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Ghost is a 1990 movie starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, and Whoopi Goldberg in the performance that won her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar (which she attributes to Swayze insisting on her being cast in the part).
Executive Sam Wheat and his artist girlfriend Molly are a pair of yuppies living in SoHo New York. They're in love, though Sam seems to have a little difficulty coming right out and saying it, and can only manage "ditto" when Molly tells him she loves him.
On their way home one night, Sam is mugged and killed. Here the real story begins, as the violent murder plus the fact that Sam had the unfinished business of never truly telling Molly he loves her causes him to stick around as a ghost. Then Sam discovers there's more to his death than just making him an unfortunate statistic in mugger-prone New York.
If you've ever thought to yourself, "Great movie, but you know what Ghost was missing? Musical numbers!," you're in luck. Ghost hits Broadway in 2012.
- Alone with the Psycho: Averted. Carl was trying to keep Molly's good opinion of him, and only revealed himself as the psycho as he became desperate.
- And I Must Scream: The fate of Willy and Carl when they die.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Sam, and a man on an operating table.
- Badass Longcoat: The Train Ghost.
- Big Applesauce: Hodgepodge piecing together of Brooklyn and Manhattan.
- Big Bad: Carl.
- Bittersweet Ending: With a little help from Oda Mae, Sam saves Molly from Carl, also bringing an end to the money laundering he was behind, and he finally tells her he loves her. But after all is said and done, he's dead and can never come back.
- Body Surf: Oda Mae is nonplussed to discover that she is a vehicle for ghosts, as well.
- Chekhov's Skill:
- Sam encounters a ghost in the subway who somehow breaks a window. Later on, Sam tips over a picture frame. So he comes back to the ghost to teach him how to touch solid objects.
- Molly's ghost-sensing cat.
- Couldn't Find a Pen:
- Sam writing "BOO" on the steamed bathroom mirror in Willy's apartment. Cheap but effective!
- Later, Sam freaks out the Big Bad by typing "SAM" repeatedly on his computer monitor.
- Dead Person Conversation: Inverted, as Oda Mae's conversations with Sam make everybody think she's crazy, but she's not.
- Death by Irony: Carl impotently swings a hook at Sam's ghost -- only for it come back and him and smash into a glass pane, killing him.
- Death Is Dramatic: Sure as Hell it is...
- Dragged Off to Hell: Willy, and later Carl. The Hospital Ghost implies this is the fate of other evil people when they die.
- The Dragon: Willy is this to Carl.
- Evil-Detecting Dog: Exploited - Molly's cat goes berserk when it senses Sam's ghost. It lashes at Willy's face, alarming Molly and foiling his break-in attempt.
- Final Speech: Subverted. Sam gets a poignant goodbye to Molly...after he's already dead, and has been dead for some time.
- Finding Judas: Subverted. Carl was plotting behind the scenes, but it wasn't for the greater good, and he really was the villain. He was perfectly willing to seduce Molly or kill her to forward his plans.
Sam: WHY! YOU WERE MY FRIEND! I HAD A LIFE, YOU BASTARD! I had a life...
- Foreign Remake: Would you believe a Japanese-Korean version? With a Gender Flip, yet?
- For Want of a Nail: If Willy had only stolen Sam's wallet and not killed Sam, things would have gone a lot differently.
- Four Is Death: Four million dollars was the cause of this tragedy...
- Fright Deathtrap
- Ghostly Goals: Protect his girlfriend.
- Go Into the Light: The way Sam ascends.
- Hands-On Approach: The Signature Scene with the pottery machine.
- He Also Did: Directed by one of the Zucker brothers. Yes, those Zucker brothers.
- Hope Spot: After his own death, Carl is revived as a ghost, and he seems like he's happy to see Sam. Unfortunately, it's too little too late...
- I Uh You Too: "Ditto." Inverted at the end: when Sam finally manages to say "I love you" to Molly, thereby ensuring his Ascension to a Higher Plane of Existence, it's her who replies with "ditto".
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Carl, courtesy of a shattered window pane.
- Involuntary Charity Donation: Whoopi Goldberg's character, the psychic Oda Mae Brown, does a variation of this to the villain - with Sam's help, she's able to steal the money from a special account, turn it into a check and donate it to a nuns' charity.
- Jacob Marley Apparel: Sam spends the entire movie in the burgundy polo and jeans he was wearing when he was murdered.
