Self-Referential Movies

Hellzapoppin was full of them. In the first bit, in hell, Olsen and Jonson tell Shemp Howard, as the projectionist showing the movie, to rewind, and everything goes backwards. Then they walk through a bunch of sets, their costumes changing as they go. There is also a discussion of the Broadway show the movie was based on. Then they look at a photograph of the first scene, and narrate the action, doing the voices, until they show up in the movie, when we go into the picture and into the movie proper. In a pool scene, the camera is supposed to follow them but gets stuck on a pretty girl until they go back and tell it to track them. Shemp mixes their film up with a Western, and an Indian from the Western shows up on their set.

Finally, when the movie is over, the director yells at Elisha Cook as the screenwriter about how absurd the movie is, which leads to the final gag.

Great movie, one of the few that was even better than the memories I had of it.

A scene from the screwball comedy Hi Diddle Diddle (1943);

[Looking at hat check girl]
Senator Simpson: You know, I’ve seen that girl somewhere before.
Liza Prescott: She’s a very particular friend of the director who’s making this picture. He sticks her in every scene he can.
Janie Prescott: Mother, shh! Somebody might hear you.

The thing that I always thought was funny about that in the movie is that the whole time Hammond is showing them the park, he keeps repeating how he “spared no expense” for this or that. Then, of course, when he’s describing the ride, he says something like “We even hired Richard Kiley to do the narration. Spared no expense!” :smiley:

From Monty Python’s Holy Grail:

King Arthur: Camelot!

Sir Lancelot: Camelot!

Sir Galahad: Camelot!

Sir Robin: Camelot!

Patsy: (mumbling) It’s just a model.

All knights: Shhhhh!

That, and the final climactic battle that gets summarily halted when the modern day police bobbies swoop in and arrest Arthur & co. One of the cops directly addresses the camera stating “Move along. Stop filming”, puts his hand over the lens and…

cue credits.

Not entirely self-referential (although perhaps in view of the finale, it really is).

Dick Loudon (from Newhart) is sitting watching TV with earphones. Joanna comes in and asks him to do something. He says that he’s watching his favorite show. She pulls out the earphone plug and we hear the theme from “The Bob Newhart Show.”

Zev Steinhardt

The film Guesthouse Paradiso with Rick Mayall and Adrian Edmondson Refers to itself in one part.

I can only remember it very vaguelly but it’s where Adrian’s character is talking to the young couple who’ve been at it in their room. He says “Please keep it down! We want this movie to be PG!”

Not quite a self-referential movie, but in the book Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, Bridget gets to interview Colin Firth. Who of course, played Mark Darcy in both movies based on the books. They just went ahead and cut that whole plot out of the movie, but it was a weird feeling to read it, having seen the first film.

Of course there’s the Seinfeld episide where they have an idea for a sitcom about nothing.

Wait, that’s not a movie. Doh. Oh well it’s still a good example of self-reference.
I it would be funny if an episode of a show came onto a TV on the show. (Like pauline fowler watching an episode of Eastenders on her TV)

Along the lines of the Third Rock from the Sun episode mentioned above.

In the TV series Buck Rodgers (from 1979), for plot reasons in one episode they had to go to a retirement home and convince a group of pilots to come out of retirement and help defeat that episode’s villain. The group of course does well and, on their way back, Buck makes some comment about how well they flew.

“Son,” says the leader of the retired pilots. “I’ve been flying since before you were born.”

“You think so?” says Buck, smirking. (Since, of course, he was frozen for centuries.)

“Son.” says the leader in total confidence (and with his own smile). “I know so.”

The leader was played by Buster Crabbe, who of course played the original Buck Rodgers (and Flash Gordon) back in the 1930’s. A nice joke, since it worked for both the viewers who didn’t know who Buster Crabbe was and for those who did.

Two films that exist solely to **be ** self-referential:
The Last Action Hero
Rustler’s Rhapsody

I’ll go with Space Jam.

Minor spoilers ahead for an 11 year old cheesy WB movie.

