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The plot is deliberately evocative of fairy tales, as are the scenes on the planet Druidia. Throughout the film, the Spaceballs characters regularly break the fourth wall, often to promote their merchandise, and they are aware that they are making a movie, and the events are not real life. For example, at one point the villains succeed in capturing the main characters' stunt doubles, while at another accidentally kill one of the filming crew during a fight scene, and even being hit by the camera in a close up. In fact, in one scene, they pull out the video version of Spaceballs being shown in real time, as it is being filmed and temporarily take a look at the scene they're in: "now".
The majority of the scenes and characters are parodies of Star Wars, although the film parodies other movies as well, most notably:
- Jaws (gigantic shark-like space ship with Jaws-like music)
- Indiana Jones, Barf remarks "...this looks like the Temple of Doom!" Lone Star is also first seen dressed in a brown fedora and leather jacket, alluding to Harrison Ford playing both the roles of Han Solo and Indiana Jones in their respective films.
- Battlestar Galactica villains occasionally use the word "Imperious", this is a reference to the Cylon term "Imperious Leader". Others also argue that Lone Starr dresses like a Colonial Warrior.
- Superman: The Movie (musical score)
- The Police Academy movies (Michael Winslow sound effects; Winslow has a cameo in the film as a Spaceball navigations officer)
- The Sir David Lean films The Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia, including their theme music.
- The Wizard of Oz (first meeting with Yogurt) also if you listen closely, in the scene where Yogurt reveals Lone Starr as a certified prince, when he´s fading away he says "What a world", a part from the dying words of the Wicked Witch of the west.
- Planet of the Apes (crashed remains of Spaceball One/Mega Maid as a reference to the Statue of Liberty ruins)
- Rambo (Princess Vespa's use of a blaster gun). This was confirmed when Dot said she rivaled Rambo in bloodbaths.
- Star Trek The beaming sequence with the character Snotty (a parody of Scottish character Montgomery "Scotty" Scott) where the president is beamed to the command room with his head on backward then beamed back before the president walks through a door revealing that the room is right next door (also the Commanderette says "he beamed me twice", it was wonderful, indicating that she and Snotty had sex), and the scene where Lone Starr attempts to knock out a Spaceball by performing (at first, unsuccessfully until the victim told him it was where the shoulder meets the neck) the Vulcan neck pinch. Before he is beamed, president Skroob even exclaims: "What the hell, it works on Star Trek!!".
- Max Headroom
- Rocky (including its supposed continuation up to "Rocky Five ... Thousand")
- 2001: A Space Odyssey: The ship Spaceball One has a name similar to the Discovery One ship seen in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Also, the running gag of the Spaceball drummer is similar to Also sprach Zarathustra, which was used prominently in 2001.
- Alien, John Hurt reprising his famous death scene from that movie, and even groaning in despair, "Oh no! Not again!"; the chestburster emerges from the victim, shrieks, smiles, and in stereotypical vaudeville fashion, puts on a straw boater hat with a miniature cane in one hand, and begins dancing and singing like Michigan J. Frog, performing Hello! Ma Baby) The length of Spaceball 1 may also be a reference to the opening of Alien (the Nostromo was a very long ship but Spaceball 1 was even longer).
- Dumbo (Yogurt saying to Lone Starr that he doesn't need the ring)
- Transformers (When Spaceball I is transforming, Barf says "It's a Transformer!")
- Thunderbirds The Mercedes Benz launching from the Planet Druidia platform.
- It Happened One Night The wedding scene (when walking down the aisle, Princess Vespa is told by her father King Roland that Lone Starr forsook the reward for the princess's return and only asked to be reimbursed for the cost of the trip) is a parody of the wedding scence from the 1934 Frank Capra film.