- Japan Takes Over the World: Sam, in preparation for a big client, practicing saying basic phrases in Japanese.
- Jerkass: The Subway Ghost.
- Karmic Death: Willy and Carl, who surely did have it coming.
- Know When to Fold'Em: Oda Mae leaves both Sam and Molly to their own devices after Sam mentions "there's somebody else involved". She probably doesn't want to be added to that list.
- Large Ham: Vincent Schiavelli as the Subway Ghost.
LIKE TRAINS?! GET OFF MY TRAIN! GET OFF! GET OFF!!
- Look Both Ways: While fleeing from Sam's ghost, Willy gets sandwiched between two speeding cars.
- Loud of War: Sam terrorizes Oda Mae with Herman's Hermits until she agrees to help him.
♪ OHHH I'M 'ENRY THE EIGHTH, I AM! 'ENRY THE EIGHTH, I AM, I AM.... ♪
Second verse, same as the first...
- The Mafia: It's hinted that Carl is laundering drug money for a mob boss.
- Magical Negro: Oda Mae, who for a good part of the movie does NOT want to become one. She inherited from her mother, who got it from her grandmother. They say she'll get it too, but never believed them.
- Midlife Crisis Car: Carl's new sports car. It later turns out to be unfortunate foreshadowing.
- Murder by Mistake: Carl never wanted Sam dead -- he just wanted his wallet.
- Near-Death Clairvoyance: Though the near death experience just ended up as -- death.
- Not So Phony Psychic: Oda Mae comes from a family of mediums, though she doesn't really believe in spirits and exploits her customers for cash. That is until she meets Sam, at which time she realized she really could hear dead people. After which she gets swamped by ghosts, even though Sam didn't actually tell any of them about it.
Oda Mae: Orlando, Orlando, is there an Orlando here?
- The Obi-Wan: The Hospital Ghost, sort of. He tells Sam he'll be a ghost for a long while. He then disappears to meet up with his deceased wife, right after he and Sam see a dead person ascend into Heaven.
- One-Scene Wonder: Vincent Schiavelli as the Subway Ghost.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: The poltergeist effect of throwing things around is described as coming from the emotions, but the ghosts still kick and hit and shove things to make them move as if they were alive.
- Poltergeist: Apparently this is a skill that can be learned.
- The Power of Love: It's what keeps Sam there to look after Molly and what allows Molly her chance to hear him and say goodbye when he goes into the light.
- Repurposed Pop Song: "Unchained Melody", by the Righteous Brothers, originally about a prisoner hoping his girl will wait for him (hence "unchained"), becomes the love theme for this film. It also put the song back on the charts.
- Resurrected Romance
- Romancing the Widow: Inverted - Carl took a shortcut by bumping off her hubby first.
- Sensei for Scoundrels: The Subway Ghost is a madman who fell in front of a train, possibly intentionally. He begrudgingly agrees to teach Sam how to manipulate solid objects. Once the lesson is concluded, the ghost succumbs to his delusions and vanishes into the tunnels again.
- Sex by Proxy: Sam uses Oda Mae's body for a Makeout By Proxy with Molly.
- Sinister Subway: "Like TRAINS?!!"
- Spirit Advisor: Several ghosts throw out little tidbits of pertinent information for Sam, but notably the Subway Ghost, who teaches him how to move objects. Slightly different in that the character being advised is himself a ghost...
- Teach Him Anger: The Subway Ghost laughs his ass off when Sam fails to move a soda can. This causes Sam to get furious enough to kick the can like David Beckham, earning a friendly congratulations from his tutor.
- Tempting Fate: Sam jumps into Oda Mae's body to share a last dance with his fiancee, which had already been shown to weaken ghosts. Naturally, that's when a psychotic Carl chooses to attack.
- Two Roads Before You: Sam sees a light emanating from the sky after he dies. But he turns away from it to be with Molly, and it seals shut.
- Villainous Breakdown: Starting when Carl realizes he can't access the stolen money and lasting somewhere around the entire third act. Culminating at the end, where he winds up getting a Karmic Death as a result of trying to win a physical fight against a ghost.
- Visual Innuendo: Featuring the world's only PG-13 rated clay-pottery-throwing scene. (Until of course, the Affectionate Parody as seen in Wrongfully Accused.)