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Referenced By / Punch and Judy

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A mainstay in British pop culture, Punch and Judy have found themselves in various works. In other countries these characters exist too in the puppet tradition, but under a different name.


  • Cowboy Bebop includes a show called Big Shot with a man and a woman who report on bounty heads for bounty hunters. Their names? Punch and Judy.


  • V for Vendetta has this as one of the most creepy/horrible things the main character does, although he deserved it.
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  • Neil Gaiman's short memoir-graphic novel with Dave McKean, The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr Punch, uses motifs from the show throughout, as well as one of the characters being the performer of an actual Punch and Judy show.
  • The DCU villains Punch and Jewelee in Captain Atom and Suicide Squad dress like Punch and Judy.
  • In Doom Patrol, the Archons of Nurnheim, leaders of the Cult of the Unwritten Book, take the form of a pair of self-animating Punch and Judy puppets.
  • In Secret Six #24, a Western Elseworld, Ragdoll runs a Punch and Judy stall with a disturbingly adult (and sometimes just disturbing) script. The puppets resemble the Joker and Harley Quinn.

Film - Animation

  • Ariel in The Little Mermaid visits a town with Erik. As a former mermaid everything is new to her and she is excited at what she sees around her. When she sees a Punch and Judy show she grabs Punch, only to be surprised that he is not a real person.

Film - Live-Action

  • In the opening of The Muppet Christmas Carol, Scrooge passes by a Punch and Judy show. One of the lines in his theme is sung by the crocodile puppet before Mr. Punch hits him with his stick.
  • Tony Hancock co-wrote and appeared in a film called The Punch and Judy Man which features a Punch and Judy performer whose troubled relationship with his wife reflects the relationship between Punch and Judy.
  • The Santa Clause: What's unusual here is that they don't beat each other up; instead, they just talk to each other and play nice. They are also most likely Living Toys, as they seem to be busy before Scott Calvin enters the room, and react to him dropping his pants.
  • Harpo Marx manages to get himself in a Punch and Judy show in Monkey Business.
  • The antagonist in Funny Man is based on Punch. To cement this, his first onscreen kill is beating a woman to death with a club.
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  • The abusive dad in Dolls is eventually turned into a Punch puppet as a karmic punishment for being a jerk.
  • In The Godfather Part II, during festivities Don Fanucci observes a Punch and Judy show and ironically says: "This is all too violent for me."
  • In 102 Dalmatians, Chloe and her dogs meet up with Kevin, his dogs, and Waddlesworth the parrot to see one of these shows. Hilarity and disaster ensues when spotless Oddball sees the dog puppet wearing a spotted sweater and tries to get it, and then eventually getting tied up in a bunch of balloons floating while at it. After being rescued, the puppeteer gives her the sweater.
  • Amy Dunn in Gone Girl, as part of her attempt to frame her husband for her own murder, leaves behind a club in their fireplace and a pair of Punch and Judy puppets in Margo's shed as a present in his treasure hunt.


  • Punch and Judy are supporting characters in The Fourth Bear, the second book in Jasper Fforde's Nursery Crime series.
  • Hugely important in Riddley Walker, where it forms the main cultural and religious ritual (along with the legend of St. Eustace) of the novel's postapocalyptic society.
  • Discworld:
    • The short story "Theatre of Cruelty" features a Punch-and-Judy show, only with enslaved gnomes instead of puppets. That's not the way to do it.
    • In Monstrous Regiment, Polly mentions having seen one or two of these in town. They were thrown out because Punch is seen using a stick on his wife that is bigger than the one Nuggan permits men to beat their wives with.
    • Wyrd Sisters has a scene where the playwright Hwel, after being hit by two inspirations simultaneously, attempts to write what is effectively Richard III as a Punch-and-Judy show.
    • Maskerade, discussing Granny Weatherwax's hatred of theatre, and resulting fascination with it, says that even the Punch-and-Judy men have stopped coming to Lancre out of terror of her glaring at them from the front row.
    • Snuff has this description of a watchman who's cracked a case:
      Some people could be said to be as pleased as Punch. Feeney could be said to look as pleased as Punch, Judy, the dog Toby, the crocodile, and, above all, the policeman, all rolled in together.
  • In The Magicians of Caprona by Diana Wynne Jones, one of the characters is obsessed with Punch and Judy, and at one point the villain transforms the protagonists into puppets and forces them to perform the show.
  • The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers features a more-than-usually disturbing version, presented by a more-than-usually disturbing puppeteer.
  • Appears in the novel Rivers of London where the entire book is just one huge Whole Plot Reference in disguise and Mister Punch is the Anthropomorphic Personification of Riot and Rebellion.
  • Figures prominently in the M. R. James ghost story "A Disappearance and an Appearance", as part of a nightmarish foreshadowing dream.
  • Cole Hawlings in The Box Of Delights owns a Punch & Judy show, though this is something of a cover story.