The film also satirizes various aspects of 1980s culture, including video rental, fast food, Mr. Coffee, action figures, and merchandising. During a scene in which Dark Helmet and various other crewmates try to locate a copy of Spaceballs on video (which confuses Dark Helmet, as they are still making the movie at the time), Sandurz passes by video cassettes of several of Brooks's earlier movies (The Producers, The Twelve Chairs, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Silent Movie, High Anxiety, History of the World, Part I, and To Be or Not to Be) before he finds the video he is looking for. Also, Rocky is mentioned. After the news clip reporting the death of Pizza the Hutt, the reporter says, "Coming up, Pongo's review of Rocky Five...THOUSAND!" If you listen carefully, you'll hear the reviewer say, "Who says 'When you've seen one, you've seen 'em all'?" just before Barf shuts off the TV.
At the end of the final battle, in the final minute of the self-destruct countdown, Spaceball One's computer reminds Dark Helmet that there is a self-destruct cancellation button. Rushing to the button, he, President Skroob and Colonel Sandurz find it out of order, to which Dark Helmet curses, "Fuck! Even in the future, nothing works!"
Moranis reportedly modeled Dark Helmet's "mask-down" voice on that of Geoffrey Holder, a popular performer with similar voice intonations to James Earl Jones, the actor who provided Darth Vader's voice in the Star Wars films.
Druidia may be a reference to Druidic culture, and also Jewish culture. The king's daughter is a "druish princess" (see "Princess Vespa", below). Another Jewish joke is Barf saying the princess doesn't look "Druish" which pokes fun at how Jews from different parts of the world are expected to look by those living there. In the DVD's audio commentary, Mel Brooks indicated that he was both proud and ashamed by that joke, jokingly clarifying that he was ashamed of the man who wrote it, but proud of himself for keeping it in the script.
- May I suggest that this be condensed as well, prior to reinclusion. Perhaps something like this:
The plot is deliberately evocative of fairy tales, as are the scenes on the planet Druidia. Throughout the film, the Spaceballs characters regularly break the fourth wall, and many of them are aware that they are making a movie. For example, in one scene, Colnol Sandurz pulls out the video version of Spaceballs being shown in real time, as it is being filmed , for Dark Helmet to view. They fast-forward to temporarily take a look at the scene they're in, in a live action display. The majority of the scenes and characters are parodies of Star Wars, although the film parodies other movies as well, most notably: Indiana Jones, Battlestar Galactica, The Wizard of Oz, Planet of the Apes, Star Trek, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Transformers." Wolfpeaceful (talk) 16:00, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Whether this is used or not, here is my reasoning behind the condensed/edited version I wrote:
- I took out "regularly to promote their merchandise" because they actually break the fourth wall for a variety of reasons. Dark Helmet breaks it early on in the movie to "make sure" the audience understands the plot, when Colnol Sandurz tells him what the plot is from the Spaceball's POV. "Everybody got that?" Barf breaks it in dialogue when they transition from one seen to the sun over Vega, saying "Nice Dissolve." and so forth.
- I took out "they" and replaced with "many"; we do not know if all of the characters in the Spaceballs movie are aware that they are making a movie, we only know that many of them of are.
- The Winslow reference doesn't count for parody. He simply appears in the film as a Spaceball's officer and uses vocal sound effects in the same manner as his character did in the Police Acadamy films; but nothing in spaceballs actually parodies Police Acadamy.
- I took out many of the minor paradoies, such as the Rambo, Hedroom, and Alien references. When you use the term "most notably" it implies the major ones. I also took out the musical score references. (Some may be notable, but I didn't really think it necessary to include them.)
- I took out all of the lengthy descriptions of each allegorical element. I believed it to be "wordy", and also unnecessarily detailed.
