Where have you seen and heard Buckaroo Banzai quotes or references in films, books, TV shows and Videogames?

References In Films

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

According to Richard Musser and Javanod : This may be a bit of a stretch, but the final scene in Banzai, with the credits rolling and theme music playing, as all the characters join each other and walk together in lockstep, seems to have been "homaged"/borrowed by another good movie, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Actually, the entire Wes Anderson movie owes something to the Banzai legacy, I suspect.

Additional info from IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0362270/trivia : "Wes Anderson has stated the walking sequence in the final credits is an homage to The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984), also starring Jeff Goldblum."

Men in Black

"How about in Men in Black, when cockroach dude calls Will Smith's character "monkey boy"? (Thanks to Laura Yates)


"I don't know how many of you out there are fans of the computer animated show called Reboot. Considering that it's third (and best) season has yet to be picked up in the USA, it'll have been a couple years at least since those south of the border have seen it. However, the fine folks responsible for Reboot have also done a Reboot IMAX ride. This is one of those wraparound screen things with the motion simulator seats.

The ride is *spectacular*. I went to see it for a second time last week and noticed, almost hidden behind some buildings in the background, was a large electronic billboard with the BB logo on it! :) Wahoo!!! :) What a riot! :) I was so pleased that there were fans among the animators responsible that I had to share it. The likelihood of the IMAX ride being distributed Stateside is far more likely than the show getting airtime at this point. Go check it out for a fun time.

The BBI logo is sometimes visible in the ReBoot show as well, but the only ep I can specifically remember off-hand is ep.3.1.1 "To Mend and Defend" which is the first ep of the third season, and which hasn't been shown in the States yet. (Thanks to Lar)

Does anyone know of other ReBoot episodes with the BBI logo in the background? Drop Sean a line at figment@figmentfly.com and let me know.

Into The Night

According to the Buckaroo Banzai Trivia and References Page (http://kumo.swcp.com/synth/text/bb.references/) maintained by Vince Mora : "In the film Into The Night, starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Jeff Goldblum (New Jersey), there is a scene where Goldblum, about to drive away and leave Pfeiffer, gives her a cheerful thumbs-up and with a knowing look on his face says "Banzai!"

Back to the Future

The following information was provided by Scott Tate about the possible Buckaroo Banzai (BB) / Back to the Future (BTTF) connections : "Here's the way I understand it: Someone with clout on the BTTF crew was a Banzai fan. I'm not sure who this was; it might have been Neil Canton, who produced both TABB and the entire BTTF trilogy. Other likely suspects include Dennis Jones, a production manager on both TABB and the first BTTF movie, and perhaps actor Christopher Lloyd, who also had a little something to do with both projects. Anyway, whoever it was decided to include subtle homage to BB in BTTF. For those of you who are worried they've missed something obvious, rest easy: to my knowledge, BTTF contains no direct references to BB--no recycled props, no swiped dialogue, nothing overt.

The most obvious of these indirect allusions is the flux capacitor, which was intended to be vaguely evocative of the oscillation overthruster. Note the similar names. There is even some physical resemblance; this is easiest to see if you cue up both video tapes and directly compare a couple of scenes. First watch the jet car test at the beginning of TABB. When Buckaroo installs the overthruster, we can see that it lights up a triangular display box; as the test gets underway, we see Hikita uncover an identical display back in the bunker. Now let's switch from the test run of Buckaroo's jet car to that of Doc Brown's time-traveling Delorean, about 25 minutes into BTTF. As Doc explains the flux capacitor to Marty, we're shown the device mounted inside the car. There's a suspicious resemblance to the aforementioned overthruster display box. In fact, the lighted Y-shaped flux capacitor looks remarkably like an upside-down version of the overthruster display. Ultimately, of course, both the overthruster and the capacitor are examples of experimental, cutting-edge technology mounted over the driver's right shoulder that allow their respective vehicles to disappear in a blue flash of special fx.

As you can see from this example, the homage was indirect indeed, making it difficult to tell where to draw the line. Many parallels can be drawn, but which were intended and which were only coincidental? Buckaroo Banzai and Marty McFly both have alliterative initials, drive distinctive vehicles, and play lead guitar--is that deliberate? Was singer Huey Lewis' cameo in BTTF meant to be reminiscent of Billy Vera's small role as Pinky Carruthers? The Delorean had to attain 88 mph before it could travel in time; is that a sly nod to Buckaroo's double-B logo, or to his designation as "HB88" during the jet car run? At what point do we stop being insightful and start grasping at straws? It's a tough call. Still, it can be fun to see how bad of a case of deja vu you can develop before your head starts to swim.

As long as I'm pointing out links between BB and BTTF, here are a few more BB alumni who went on to contribute to the BTTF trilogy: actors Read Morgan and Matt Clark, music supervisor Bones Howe, and set decorator Linda DeScenna. I'm not suggesting that all (or even any) of these folks were necessarily part of a conspiracy; I suppose that might be the case, but I'm just making an idle observation of their presence."

