If you’ve seen The Super Mario Bros. Movie, you know that it’s absolutely filled to the brim with Easter eggs, callbacks, and references to the games and Nintendo history. There’s so much in there that there is no doubt in my mind you missed at least five of the things on this list. Some of these Easter eggs were only on screen for a split second.
In my review of The Super Mario Bros. Movie, I wasn’t too happy with it and said that, given a choice, I probably would not watch it again. I didn’t hate it, but it wasn’t exactly a movie I thought I would turn on again in a month or even a year’s time. Well, that didn’t last long because I suddenly found myself at the theater watching it again with my utmost attention to catch every little detail I could.
This list includes just about everything I could think of that fans of the show or Nintendo would point out— like that meme from Once Upon a Time in Hollywood with Leo on the couch. Some of these were pretty obvious, but not everyone would’ve gotten them or even understood that it’s a reference to something in the Mario universe. Anyways, here’s a list of every single Easter egg in The Super Mario Bros. Movie that I could find.
Easter Eggs in Brooklyn
In the first portion of the film, Mario and Luigi are still in Brooklyn on Earth. The movie opens up with them in Punch-Out Pizzeria, which is almost certainly a reference to the Punch-Out! franchise of games from the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and other Nintendo consoles. There are even a number of portraits inside the pizzeria of different characters from Punch-Out and NES games.
We see a quick commercial where Mario and Luigi do their classic Italian accents. They also are flying in yellow capes at one point, a nod to Cape Mario, a power-up that first appeared in Super Mario World. After we watch Mario and Luigi’s commercial, they cleverly explain that the Italian accents are just to sell themselves better on TV and the white gloves are to make them stand out from other plumbers.
While discussing their Italian accent, a man behind them is playing a Jump Man arcade machine— a spoof of Donkey Kong, where Mario made his first appearance. The man butts in and tells them that their Italian accent is fine. His voice might sound familiar, and it should! That was Charles Martinet, the voice of Mario and Luigi since 1991.
They eventually get interrupted by a guy named Spike, who is supposed to be their former boss at a construction company. This is a direct reference to Wrecking Crew, a Mario game where the player has to destroy different objects on a construction site. The guy’s hat even says, “Wrecking Crew.” Next, Luigi’s phone rings, and it plays the GameCube theme, an extremely popular Nintendo console with a lot of classic Mario games.
As they get their first call to a real plumbing job, their van doesn’t start, but just before the camera pulls back in on them in the van, we can see a glimpse of a store next door to Punch-Out Pizzeria that has the word “Shine” in the same exact styling as Super Mario Sunshine for the GameCube.
They abandon the van, and we see them traverse a construction site on foot much in the same way that the World 1-1 plays out on the original Super Mario Bros. If it wasn’t obvious enough, Mario jumps and rides down a pole, just like at the end of every side-scrolling level. It’s also right in front of a Castle Burger that is shaped like the castles from the games. You might have even spotted the Game & Watch guy on a truck right before they cut through the construction site as well as on a hazard sign in the construction site itself.
When they go inside the customer’s house, on the upper landing behind Luigi, as Mario pulls him into the bathroom, you can spot a painting of the dog from Duck Hunt doing his signature pose when you miss. There’s also a glass statue of a Pikmin from the franchise of the same name.
After destroying the bathroom and going home, Charles Martinet makes another appearance as the voice of their father. They also discuss their white gloves and explain that it’s a trademark that helps them stand out.
Mario is playing an NES in his room, specifically Kid Icarus from 1986. His room is filled with Easter eggs like the battleship from the Star Fox games and a Falcon poster from the F-Zero franchise.
He shuts the game off and watches a woman on TV saying that the flooding in Brooklyn is under control. That woman is Mayor Pauline, the original damsel in distress in Donkey Kong and the mayor of New Kong City in Super Mario Odyssey.
After he sees the news about the flood and leaves, there’s a French restaurant called “Chasse au Canard,” which might have gone over your head unless you notice the birds— or knew it’s French for “Duck Hunt.”
After they fall through the cement wall in the sewers and find the warp zone, they pass a sign labeled “Level 1-2,” the first underground level in the original Super Mario Bros. game. The Underground Theme from the game also starts playing at this point. After they get separated in the warp pipes, the Easter eggs tone down a bit from here on out.
Just kidding, there are like a million more.
Every Reference in the Mushroom Kingdom
As Mario looks around at the Mushroom Kingdom, the original theme song starts playing. After meeting Toad, some Biddybuds appear, walking in a line along with a few Bramballs. We quickly switch to Luigi in the Dark Lands, where the Luigi’s Mansion theme is playing, and he’s holding a flashlight just like from the game. He gets attacked by some Dry Bones and Shy Guys who kidnap him.
Back in the Mushroom Kingdom, there are some Toads hitting blocks for coins, a Cheep Cheep in a bag, and a Toad selling all sorts of items seen throughout the games, especially in Mario Party. Cue more classic Mario music, Mario commenting on floating bricks, and pipe travel with that iconic sound.