- I decided to keep out the paragraph of satarizing 1980's culture. Not because, it isn't true, but because the examples given, are not really different from modern culture. E.g. how are these things: video rental, fast food, Mr. Coffee, action figures, and merchandising any different from modern times? Mr. Coffee still makes products, people still rent videos, action figures are still being made and played with, and of course merchandising will likely be done until the end of time. Wolfpeaceful (talk) 16:00, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
So, we have this huge section outlining all the completely obvious references in every character's name, but not one mention of where the name "spaceballs" comes from? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 184.108.40.206 (talk) 16:55, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
Revert of 7/14/2011
I reverted the following since this is already mentioned under the Heros section. The song is called Colonel Bogey March (and there is a mention of it being used in Spaceballs on the page for the song in their popular culture section). Wolfhound668 (talk) 15:39, 14 July 2011 (UTC)
- The Dinks
- The song that the Dinks are singing during the desert sequence is the theme from "The Bridge on the River Kwai". The Song is "The River Kwai March".
Does this sentence make sense to anyone? "According to Brooks, he initially wanted the character's name to be "Brooks" spelled backwards. However, this name was not well-liked by Mel Brooks, who changed it to be similar to his backwards name." Pongley (talk) 19:27, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
- I believe what it's trying to say is that Brooks initially wanted the character's name to be "Brooks" spelled backwards (which would be "Skoorb"). But he didn't like the way that looked/sounded, so he changed it to be something similar to his own name spelled backwards, i.e. "Skroob". DH85868993 (talk) 21:54, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
Can anyone provide a reference for Skroob being a parody of Star Wars' Grand Moff Tarkin? To me he just seems to be an "incompetent politician" stereotype. Noting that the article also identifies Sandurz as a parody of Tarkin, which I find more plausible. DH85868993 (talk) 02:22, 18 April 2012 (UTC)
Characters and parodies
This characters and parodies section is a travesty. The section is 2,745 words long, far longer than any other section, and the great majority of it is unreferenced or very poorly referenced --- 5 references altogether in the whole section, the first of which is an IMDB trivia page, the second is a sex dictionary, and the last three all source the name of Brooks's lawyer. The section is tagged for OR, but I think it either needs to be deleted altogether or seriously trimmed to remove trivia and unsupported speculation. ---RepublicanJacobiteTheFortyFive 14:40, 14 May 2012 (UTC)
- Feel free... Ckruschke -- 04:05, 15 May 2012 User:Ckruschke
- However, it doesn't seem to be useful to eliminate all mention of the facts that there are obvious parodies of a number of Star Wars characters, that John Hurt reprised his Alien "chestburster" scene, etc. -- this was actually the main reason why the movie was made... AnonMoos (talk) 02:28, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
- I don't really have a problem with it. You can have a comedy movie that isn't a parody. Hot Shots, Naked Gun, and Space Balls all have parody as major elements of the movie, while other comedy movies do not lean as heavily or at all on making fun of popular culture or other movies. Ckruschke (talk) 17:48, 2 July 2012 (UTC)Ckruschke
Origin of The Schwartz
Here is my theory about the origin of The Schwartz:
Possibly Mel Brooks derived it from his own forename. While his full forename Melvin has Scottish/Latin roots and means "bad settlement", the short form "Mel" is also used as an abbreviation for the feminine forename Melanie which is derived from the Greek adjective "melan" (neuter singular form). And "melan" means "schwarz" in German.
In the 16th century, there lived the German reformer Philipp Melanchthon who was born as Philipp Schwartzerdt ("black earth") and who changed his surname into the Greek form "Melanchthon" later. So Mel Brooks possibly went the opposite way and translated the name "Mel" from ancient Greek back into German.