Some additional Back to the Future information comes from the Buckaroo Banzai Trivia and References Page (http://kumo.swcp.com/synth/text/bb.references/) maintained by Vince Mora : "(All info obtained from Denise Tathwell, director of the now-defunct Buckaroo Banzai Fan Club at 20th Century Fox.)

Back to the Future has *scores* of deliberate Banzai references, thanks to producer Neil Canton, who also was producer of BB. Among them:

88 mph (crossover speed) .......... 88 is a common Team Banzai icon -- (Jet Car's license plate was HB88, visual similarity between "BB" and "88")

the name "flux capacitor" ......... derived from "oscillation overthruster"

triangular design of flux flux capacitor .... triangular LEDs on Hikita's overthruster readout

Doc calling Marty "futureboy" ..... derived from "monkeyboy"

Doc's silver jacket in 1955 ....... worn by all Black Lectroids (Nova Police uniform)!


References In Novels and Comic Books

According to Chris Wike : DC's "Doc Savage" comic, isuse 3 has a fence with some band names in graffitti on it - REM, Elvis, Iggy Pop, PIL and the one, the only, the amazing Buckaroo Banzai!

According to Geoffrey Depew : In Walter John Williams' 'Hardwired', there's a space-propulsion company called 'Yoyodyne Systems'. The calling of people from the planet surface 'dirtboys' (as opposed to those who grew up in orbit) is also very Banzai-evocative..."

According to Charles Borner : "Subject: The Critical Stress Watermelon

A "version" of Dr. Banzai has made it into the BattleTech universe as well. He's a scientist/doctor/mechwarrior/etc. He appears several times in the "Warrior Trilogy" by Michael Stackpole. Copyright FASA Corporation: 1988-89

Warrior EnGarde
Warrior Riposte
Warrior Coupe

In the final book, the watermelon gets blown apart by a gun-wielding terrorist. And the following automated message played:

"This is an experiment. The watermelon is unimportant except that it shows that you should not touch something you do not understand. This was just an experiment, but next time you could ruin something real."

According to Chris Searls : "How come there is no refrence to the Battletech Mercenary Team Banzai?

You need to go stomping around anybody dealing with old/used RPG stuff. Your looking for the non-revised Technical Readout:3025 (go see the Orion), the long out of print "House Davian" book, the Forth Secsession War Books. Easier to find is the newly re-printed "Warrrior" trilogy by Mike Stockpole."

According to Scott Tate : "The other night, while digging through some older Star Trek material, I chanced across a Banzai reference I haven't heard anyone comment on lately...

On the Promenade area of Deep Space Nine (the long, multi-tiered row of shops), there is a large display board sometimes visible in the background which obviously serves as a directory. (Insiders sometimes jokingly refer to it as DS9's "Rosetta Stone" because it features information in several Trek languages: English, Bajoran, Vulcan, Klingon, Ferengi, etc.) Star Trek signage is infamous for including in-jokes, knowing that the cameras rarely show enough enough detail for the viewing audience to see the joke, and this one is no different. According to the directory, office space on DS9 has apparently been leased by both the Banzai Institute (slot #01-088) and and Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems (03-853). The "88" reference for the Institute is obvious, and I suppose the "3-8" in Yoyodyne's number might tangentially refer to 1938, the year of Orson Welles' "War of the Worlds" broadcast and the Lectroid incursion into Grover's Mill, NJ.

Neighboring businesses include numerous other gags, with references to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Red Dwarf, The Jetsons, Mystery Science Theater 3000, and various members of the DS9 production staff. A detailed illustration of the directory is available in The Making of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens (Pocket Books, 1994; out of print as of this writing)."

According to Dane Johnson : "The Star Trek Technical manual, in the Author's Introduction, has a "special thanks" section for people who served as technical resources. The very last expert is John O'Connor of YPS -- clearly a Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems reference.

Another place to look is issues of The Uncanny X-Men. Well, okay, mid-80's issues of the X-Men. During the period when John Romita Jr. was handling art several Morlocks were shown wearing hats with the BB-in-a-circle logo on them."

According to Doug Springer : "Doc, Tommy, the Blue Blazers and Team Banzai appear in the BattleTech Book Warrior:Riposite by Michael Stackpole.

Tommy (Perfect Tommy) is the slender blonde major with ice blue eyes. The Blue Blazers, the Hong Kong Cavaliers and the Radar Blazers are mentioned as parts of a mercenary unit called Team Banzai. They are fighting for the good guys.

Doc Banzai is a designer of specialty battlemechs. Reno is mentioned as a dark haired ruddy faced man, Rawhide is also mentioned. They lose 2/3 of the regiment on a world called Northwind in the year 3029. It says Doc has lost alot of blood from a battle with Yorinaga Kurita a fearsome warrior general from the Draconis Combine. And in the last it says the Prince has authorized Dr. Banzai to go to the best hospital for treatment. I'm waiting for the reissue of the third book in the trilogy now.

