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25 Best Movie Easter Eggs of All Time

February 12, 2019
12 min read

Easter eggs are basically messages or particular references deliberately hidden throughout the movie that the usual movie-goer often fails to notice but they are always there. Pixar movies are famous for self-referential hidden messages throughout their movies. Directors have been trying to sneak in clever nods and references in their movies for a long time just to rouse the curiosity of the most keen-eyed viewers, the movie-buffs.

It is becoming common nowadays to have easter eggs in movies, especially in big franchise films. In fact, Marvel films take a special pleasure in doing that. And why shouldn’t they? After all, easter eggs are a good way to have people talking about and discussing the film. They are also fun. But before easter eggs were made famous by franchise films, several directors still used them. Previously, they used to be little secrets that only directors were privy too who hoped that intelligent audiences might notice them. Here is the list of coolest easter eggs in movies.

25. Catch Me if You Can (2002)

In this Spielberg blockbuster based on the true story of the con man Frank Abagnale Jr. who fooled the entire system of the US, in the scene where DiCaprio playing Frank Jr. gets ambushed in France, the real Frank Abagnale Jr. made a little cameo and was dressed as one of the French Policemen arresting DiCaprio. Frank catching Frank. The irony though!

24. Iron Man (2009)

In this 2008 blockbuster starring Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man, the scene where Stark is taking off his Iron gear after fighting the F-22s, on the left on his work table, you can see Captain America’s shield. This scene was not in the trailers though. It was a little nod to all the upcoming Marvel movies.

23. Wall-E (2008)

Disney and Pixar are known to place a little egg in almost all of their movies. In this animated feature too, the number A113 can be spotted many times. It’s a little nod to the room number of the class where John Lasseter worked when he was in art school.

22. Tron (1982)

In the original Tron movie, the scene where we see the schematics diagram of the bridge of Sark’s battlecruiser, we can clearly see Pacman game being played on the right-hand side of the screen. Hilarious enough, it really fits into the structure of the movie, because it’s a game right?

21. The Dark Knight (2008)

In this Nolan directed movie, Ledger did a great job playing the Joker who at one point blows up the whole hospital with an amazing scene with Two-Face. Joker was dressed as one of the hospital nurses. The catch here is that the nurse uniform that he’s wearing, the badge says “Matilda,” which is the name of Heath Ledger’s daughter.

20. Deadpool (2016)

Ryan Reynolds who played the character of Deadpool does a subtle nod to his Green Lantern character that he did some years back that some consider the worst superhero movie to come out. Even Ryan recognizes that and tries to poke fun of that role throughout this movie, even with the scene where he undergoes the treatment, he says “Please don’t make the suit green, or animated”.

19. I Am Legend (2007)

In this dystopian film starring Will Smith, there is a scene where the future NYC square is shown. There is a movie poster with the Superman logo within the Bat symbol. The Batman-Superman crossover came out in 2016, so this movie kind of predicted the future. While this poster sent frenzy over all fanboys, it turned out to be a joke on the part of the movie crew.

18. Back to the Future (1985)

The scene where Marty McFly takes the time-traveling car and goes back into the 50s, he crashes into a family farmhouse. There, the furious farmer calls his son Sherman, while the mailbox that his bullet hits has the name, Peabody. It is notable here that Sherman & Peabody are cartoon characters with time-travel machine. It is a brief shout out to those fellow time-travelers. Even the dog was Einstein.

17. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

If one takes a closer look at the hieroglyphics of the well of souls in this Spielberg flick starring Harrison Ford, one can find the blurred versions of two familiar characters from Star Wars, R2-D2, and C-3P0. This egg was deliberately kept by Spielberg for the keen-eyed viewers to reward them.

16. King Kong (2005)

In this movie, the scene where the ships approach Skull island, a message coded in Morse Code is received beforehand that supposedly meant the arrest of Jack Black’s character. But if one pays enough attention and tries to decode that Morse Code, it translates to “Show me the monkey!”. That is one epic easter egg.

15. Toy Story (1995)

Toy Story has so many references to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. The carpet in the house has the exact pattern as the hotel in The Shining, the same where Danny plays with his toys. Get it? Also, the number 237 appears recurrently in the movie, a reference to Nicholson’s room number which was the same. 237.

14. The Departed (2006)

This Scorsese’s flick has quite a few easter eggs that are recurrent and hold the key to the movie. For those who have watched the film, there’s a subtle sign of “X” that is shown with the character, just moments before they are going to die. Being a huge film nerd, Scorsese does this as a payoff to 1932’s Scarface where X appeared every time a murder was about to be committed.

13. Harry Potter And the Prisoner Of Azkaban (2004)

The third of the Harry Potter franchise had the “Blink and you’ll miss it” moment at the end credits scene. The Marauder’s Map that helped Harry and others to see the movements of every character inside Hogwarts appeared even in the closing scenes. The movie-makers got a little kinky and snuck in a sex scene at the right-bottom of the screen with two pairs of legs entwined in the position that is the closest they could’ve got while making a PG-rated movie.

12. Weapons selection – Pulp fiction (1994)

All of Tarantino’s movies are said to be connected through some or the other aspect. When it comes to Pulp Fiction, he managed to attach them through the primary weapons used in every film of his. In the scene where Butch is selecting weapons, he comes across a hammer, a bat, and finally a Katana. This maybe a reference to Django, Inglorious Basterds and Kill Bill respectively. Well another explanation is, these are homages to Tarantino’s favourite films, namely The Toolbox murders( hammer), The Untouchables (baseball bat), Texas Chainsaw Massacre (chainsaw), and Yojimbo (Katana).