Furthermore there is a chemical substance "mercury chloride" that is also called "Kalomel" which means "schönes Schwarz" ("beautiful black"). In pure form it's a transparent colorless substance, but when irradiated with light, a chemical reaction occurs and the substance turns black - therefore it's called Kalomel. Strawberry No15 (talk) 16:06, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
- You should go direct to the source: The Greek word μελας (stem μελαν-) means "black, dark". However, if there's no reliably-sourced indication of a connection between the Schwartz and μελαν, then it can't be included on the article... AnonMoos (talk) 16:17, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
- I think it is quite obvious that he didn't just pick any "Jewish-sounding" word (why would he want to pick a "Jewish-sounding" word in the first place?), but rather one that sounded (to him) like a euphemism for "Schwantz" - meaning tail in German or Yiddish, itself a euphemism for penis in Yiddish and German speaking circles. This allowed him to use this innocent-sound word (what, don't blame me, it's just a Jewish-sounding word) while making all sorts of seemingly-innocent phallic references ;-) 220.127.116.11 (talk) 09:53, 29 November 2015 (UTC)
- By the way, according to , when the movie was translated into German, they didn't keep the word "Schwartz", and instead replaced it by "Saft" ("juice"). Amusing. 18.104.22.168 (talk) 09:56, 29 November 2015 (UTC)
- Too much focus here on German, but that's not Mel Brooks's style. I think it should be shvarts, Yiddish for 'black'. He uses Yiddish in several of his movies, but I don't recall him ever using German. 22.214.171.124 (talk) — Preceding undated comment added 22:33, 12 October 2014 (UTC)
- The focus of my theory is not on German, but on ancient Greek. If you replace the noun "German" by the noun "Yiddish" in my entire text, the content of my theory essentially remains the same. (To prevent a misunderstanding, I'd like to make you aware of the fact that in the phrase "German reformer" German is an adjective, not a noun and therefore hasn't to be replaced).
- Strawberry No15 (talk) 20:31, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
- One more thought:
- If I change some characteristics of the above-mentioned substance Kalomel, it is actually quite similar to outer space: Outer space itself is transparent and colorless and looks black if I don't look in the direction of a light source.
- In the end Mel Brooks possibly just looked on outer space and thought: "Hey, it is black (= schwartz). Then let's include this word in my movie."
Earlier Star Wars Parody
Anyone want to help me with a bit of information. With nearly every article I've read, there is usually a statement about how there were earlier (and sometimes better) Star Wars parodies before Spaceballs. I've been trying to find these names so I can further some work I'm doing. The only thing I've found was Hardware Wars, which while a parody, is more short film, which is not full length and does not contend against Spaceballs. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 126.96.36.199 (talk) 21:46, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
- Don't think there was any pre-1987 full-scale movie. Maybe there were TV comedy skits. AnonMoos (talk) 23:52, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
- There are MANY movies that came out that had SciFi themes similar to Star Wars trying to bank on the Star Wars craze (many of them being awful, B-movies that no one remembers), but none of them were done as either direct or implied parodies to the movie. Hardware Wars comes to mind, but nothing else. I can think of pretty good parodies on Saturday Night Live, the Carol Burnett Show, The Tonight Show, and other places, but these were obviously bit sketches. Ckruschke (talk) 18:36, 22 March 2013 (UTC)Ckruschke
Added "In popular culture"
Hey, guys, I added "In popular culture" the first one was: "In Monsters vs. Aliens, Gallaxhar, said 'Oh, Spaceballs!' during the end of the film." — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dewy60 (talk • contribs) 20:30, 7 June 2013 (UTC)
planet Druidia setting
- Think it's mainly supposed to convey the idea of a fairytale princedom. Specific influences would probably need a source to be included on the article... AnonMoos (talk) 19:58, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
It's been a while since I watched this movie, but I recall hearing that the film budget was a fluke, like an extra zero was added or something and it wasn't supposed to cost nearly as much originally. For all I know, that was a line in the movie (I can't remember) but anyway, that's what I remember. Does anyone else know about that or remember? Google isn't helping me find anything about that AutumnWind 23:26, 8 November 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Autumn Wind (talk • contribs)
- ...or, more to the point, something like Brooks asked for a rediculous budget not expecting to get it, but it was approved... AutumnWind 23:30, 8 November 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Autumn Wind (talk • contribs)