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10 Best Disney References To Other Movies

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Over the years, Disney has kept up with the times and newer generations. However, this is not at the cost of forgetting the older fans. After all, Disney films are animated and created by adults whom are a part of the older generations, and there have been several references made to other popular movies like The Karate Kid and even The Godfather.


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Most of these references will go over the heads of younger generations, but most older generations spot them and understand them. Some of them are obvious and some are considerably more subtle. Nonetheless, quite a few of these Disney movie references are amusing to both older and younger audiences for differing reasons.

10/10 Pumbaa Channels “Taxi Driver” And “In The Heat Of The Night” When Fighting Hyenas

The Lion King – Taxi Driver & In The Heat Of The Night

During the final battle of The Lion King, Pumbaa comes to the rescue. As he protects his friends, he bellows “They call me Mr. Pig!” It’s not only one of the film’s most hilarious moments, but it’s also a reference to the line “They call me Mister Tibbs” from In The Heat of The Night, a 1967 film.

However, this comical scene also references another movie. Before Pumbaa charges for the kill, he angrily utters, “Are you talking to me?”—a reference to Robert De Niro’s character’s quote in Taxi Driver. To this day, it remains as one of The Lion King’s funniest moments because of the double references.

9/10 WALL-E’s Antagonist Auto Closely Resembles The Villainous AI From 2001: A Space Odyssey

WALL-E – 2001: A Space Odyssey

WALL-E is a classic Pixar film full of robotic but lovable protagonists such as WALL-E himself and Eve. It doesn’t stop there, as the film’s antagonist is also a robot called Auto. Although he doesn’t appear intimidating, his goals at keeping humanity trapped in space is a little unnerving.

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What’s also unnerving is Auto’s resemblance to another AI antagonist, HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Auto’s design is not only similar to HAL 9000’s, but his motives are also extremely similar, which makes the resemblance possibly intentional.

8/10 Flynn Rider Quotes Will Smith’s Iconic Line From Independence Day

Tangled – Independence Day

Tangled features a fan-favorite Flynn Rider, a likeable and comical Disney character. He’s also popular for being considerably down to earth yet still amusing. Particularly when he bonds with Rapunzel and ends up utilizing her improvised weapon: a frying pan.

What not all fans know is the way Flynn references a line from a classic film: Independence Day. During a fight, Flynn excitedly exclaims “I have got to get me one of these!” after using a frying pan. Which is exactly what Will Smith’s character shouts upon flying a spaceship for the first time, making the scene a lot funnier as Flynn manages to capture the same upbeat energy that Will had the first time.

7/10 The Incredibles References Another Samuel L. Jackson Movie

The Incredibles – Die Hard With A Vengeance

The Incredibles‘ Frozone is played by Samuel L. Jackson, a well-known actor who has done other Disney projects. Which means that there have been a few references made to Jackson’s other movies. In The Incredibles, Frozone is nearly arrested by an anxious cop complete with a shaking gun.

This scene is very reminiscent to a scene in one of Jackson’s previous movie Die Hard With a Vengeance where his character Zeus Carver is also held at gunpoint by a nervous cop. The fact that they are played by the same actor only makes the reference even more clever.

6/10 Bruce Enacts Jack Terrence’s Iconic Scene From The Shining

Finding Nemo – The Shining

Pixar has its share of classic films, while also making numerous references to other movies, including their own. Finding Nemo would make a rather humorous reference to a thriller movie. As Bruce is under the influence of blood, he chases the protagonists before crashing into a door, shouting “Here’s Brucey!”

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Which is a famous scene from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining where Jack Terrance terrifies his family by axing a door and shouting “Here’s Johnny!” The scene itself is meant to be unnerving, but Finding Nemo makes it a much more comical scene, despite the gravity of the situation.

5/10 Woody Creepily Spins His Head Akin to Regan MacNeil From The Exorcist

Toy Story – The Exorcist

Toy Story is one of Pixar’s most well-known films, and like many other Pixar films it contains a few references made to other films. The first Toy Story film includes one from the horror film The Exorcist, of all films. As Woody executes a plan in frightening the main antagonist Sid, he rotates his head unnervingly in front of the kid.

This closely resembles how a possessed Regan MacNeil could rotate her head 360 degrees, a graphic scene that scared audiences the first time around. It’s a clever reference, especially since Woody’s intention was to terrify Sid and his success is very satisfying to watch.

4/10 Mushu Mimics One Of Rambo’s Famous Lines

Mulan – Rambo 3

Mulan is one of the most beloved films that Disney has ever produced, with even more likable characters. Mulan herself is an inspiring figure, and her sidekick Mushu is excellent comic relief. Played by the hilarious Eddie Murphy, Mushu helps Mulan during her journey but always keeps the mood light.

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Even during the last battle of the film, Mushu is still funny. One of his funniest instances is when he references Rambo 3, by calling himself “Your Worst Nightmare” to hapless enemy forces, which is exactly what the titular Rambo also ominously utters to his enemies, albeit much more seriously It’s definitely a silly moment, but it still makes viewers laugh whether they understand the reference or not.

3/10 Hercules And His Friends Strike The Karate Kid’s Signature Pose

Hercules – The Karate Kid

Hercules might be an underrated film, but is still considered a classic. The titular character is well-liked by fans because of his inspiring story of becoming stronger and braver. Complete with a training montage featuring Hercules improving, but humorously enough, this montage has a reference made to The Karate Kid.

Hercules and friend’s crane pose is the signature pose of Daniel LaRusso. Whether the inspiration came from The Karate Kid is unknown, but it’s nonetheless a nice allusion to an equally great film with a similar underdog tale.

2/10 Zootopia’s Mr. Big Is A Hilarious Spoof Of The Godfather

Zootopia – The Godfather

Zootopia fares well with fans today and is a memorable film due to its cast of animal characters. One character in particular stands out despite being a relatively minor one: Mr. Big. An arctic shrew whose entire character is a parody to the famous Don Corleone from The Godfather.

Mr. Big embodies all of Don Corleone’s mannerisms, from his style of speech, appearance and having a daughter who was getting married off. The whole scene where Judy and Nick interact with Mr. Big is a comical one, but the reference was warmly received and is fairly obvious to most fans.

1/10 Toy Story 2 Recreates A Near Shot-For-Shot Star Wars Scene

Toy Story 2 – Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Not all sequels are well-received, but Toy Story 2 is deemed one of the better ones. This sequel is liked because of the introduction of new beloved characters and its storyline. However, one of the favorite scenes from the film overall is a minor battle between another Buzz Lightyear toy and an Emperor Zurg toy.

It’s a scene entirely played for laughs, but it’s remembered for its excellent and obvious reference to Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Buzz and Zurg enact the famous battle between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, right down to where Darth Vader reveals that he is Luke’s father-which Zurg also does to Buzz. Despite the shameless reference, it’s a scene that still makes fans giggle.

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