Saturday, March 05, 2011

Rango Cheatsheet

Impress your friends and family by identifying these film references in the animated Western film Rango!

It starts off by breaking the 4th wall. Various characters use their forefinger to draw a square (the "fourth wall") no less than three times in the film. There are also lots of self-conscious screenwriting terms and phrases like "Every story needs a hero", "What our story needs is conflict", "It is metaphor", etc.

Here are the film references I spotted starting from the beginning:

Cat Ballou/Blazing Saddles: musicians singing story are visible to us and to the players in the film.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: when Rango is flung against a windscreen

Big Lebowski: Chameleon/rock creature sounds like Jesus Quintana ("dios mio!")

Sergio Leone's "No Name" Trilogy:
(Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and GB&U)
Spirit of the West = The "Man with No Name" i.e. Clint Eastwood
Rattlesnake Jake = Lee van Cleef
Good, Bad and Ugly (GB&U) = bird's cry used to bleep swear word
Once Upon a Time in the West = squeaky windmill from opening sequence

Django: the gattling gun in Rattlesnake Jake's tail

Star Wars IV: visual echoes of Mos Eisley Cantina in the Saloon
ALSO the fight in canyon is like final Death Star canyon sequence

Jabba the Hut (Star Wars IV) & Buford the Barkeep (Rango)
True Grit: Rango calls little girl Priscilla "Little Sister"

Jurassic Park: dinosaur/bird uncovers someone on the toilet

Chinatown: Ned "The Mayor" Beatty mimics John Huston's villain AND
Chinatown: theme of water in desert, drowned man in desert, etc...

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance: hero is a fraud

High Noon: hero discards badge/star

Apocalypse Now: bats/helicopters fly out to Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries"

There are also references to Ghostbusters, Planet of the Apes and Deliverance. (See the comments below... and add your own!) 


  1. guitar/banjo playing in the airborne The Hills Have Eyes characters on bats - Deliverence, Appocolypse Now, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Star Wars in a single sequence.

  2. Chase sequence with Jake (Jake as in Chinatown) is Raising Arizona. What with the "We Ride" sequences - the long shots seem really familiar but I can't remember. Alice In Wonderland with the rolly-polly bugs instead of hedgehog golf.