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Having noted the success of Disney's Mary Poppins, its 1964 Edwardian Era Musical, Metro Goldwyn Mayer sought three years later to re-establish its position as the leading purveyor of musical films by hiring the Sherman Brothers, the same song-writing team that had scored Poppins, to adapt another period piece into a big-budget musical extravaganza. The result was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang .

Caractacus Potts (an English inventor with an American accent played by Dick Van Dyke) rebuilds an old wreck of a race-car and makes a few slight improvements, such as giving it the ability to sail and to fly. With his kids, grandfather and the beautiful daughter of a candy mogul, Caractacus travels to the distant, vaguely mitteleuropäisch land of Vulgaria (location shooting for the film version was done around the Bavarian castle of Neuschwanstein and in the medieval town of Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber), where they get in trouble with the country's Evil Aristocrat leaders who hate children, but like their car (hey, it's better than a Lada). Naturally, they steal both.

The book it's based on was written by Ian Fleming. Yes, THAT Ian Fleming. The movie itself was directed by Albert Broccoli of the same fame. Gert Fröbe, who played the Baron, also played Auric Goldfinger. Benny Hill was the Toymaker. Oh, and the screenwriter was Roald Dahl. Seriously, you can't make this stuff up.

Tropes used in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang include:
  • Aerith and Bob: The Potts children are named Jeremy and, uh... Jemima.
  • Accidental Aiming Skills: The Baron tries to shoot his own wife when she gets launched into the air and held up with a Parachute Petticoat under the pretense he's trying to hep her down. But he does succeed in popping her dress and having her land safely, much to his disappointment.
  • All Just a Dream: All the parts with Vulgaria and the car flying (except the very end) are a story Potts tells to his children while on a date with Truly.
    • Except in the stage musical, where we are expected to believe all this really happened.
    • Of course this introduces the Fridge Logic of how a mundane Chitty can fly at the very end if the rest was made up. What is the point of All Just a Dream if it there is no consistency?
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Baron and Baroness Bomburst, the leaders of Vulgaria
    • Though averted hard with Truly Scrumptious, who is, well...
  • Attack! Attack! Retreat! Retreat!: The lone Vulgarian foot soldier following behind the cavalry, when the gates close behind him.
  • The Baroness: The Baroness
    • Unlike most examples, this Baroness is in fact an actual baroness. She is married to a baron and lives in the capital of a barony.
  • Black Humor: Toward the end of the film, several characters are thrown into the lake near Neuschwanstein Castle. If you know the history of Neuschwanstein (there were several tragic drownings in that lake), this is a lot darker.
  • Brick Joke: On the way back to Vulgaria, the two spies are thrown off the zeppelin when Baron Bomburst tries to lighten it. Later, we see the spies having swum all the way back, but because the Vulgarian people are fighting at the castle, they head back into the water to swim away.
  • Child-Hater: Having been invented by Roald Dahl, Vulgaria naturally has its whole culture built (very illogically) around this.
  • Childless Dystopia: Vulgaria.
  • Chroma Key: Used to make Chitty fly. You can see blue matte lines in some shots, especially around Jeremy and Jemima's hair and inside the see-through trim on Truly's hat.
  • Cool Boat: Chitty can float as well as fly.
  • Cool Car: Guess...
  • Creator Backlash: For many years, Heather Ripley, who played Jemima, never talked about the movie because her parents divorced during its making. However, her attitude towards this movie has become fonder now.
  • Dawson Casting: Truly Scrumptious was supposed to be in her twenties, though Sally Ann Howes was in her mid-thirties when she took the part.
  • Driving Into a Truck: Lord Scrumptious is captured by being tricked, Looney Tunes-style, into driving up into the back of a truck.
  • Eagle Land:

 Spy 1: But I can speak English and still be Vulgar(ian).

Spy 2: That would make you an American.