11. Gotham Opera House – Watchmen (2009)

What could be cooler than Bob Dylan’s soundtrack to the Watchmen intro? The elements of the story and the characters have been very creatively stitched in one another, taking reinforcements from history. Director Zack Snyder has managed to adapt visuals from the graphic novel into film, with some huge Easter eggs as well! In this frame, notice the posters behind- one says ‘Gotham Opera house’ and the couple at the exit. Rings a bell? So the theory goes like this- in this universe, the supposed thief did not kill Thomas and Martha Wayne, leaving Batman a fictional character. Hence the posters to the right.

10. The Tarantula – Enemy (2013)

What may be considered as one the most terrifying endings in cinema, much thought should be given to the spider in Enemy. Notice that every time Jake Gyllenhaal’s relationship is shown with a woman, it follows with visuals of spider in some form. For both the characters played by Jake, they view women as an acute embodiment of unnecessary responsibilities and faithfulness and they’re afraid of it. Also, a female spider kills the male after mating with him, sometimes even before. At the very end after he manages to kill his demons and decides to be faithful with his pregnant wife. But when he looks at the key to the sex club shown at the very beginning, he has the urge to go to it, and hence his wife and the child become a big responsibility again which he’s afraid of. Enemy is a very genius depiction of character’s subconscious and every random looking aspect of it is to be studied upon.

9. Rorschach’s Mask – Watchmen (2009)

Watchmen more or less travels more about Rorschach’s character for a reason- Rorschach isn’t a character, it’s a state of mind. The comic which is used to separate chapters in the movie also has a major part to play- it shows the mind space of Rorschach. Rorschach tries to explain how justice makes sense in an ugly world, when Comedian laughs. Eventually, he also understands why comedian laughed, and the world is worse and beyond repair. That is exactly when and why the symmetrical blots have been shown in the Black Freighter, the comic.

8. Limbo – Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind (2004)

If you have watched the movie, you may have noticed the last scene. It’s not a jump cut, nor a continuity issue- the shot is played twice. Let’s go through Joel and Clementine’s relationship again- it starts, they are in love for a brief period of time. Then they break up, and have their memories erased. But both of them, especially Joel knows the other partner so well that he can map out her location at a given point of time. That results in them meeting again and the entire cycle starts over. Hence the recurring shot-probably one of the simplest ways to explain a complex phenomenon of a closed loop.

7. The Raven – No Country For Old Men (2007)

Anton Chigurh may be one of the best Coen antagonists till date. Throughout the film he pulls off kills so calmly and with such ease, one may like to call him the devil. That’s where Coen brothers point at you and say, “No, he’s more than that”. A literal personification of this statement would be the bridge crossing scene where Anton does not hesitate at all to point his loaded gun at the crow- friend of the devil.

6. The Schrodinger’s Paradox – A Serious Man (2009)

Did it happen or did it not? Mainly through direction, this question arises after every scene- to the character and to the audience. The most prominent example would be when Larry talks to the Korean student about the wad of cash. The student talks about the uncertainty of the chain of events. Following that is the conversation with the father. The last sentence of the talk is “Accept the mystery.” In the next scene Gopnik talks about his brother Arthur writing a probability map of the universe. Arthur then says that if one could bottle this air they could make a million dollars followed by a violent cut. This can be connected to the end when Larry accepts the bribe and the storm starts to appear. This means two things- one, he is actually ‘bottling up the air’ (trying to make money) and second, the actual storm in his life begins now. All in all this movie is entirely based on the Schrodinger’s Paradox and in a genius approach nevertheless.

5. Ouroboros – Arrival (2016)

When the subject of extraterrestrial beings arise, maximum films have more or less the same basic humanoid concept. Arrival is the exact opposite- We have really creative sketches of the whereabouts and the builds of these creatures. For example the language they use, what they have created deals with how they perceive time- like a closed loop, infinite. This intricate subject is depicted in a circle, having variations in blots (much like squid ink). The inspiration for this language generation are Ouroboros- an ancient symbol depicting a Dragon eating its own tail.

4. Ariadne – Inception (2010)

Inception is a movie that you have to watch twice or more to be able to completely understand. Besides the complex storylines, a lot of thought has been put into the characters too. The name Ariadne has been inspired from the Greek mythological character. Ariadne has been associated with mazes, and that itself went on with the term meaning solving of a problem with multiple apparent means of proceeding. While in the movie, she is the architect and knows shortcuts through the maze. That is how she helps Cobb escape from the same.

3. The Painting – Barton Fink (1991)

Well if it isn’t the Coen brothers we’re talking about when discussing about Easter eggs, who are we talking about anyway! Barton Fink may be the most underrated, layered Coen thriller. From the awfully extended bell sound to the photo, everything is so metaphorical that the nuance of it is grasped way later. Right when Barton enters the hotel room, he looks at this photo of a girl on the beach. Every time he is nearing his breaking point, it is shown in the frame. It suggests that he is further loosing grasp of reality, and at the end when a girl enters the scene and he has an epiphany, a seagull dives in the water- another metaphor for us suggesting his mind-space.

2. The Godfather (1972)

Apparently, this Coppola classic had an Easter Orange rather than the usual egg. Someone actually found out that before the deaths of major characters of the story, the premonition of death is given by the presence of tomatoes in the scene. Vito picking up the oranges and putting them in a paper bag, among the notable few. This one was one of the best of the lot.

 1. Fight Club (1999)

Fight Club tops the list of easter eggs in a movie with an epic reveal by David Fincher, the director of this timeless classic, saying “There is a Starbucks cup in EVERY scene of the movie”. If you carefully go through each and every scene of the movie, you can really see a Starbucks cup, but you’ll have to try hard. “There is at least one in every shot”, confirmed Fincher. This was done by Fincher just out of respect for Starbucks that he loves.

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