Live-Action Television

  • A scene from The Muppet Show in which Kermit and Miss Piggy watch a Punch and Judy show is featured in An American Werewolf in London. Kermit's defense of the show's violence is immediately followed by two incredibly brutal scenes of violence.
  • Ian Hislop unexpectedly did a short impromptu imitation in an episode of Have I Got News for You.
  • Hi-de-Hi! features Mr Partridge, the perpetually drunk, child-hating Punch and Judy man.
  • In Jeeves and Wooster, Bertie's looking to kill some time, and watches a show. Of course, Bertie is engrossed by what, in his opinion, may be the absolute last word in entertainment.
  • Are You Being Served?: There's an episode called "The Punch and Judy Affair" where the store's staff play life-size versions of the characters.
  • In the Doctor Who story "Snakedance", one scene has a Punch and Judy show with a giant snake (a legendary monster on the planet where the show is being performed) in place of the crocodile.
  • Spitting Image: The opening titles of the 1991 season of the show were done in the style of a Punch and Judy show.


  • Famously, Mr Punch gave his name to Punch magazine, supposedly being its editor.


  • Coldplay's video for "Life In Technicolor II" is based on the play.


  • Harrison Birtwistle's opera Punch and Judy is a very violent take on the dysfunctional family. Benjamin Britten walked out during the premiere.

Video Games


  • Darths & Droids has episodes titled "Luncheon Judy" and "Punch and Duty".
  • In Girl Genius, the team of heroes gathered by the Heterodyne Boys included a couple of Artificial Humans named Punch and Judy.
  • In Something*Positive, one character put on a Punch and Judy skit for children from broken homes. The other characters responded by having police puppets come in, arrest Punch with an electric stun gun (after the Punch puppet had been secretly soaked in kerosene), and the arc ended with Punch being used as a dish rag.
  • "Punchin' Judy" Punchowski in Particle Fiction.

Web Original

  • The SCP Foundation keeps a Punch and Judy set as SCP-764, nicknamed "The Obscene Show". The two puppets compel any group of people within their vicinity to stage a show and watch it. At first, the show proceeds fairly normally. But eventually, Mr. Punch calls up volunteers from the audience to enact his signature Black Comedy slapstick, which leads to them getting violently murdered in the way Mr. Punch usually does in normal shows. The victims even laugh as this goes on.

Western Animation

  • In the Aaahh!!! Real Monsters episode, "Blind Love, Monster Love", Ickis sees a human Punch and Judy show and falls in love with Judy, not realizing she's just a puppet.
  • The Joker in The Batman has a pair of clownlike brutes named this, which sets up the following joke: "By the way, have you met my associates Judy and ... Punch?" *POW*
  • Rocko's Modern Life features a show-within-a-show called "Meet the Fatheads", which is pretty much Punch & Judy with 1990s gross-out humor applied. The husband and wife appear to be made of snot (or maybe just fat?) and spend most of the episodes belaboring each other about said heads with parking meters and having absurd arguments.
  • The Thomas the Tank Engine episode, "The Way She Does it" has a pair of performers put on a Punch and Judy-like puppet show at the end of the episode, with the female puppet being named after the latter half. The episode's title is also most likely a reference to Mr. Punch's catchphrase, "That's the way to do it!", and the male entertainer also says this line at the end of the episode.
  • One of the background characters in OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes is named Punching Judy.

Real Life

  • If you've ever used the phrase "Pleased as Punch," it refers to Punch's habit of applauding when he has just committed some particularly violent deed.


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