Follow TV Tropes


YMMV / Spaceballs

Go To


  • Adorkable: When frightened, Barf's actually quite adorable.
  • Awesome Music: "Spaceballs", courtesy of the Spinners, which plays over the Megamaid evacuation scene.
    • Bon Jovi’s “Raise Your Hands” also deserves a mention.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The scene at the restaurant/gas station towards the end. It comes, it goes, it's not spoken of again, and seemed to only be there to give John Hurt his cameo. It does help scare Lone Starr and Barf out of the diner and back on the path to Druidia, but... yeah, Rule of Funny
    • Although, if the scene were cut out viewers would likely wonder why Barf is complaining about "starving" and that they should have stayed for the wedding dinner, when Vespa's father said in an earlier scene they took money for lunch, gas, and tolls.
    • Advertisement:
    • It's also the closest the film gets to emulating the famous cantina scene from the original Star Wars.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: The two black Spaceballs are combing the desert with an afro comb.
  • Evil Is Cool: Lone Starr and company are fun but let's face it, Dark Helmet, Sandurz, and Skroob are the ones who carry the film. There's also the hilarious radar guy, played by the great Michael Winslow, who only appears in one scene.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • "God willing, we'll all meet again in Spaceballs 2: The Search for More Money." The closest it ever got was a not-very-well-received cartoon, which only saw a few of the movie's cast reprise their roles. Rumors of another movie did start going around after The Force Awakens, but some of the original actors had already passed away by then.
      • Speaking of the cartoon, one episode deals with an ebola outbreak. Not so funny now that Ebola has made it to the US (not that the cartoon was funny to begin with).
  • Advertisement:
  • Genius Bonus: Just before the Spaceball One transforms into Mega Maid, Dark Helmet orders, "Get ready for Metamorphosis!" Then, he asks under his breath, "Ready, Kafka?" It's a reference to Franz Kafka's short story The Metamorphosis, in which a young man wakes up to find that he's turned into a giant vermin.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Yogurt says that, "God willing, we'll all meet again in Spaceballs 2: Da Soich for More Money". And they do indeed meet Spaceballs: The Animated Series.
    • An actual Spaceballs 2: The Search for More Money has been mentioned by Mel Brooks himself!
    • Some behind-the-scenes video of Star Wars as it was being filmed reveals that David Prowse, Darth Vader's body actor, has a voice very similar to Rick Moranis. Hear Prowse as Vader for yourself Here.
    • Several plot points and characters from Spaceballs are similar to those from later Star Wars movies:
      • Space heroes rescue space royalty from bad guys. While the good guys are escaping, they drain their spacecraft's energy and have to land on a desert planet, where they find a powerful being. Sound familiar?
      • The black Spaceball combing the desert has been compared to Finn the Stormtroper in the desert of Jakku in the The Force Awakens trailer. The same actor went on to play Tuvok. Yes, just try picturing the stoic Vulcan telling Janeway "we ain't found shit!"
      • Several of the characters seem like they could be parodies of Star Wars Legends characters from works that came out after Spaceballs, e.g. Prince Valium maps pretty well to Prince Isolder and Commanderette Zircon could easily be Admiral Daala. The same also applies to the Prequels, for example Druidia looks like a parody of Naboo in retrospect with its opulent Renaissance style clothing and architecture, while Princess Vespa's Mercedes spaceship evokes Padmé's various royal yachts a lot more than Leia's relatively no-nonsense Rebel Blockade Runner.
      • Similarly, the Spaceballs are oddly "corporate" for a straight-up parody of the purely totalitarian, militaristic Empire, but it meshes nicely with the corporate capitalist parodies that made up the villains of the Prequel trilogy.
      • And of course, Rick Moranis as a Nerd in Evil's Helmet Darth Vader Clone is downright prescient in light of the whiny, emo Anakin shown in the prequel trilogy and whiny deranged Vader fanboy Kylo Ren introduced in the sequel trilogy.
      • Some have noted similarities with several elements of the sequel trilogy, including villains Kylo Ren and Dark Helmet. Both wear masks that they periodically remove, both talk to inanimate objects when alone, both prone to whiney outbursts, etc. The connection becomes even more hilarious after a big plot twist of The Last Jedi. Dark Helmet, in an anticlimactic subversion of the "I am your father" twist, revealed that he was Lone Starr's "father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate," which essentially meant their relationship was "Absolutely nothing." Kylo Ren would similarly dismiss any belief (including fan speculation) that Rey had any special relation to the other main characters by revealing that her parents too were absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things. On top of that, with The Rise of Skywalker, we have the revelation that Lone Star is the long-lost son of royal parents paralleling the revelation that Rey is actually the long-lost granddaughter of the former Emperor of the galaxy.
