Aladdin is a movie containing pop-culture and historical references galore, many of which we may have not recognized as kids. Sometimes we hadn’t heard of the person being referenced, and other times it was simply a joke that went over our heads—sometimes a bit of both! We recently re-watched Aladdin and noticed quite a few jokes and references that we did not catch when we were growing up and compiled them into this handy list. Did you catch any of these when you saw Aladdin for the first time?
1) Genie’s pretty amazing Arnold Schwarzenegger impression.
This was, obviously, in reference to Arnold the bodybuilder of the ‘90s. We definitely did not get this reference as kids because we were too young to be aware of him when Aladdin came out in 1992.
2) The line “you big nabob” in “Friend Like Me.”
Honestly, we had to look up “nabob” just now to learn what it means. Apparently it means “a person of great wealth or prominence.” So now we all know!
3) Genie’s quick flash of Groucho Marx.
Now that we are older, we’ve come to know much more about comedian/actor/writer/all-around impressive talent Groucho Marx, but as kids, we just thought this was Genie being funny with a silly, fast-talking character. This reference also happens so quickly it’s easy to miss!
4) Genie’s Robert De Niro impression.
We had obviously never seen any Robert De Niro films as kids. This joke was clearly for the parents in the theatre. Thanks to the talent of Robin Williams and the spot-on posture in the animation, this is actually a really solid De Niro impression.
5) “Et tu, Brute?”
As children, we were not yet privy to the supposed final words of Julius Caesar, but now that we are older we totally *get it*. Good one, Genie!
6) Genie’s Arsenio Hall reference.
The Arsenio Hall Show was a show that aired in the early ‘90s, making this reference a very timely one when Aladdin came out in 1992. Arsenio Hall would often perform this signature move and chant during his show. We had no idea!
7) Genie’s Rodney Dangerfield impression.
No, we did not know who comedian Rodney Dangerfield was as kids, plain and simple! This was another one for the adults in the theatre.
8) Genie’s Jack Nicholson impression.
Show me a child who can tell you who Jack Nicholson is. I’ll wait. I’ll only believe you if you show me Pinocchio.
9) When Genie plays “Stars and Stripes Forever” as a one-man band!
We didn’t recognize the John Philip Sousa American classic as kids, which would probably disappoint our parents. But hey, now we know! Regardless, we loved this part as kids—how can you not love a band where Genie plays all the instruments at once? He’s drumming on his head! Our inner child is LOLing.
What Genie references went over your head as a kid? Were there any we didn’t catch? Let us know in the comments!