burns his mouth on cold porridge is because he perceives hot as cold and cold as hot: he also warms himself with ice and puts hot coals in his drinking water.
  • My New Kitten: A interesting example of this Trope, the Moon appears to have a nose; no eyes, no mouth, just a nose.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On the Playhouse Disney children's series Bear in the Big Blue House, the moon was named Luna and was a good friend of Bear. Bear and Luna often meet on Bear's balcony and Bear tells Luna what he has done during the day and they sing the "Goodbye Song".
  • The Mighty Boosh features the Moon as a character with a face who provides monologues to break up the segments of the show.
  • Dorothy Jane in The Torkelsons often sat on her windowsill and talked to the Man in the Moon.

  • Ada Jones' If The Man In The Moon Were A Coon from 1907.
  • Conway Twitty's "I Don't Know a Thing About Love (The Moon Song)":
    I talked to the man in the moon
    I said, "Sir, is she coming back soon?"
    He smiled and he stated
    "Son, I'm over-rated
    I've had to much credit in those old love tunes
    I don't know a thing about love
    I just kind of hang here above
    I just watch from the sky
    Will love grow or will it die
    I don't know a thing about love"
  • The Erasure song "Man In The Moon" portrays him as a benevolent, smiling figure.
  • Referenced in the Shinedown song "Second Chance":
    I just saw Hayley's comet she waved
    Said why you always running in place
    Even the man in the moon disappeared
    Somewhere in the stratosphere
  • The video for The Smashing Pumpkins' song "Tonight, Tonight", largely an homage to A Trip to the Moon, of course features a face in the moon.
  • A stanza of Well Done Liar or Martin Said To His Man, one of a whole genre's worth of British nonsense songs describing a man telling tall tales to his friends while drunk, includes the words:
    I saw the man in the moon
    Clothed in St Peter's Shoon...

    Mythology and Religion 
  • In Polish legends, a wizard Twardowski (pronounced Tvardovsky) is said to have got stranded on the moon after his last ditch attempt to get out of a literal Deal with the Devil .
  • As a whole, stories of the Moon Man are thought to be relics of the Germanic/Anglo-Saxonic/Norse god Máni. Particularly, they may be derived from a myth in which he rescued two children, Hjúki and Bilnote  from their abusive father, who sent them outside at night get water from a well. Since they have accompanied him ever since, and may actually refer to lunar craters/phases, they're the children in the Moon.
  • Many Eastern Orthodox Christian icons depicting God creating the sun and moon show them with faces, as can be seen here and here.
  • In the mythology of the Haida in northwest America, the Man in the Moon is a boy gathering wood taken up into space as a punishment for disrespect.
  • The Chinese have a Man. Either he used to live on the sun, but switched places with his two sisters when they got tired of men on Earth admiring their beauty every night; or he's stuck up there chopping trees for all eternity because he somehow offended the gods — accounts differ. Then there's a Rabbit pounding elixirs, and a Lady (she ate the pills of immortality meant for both her and her husband to prevent him from becoming an immortal tyrant) in the Moon, all from separate folktales.
  • In yet another Chinese myth, the Sun is a lovestruck (but ugly) male chasing after the Moon, a beautiful but haughty female.
  • The Japanese God of the Moon, Tsukuyomi-no-Mikoto, is often believed to be male.
  • The katsura-otoko is an exceptionally beautiful male yōkai that sucks the life out of any human gazing at the moon with his beauty. The word can also be used metaphorically to mean a very handsome man in general.
  • One foolish old Maori woman got angry at the moon and called it a "cooked head," a grave insult (that may refer to cannibalism?). The moon abducted her and now she's stuck up there forever.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Referenced in Calvin and Hobbes.
    Calvin: "I saw the man in the moon tonight."
    Calvin's Dad:(not paying attention) "Mmm."
    Calvin: "I didn't know the moon made faces."
    Calvin's Dad:(still not paying attention) "That's phases."
  • In Prickly City, the moon starts to make faces when Carmen says we haven't been back in a long time.
  • Happens in the Scamp newspaper strip. It even says hi to the dogs, but rather than seeing the face everyone else sees, Tramp sees Lady's face and realizes he's been away from home far too late.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Warhammer one of the moons sometimes really has a face, especially when full. Justified since it is made entirely of Green Rocks.


  • In Tamagotchi, Tamagotchi Planet's moon is itself a Tamagotchi with eyes and a visible face. The planet's sun, Sunnytchi, is the same deal.