  • The Edwardian Era
  • Ejection Seat: When Baron Bomburst commands Grandpa to make the eponymous car fly, Grandpa presses a button at random that sends the Baroness shooting skyward out of her seat. (See Parachute Petticoat, below.)
  • Fatal Method Acting: Narrowly averted. Robert Helpmann's dancing reflexes saved him when he was riding the Child Catcher's carriage and it turned on its side too quickly. Helpmann leapt off in time, amazingly unharmed.
  • Flying Car: Chitty, obviously.
    • Furthermore it's at least ten years before the invention of the first reliable helicopter, and yet Chitty has vertical propellers!
  • Genre Adultery: Based on a children's book written by a man famous for gritty spy novels.
  • Gentleman Adventurer: Played with. Grandpa Potts thinks he's this trope, but he's really just insane.
    • More likely just eccentric, he never seems to take it seriously beyond the cosplay.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress
  • Have a Gay Old Time: "You'll find a slight squeeze on the hooter an excellent safety precaution, Miss Scrumptious."
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Auric Goldfinger is a toy-craving, child-hating manchild?
    • Bert the Sweep apparently stopped even pretending to have a British accent.
  • Intermission
  • It Will Never Catch On: Among Caractacus's not-quite-working inventions are a television antenna and a vacuum cleaner.
  • Mad Scientist: Not merely Caractacus himself (who, as his father says, is "Eccentric -- definitely eccentric. Can't think where he gets it from!"), but also a collection of (rather grotesque) inventors forced by the Baron to work on a supercar for himself.
    • At least one of them was just a telephone repair guy whom the baron kidnapped.
  • Man Child: Baron Bomburst, ironically
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: Believe it or not, Robert Helpmann, who played the terrifying Child Catcher, was extremely kind, especially towards the children.
  • Meaningful Name: Caractacus Potts. Dick Van Dyke himself once said it was just a long form for "crackpot".
    • Lampshaded in the case of Truly Scrumptious with the song that bears her name. ("By coincidence, Truly Scrumptious, you're truly, truly scrumptious.")
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: C'mon now? Bomburst? (Not to mention "Vulgaria"?)
  • No OSHA Compliance: The Scrumptious candy factory doesn't have handrails and has some of the boiling vats of sugar sitting on the edges...
  • The Nose Knows: The Childcatcher's huge nose lets him track people's scent.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Dick Van Dyke is in a movie set in England with English actors playing the other members of his family and he still uses his American accent. Of course, we all know what happened the last time he attempted a British accent.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: The Baroness
  • Oh Crap: At first, the children when they realize the Childcatcher has joined the battle. But then the Childcatcher himself when he realizes he's outnumbered.
  • Parachute Petticoat: Happens to the Baroness when she is launched from Chitty's Ejector Seat.
  • Parenting the Husband: Baron and Baroness Bomburst
  • Percussive Maintenance: When the giant music box that is given to the Baron as a gift for his birthday doesn't start up correctly, a swift kick from Caractacus gets it started again.
  • Playing Gertrude: Lionel Jeffries, who plays Grandpa Potts, was actually six months younger than Dick Van Dyke.
  • Plunger Detonator: Complete with the Looney Tunes gag of the detonator exploding instead of the dynamite.
  • Punny Name: Truly Scrumptious
    • Also, Caractacus (say it really fast, and drop the "acus") Potts.
      • Possibly Lampshaded when Caractacus asks his children if they believe he's a crackpot.
    • Ironically, despite Fleming's penchant for women with Punny Names in his Bond novels, Truly Scrumptious was invented by Roald Dahl. Lord "Skrumshus" didn't have a daughter in the novel.
  • Pushed in Front of the Audience: Mr. Potts at the fair lets this happen when he realizes it will hide him from the angry customer to whom he just gave a horrible haircut.
  • Recursive Adaptation: There was a Novelization by John Burke of the movie, scripted by Roald Dahl from the original book by Ian Fleming, since the movie script wasn't really close to the original at all. In it, all the scenes in Vulgaria are more explicitly said to be Potts' fantasies due to his inability to cope with the loss of his wife.
  • Rube Goldberg Device: Pretty much everything in the Potts Household is set up this way, by Caractacus himself.
  • Running Gag: Truly ends up in a boggy pond whenever she's driving by the Pottses.
  • Ruritania: Vulgaria.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: There's a reason he called the Childcatcher, His nose knows.
  • Shipper on Deck: Jeremy and Jemima work very hard to get their dad Caractacus together with Truly.
  • Shout-Out: During breakfast, Grandpa Potts tells everyone "I got up this morning, and I shot an elephant in my pajamas.", making everyone say in unison "How it ever got into my pajamas, I shall never know."
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Played with. The lyrics and tempo of "Chu-Chi Face" make it sound like the Baron and Baroness are this trope. But throughout the song, the Baron makes repeated attempts to kill her while she seems to remain oblivious.
  • Sinister Schnoz: The Child-Catcher.
  • The Sixties: The original novel was set in early-60s Britain, with the eponymous car being a vintage barn-find Caractacus bought because neither he nor anyone else in the Potts family wanted to be the twelfth family on the block with a black Morris Minor.
    • (May possibly be The Fifties combined with Did Not Do the Research: A highway mentioned early in the novel did not exist until the 1960s, but Fleming may not have known that.)
  • Steampunk: The movie has a steampunk sensibility, but Chitty is a 20th century gasoline-powered vehicle, and the mood is the very opposite of "punk". The novel is set in the 1960s and is definitely not steampunk.
    • The setting is still not "punk" but Diesel Punk might be a closer match for Chitty herself.
  • Swing Low, Sweet Harriet: Truly on her garden swing. Rrrrowrrr...
  • Those Magnificent Flying Machines: Chitty and the Baron's blimp. Early in the film, Caractacus attempts to build a set of rocket wings, as well. Epic Fail.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The children are told point blank about the Child Catcher, ordered to stay put, and not to go outside no matter what...and they still go running after him with the call of sweets in hand.
    • The worst of it is that they had seen the Child Catcher before and yet they were fooled by his Paper-Thin Disguise.
  • Trap Door: Baron Bomburst tries to dispose of his wife through one.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: The baron and Baroness.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The episode of the two spies dressed as "English gentlemen" may be based on a World War II story in which two German spies were apprehended in the fen-country of Norfolk because (having been misled by P. G. Wodehouse and other similar English authors) they had attempted to pass as Englishmen by wearing spats and top-hats, both unsuitable to the terrain and hopelessly out of fashion by the 1940s.
    • Caractacus is reputed to be partially based on Henry Leland.
  • Villain Love Song: "You're my little chuchi face!"
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