- Acceptable Targets:
- The Nazi store owner, certainly. Probably a lot of other people that run afoul of Foster as well.
- The gang members that hassle Foster.
- The first couple scenes treat the Korean clerk, the gangsters and the beggar as acceptable targets, then the scene with the Nazi deconstructs it as Foster's previous actions cause the Nazi to assume he's also a white supremacist.
- Catharsis Factor: Foster fights against a lot of things that many people find annoying, including overpriced convenience stores, unhelpful cashiers, snobby golfers, endless road construction, gangbangers, Neo-Nazis, and more. In spite of the fact that Foster is making his journey into a Villain Protagonist, it's obviously part of the appeal to see him smack down some Asshole Victims.
- Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Who hasn't fantasized about taking revenge on all the jerkasses in a cruel and feckless world? The fantasy is heavily deconstructed.
- Draco in Leather Pants: Every viewer loved Foster for his attitude against the gangbangers, the neo-Nazi, and the rich bastard. Bonus point for the fatigues he got from the military store, that almost look like a leather coat. The film actually seems to deliberately invoke it, encouraging the audience to root for Foster before Prendergast ruthlessly deconstructs his character in the final scene, saying that everyone has problems like his and "that doesn't give you any special right to do what you did today."
- Evil Is Cool: There are times where we cheer Foster's violent handling with every Jerkass he comes across, but frankly every thing he does apart from defending himself from the 2 thugs, dismissing the beggar, and killing the Neo-Nazi is just unethical, irrational, dangerous and simply wrong.
- Harsher in Hindsight: It's a thriller about a man who is pushed to his breaking point and goes on a killing spree. Already a horrifying premise in 1992, even moreso in the 21st century in an age when mass shootings are a regular occurrence.
- Hilarious in Hindsight:
- Michael Douglas' character, Bill Foster, shares his name with a Marvel Comics superhero who was the best friend of Hank Pym. Some 22 years later, Douglas would actually play Hank Pym in Ant-Man, and faced Bill Foster, played by Laurence Fishburne, in its sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp.
- During the Whammyburger scene, a woman spits out her food in a panic when Foster walks up to her, causing him to remark to the manager "I don't think she likes the special sauce, Rick." In 2017, McDonald's held a one-day promotion where they brought back a special sauce that they hadn't had in their stores in almost twenty years (namely, the Szechuan sauce they carried as part of a promotion for Mulan), thanks to a show starring a character named Rick turning that sauce into a Memetic Mutation — leading to packed lines, flare-ups, and fights at many McDonald's locations across the country, not unlike when Foster pulled out his gun at Whammyburger.
- Also in that scene, Foster's rant about the restaurant not serving breakfast after a certain time. McDonald's introduced all-day breakfast in 2015 (although it's not available in all restaurants).
- Foster's Villainous Breakdown, intended to be tragic, becomes a bit unintentionally funny for Billie Eilish fans thanks to one line:Foster: I'm the bad guy?
- Memetic Mutation:
- The Nazi scene has gotten a lot of attention, specifically the part where he smashes Foster's gift to his daughter while proclaiming that it's "faygit shyit".
- "NOT ECONOMICALLY VIABLE!"
- During The World Cup in 2010, a Brazilian blogger made "Dunga Falling Down", scenes with a Gag Dub where D-Fens stood in for the Hero with Bad Publicity coach of the national football team (it begun with the Whammyburger scene becoming "what Dunga really said in the press conference") - helps the hairstyle and such were similar◊. It even warranted an extra chapter when Dunga returned following a shameful campaign in the 2014 tournament.
- The Whammy Burger and golf course scenes both are quite popular as well, especially after they were parodied in Das Bo Schitt's The G Mod Idiot Box series.
- Misaimed Fandom: There is a fanbase for this movie who think that Foster's actions were justified, including his abuse of his family, and believe that was the point of the film. Apparently, they missed the revelation "I'm the bad guy?" Disturbingly, one real-life mass shooter cited this film as an inspiration.
- Moral Event Horizon:
- Many of William Foster's actions (fatally shooting the Neo-Nazi, who in his own words planned to send him to prison to be raped, going out of his way to non-fatally shoot someone who was trying to stop him) can't quite be called actions of an irredeemable villain. Smirking at a dying old man for attempting to hit him with a golf ball was just plain sadistic and definitely showed he was starting to lose it.
- The Neo Nazi store owner was probably over the horizon already, but definitely proves it when he threatens to send Foster to prison and revels in the thought of him being raped.
- One-Scene Wonder:
- The "Not Economically Viable!" Man.
- And the neo-Nazi freak is genuinely unsettling.
- The random black kid that gives Foster advice on how to handle the rocket launcher.
- Retroactive Recognition:
- Ron the Death Eater: Foster gets nearly as much of this as the DILP treatment. Many forget that at the end of the day, though he did bad things, he was not, or at least, never meant to become a "bad guy". He was, as his wife says, a sick man who needed help.
- Strawman Has a Point: He's obviously extreme and very unstable but with Bill's justification for his crimes (He devoted himself to a country that saw him as expendable and let itself rot with crime and social issues), it's not hard to sympathize with him and understand his frustrations... if perhaps not his coping mechanisms.
- Wish Fulfillment: It's very cathartic to watch this film after having a bad day, or year... You get to the end and think, "Well, I'm glad I didn't do that."
- The Woobie: Both the main characters.
- Iron Woobie: Sgt. Lester Prendergast, who is so constantly disrespected by his boss, co-workers and wife that he seems to forget all about it. But he's able to endure it without losing it and manages to find his self-confidence at the end.
- Jerkass Woobie: Foster has an explosive temper and doesn't hesitate to use it. But he has been so beaten down by life and people around him that you're just amazed he doesn't go further.
YMMV / Falling Down