Attached is the E-Mail I (Doug) received from the author Michael Stackpole:


Thanks for the note. Team Banzai had appeared as a merc unit in one of the Btech supplements and FASA wanted me to kill them off, which is what I did there.

Glad you liked the book.

Mike Stackpole"

According to Doug Springer : "Doc and the boys make a big appearance in the BattleTech book WARRIOR:Coupe by Michael Stackpole. In WARRIOR:Coupe Dr. Banzai has the watermelon under continual stress application by a press. I was laughing when I read that."

According to Apache : "There is a Constable John Smallberries in Shakespeare's London in Forever Knight: These Our Revels, a TV tie-in novel for the Canadian vampire show "Forever Knight" (currently in re-runs on the Sci-Fi channel). I put him there; I'm half the author of the book. There's also another, more obscure, Banzai bow -- "soit sage, mon ami" is in there somewhere, which is what Reno says to Mrs. Johnson when she leaps up thinking Penny Priddy is Peggy Banzai. ("Soit sage" is basically French for "be cool.")"


References In TV Shows

According to Henry Rexroad : "While Scott Tate, Matt Dock and Dane Johnson's info is correct, the Buckaroo Banzai references go much further than that. Actually, many of the propulsion systems of all ships on Star Trek (at least ones seen in the show) are built by Yoyodyne systems. There is a Whorfin Class ship on the show, and also, there have been ships shown either on screen or displays the actors are looking at which show names like SS Buckaroo Banzai and USS Whorfin..

Here is a link to info on stuff from the show: http://www.lcarscom.net/unknownclass.htm. This lists Buckaroo Banzai as a ship used in the show. I beleive it was sometime during the first or second season. http://www.lcarscom.net/whorfclass.htm. Info on the "Whorfin Class"

The commissioning plaque for the USS Excelsior with the quote "No matter where you go, there you are" on it from the TV show Star Trek.

The commissioning plaque for the USS Sutherland with "Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems" on it from the TV show Star Trek.

According to Matt Dock : "Though I only recently saw Buckaroo Banzai, the fact that there are references to it throughout Star Trek has been known by me for some time, due to all the books and Encyclopedias I have concerning the show.  One major thing that sticks out is Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems, which is listed in multiple places through the history of Star Trek.  I have complied a small list of the references:

The Enterprise-D's impulse engines are YPS 8063 and YPS 8055 fusion reactors, obviously developed by Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems (pg. 2 of the TNG Tech Manual)

The Dedication Plaque for the USS Sutherland (pg. 107 of the updated Encyclopedia) says the Sutherland was built at the San Francisco Fleet Yards by Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems. 

The Dedication Plaque for the USS Phoenix (pg. 130 of TNG: The Continuuing Mission, which includes a picture of the Oscillation Overthruster on the first page) says the Phoenix was built at the 40 Erandi-A Starfleet Construction Yards by Yoyodyne Division.

A pullout map of the Promenade from the DS9 Tech Manual (at the back of the book) lists all the shops and resturants on the circular Promenade.  The office labeled as #17 is for the Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems. 

The tall directory for the Promenade seen throughout various episodes also has the Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems offices labeled on it.

Also, there is a USS Whorfin NCC-1024, and possibly a Whorfin Class as well, that was listed on a status screen in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.


References In Videogames

According to Brian Hurt : "The Battle-Zone knockoff that is shipped with SGI's has a fairly obvious BB reference. The game, for those who haven't played it, is a classic tanks game, with various large geometric shapes to hide behind and jump on (the tanks can, of course, jump), and various flags to pick up which give you special abilities or disadvantages. One of the flags is called the "Oscillation Overthruster" which allows you to drive through the various obstructions. Which makes for some really weird tactics."

According to Brian Kelly : "I found another Banzai reference. It was in the computer game "Interstate '82" this time. In one scene, Taurus and his friends find some passports and are reading the names. The sound quality on me computer is not too good, but I definately heard him say Smallberries, as in John Smallberries."

According to Brian Kelly : "I have spotted another possible "Buckeroo Banzai" reference or two in computer games. In "Interstate '76", Natty Dread repeatedly calls Skeeter "Monkeyboy". (This is also a play on Skeeter's CB handle, "Monkeywrench".) After a while, Skeeter says "Stop calling me that!" Also, there's another possible one in the classic "Maniac Mansion". Isn't Syd basicly the spitting image of Perfect Tommy?"

According to Paul Lidberg : "Just a note for all the Banzai fans...if you noticed that one of the Kilrathi in Wing Commander II happens to taunt other pilots with "Laugh While You Can, Monkey Boy", the reason is that *I* happen to have done that voice for the game, and I snuck that one into the game. (I also wrote dialogue and worked on gameplay on that one...)"

According to Laredo : "Has anyone noticed the BB reference in the new South Park game? On the door of the mother ship, it says - No Monkey Boys."

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This page was last updated on June 10th, 2016.
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