      • Mel Brooks had to kneel to portray the diminutive Yoda expy Yogurt; decades later, Lupita Nyong'o had to do the same thing to portray her diminutive Yoda expy Maz Kanata in The Force Awakens.
      • In Spaceballs, a pair of Spaceball troopers try to arrest Lone Starr and Barf for illegal parking. In The Last Jedi, Finn and Rose are placed under arrest for a parking violation.
      • At 60 km from wingtip to wingtip, the First Order flagship Supremacy in The Last Jedi may actually be bigger than the ludicrously-oversized Spaceball One.
      • Even Rogue One: A Star Wars Story isn't safe, what with the idea of easily opened space-doors being assaulted by a large capital ship
    • Advertisement:
    • Only an idiot would have 1-2-3-4-5 as their password!
    • Lone Starr's line, "Did I miss something? When did we get to Disneyland?", becomes even funnier when Lucasfilm was bought by Disney, and Disneyland would open a Star Wars-themed area in 2019. (Although, Star Tours already opened a few months before Spaceballs premiered.)
    • And speaking of Disney, the cold never bothered Lone Starr.
    • And, of course, when they actually do watch the movie, they end up watching themselves watching themselves watching themselves ad infinitum. Cue "We have to go deeper!" jokes.
    • The fact that there is a item used in the film called Space Jam.
    • Canned air is now a real thing in China.
    • Lone Starr's coat has a brownish hue...along with a few other Mal Reynolds-ish traits.
    • The idea of selling flamethrowers as merchandise also became a reality in January 2018, thanks to Elon Musk.
    • The announced Rocky Five...Thousand review is somewhat funnier since an actual Rocky V was made (there were four Rocky films when Spaceballs came out), but even funnier since Rocky returned again a lot later in Rocky Balboa, and yet again in Creed and Creed II.
    • Harry Shearer playing a smarmy news anchor feels like a pre-emptive reference to The Simpsons. Oddly, Shearer is the only actor to appear in both this movie and A New Hope (he dubbed the voices of some of the Rebel pilots).
    • Pizza the Hut's brief appearance, in some ways, mirrors Jabba the Hutt's deleted scene from A New Hope, despite the fact that audiences and fans never laid eyes on that scene until the special edition was released in 1997; 10 years after Spaceballs hit theaters!
    • Prince Valium, last prince of the galaxy, so boring he puts everyone (including himself) to sleep. Is it any wonder sleeping with him would have the same result?
    • The Spaceballs One ship transforming into a giant maid robot becomes this after Transformers made several Darth Vader Transformers.
    • One DVD feature allows the viewer to watch the movie at Ludicrous Speed (ie, sped up beyond comprehension). Movies played 1000% faster have since become a YouTube meme.
    • The singing alien parody at the end apparently got a job in Aliens: Colonial Marines.
    • Vinnie's robot makeup bears a striking resemblance to The Spine.
    • On the 30th anniversary of the film's release, Bill Pullman revealed that he hadn't seen any of the Star Wars films at the time it was filmed.
    • Lone Starr could probably teach Hayato Kanzaki a thing or two about being a Composite Character of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo.
  • Memetic Mutation
    • "They've gone to plaid!" (and the idea of "Ludicrous Speed" in general)
    • "I knew it! I'm surrounded by assholes!"
    • SPACEBALLS THE _______
    • "What?! You went over my helmet?!"
    • "Even in the future, nothing works!"
    • "No, go past this part! In fact...never play this again."
  • Nausea Fuel: It's advised that you not be eating pizza during the Pizza the Hutt sequence. Or anything, for that matter.
  • Nightmare Retardant: Pretty much the whole point of Dark Helmet, who is a deliberate subversion of cool bad guys like Darth Vader. Any menace the man could have is lost once he pulls that helmet up, if his comically oversized helmet afforded him any in the first place.
    • Deliberately done as well with the dancing Xenomorph. At first it looks like it's aggressive and fearsome just like its original counterparts...then he starts joyfully singing and dancing to the "Hello my baby"'s notes.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • The hilarious radio operator, played by the peerless Michael Winslow, also known as the Man of 10,000 Sound Effects.
    • John Hurt for his "Oh no, not again!" Chest Burster scene.
    • Pizza The Hut!
    • The "we ain't found SHIT!" guy.
    • The singing little Xenomorph.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • That's Tim Russ, aka Tuvok, as the black Spaceball who says "We ain't found shit!" No, really.
    • And before him, both the Spaceball in that scene who calls out "Not a thing sir!" and the one who helps Dark Helmet up after the Ludicrous Speed meltdown is Rob Paulsen, in a rare live-action role.
  • Rewatch Bonus: There's loads of subtle background gags and comical expressions that one probably won't catch on a first viewing. One notable example is the scene where the camera smacks into Dark Helmet; watch it again and look close and you'll see Helmet subtly push Sandurz away, prompting him to look at the camera and lean away from the shot.
  • Shallow Parody: While most fans would agree the film mostly averts this brilliantly, Princess Vespa initially seems more like a parody of fictional princesses in general than of Leia in particular, at least until her Character Development after the hair dryer scene.
  • Special Effects Failure: You probably don't need any help finding the mirror propping up Dark Helmet's "floating" Volkswagen. On open-matte prints, the track underneath the chestbuster puppet during the dinner scene also becomes obvious. In fact, given the film's nature this could just be deliberate. Hell, there's even a feature on the DVD where they point out all of the failed effects.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • Lone Star and Vespa share a heart-to-heart in the desert. Vespa admits that, even if they make it back to her kingdom, she'll be forced to marry someone she doesn't love. Lone Star agrees with sympathy and tells her that his parents left him to be raised by monks, so he doesn't know who he is. He shows her his Orphan's Plot Trinket, a necklace with writing no one can read, and says it's the only thing his family left with him.
    • The scene where King Roland says goodbye to a picture of his daughter as he suffocates is played surprisingly straight.
    • After Lone Star and Barf return Vespa to her kingdom and stop Dark Helmet's plot, they are both in Heroic BSoD. Lone Star loves Vespa but can't marry her since he's a space ruffian, while Vespa believes he just rescued her for the money. Her dad then tells her Lone Star refused the reward he demanded as compensation for her rescue, took a smaller amount for gas and food, and asked him not to tell the princess of his change of heart. Vespa has a My God, What Have I Done? expression for having judged Lone Star so poorly.
    • Happy tears at the end: Lone Star finds out from Yoghurt that he is a prince, and uses liquid Schwartz to turn his ship around and go to marry Vespa. He dresses in a nice suit, interrupts the ceremony, and tells her of his royal status. When the priest agrees to marry them and rushes through the vows, they both look teary-eyed before going for The Big Damn Kiss.
  • Vindicated by Cable: When the film was first released, its poor critical reception (The Stinkers Bad Movie Awards even chose it as Worst Movie of 1987!) wrecked Mel Brooks' golden streak and was the beginning of the end of his filmmaking career. By the time it had hit DVD, Spaceballs was already a staple '80s comedy and is now regarded as a classic.
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit!: By far the biggest criticism the film faced at the time of its release was that Mel Brooks took too long to catch up with the sci-fi trend that Star Wars had started in the late 70s/early 80s and that he was now more interested in keeping up with the zeitgeist than simply making funny movies like he had in the past. (This became somewhat Hilarious in Hindsight, as Star Wars as a cultural phenomenon ended up lasting a lot longer than the early 80s, meaning Spaceballs has aged pretty well—at the time, the franchise was largely dormant, and wouldn't start to return until The Thrawn Trilogy.)
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: The film has a PG rating on the DVD cover and was shown on the Disney Channel for a while, despite the sex references, constant bad language and occasional fantastically racist remarks. Just because it's called "Spaceballs" doesn't mean it's about playing baseball in space.
  • Woolseyism: Due to the extensive use of puns in the film, some jokes were changed in foreign dubs:
    • In the Latin American dub, the "Druish Princess" line was changed (due to the fact the Latin American audiences maybe didn't catch the joke about the Jewish sect) was changed to Princesa Druidosa (Noisy Druish Princess, when Druidosa is a portmanteau of Druida (Druish) and Ruidosa (Noisy girl)
    • Also in the Latin American dub, Major Asshole was renamed as Mayor Idiota (Major Idiot, as a pun of "The Greatest Idiot"). In the Castilian Spanish version, his name is Mayor Estúpido (Major Stupid)
    • The "We ain't found shit!" line was translated a number of ways:
      • In the Spanish dubbed version as ¡No este jodiendo, por favor! (Stop fuckin' us, Sir!) and in the subbed version as ¡No encontramos ni madres! (A more or less literal translation of the line, except that line is used normally in Mexican Spanish)
      • In order to keep the Precision F-Strike in, the German dub changed it to "Here ain't even shit, Sir!"
      • The French dub replaces the line with "Pas même un pou!" (Not even a louse!).
    • In the Russian VHS dub, Barf's race is translated as "chelobaka" (man-dog), which has an added bonus of sounding like "Chewbacca".
    • In the Castilian version, the Schwartz was translated as "la Suerte" (the Luck). Thus giving us the idea that dumb luck harnessed is more powerful than the Force.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: