‘9-1-1’: 15 Best Movie References in the First Responder Series

Who loves movies as much as “9-1-1” firefighter Chim (Kenneth Choi)? The producers of the Fox-turned-ABC drama, of course.

Season 7 kicked off with a three-parter in which Athena (Angela Bassett) and Bobby’s (Peter Krause) honeymoon cruise turned into — just as she feared — “The Poseidon Adventure.”

While we wait for the wedding episode “There Goes the Groom,” which already gave us déjà vu for “The Hangover” in the trailer, here are some of our favorite movie references from “9-1-1.”

Angela Bassett and Peter Krause on “9-1-1” (Disney/Mike Taing)

“The Poseidon Adventure” in “Capsized”

Even before she and Bobby go on their long-delayed honeymoon cruise, Athena tells her therapist she was traumatized by watching the ’70s disaster movie “The Poseidon Adventure,” in which a ship is overturned by a rogue wave, killing almost everyone on board. She finally gets on the ship, only for her worst fears to be realized. And, of course, a Category 5 hurricane hits only after terrorists board the ship and set off a bomb…

Oliver Stark and Ryan Guzman in "9-1-1"
Oliver Stark and Ryan Guzman in “9-1-1” (CREDIT: ABC)

“The Hangover” in “There Goes the Groom”

A scenario where groom Chim goes missing and his friends are hungover with no idea what happened the night of the bachelor party? Sure sounds a lot like “The Hangover.” Be sure and check the roof, guys. The episode airs Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC and streams later on Hulu.

Ryan Guzman, Oliver Stark and Peter Krause in the "Ocean's 9-1-1" episode of "9-1-1)
Ryan Guzman, Oliver Stark and Peter Krause in the “Ocean’s 9-1-1” episode of “9-1-1) (CREDIT: Fox)

“Ocean’s Eleven” in “Ocean’s 9-1-1”

In this extremely entertaining episode, the 118 is called in when a bank manager and an armored truck driver display symptoms of a possible nerve agent attack. Then Hen (Aisha Hinds) gets trapped in the vault, so Bobby orders the crew to break in to get her out. Buck (Oliver Stark) jokes that they’ve broken in but haven’t taken anything, but then how did that huge stash of cash end up in one of the engines? The entire station is hauled in by police and everyone’s a suspect.

La Monde Byrd, Rockmond Dunbar and Peter Krause on "9-1-1" episode "There Goes the Neighborhood"

“Rear Window” in “There Goes the Neighborhood”

When a bored Michael (Rockmond Dunbar) begins spying on his neighbors with a telescope, Athena sends Bobby over as a distraction. Instead, he gets just as into the surveillance of a suspicious neighbor as Michael. Turns out, they’re right. That shady neighbor across the way who is taking out garbage all the time is up to no good. But both have to promise Athena their amateur detective days are over.

9-1-1 episode "Monsters"
9-1-1 episode “Monsters” (CREDIT: Fox)

“The Birds” in “Monsters”

Chim is freaked out when a flock of crows gathers at an amusement park after two young bullies threw rocks at them — especially since they’re gathering on the playground equipment, just like in the Alfred Hitchcock. He’s even more unnerved when one crow keeps following him, all the way back to the station.

Aisha Hinds and Peter Krause on "9-1-1"
Aisha Hinds and Peter Krause on “9-1-1” (CREDIT: Fox)

“Jurassic Park” in “Desparate Times”

Escaped zoo animals are just one of the many headaches the 118 is dealing with in the first three episodes of Season 5. Hen and Bobby have their hands full when they try to rescue a man from a rampaging… alpaca? When a second one appears in a Hollywood Blvd. gift shop, Hen calls the first one “clever girl” for summoning her friend. After they’ve escaped with their patient and are headed home with the rest of the crew, Chimney notes, “After careful consideration, I’ve decided not to endorse this park.”

Oliver Stark in 9-1-1 episode "In Another Life"

“It’s a Wonderful Life” in “In Another Life”

After being struck by lightning, Buck is fighting for his life. He’s in a coma and experiencing an alternate reality where his big brother Michael lived, Maddie never left Doug and — say it ain’t so — Bobby is dead! It’s a sweet and moving nod to the 1946 Christmas classic where Jimmy Stewart wishes he’d never been born and finds out how much of an impact he made on those around him.
“Looks like I’m Clarence,” says Chimney when he realizes what’s going on in this coma dream.

