Best movie Easter eggs: 20 facts that will blow your mind
Brilliant movie tidbits you may have missed.
Easter Eggs have been a staple of Hollywood from pretty much the beginning. Essentially in-jokes, knowing nods they give the audience a smile and a talking point after the credits roll.
If you rarely spot them, then don’t panic: an Easter Egg is meant to be subtle, hidden enough so that if you do find one then you punch the air with joy.
Here are our 20 favourite Easter Eggs of recent memory. There are plenty more, so if we’ve missed your favourite then let us know...
Best movie Easter eggs
1. The Temple of Doom's Club Obi Wan
Steven Spielberg, who's besties with George Lucas, added in a lovely Star Wars nod in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. One of the bars Indy drives by is called… Club Obi Wan. This joins the hieroglyphic of the droids that was sneaked into one scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Given Lucas was producer/writer on the movie, we think he might have had a say on those going in, too.
2. Captain America's Pulpy death scene
In what turns out to be a ruse, Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) ‘dies’ in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and is given a gravestone which reads: “Col. Nicholas J Fury, The path of the righteous man..” the last bit is a nod to Jackson’s fantastic speech in Pulp Fiction that he recites to people before he kills them.
3. Toy Story's most Overlooked scene
There are a ton of Easter eggs in the four Toy Story movies but our favourite is when they go to Sid the toy killer’s house and his carpet is the same as the one found in the Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.
4. Tango And Cash Vs Rambo
“This guy thinks he’s Rambo,” says the police to Tango, Sylvester Stallone’s renegade detective. He replies, while shooting an oil tanker filled with cocaine, “Rambo… is a pussy.” All that was needed was a knowing nod to the camera for this to be the best movie scene of all time, but it’s still a lot of fun.
5. Alien V Predator was teased in the '90s
While we eventually got a so-so bunch of Alien Vs Predator movies in the 2000s, the idea of a team-up was teased way back in 1990 in Predator 2. Look closely and you will see an Alien skull in the Predator’s trophy room.
6. Tron plays Pac-Man
There is a brilliant Pac-Man Easter egg in Tron, where the yellow pill muncher is seen on a diagram that bad guy Dillinger is looking at… although if you watched early DVD releases of the movie you wouldn’t have known as the atrocity that is pan and scan cut the image right where Pac-Man should have been.
7. Fight Club's coffee addiction
Fight Club is a movie all about, among other things, consumerism and how it rots the soul. So it made sense then that in nearly every scene of the film there is a Starbucks cup hidden somewhere. Given this was released around the same time as Naomi Klein’s No Logo, it was a nice one-two sucker punch for the anti-establishmentarianism brigade.
8. Freddy is in Scream, kind of
Not content with changing the horror landscape with A Nightmare on Elm Street, which spawned the classic horror villain Freddy Krueger, director Wes Craven changed horror forever (again) with Scream. As a nod to Krueger in that movie, he has a janitor sweeping up the halls in Freddy’s iconic red and green sweater. Oh, and the actor playing the janitor? It’s Wes Craven of course.
9. Who watches The Watchmen?
A small, easily missed Easter egg in The Watchmen movie is actually something that would have had huge repercussions for the world of comic books. In the opening montage, hero Night Owl is busy bringing many people to justice - and this includes saving Martha and Thomas Wayne from a robber. This means they are alive and Batman would, well, have no reason to exist.
10. The Phantom Menace phones home
George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are best buddies so they always offer up Easter eggs about the other’s films in their movies. The Phantom Menace has a blink and you’ll miss it one. Among the riveting political talk that seems to last forever, there is a sweeping shot of aliens from other planets and one of these alien families resemble ET.
11. Jurassic Park's seat belt foreshadowing
This is a subtle one but is key to the whole of what went wrong in Jurassic Park. When Sam Neil’s Dr Grant gets into a helicopter, he’s given a seat belt that has two wrong ‘female’ connections. Instead of that stopping him from being safe, he ties them together. This echoes the ‘life finds a way’ speech by Dr Malcom, which alludes to the fact that the dinos in the park found a way to breed, even though they were all meant to be female. The culprit: frog DNA that was added to fill the cloning gaps.
12. The Godfather’s orange obsession
One of those rare Easter eggs which isn’t making a nod to another movie, The Godfather is packed with symbolism and one of the big signifiers in the movie is the use of oranges. Whenever there is going to be a big death scene, or a major betrayal of some sort, there is an orange at hand.
13. Fear And Loathing's double vision
Even though most of Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas is watching the two leads getting stoned, the trippiest scene is when Johnny Depp as Hunter S Thompson walks past the real Thomson when having a flashback to the 60s. “There I was. Mother of God, There I am!”
14. Star Wars has the THX-factor
George Lucas cut his filmmaking teeth on a student sci-fi movie he made called THX 1138. While the movie is for completists only, its name, or parts of it, has cropped up in a number of these films. Most notably it was the cell number Chewie had when he was pretending to be a prisoner transported by a Han and Luke cos-playing as Stormtroopers.
Incidentally, THX 138 is also the licence plate number in American Graffiti, another of Lucas’ pre-Star Wars movies.
15. IT spends a Penny
The recent-ish IT movie was a fantastic retooling of the Stephen King classic which was only let down by its muddled second part. The first part, though, is a fantastic watch and one that honours the TV mini series that spooked many as children. In the scene where Ritchie is seemingly locked in the ‘clown room’ one of the clowns on show resembles Tim Curry’s Pennywise.
16. How far will Fargo go?
Fargo contains one of Steve Buscemi’s most deranged (and maimed) characters, Carl. But no matter how much crap he goes through, he can still tell the time well. This is showcased when he tells William H. Macy’s hapless salesman Jerry that they have “30 minutes to wrap things up” that’s exactly how long is left of the movie.
17. Skellingtons in Beetlejuice’s cupboard
Another strange Easter egg that actually only made sense when you watched Beetlejuice five years after it was made. In one of the scenes, Beetlejuice is wearing a bizarre head rest that has an early version of Jack Skellington on it - a character that didn’t spring to life until 1993’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, a movie produced by Tim Burton.
18. Real life meets movies
There are plenty of biopics that have cameos from the people that they are based on. The real John Nash appears near the end of A Beautiful Mind, the real Chris Gardner appears at the end of Pursuit of Happyness, the real Frank Abagnale Jr. appears in Catch Me If You Can as a French police officer. Our pick, though, is in Jaws. The author of the book, Peter Benchley, is the reporter on the beach.
19. I Am Legend's Batman Billboard
Zack Snyder’s Batman Vs Superman yawn-fest wasn’t the first time we saw the titans duke it out on the big screen, they were also in I am Legend, kind of. In one of the scenes, Will Smith and his faithful dog are traipsing through a post apocalypse US and in the background is a billboard showcasing the movie. This was in 2007, years before the actual movie came out. It was put in there by screenwriter Akiva Goldsman who had been busy writing an early draft of the superhero saga.
20. A Clockwork Odyssey
In Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, when Alex visits a record store, an LP of 2001: A Space Odyssey’s soundtrack can clearly be seen. 2001’s movie soundtrack is made mostly from classical music - thankfully for Alex, Beethoven isn't on the tracklist.