At the climax, when the Looney Tunes need a 5th player to finish the game, Bill Murray shows up via deus ex machina. When Daffy asks him how he got there, Murray replies that "Producer’s a friend of mine. He sent a Teamster to drop me off. " As he walks onto the court, the unintelligent owner of the Looney Toons’ opponent says that he didn’t realize it was a Dan Ackroyd picture which is wrong, but still references itself as a movie.

Not quite self referential:

Daffy suggests that the team be named the Ducks and Bugs shoots it down, wanting to know “What kind of Mickey Mouse organization would name their team the Ducks?”

At the end of Ocean’s Thirteen, George Clooney’s character tells Brad Pitt’s character something like “You need to settle down, get married and have some kids” (a reference to the whole Angelina Jolie thing).

And then Brad Pitt’s character says to Clooney’s character something like “And you need to keep the weight off between jobs” (a reference to Clooney’s weight gain between Oceans movies for his role in Syriana).

Also in Ocean’s Thirteen, when Matt Damon wears a fake nose it is an inside joke/reference to his role in The Brothers Grimm, in which director Terry Gilliam wanted Damon to wear a fake nose, but the studio nixed the idea.

And in Spider-Man 2, after Peter Parker takes a hard fall, he gets up moaning “My back…my back…” That was an inside joke referencing Tobey Maguire’s contract negotiations during which he (at one point) claimed he wasn’t sure he could do the role because of a back injury.

In Never Give a Sucker an Even Break, W. C. Fields orders an ice cream soda. Then he turns to the audience and says, “This scene was supposed to be in a saloon, but the censor cut it out. It’ll play just as well.”

Fields also is shown standing in front of a poster for his earlier film, The Bank Dick.

In Horse Feathers, as Chico plays the piano, Goucho turns to the audience and says, “I’ve got to stay here, but there’s no reason why you folks shouldn’t go out into the lobby until this thing to blows over.”

Similarly, in Animal Crackers, someone asks Chico, “How did you get to be Italian?”

Various Warner Brothers cartoons had the characters aware they were in a cartoon, most notably Duck Amuck.

If TV shows count, then in the opening credits of the A-Team, Dirk Benedict looks at someone passing by in a Cylon suit as though he might recognize him. I think I saw maybe two episodes of that show, so I don’t know what episode it came from, or if it just appeared in the credits. A rare moment of wit from the series, in any case.

There’s a wonderful Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck cartoon in which Bugs goes to an animator’s desk and draws Bugs, then puts him through sheer hell as he constantly changes the “reality” of whatever cartoon Daffy is in. Frex, he bails out of a plane and pulls his parachute. Bugs erases the chute and draws in an anvil. Daffy thinks he’s in a Western, Bugs erases the landscape and replaces it with a seascape. Each new iteration of Bugs altering Daffy’s reality grows more and more imaginative with Bugs finally collapsing the “frame” of the toon panel on top of Daffy and erasing parts of him with the pencil and redrawing them in distinctly non-Daffy form.

One of the funniest, sharpest toons out there and it constantly points out to the viewer that it’s a toon.

Duck Amuck.

In a sense, Ingmar Bergman’s Persona knows it’s a movie, since halfway through the film we see it jam in the projector and burn. (It didn’t work for me, since I saw it back in college where the movie projector did that routinely; Bergman’s version in black and white didn’t match what we had seen many times in color).

In My Favorite Brunette, there’s a gag at the end that refers to Bob Hope’s roles in the “Road” pictures with Bing Crosby.

In Limelight, Buster Keaton is shown as a performer in an act with Charlie Chaplin. Keaton says something like, “I never thought I’d end up like this,” a reference to how he and Chaplin were such big stars that they never appeared together in the 20s (the “all-star cast” film started in the 30s).

The last lines of Biloxi Blues, something like “If I ever make a movie out of this maybe I’ll leave out getting the second one for free.”

You mean Duck Amuck?

Are you sure it wasn’t “Duck Amuck” by Duran Duran?

Speaking of Twilight Zone: The Movie, in the Vietnam scene when we see a platoon of soldiers tremulously making their way through a rice paddy, one of them says “We should never have killed Lieutenant Niedermeyer,” a winking reference to director Jon Landis’s previous film, Animal House.