Did You Ever Notice All Of These Brilliant Pop Culture References In Shrek?

You might think I’m being a bit ogre the top here… but Shrek is absolutely jam-packed with references to other films.

What’s more is, you probably never even noticed half of them.


Well, I’m going to enlighten you. Why? Because it’s really, really, REALLY important that you know obviously.

Ok so this sort of knowledge isn’t exactly going to help you solve world hunger, nor will it get you that dream job that you’re after. But we think Shrek is one of those films that’s so underrated that it needs some light shedding on it. Especially because it’s so incredibly clever, with dozens of hidden meanings and relations to other pop culture classics.

And that’s a good enough reason for me…

So check out this list and see if you noticed them all the first time around!

1. Notice how Princess Fiona went all grasshopper on Robin Hood’s Merry Men?

Of course, this is a reference to the popular (if not incredibly confusing) film The Matrix. Most people will have caught on to this one whilst watching but I thought I’d start with an easy one. Hii…Yaah


2. When Puss in Boots popped out of Shrek’s chest

Look familiar? It will do if you’ve ever seen the film, Alien. In which the grotesque creature breaks through John Hurt’s rib cage and forces its way out of his chest, in a bloody and slightly terrifying scene. Can’t say I was quite as scared whilst watching Shrek.

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3. When Pinocchio channeled his inner Ethan Hunt to save Donkey, Puss, and Shrek

If you’ve never seen Mission Impossible then this is one of its most famous scenes. If you have, I’m sure you picked up on this reference. If you didn’t then you clearly weren’t paying attention because this was another easy one!


4. That famous upside-down kiss

Ah, when Shrek and Fiona’s love was blossoming web-slinger style. A tribute to Spiderman, well one of the older ones. There’s been like a hundred I swear!

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5. Fiona’s Seven Year Itch

You’d have to have had your head buried in the sand not to be familiar with Marilyn Monroe’s iconic skirt ‘moment’. If you ask me, I think Fiona might have pulled it off even better. It’s probably a good thing no one’s asking me though.


6. When Dragon ate Lord Farquad in the exact same way the T-Rex in Jurassic Park did

Maybe this is just a popular way for big scary man-eating beasts to eat small, puny humans. Or… maybe this is a direct reference to the legendary Dinosaur flick. I’m going to go with the second one.


7. The bridge breaking on the way to the castle is very Indiana Jones-esque

The Temple of Doom is one of the most popular films of all time… so why not steal a small detail from it for added effect? No one will ever notice… except us of course.

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8. Whilst we’re talking about Indiana Jones…

Remember when Puss saves his hat from being lost forever in the Fairy Godmother’s factory? That’s a classic Temple of Doom moment if ever I’ve seen one!


9. P is for Puss… in Boots

I feel as though they might have had to side-step some copyright infringement laws with this one, but it looks like they got away with it! The great Zorro would be proud, or incredibly offended. Actually, it’s probably neither as Antonio Banderas voiced the character…

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10. Puss copied Flashdance too!

It’s a good thing the makers of Shrek were copying well-renowned movie moments in a purposely obvious way because you don’t get much more obvious than the iconic ‘being sat in a chair whilst water pours on you’ snapshot.

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11. From Here To Eternity

This could’ve been a beautiful rendition of the beach scene in the 1953 hit film if Shrek hadn’t have mixed Fiona up with a mermaid. Not just any mermaid either, THE Little Mermaid. What’s he playing at!

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12. Even The Fairy Godmother was in on it

In this scene, she was giving her all to resemble pop culture classic The Fabulous Baker Boys, despite also trying so hard to be the ironic villain at the same time. Multi-tasking at its finest.

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13. When Fiona managed to catch her wedding ring perfectly on her finger

Are you surprised at just how many films are referenced in Shrek yet? I am and I already knew all of these! This one is from The Lord Of The Rings when Frodo catches ‘the one ring’ and vanishes into thin air.


14. Mongo the giant gingerbread man looks kind of familiar

Ok, so he’s not exactly the spitting image of the Stay Puft Marshmellow man from Ghostbusters, but he did parade around Far Far Away wreaking havoc just as his predecessor did in New York.

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15. “That’ll do Donkey, that’ll do”

Well, that’s a direct quote from the English film Babe, easy. If you don’t recognize the Shrek scene, it’s from when they just crossed the moat on their way to rescue Fiona. But you already knew that…


16. Prince Charming got awfully lucky

This one isn’t for the film novices out there. This one is when Prince Charming is fortunate enough to be standing in the exact position of the window of a falling set piece, which in turn saves him from being flattened. It’s actually a reference to a similar scene in Steamboat Bill Jr, in which Buster Keaton stars. Well, we think…


17. Remember when Shrek was arrested?

In Shrek 2, he was angrily filmed live after being arrested as if he were on the popular 90’s tv show ‘Cops‘.

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18. When Lord Faarquad broke Gingy’s legs, he never gave up

He got back on the treadmill and referenced The Six Million Dollar Man in the process, with matching music and everything. Ah, great film… well, it was alright. I think Gingy would be the most underrated character in the film series if it wasn’t for that annoying voice!

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19. Remember the last line of the first movie?

If you were still paying attention at this point (which you should’ve been because it’s a great film!), you might have noticed that Gingy references Tiny Tim from A Christmas Carol.

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20. That scene when they’re shouting each other’s names feels familiar too

The scene where Shrek meets Fiona’s parents doesn’t exactly go well, but at least it gives reference to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Well, at first I wasn’t sure but after realizing the numerous other films hidden within the series, it’s hard to believe they didn’t do this on purpose!


What do you think to these then? Did you notice all of these references the first time around… and be honest! There’s probably even more in there too that we haven’t even picked up on yet, but you might have…

Let me know in the comments!