Recently, in a thread on the subreddit r/movies, redditor u/ferrous_second_vowel asked for movie lovers to name "movie jokes you didn't get until years later," and people really came through with some absolutely hilarious examples!
So, with that in mind, here are just a few of the most popular responses shared:
1. Men in Black (1997)
"I was watching the original recently just 'cause, and it got to the part where Agent J (Will Smith) catches up to a fleeing criminal. He waves his badge in the guy's face and says, 'Do you see this? NYPD! That means 'I will knock your punk-ass down!' I've watched this movie multiple times, but for whatever reason, it was only on this viewing — 25 years after its theatrical release — that I realized the joke he was making was that 'N.Y.P.D.' stands for 'I will kNock Your Punk-ass Down."
2. Grease (1978)
"For me, it was the scene when Kenickie refers to a condom as a '25-cent insurance policy.'"
3. Addams Family Values (1993)
"When Wednesday's sort-of-boyfriend is showing her his collection of serial killer baseball cards, he says, 'I've got 'em all. I'm only missing Jack the Ripper and that Zodiac guy.' I didn't realize until later the joke was that Jack the Ripper and the Zodiac Killer were two serial killers who were never caught."
4. Forrest Gump (1994)
"When Bubba asks Forrest, 'You ever been on a shrimp boat?' and he replies, 'No, I been on a real big boat.' This one probably took me 20 years and 60 watches to get."
5. The Big Lebowski (1998)
"I missed the pun in The Dude listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival's 'Lookin' Out My Back Door' after getting a physical."
6. Airplane! (1980)
"I had no idea Airplane! was, in parts, a shot-for-shot spoof of the movie Zero Hour! Growing up, I knew it had elements of disaster tropes, but seeing some of the scenes and plot points side-by-side makes it even better."
7. Ghostbusters (1984)
"I missed the joke that Louis Tully was 'the Keymaster,' but he kept locking himself out of his own apartment."
8. Wayne's World (1992)
"It took me 30 years of watching this movie to realize why 'Noah's Arcade' promotes that they have 'two of every game.' Because y'know...it's like Noah's Arc."
9. Hercules (1997)
"When Hades is tricking Hercules to go fight the Hydra, Pain and Panic are disguised as kids looking for help, and one of them yells out, 'Someone call I X I I!' That's 9-1-1 in Roman numerals. I didn't get it as a kid, and never thought about it when I watched when I was older."
10. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
"When Daniel (as Mrs. Doubtfire) is talking to Stuart about Miranda, and tells him, 'She has a power tool in the bedroom. It's her own personal jackhammer; she can break sidewalk with it! I'm amazed she hasn't chipped her teeth!' I saw this movie in the theater when it came out, and I was 8 years old, so I didn't know about vibrators at the time, and didn't ask. My best guess was that he was trying to scare Stuart by saying she has some kind of weapon, like keeping a gun or baseball bat next to the bed."
11. Dumb & Dumber (1994)
"When I watched this as a kid, I never understood why people were laughing at the 'Samsonite! I was way off!' line until years later, while in a store, I noticed Samsonite was a brand of luggage and immediately got the joke."
12. Back to the Future (1985)
13. Jumanji (1995)
"When the hunter buys the gun, and the salesman asks, 'You're not a postal worker, are you?' I think I thought he was just making fun of his clothes at the time because I had no idea what 'going postal' was."
14. Mary Poppins (1964)
15. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
"I saw this at age 10, so when the singing nurse says, 'I came to help restore your pluck, 'cause I'm the nurse who likes to—' It was not until I was an adult that I realized what the last word of that sentence was supposed to be."
16. The Great Muppet Caper (1981)
"After the swimming musical number, Miss Piggy says to Charles Grodin's character, 'You can’t even sing! Your voice was dubbed!' I watched this 100 times when I was a kid, and I thought she said 'dumb,' which, as a kid, I already thought was really funny. But now that I know the actual line and that he was, in fact, dubbed, it's fucking hilarious."
17. Toy Story (1995)
"Buzz: 'I think the word you’re searching for is 'Space Ranger.' Woody: 'The word I’m searching for I can’t say because there are preschool toys present.'"
18. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999)
"When describing Austin's 'Mojo,' Dr. Evil has a line like, 'What the French call a certain...I don't know what.' I always thought the joke was that Dr. Evil was just being stupid. I didn't learn until much later in life that this is the literal definition of 'Je ne sais quoi.' Upon a recent rewatch, that was probably my favorite joke in the entire franchise."
19. The Mask (1994)
"Just before Jim Carrey pulls out a balloon to blow up and turn into a tommy gun to fight off the goons, he pulls out a condom and says, 'Oops, wrong pocket!' When I was a kid, I just thought it was an already popped balloon, so I laughed regardless."
20. George of the Jungle (1997)
"During a fight scene, George says something like, 'Rubber tree, very good for clothesline!' after he clotheslines someone. I'd never watched wrestling, being Australian, and genuinely thought he was just giving laundry tips to Ursula. It only dawned on me last year at 29 when we rewatched it."
21. The Avengers (2012)
"While on the Helicarrier for the first time, Captain America hands Nick Fury $10. The way the latter takes the money, I thought it was the former giving him a 'tip' since he's some odd 1940s person. I rewatched it the other day and finally realized it's a follow-up to their exchange in the gym earlier, where Captain America says that nothing could surprise him anymore, and Fury replies with '$10 says you're wrong.'"
22. Shrek (2001)
All right, you've read their picks, but now it's your turn! What's a movie joke you understood entirely too late? Share in the comments below!
Some responses were edited for length and/or clarity. H/T: Reddit.