10 Incredible Movie Parodies Nobody Noticed

Tom Cruise hilariously sent himself up in Knight and Day but everybody ignored it.

The Big Lebowski
Universal Pictures

Who doesn't love a good movie parody? Though card-carrying parodies and spoofs have largely declined in popularity over the last decade, many of cinema's finest parodies are so deftly, slyly crafted that you probably never even realised they were parodies at all.

Sometimes a cunning enough filmmaker can sneaky a parody into a superficially straight-laced film, enough that most casual viewers simply take it at face value, and so it falls to more switched-on audience members to realise the wink-wink subtext.

As inspired by this fantastic Reddit thread, these 10 movies all offered up delirious parodies that largely fell upon deaf ears with the overwhelming majority of audience members - at least on an initial watch.

In some cases the parody is deployed subtly enough that viewers shouldn't be too hard on themselves, while in others it seems so blindingly obvious in retrospect that you wonder how anyone could possibly see it another way.

The lesson here? You can't ever know for sure what the filmmaker's intent is when watching a film, and what you might peg as a flaw or unintentionally funny moment might actually be completely deliberate...

10. True Lies

The Big Lebowski
Universal Pictures

Though few would hold True Lies up as one of James Cameron's very best movies, it is a terrifically entertaining action comedy in its own right, even if some ding it a few points for how aggressively over-the-top and ridiculous it is.

Yet the film, a steroid-infused remake of the 1991 French spy comedy La Totale!, is conceived from the ground-up as a thinly-veiled parody of cartoonish action films and spy thrillers, a fact which many viewers seemingly failed to appreciate.

By the time Jamie Lee Curtis drops an Uzi down a flight of stairs and it shoots all the bad guys dead, and the movie climaxes with Arnold Schwarzenegger firing the Big Bad from a missile while quipping, "You're fired," it's probably worth considering the possibility that one of the most successful filmmakers of all time is in on the joke.

That's not to ignore how utterly absurd it is to cast somebody of Arnie's oak-like stature in the role of a conspicuous secret agent.

The beauty of True Lies is that it manages to be a genuinely thrilling example of the very genre it's parodying, which is much harder than it sounds.


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.