15 Movies Brilliantly Referenced in Community

15 Movies Brilliantly Referenced in Community
Image credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Warner Bros, Orion Pictures, Universal Pictures, Miramax Films, MGM, Bounty Films, 20th Century Studios, Columbia Pictures

If you haven't seen these movies yet, consider Community’s references your sign to do so.

Community isn't just a sitcom; it's a show that loves to play with pop culture and film references. These nods show how cleverly the show integrates iconic movies into its storyline, making both the show and the referenced movies a treat for viewers.

Whether it's the humor, the homage, or just the sheer creativity, these references can actually give you a good recommendation for an evening watch.

Star Wars

Star Wars is more than just a movie series; it's a cultural phenomenon. Created by George Lucas, this space opera catapulted viewers into a galaxy far, far away. It’s no wonder the show couldn’t resist referencing this iconic franchise.

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In episode 24 of season 2, the show transitions from a Western theme to a full-blown Star Wars tribute. The bad guys are strutting around like stormtroopers, and Abed goes full Han Solo mode, complete with a Harrison Ford impression.

The Dark Knight

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This blockbuster Batman movie gets its moment in Community not once, but twice. In season 1's episode 7, Abed nails a Christian Bale impersonation, channeling the intense Batman from The Dark Knight. Then, in season 3, Abed declares himself as Batman.


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This sci-fi classic gets a subtle nod in the show, too. In the Romantic Expressionism episode of season 1, the gang watches Kickpuncher, a movie clearly inspired by RoboCop. This reference pays homage to the classic 80s sci-fi vibe of RoboCop.

The Breakfast Club

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The Breakfast Club, the timeless high school drama, is referenced in the very first episode of Community. Abed compares their situation to the movie, bringing in the theme of diverse personalities coming together.

Then again, in the sixteenth episode of season 1, Jeff gets some love tips from Abed, which includes dancing like the characters from The Breakfast Club. It's a fun and heartfelt homage to the John Hughes classic.

Lethal Weapon

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Remember the episode where Dean puts Shirley and Annie in charge of campus security? That's where Community nods to Lethal Weapon.

Abed gets them both hooked on the idea of being Mel Gibson and Danny Glover from the film — the iconic buddy cop duo, minus the controversial aspects of Gibson's personal life.

Good Will Hunting

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In Good Will Hunting, one of the most memorable lines is about the best part of someone's day. Community takes a jab at this in season 1, episode 24. Though a small reference, it sharply captures the essence of friendship and connection, or the lack thereof, in the original movie.


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Directed by Christopher Nolan Inception is known for its mind-bending story about unique dream technology. In the third episode of season 2, Betty White, playing her character, explains the plot of Inception to natives in the Republic of the Congo.

The Lord of the Rings

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This epic fantasy series found its way into Community in a couple of memorable ways. In the premiere episode of season 2, Chang's split personality disorder hilariously mirrors Gollum from The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Another brilliant reference is in the episode fourteenth (also season 2), where the role-playing game is elevated to an epic narrative scale, reminiscent of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies.

2001: A Space Odyssey

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Directed by Stanley Kubrick, 2001: A Space Odyssey is a landmark in science fiction filmmaking, mostly known for its groundbreaking visuals and profound narrative.

The show pays homage to this classic in the episode Biology 101. Jeff confronts all his worst nightmares, and it feels like something straight out of 2001: A Space Odyssey – all trippy and otherworldly.

The Human Centipede

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The Human Centipede is a super messed-up horror film about a German surgeon who grabs three tourists and does this crazy thing where he connects them mouth-to-butt, turning them into the "human centipede."

Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps, a Halloween-themed episode, features a variety of horror tropes. One part that really sticks out is when Troy has this crazy imagination where he and Abed are like sewn together forever, and it's a pretty obvious (and kinda gross) nod to The Human Centipede.

Batman Forever

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Batman Forever centers around Batman's efforts to stop Two-Face and the Riddler from extracting information from the minds of Gotham City's residents.

In Community, there's a humorous reference to Batman Forever, — the scene where Jeff and Dean sing Kiss From a Rose, a song from the Batman Forever soundtrack.

Die Hard

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Die Hard is the iconic action thriller starring Bruce Willis as John McClane, a New York police officer who fights to save his estranged wife and others hostages at a Christmas bash in LA.

The nod to Die Hard appears in the Community season 3 episode 16. This episode is mostly about Abed's character, and there's this funny part where Abed gets banned from a Mexican joint just because a waiter there doesn't like Die Hard.

Pulp Fiction

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In season 2 episode 19, the study group organizes a birthday party for Abed, themed around Quentin Tarantino 's Pulp Fiction. This cult classic is known for its nonlinear storytelling and rich dialogue.

It intertwines various stories of Los Angeles mobsters, fringe players, small-time criminals, and a mysterious briefcase. If you're into dark humor and a unique narrative style, Pulp Fiction should be on your watch list.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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Community season 6 featured a nod to this Marvel movie, specifically referencing the iconic elevator scene. The Winter Soldier is more than just a superhero film; it's a political thriller with a complex plot and profound character development.

It's part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so if you are up for a watch, expect top-notch action, effects, and, of course, Chris Evans as the charismatic Captain America.

The Shawshank Redemption

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This classic movie got a double shout-out in Community. In season 4, Abed starts narrating the gang's situation in a garage, and he's totally doing a Morgan Freeman-style voiceover, just like how in the film.

Then, in season 5's G.I. Jeff episode, there's this G.I. Joe cook who's been locked up for years. He pulls off this crazy escape by digging a tunnel behind a poster in his cell, just like a big plot point in the movie.