They finally make it to Peach’s castle, where the theme song of the same name plays. The guards try to pull that classic “the princess is in another castle line,” which has been frustrating players since its inception. There are a number of paintings inside the castle that resemble similar ones from Super Mario 64. Also, the obstacle course Mario has to run through to prove to Peach that he is worthy has elements from just about every side-scrolling Mario game.
Back on Bowser’s ship, we see a Chain Chomp, a Bob-omb, Goombas, more Koopas, and Spinies (the “whatever those things are”). Luigi has a flashback to their youth where they’re the baby versions of themselves seen commonly throughout the games, but if you blink, you’ll miss the blue turtle ride in the background of the playground— Squirtle from the Pokémon series. The piano Bowser plays “Peaches” on is Ludwig von Koopa’s, the leader of the Koopalings and first introduced in Super Mario Bros. 3.
Back in the Mushroom Kingdom, the Toads play the theme when Mario finishes a level on their Trumpets as they leave for the Jungle Kingdom. As they begin their walk, we see a cannon and an island in the sky, a direct reference to Super Mario 64 and the star on the, well, island in the sky. There’s also a herd of Yoshis running in the background as they pass by a river; they’re very hard to miss.
The Secrets of the Jungle Kingdom and Rainbow Road
Further along the road, as they get closer to the Jungle Kingdom, Peach uses the fire flower to light their campfire. It’s pretty disappointing we never get to see Mario use the same power. We quickly cut to Luigi, who is now in a cage hovering over lava next to an extremely happy Luma who can’t wait to die from Super Mario Galaxy.
Cut back to Peach, Mario, and Toad, who’s finally arrived at the Jungle Kingdom. Their escort throws a banana peel on the track that causes another karter to crash violently, a reference to Mario Kart. We see some golden bananas behind King Cranky Kong, a possible reference to the Donkey Kong games that use them all too often.
As Mario is fighting Donkey Kong, we see Diddy Kong, Chunky Kong, and Dixie Kong. They also use the legendary DK Rap when Donkey Kong first appears on the screen. One of the Kongs is wearing a shirt with the number 64, a reference to the Nintendo 64 console. The battle stage is made up of construction girders, very similar to the first battlefield Mario and Donkey Kong would have ever fought on in the original game.
After Mario eats a mini mushroom, he finds the Cat Mario power-up after using the super bell from a box. Donkey Kong throws barrels at Mario and uses two signature fighting moves, the clap, and the uppercut. Next, we see them build their own karts just like the newer Mario Karts allow you to do. We also get glimpses of two more famous Kongs: Funky Kong and Kiddy Kong.
Going back to Bowser quickly, he’s now practicing proposing to a dressed-up Kamek while wearing a white hat just like he wore in Super Mario Odyssey. Bowser decides to intercept them on Rainbow Road, a standard map in every single Mario Kart. Here we see a ton of classic weapons being used, like bananas, red shells, green shells, and bullet bills. Mario also drifts at a few points, a common technique in the newer games. They even included that you can hop off Rainbow Road and land back on it further down the track.
The race ends with Mario and Donkey Kong falling into the ocean after a blue shell explodes and being eaten by a Maw-Ray, which first appeared in Super Mario 64. The Maw-Ray also eats a Blooper at one point.
The Wedding and Bowser’s Defeat
At the wedding, we see King Boo and King Bob-omb, two major antagonists throughout the series. Peach, at this point, uses an Ice Flower to freeze Bowser and save her imprisoned friends. We first saw Ice Flowers in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time. Cue Mario and Donkey Kong going through another sidescrolling level, where Mario turns into Tanooki Mario after hitting a power-up block.
After blowing up the warp pipe with a Bullet Bill and heading back to Brooklyn, there are only a few more Easter eggs left. The first one is a carwash with a man holding two balloons, a reference to Balloon Fight from 1984.
The second one is the Disk-Kun sign featuring Diskun, the Famicom mascot. You can see it in the background right before Donkey Kong, Peach, and Toad get trapped under rubble. There’s also some wall art on a building featuring Nintendo’s original playing cards. If you aren’t aware, Nintendo didn’t always make video games. They used to be a playing card company back in the early 1900s.
Right at the very end, we hear that iconic superstar music that we all know and love. You also get a better view here of the Chasse au Canard French restaurant if you missed it when they were in Brooklyn at the beginning. Last but not least, Mario and Luigi swing Bowser around by his tail right from Super Mario 64 and other installments.
Phew, that was a lot of Easter eggs. I don’t even want to try and count how many references and callbacks there were; I know for a fact I didn’t mention every piece of the soundtrack that was from the original series. I probably even missed a few Easter eggs or just failed to add them in. If we missed one, let us know in the comments, and we will try and squeeze it in on this list!