9-1-1 episode: Outside Looking In
9-1-1 episode: Outside Looking In (CREDIT: Fox)

“Speed” in “Outside Looking In”

A family’s truck is rigged with an explosive that will go off if their speed drops below 50 mph, just like in the Keanu Reeves movie. At first, 9-1-1 dispatchers think it’s a hoax: “Yeah, I’ve seen that movie, too.” But it’s for real, and Buck, Bobby and Lucy (Arielle Kebbel) are sent out on dangerous mission to offload the terrified passengers before it’s too late. Athena’s instincts lead her to the identity of the mad bomber, who she capably takes down before anything else explodes.

Kenneth Choi in the "Trapped" episode of "9-1-1"
Kenneth Choi in the “Trapped” episode of “9-1-1” (CREDIT: ABC)

“Die Hard” in “Trapped” and “Merry Ex-Mas

“Come out to the coast, we’ll get together, have a few laughs.” Chim can’t help but quote Bruce Willis in “Die Hard” when he has to crawl through a booby-trapped hoarder’s house to reach an injured man. And when his Christmas gift to Maddie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) is too grandiose, he comes back with a DVD of “Die Hard” for a simpler holiday celebration.

Daniel Roebuck in the "Buck, Actually" episode of "9-1-1"
Daniel Roebuck in the “Buck, Actually” episode of “9-1-1” (CREDIT: Fox)

“Say Anything” in “Buck, Actually”

Norman (guest star Daniel Roebuck) has to woo back his enraged wife after she stops traffic by climbing onto a billboard to get his attention. He chooses the most Gen X way possible: By holding his phone over his head and playing Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes,” just like John Cusack did with that boombox in “Say Anything.”

Chiquita Fuller and Jennifer Love Hewitt in "9-1-1"
CREDIT: Jack Zeman / FOX

“The Taking of Pelham One Two Three” in “The Taking of Dispatch 9-1-1”

The 9-1-1 call center is taken hostage by armed men in a nod to the terrific 1974 action film, in which a subway is taken hostage by a gang who demand $1 million in ransom to free the passengers. In this scenario, the criminals are trying to divert all emergency calls away from a downtown museum where they’re staging a multi-million-dollar heist. (Angelenos will know that the “museum” shown is actually the one-of-a-kind Walt Disney Concert Hall, designed by famed architect Frank Gehry.)

Oliver Stark in 9-1-1
Oliver Stark in 9-1-1 (CREDIT: Fox)

“Backdraft” in “What’s Your Fantasy?”

It’s not much of a surprise when we learn that the 1991 firefighter flick starring Kurt Russell is one of Buck’s favorite movies. He mentions it when a couple is injured after trying to fulfill their fantasy of having sex on top of the team’s fire engine.

9-1-1: "What's Your Fantasy"?
9-1-1: “What’s Your Fantasy”? (CREDIT: Fox)

“9 to 5” in “What’s Your Fantasy?”

In a nod to the classic 1980 comedy about three women — Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin — who get revenge on their sexist boss, a fed-up employee keeps envisioning his terrible boss’s gruesome death… until the man actually collapses. Fearing he’s given his boss a coffee with dairy, which could kill him, the employee confesses all to Athena. Except he’s not to blame… the bad boss simply had a heart attack.

Kenneth Choi in the pilot episode of "9-1-1"
Kenneth Choi in the pilot episode of “9-1-1”, Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Conan the Barbarian” (CREDIT: Fox/Universal Pictures)

“Conan the Barbarian” in the pilot

We learn that Chim is a) a huge movie nut and b) terrified of snakes in the pilot when he’s called to the scene in which a woman is being choked to death by her pet python. Chim won’t get near the snake, saying he was traumatized by watching “Conan the Barbarian” at a young age. The ’80s movie featured Arnold Schwarzenegger going up against an 80-foot serpent.

Peter Krause and Oliver Stark in "9-1-1", Sylvester Stallone in "Rambo: First Blood Part II"
Peter Krause and Oliver Stark in “9-1-1”, Sylvester Stallone in “Rambo: First Blood Part II” (CREDIT: Fox, Tri-Star Pictures)

“Rambo” movies in the pilot

When Bobby refers to gung-ho Buck as “Rambo,” the 20-something adrenaline junkie has no idea what he’s talking about. “Who’s Rambo?” he asks. Later in the episode, he says, “As far as I’m concerned, the world began the day I was born.” He also doesn’t know what Athena means when she tells him “don’t go chasing waterfalls.”

“9-1-1” airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

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