At the Movies

Season 1 Episode 3a

At the Movies
Original Airdate August 25, 1991
VHS release Return of Reptar

Volume 3

DVD release Season 1
Retro Essentials
Complete Series
Previous Episode Waiter, There's a Baby in My Soup
Next Episode Slumber Party

"At the Movies" is the first segment of the third episode of Season 1, and the third Rugrats segment overall.

Characters Present


Tommy wants to see the Reptar movie, but his parents take him and the other Rugrats to the Westside Octoplex to see The Land Without Smiles (starring the Dummi Bears) instead. The Rugrats leave the Dummi Bears to go look for Reptar (showing at the same theater), leaving a path of destruction behind them.

- Description from Klasky Csupo


Tommy wants to see a movie about Reptar, but instead his parents take him to see The Dummi Bears in: The Land Without Smiles at the Westside Octoplex. They decide it'd be perfect as Tommy's first movie, and also invite Betty, Howard, and Chaz to bring their kids so they can all see the movie together.

At the movie theater, Tommy tells Chuckie, Phil and Lil about Reptar. This causes them to want to see the movie about Reptar instead. As the film starts, they walk out of the Dummi Bears movie (which Grandpa Lou derisively refers to as "The Land Without Brains") and try to find Reptar.

While searching they walk into a theater featuring a romantic film. As they watch a couple kissing on the big screen, their silhouettes block some of the screen, as a man shouts at them down and front. An usher comes in as the babies hide around the seats to avoid being caught, inadvertently interrupting a couple having a date in the process. They leave with Lil stating that she didn't like kissing movies, because "Nothing ever happens."

They then wander to the concessions stand. There the babies find popcorn, orange and grape sodas, lids, napkins, cups, candy bars, ketchup, mustard and straws (the two teenage employees in charge, Larry and Steve, don't notice the babies because they're arguing over skateboards, whose ads appears at the back of comic books). Tommy checks the popcorn both for Reptar, while Phil and Lil take interest in the soda dispensers, pushing the buttons and spilling the soft drinks on the counters and floors until eventually they get stuck continuously pouring soda. Meanwhile, Chuckie, after sampling some candy, notices some stairs leading up while Phil and Lil start playing with the ketchup and mustard dispensers by the hot dog sections. Phil & Lil plays with straws and spill all the straws. After Chuckie points out the stairs, Tommy concludes they'll find Reptar upstairs. As soon as the babies leave, the two teenagers notice the massive mess and scream.

They climb up into the projection booths, perceiving the film projectors as "spaghetti merry-go-rounds". They check each movie until they find the right one, and are awed by the movie. Lou goes to the concession stand to get some snacks. As Phil tries to get a look because the others are crowding the window, Phil falls onto one of the film projectors and starts riding it around. Soon the rest of the babies start riding them. Then they grab the film and run around with them, tangling them up together as the films begin to unravel and break.

Seeing the damage they've done, the babies quickly rush back downstairs as the projectionist notices the incredible mess and tries to save the film unsuccessfully. Grandpa Lou finds them after getting some snacks from the concession stand (he comments on the mess the babies caused, telling Larry and Steve how in his time they knew how to keep a work place clean). Grandpa Lou takes them back with him to the Dummi Bears movie, which catches in the projector and melts The Land Without Smiles at the climax, leaving most of the audience groaning. The babies smile at each other at this, while Grandpa Lou eats some popcorn.

As the patrons leave due to not receiving a refund, the pictures going black when they were getting to important scenes, and complain about the taste of the popcorn (due to the mess the babies have made in the concession stand), Stu is angry at the fact that The Land Without Smiles went out at the climax. Didi tells him that they will have to wait until The Land Without Smiles comes out on video. But at least they think that Tommy can go through a whole movie without any fuss. Because they didn't see the ending, Didi and Stu decide to go out to see the movie again next week, but at a different theater. As Grandpa Lou eats a candy bar in the back seat, Tommy takes notice of a flashing Reptar billboard as they drive by.

Movies Playing at the Octoplex

  1. Reptar - A parody of the Godzilla movies, the babies were interested in seeing this.
  2. The Dummi Bears in the Land Without Smiles - A parody of Care Bears and the Land Without Feelings, it was Intended to be Tommy's first movie; Grandpa Lou hated the film and even Tommy hated it.
  3. My Dad, the Kid - Unseen; possible comedy.
  4. In Love - The "kissing movie" the babies walked in on; it's a parody of Ghost.
  5. Total Mayhem - A Total Recall parody; possibly seen by the babies in the projection room.
  6. The Adventures of Idaho Ike - A parody of the Indiana Jones series of movies; seen by the babies in the projection room.
  7. Unnamed Action Movie - A Die Hard parody; possible seen by the babies in the projection room. In this movie, a tough guy says the Travis' memorable quote of the 1976 cult film Taxi Driver.


  • This episode marks the first appearance of the Dummi Bears and Reptar.
  • Betty, Howard, and Chas appear in this episode, but they all don't have any lines.
  • In this episode, the characters do not know much about Reptar, but in further episodes, they claim that Reptar is their favorite fictional character, and seem more familiar with the franchise.
  • This episode marks the second time Angelica doesn't appear.
  • MGR: Minor Guidance Recommended is a parody of the real life MPAA rating PG: Parental Guidance Suggested.
  • This episode appears on the Return of Reptar VHS tape.
  • In the later episode, "A Step At A Time", Tommy is seen with a Reptar doll right before taking his first steps. This could suggest he knew about, and loved, Reptar before this episode.
  • In this episode, we can hear a pterodactyl make an elephant trumpet sound, when in real life, pterodactyls never actually make elephant sounds.
  • This is the first appearance of Larry and Steve.
  • This is the first episode Scott Menville portrayed in.
  • For this episode, the Rugrats logo cuts away before fading to the usual creators credit, instead of the logo fading away.
  • The way the positive copy of The Land Without Smiles melts is unrealistic.
    • In reality, the sound should have been warped (without the strange garbled sound) with the filmstrip slowing down for the next few frames before it melts. When it melts, the film base's melt should have been in a darker color instead of white, and the telecine should have been on with a white screen. The frame should have also started to melt with one sticky hole before it keeps spreading the melt of the frame.
    • Ironically, the animation of the episode was taken with a filmstrip.
    • This is the only Rugrats episode where it has this technique.
    • This could have been animated unrealistically to avoid the risk of getting nightmares or fears from it (especially with young children). This is unless it is Wang Film Productions' first time animating it.
  • Moral: Take your kids to movies they are interested in, they want to see, and they would like to see.

Video Clip

How Many Times Did Tommy Pickles Cry? - Part 10 - At The Movies
How Many Times Did Tommy Pickles Cry? - Part 10 - At The Movies
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