    Video Games 
  • In AdventureQuest, there are two weird moons; one has a face and leads to the Void, where the strongest monsters of the game are held. The second also has a face and is an interpretation of the Big Bad.
  • In Alice: Madness Returns, the moon is visible in the obligatory ice level. It not only has a full face, but tattoos and a cigarette in a long holder. Its cigarette's smoke is the aurora which laces through the sky.
  • Ayo the Clown: In the first level, if you look at the moon, you'll see that it has a little face.
  • During the Halloween event in Guild Wars, the moon appears as huge with a creepy face in certain cities.
  • In Hell Pie, the moon at Flavor Peaks is full and has a face on it.
  • Kirby has Mr. Shine; to distinguish him from his partner Mr. Bright, he is depicted as having a crescent moon-shaped face.
  • The falling moon in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask grows a face and cries rocks.
  • In LocoRoco, the Moon is very much alive.
  • Twila of Mario Party 6 is the smiling, largely friendly version. Partnered with Brighton.
  • Moshi Monsters has a moon with a face on it.
  • The Moon in Something Else. It has an evil smirk on its face. Also, the true base of the Evil Guy.
  • The Pokémon Lunatone invokes this trope, and it is similarly crescent-shaped. It appears in Sapphire; its counterpart in Ruby is Solrock.
  • In Wiz 'n Liz, the moon has a face. Usually it just looks like it's asleep, but every now and then it will yawn, and come out with an incredibly creepy grimace.

    Web Animation 
  • The Amazing Digital Circus: The Moon is the crescent moon personification of the night in the Digital World and is female, confessing her love for Caine when he takes Pomni into the sky during their tour, which freaks him out into leaving before she "gets frisky".
  • ENA: ENA's friend Moony is a floating crescent moon with a face. Her whole body is actually a ball, but only the moon part has anything in it, giving her a Two-Faced look that matches ENA.
  • A Running Gag in HourOfPoop's YTPs is the moon having Charles Laughton's face.


    Web Original 
  • Not visible from Earth but one of the reasons the SCP Foundation and the American and Russian governments agreed to stop manned missions to the moon was because the dark side looked like Alastair Crowley's face.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball, the moon is an animated minor character with arms, legs, and visible buttocks, who enjoys harassing his sunlit neighbor, The Sun, by mooning him.
  • City Island (2022): There is a talking moon named Celeste.
  • Color Classics: The 1935 short Dancing on the Moon has a gag where the Moon briefly becomes a caricature of "moon-faced" Kate Smith, saying her signature "Hello, everybody!".
  • Dora the Explorer has a few moons with faces on them. The Full Moon in her regular world and a Crescent moon in Fairy Tale land.
  • Family Guy 's episode "The Griffin Family History" had Peter in the role of an ancestor working in Hollywood in the 1920's, and in one film, he looks through the telescope at the Man In The Moon.
  • Futurama had Craterface, the mascot of Luna Park, to whom Bender shoves a beer bottle in his eye in a reference to the A Trip to the Moon ur-example.
  • Inspector Gadget consistently had a happy face on the moon, and one episode's plot revolved around MAD changing it to their logo.
  • Kaeloo: In "Let's Play Simon Says", the moon is depicted with a sleeping face.
  • Luna of Let's Go Luna! is a female moon with a face, arms, and legs.
  • In the Looney Tunes cartoon Honeymoon Hotel (1934), the moon looks through their window, says that he can see everything they do, and blushes when they turn out the light.
    Moon: Is my face red!
  • Molly of Denali: At the start of the episode "Mystery In the Night Sky," Nat tells Molly about how the moon is putting on his parka to tell us that it will snow.
  • Moon Breath Beat: At one point in this Deranged Animation cartoon, the woman and her two cats morph into the man in the moon, who blows another universe out of his mouth. Then later he reappears and sucks them back up.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic featured the Mare in the Moon; this one is more Sealed Evil in a Can, and a tripple Pun since "Mare" can mean female horse (which she is), the scientific term for the dark spots on the moon, and a mythological being that induces nightmares (which she does).
  • In the Ready Jet Go! episode "More Than One Moon", Sydney tells the story of the Man in the Moon to Mindy. In the episode "Moon Face", Mindy thinks that the moon has a face because of the dark splotches, and the kids investigate to see what causes them.
  • The Man in the Moon is an actual (non-appearing?) character in Rise of the Guardians.
  • Ruby Gloom's seemingly ever-present moon has a vaguely feminine face. Apart from singing the opening theme, it rarely does more than sit in the sky and look cheerful and somewhat out-of-place. Sometimes it reacts to what the characters are doing.
  • The Man in the Moon appears as an actual character in The Smurfs episode of the same name.
  • The Man in the Moon in the Tom Terrific story arc "Moon Over Manfred" controls the moon phases which manipulates earth's tides. Only here he's quitting his job because he's always being buzzed by satellites.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Stylized Moon


Kill them all!

Appearing as a face in the moon, Pennywise orders Henry Bowers to kill the Losers again 27 years after his first defeat.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheManInTheMoon

Media sources: