30 Clever Movie Easter Eggs
30th Mar 2013 | 00:00
The Egg: As is the case in many Disney animations, Mickey Mouse makes a number of covert appearances in Aladdin. One such incident occurs when Jafar’s spell is broken and Aladdin’s enchanted pals are returned to normal. A quick bit of freeze-framing through that transformation reveals a pair of very Mickey-like ears on Rajah the tiger…
Why So Clever: Disney’s in-jokes always come across as fun rather than smug, particularly their hidden Mickeys. It’s like a bonus game of Where’s Wally thrown in free of charge!
Egg We’d Like To See: An Oscar statuette amongst the varied treasures of the Cave of Wonders.
Return Of The Jedi (1983)
The Egg: Three of the aliens working on Jabba’s sail barge are named Klaatu, Barada and Nikto, a reference to the robot-foiling codewords in The Day The Earth Stood Still.
Why So Clever: It’s a nicely underplayed nod to a science fiction classic, although we prefer the less subtle tribute paid by Army Of Darkness!
Egg We’d Like To See: If only Lucas could find a way of referencing THX 1138 in one of his movies…
Monty Python's Life Of Brian (1979)
The Egg: Eagle-eyed viewers might recognise one of the bearded chaps waiting to be healed by pseudo-Messiah Brian…it’s none other than George Harrison!
Why So Clever: Harrison, a confirmed Python fan, personally founded Handmade Films in order to get the project made, at a cost of around £3 million. Or as Eric Idle would later describe it, “the world’s most expensive cinema ticket.”
Egg We’d Like To See: Paul McCartney as a fellow martyr on the cross. Provided they could find a cross strong enough to support his ego of course...
The Egg: In the scene directly before Ron Burgundy gets the boot from KVWN, Veronica Corningstone is shown eating in a Mexican restaurant called Escupimos en su Alimento…
Why So Clever: Escupimos en su Alimento is actually Spanish for “we spit in your food”. Hur-hur-hur…
Egg We’d Like To See: A walk-on cameo from Bill Murray as the station’s resident weather-man Phil Connors.
Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)
The Egg: You might think that we only learn The Bride’s real name in Kill Bill vol. 2, but you’d be wrong. It’s actually displayed on the plane ticket she buys to Okinawa, revealing the moniker “Beatrix Kiddo” to anyone sad enough to have paused it at exactly the right moment. Consider us guilty…
Why So Clever: It isn’t the only time QT wafts the Bride’s real identity under his audience’s nose. Bill calls her “Kiddo” in one of the movie’s first scenes, but the obvious assumption is that this is just a term of endearment. Albeit rather an odd one, given that he’s just shot her!
Egg We’d Like To See: A TV advert for the big fight between Coolidge and Wilson...
Kill Bill Vol. 1...again! (2003)
The Egg: Another from the same movie, but one we couldn’t leave out as it’s just so damned cool. As The Bride strolls purposefully through the Zen garden of the Crazy 88, the camera films her from underneath the walkway, revealing the words “Fuck You” on the sole of her trainer.
Why So Clever: Whereas the similarly off-key “Pussywagon” logo is presented with lurid clarity, this hint to The Bride’s badass nature is very much slipped under the radar. We really need to get a pair of those trainers!
Egg We’d Like To See: “Do I look like a bitch?” written on the sole of her other foot.
X-Men 2 (2003)
The Egg: When Mystique is waiting to seduce Magneto’s prison guard at a dingy flyblown bar, a current affairs programme is airing on the TV. Giving his take on the mutant issue is one Hank McCoy, perhaps better known as Beast.
Why So Clever: It’s a gloriously knowing way of referencing one of the X-Men Bryan Singer couldn’t find room for in his movie. Another similar treat can be found when Mystique is trawling through the mutant database in Lady Deathstrike’s office…the birth names of Gambit, Silver Samurai and many more are clearly visible!
Egg We’d Like To See: A newsflash reporting the death of Cain Marko. That’s Vinnie Jones written out of any future X-Men movies.
The Mist (2007)
The Egg: The painting Thomas Jane is working on at the beginning of the movie is quite clearly a picture of Roland Deschain, hero of another Stephen King property, The Dark Tower.
Why So Clever: King’s books are full of continuity crossovers and it’s nice to see that cross over into the film adaptations as well. A signpost to Castle Rock, the setting for many of King’s yarns, can also be spotted at one point.
Egg We’d Like To See: A holiday at the Overlook pencilled in on a calendar in Jane’s house.
The Egg: During the taxi-chase through New York, Matthew Broderick chucks the driver’s identification plate out of the window in order to get the attention of a nearby military man. The name on said ID card is “Armin Tamzarian”, the real name of The Simpsons’ Principle Skinner!
Why So Clever: Talk about obscure! Although there is a bit of a Simpsons theme running through the film, with Harry Shearer (who voices Skinner) playing a news reporter and Nancy Cartwright (Bart Simpson) as his secretary.
Egg We’d Like To See: A frantic police officer remarks, “this is worse than that shit that happened in Costa Rica…”
L.A. Story (1991)
The Egg: Steve Martin demonstrates his love for Victoria Tennant by reciting a poem, the first lines of which are: “Oh Pointy Birds, Oh Pointy, Pointy…” The same ode appears in The Man With Two Brains, as the favourite poem of Martin and his late wife.
Why So Clever: It’s bizarre enough to be memorable and daft enough to still be funny. A pleasingly chucklesome in-joke.
Egg We’d Like To See: A background artist sporting the nose from Roxanne.
The Egg: Look carefully at the schematics diagram on the bridge of Sark’s battlecruiser…on the right hand side you’ll find Pac-man muching his way through a string of yellow dots!
Why So Clever: Not only is it wilfully silly, but it fits in with the general theme of the film. Given that Flynn is a video-game nut, why wouldn’t he work Pacman into one of his programmes?
Egg We’d Like To See: A maintenance worker is spotted on the same battlecruiser, sporting red dungarees and a rather bushy moustache…
Die Hard With A Vengeance (1995)
The Egg: When McClane is asked what he’s been doing since the last film, he answers, “smoking cigarettes and watching Captain Kangaroo.” The same lyric from Flowers On The Wall is sung by Bruce Willis in Pulp Fiction, right before he sees Marsellus crossing the road…
Why So Clever: Given that Pulp Fiction was released in between Die Hard 2 and Die Hard With A Vengeance, the continuity works quite nicely. Not that we’re suggesting McClane and Coolidge are the same person. Don’t get too excited!
Egg We’d Like To See: Another QT reference in which Simon Gruber’s birth certificate reveals his birth name to be Simon Landa...
Predator 2 (1990)
The Egg: When Danny Glover discovers the Predator’s trophy room, one of the skulls on display has clearly been taken from a Xenomorph. So begins the cross-franchise tinkering that would run both Predator and Alien into the ground (for a while, anyway)!
Why So Clever: It’s a fairly obvious one in that you won’t need freeze-frame to spot it, but it’s a nice tip of the hat from one sci-fi beastie to another. If only they had left it there…
Egg We’d Like To See: Why not throw a Klingon skull in there for good measure?
Iron Man (2008)
The Egg: As Tony Stark is removing his suit after his encounter with the F-22s, you’ll notice a workbench in the left-hand side of the frame upon which lies what appears to be a prototype version of Captain America’s shield!
Why So Clever: We always enjoy a bit of Marvel cross-referencing, particularly given that all the various threads eventually came together for Joss Whedon’s Avengers movie.
Egg We’d Like To See: A bubbling vat of adamantium wouldn’t seem out of the question given Stark’s mastery of metalwork!
Iron Man 2 (2010)
The Egg: In the post-credits scene with Sam Jackson’s Nick Fury, a SHIELD map is clearly visible, with several locations specifically circled. Each one refers to a different character from the Marvel universe, including New Mexico (landing point of Mjolnir’s hammer), New York (home to The Hulk), Antarctica (where a frozen Captain America is discovered) and South-West Africa, home to the Black Panther.
Why So Clever: Oh, come on! How cool is that? With one little scene, Marvel whipped their fans into a mouth-foaming frenzy, whilst promoting their upcoming releases at the same time. Very smart.
Egg We’d Like To See: A circle around Japan, suggesting the possible involvement of Wolverine in the Avengers movie.
The Egg: The first scene in the superlative opening montage is crammed to the brim with Batman references! First of all, there are the old-school Batman posters on the wall. Then on the top-left of the theatre’s notice board, the word Gotham is clearly legible. Finally, the production showing at the theatre is shown to be Die Fledermaus. Translation? “The Bat.”
Why So Clever: It actually goes deeper than that. Supposedly, the goon that Night Owl is punching out is none other than Joe Chill. That startled-looking couple on the left are Mr and Mrs Wayne.
Egg We’d Like To See: A bat-shaped shadow on the moon. Or have we had enough bat-references now?
Death Proof (2007)
The Egg: Stuntman Mike is shown driving two different vehicles throughout the film, both of which have significant number plates. The one on his Cherry Nova reads JJZ-109, the same number as Steve McQueen’s Mustang in Bullitt, whilst the plate on his Charger is 938-DAN, a reference to Dirty Mary Crazy Larry.
Why So Clever: It’s one of the less obvious references in a film crammed full of pop-culture nudges and winks. Another vehicular easter egg comes in the form of the Pussy Wagon logo from Kill Bill, which can be spotted in the parking lot outside one of the stores visited by the second group of girls.
Egg We’d Like To See: A chopper with a Z-shaped key-ring hanging from the ignition.
The Egg: Hamm from Toy Story makes the briefest of appearances, but you can clearly see him within Wall-E’s truck, just to the left of Eve’s head in the picture above.
Why So Clever: Pixar movies are always riddled with in-references (Rex crops up in Monsters Inc for example) but John Ratzenberger (who voices Hamm) is a particularly lucky mascot, having been given a voice part in every one of the studio’s films to date!
Egg We’d Like To See: A fleeting glimpse of our favourite Toy Story critter Bullseye. Oh God, we’re welling up!
Back To The Future (1985)
The Egg: When Marty crashes into the 1950’s, he ploughs into a family farmhouse. The irate farmer refers to his son as Sherman, before the mailbox he shoots reveals his name to be Peabody. Sherman and Peabody are a cartoon double-act with access to a time machine…
Why So Clever: It’s a knowing salute to a pair of fellow time travellers. A little more subtle than simply naming the dog “Einstein”!
Egg We’d Like To See: A reference to “that naked foreign guy”, suggesting the Terminator had pitched up in Hill Valley by mistake!
The Egg: When Alexander Knox walks into his office at the beginning of the movie, a sketch of The Batman is handed to him. The signature at the bottom is that of Bob Kane, the character’s original creator!
Why So Clever: It’s a really cool sketch on its own merits, but the signature is a nice tip of the hat from director Tim Burton. Unsurprisingly, Kane’s name is nowhere near the Joel Schumacher movies…
Egg We’d Like To See: A map of the United States pinned up in the Batcave, with a circle drawn around Metropolis…
Evil Dead 2 (1987)
The Egg: When Ash bursts into the tool-shed, his girlfriend’s head busily gnawing at his hand, Freddy Krueger’s glove can be spotted mounted above the frame of the door.
Why So Clever: It’s a throwaway moment, but a nice nod to an iconic villain. Or is it…? Supposedly, Wes Craven included a poster of Jaws in The Hills Have Eyes to suggest that his film was scarier. In response to this, Sam Raimi placed a Hills Have Eyes poster on the wall of the cabin basement in the original Evil Dead. In turn, a torn Evil Dead poster can be spotted in A Nightmare On Elm Street. Now-now boys, play nicely!
Egg We’d Like To See: A hockey mask hanging on the wall of the fruit cellar.
Army Of Darkness (1992)
The Egg: When Ash finally decides to stand and fight against the Deadites, he goes to his car to retrieve some chemistry books, in order to soup-up his medieval buddies’ defences. Nestled in the trunk is a copy of horror bible Fangoria, given a shout-out by Raimi as a thank you for the way in which they got behind the original Evil Dead.
Why So Clever: Good old Sam knows who his friends are. Perhaps more impressive is the fact that one of the aforementioned chemistry texts crops up again in Spider-Man, when Peter Parker drops an armful of books at school.
Egg We’d Like To See: An old VHS of A Nightmare On Elm Street tucked in amongst the rest of Ash’s junk.
King Kong (2005)
The Egg: As the ship approaches Skull Island, a message is received in morse code, supposedly announcing a warrant for Jack Black’s arrest. However, this isn’t actually what the code translates to…
Why So Clever: What it actually says is, “Show me the monkey!” Nice. Very nice indeed.
Egg We’d Like To See: A crate is spotted aboard the ship during the return voyage. It is marked “InGen”.
Lilo & Stitch (2002)
The Egg: As Lilo looks out of her bedroom window, a Dumbo toy can be seen peeking out from her easel.
Why So Clever: Mickey always hogs the limelight when it comes to Disney easter eggs…whilst the viewer might be looking out for those big round ears, the presence of another aurally-gifted character comes as a bit of a surprise!
Egg We’d Like To See: A quick glimpse of the Genie, enjoying his newfound downtime on the beaches of Hawaii.
Out Of Sight (1998)
The Egg: When Jennifer Lopez’s fed is shown a mug-shot of George Clooney’s runaway bank-robber, the image is clearly one of his From Dusk Til Dawn character Seth Gecko.
Why So Clever: J-Lo joins in the fun by commenting that it “doesn’t even look like him”.
Egg We’d Like To See: A QT cameo as Richie Gecko in which he does a double-take at the sight of Clooney.
Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981)
The Egg: Hidden amongst the hieroglyphics of the well of souls, are a pair of familiar characters. Have a look at the picture above and see if you can spot them…
Why So Clever: Yes, it’s R2-D2 and C-3P0 of course. Those two get around, don’t they? Ancient chambers, far away galaxies, bargain-basement adverts for electrical retailers…
Egg We’d Like To See: A hieroglyph of a crystal skull, some giant ants and Shia Labeouf, to serve as a warning of things to come.
The Egg: When Mel Gibson finds himself caught in the middle of a bank robbery, there’s a prolonged double take when the robber is revealed to be Danny Glover, Gibson’s Lethal Weapon co-star.
Why So Clever: Okay, this one is probably too obvious to be considered “clever” per se, but we’re still including it as it’s a brilliantly affectionate bit of in-jokery. Glover even says, “I’m too old for this shit,” for crying out loud!
Egg We’d Like To See: A similar double-take between Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. Might be pushing it a bit…
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
The Egg: Whilst flicking through TV channels towards the beginning of the film, Bruce Banner flicks past an episode of The Courtship Of Eddie’s Father…
Why So Clever: The Courtship Of Eddie’s Father was a ‘70s TV show featuring Bill Bixby, the man who played Bruce Banner opposite Lou Ferrigno’s Hulk.
Egg We’d Like To See: We would have loved to have seen Thor fall out of the sky at some point. But wait a minute, maybe we did…? Lets give that cave scene one more watch…
Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)
The Egg: When Will Ferrell is escorting Shannon Elizabeth out of the cinema at the end of the movie, a poster for a movie called Busing…
Why So Clever: Despite being laid out in a similar design to the Clerks poster, Busing was actually the name of a movie script written by Smith in the wake of his first film. Following the mundane lives of restaurant busboys, it was set to tread similar ground to Clerks, but fell by the wayside when Smith failed to secure any studio interest.
Egg We’d Like To See: A movie poster for Happy Scrappy Hero Pup. Or alternatively, Put It Where It Doesn’t Belong.
I Am Legend (2007)
The Egg: Amongst the ruins of NYC, a movie poster can be spotted featuring the Superman logo within the bat symbol.
Why So Clever: Whilst the poster (complete with a prospective release date of 15 May 2010) sent fanboys everywhere into a state of frenzy, it turned out not to be a canny piece of viral marketing but rather a throwaway gag from producer Akiva Goldsman, who was at one time involved with a Superman/Batman crossover film. Curses.
Egg We’d Like To See: A poster for Batman 4, with Chris Nolan’s name on prominent display. If only he had carried on!