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Tropes used in Boogie Nights include:
Little Bill: My fucking wife has an ass in her cock over in the driveway, alright?
- Ate His Gun: Little Bill.
- Bad Bad Acting: All the characters in their movie-within-a-movie porn performances, Amber Waves' affectless "that is a giant cock" being a good example.
- Berserk Button: Never insult Jack Horner's films.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Rollergirl.
- Biggus Dickus: Basically the only thing Dirk has going for him, despite his constant attempts to prove otherwise.
- Cluster F-Bomb
- Coitus Uninterruptus: Subverted with Little Bill's wife.
- Cultural Rebel: Buck Swope, Don Cheadle's character, is a fan of country/western music, to the point that he wears cowboy hats and shirts with fringes (the whole Roy Rogers getup). Remember, he's played by Don Cheadle
- Curb Stomp Battle: Literally. With roller skates. Asshole deserved it.
- Deus Ex Machina: In a doughnut shop!
- Dirty Old Man: Colonel James. This point is driven home rather well when we see him in prison.
- Do Not Call Me Paul: After Eddie Adams takes the stage name of "Dirk Diggler" he insists that everyone call him that all the time.
- Dumb Is Good: Almost all of Jack Horner's cast members exude sweetness and amiable natures. But none of them are the sharpest tools in the box. Especially not the bumbling, loveable oaf that is Reed Rothchild.
- Drugs Are Bad: Especially if you have to give handjobs and get the crap kicked out of you to feed your habit.
- End of an Age: How the changing porn industry is depicted.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Rollergirl.
- Even Evil Has Standards: 'Evil' might be a bit strong, but while Jack Horner has little problem with the Colonel's obvious penchant for teenage girls who are clearly somewhere below the statutory age-of-consent limit, he is utterly disgusted and breaks with him completely upon discovering that the Colonel's tastes extend to prepubescent children.
- Fan Service: God bless you, Heather Graham. And God bless you, as well, Julianne Moore.
- Gag Penis: The whole story begins thanks to Diggler's larger than average junk, which the camera cuts away from every time they are about to show it. The audience gets a good half minute of seeing it at the end.
- Hookers and Blow: It's a story set in the porn industry covering the years 1976 to 1984. What did you expect? Sunshine and lollipops?
- I Have Many Names: Eddie Adams > Dirk Diggler > Brock Landers.
- Iconic Item: Rollergirl's skates.
- I Know Fucking Karate: He's an actor in action themed porn movies. Of course Dirk Diggler knows karate.
- His Bruce Lee posters tips off the viewer.
- It Got Worse: The advent of home video in the 80s ushers in a very dark period for everyone.
- I Was Born Ready: Dirk says this twice.
- Jerkass: Most, if not, all of the characters. But especially Dirk and Jack.
- Kitschy Local Commercial: The audio store commercial.
- Kubrick Stare: In the lead-up to the botched drug heist, Dirk has one of these.
- Male Frontal Nudity
- Meaningful Name: Of course they're meaningful. They're porn names.
- Medley Exit: Set to God Only Knows.
- Mood Dissonance: The Drug Heist scene is a masterclass in Mood Dissonance, managing to be unbearably tense, terrifying, surreal and hilarious all at the same time.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Dirk Diggler is clearly based upon John Holmes, from his prodigious member, to the botched drug heist that was an allusion to the Wonderland murders. Dirk even mentions Holmes at one point.
- Similarly, Amber Waves' custodial problems were inspired by those that Veronica Hart went through. Hart even has a cameo as the judge presiding over Amber's case.
- Oh Crap: The look on Rollergirl's face when, after kneeling to give Eddie Adams a blow job, she unzips his fly and sees what she has to deal with.
- "You're Brandy, right?"
- The Oner: The opening shot of the movie, and the next-to-last shot, forming Book Ends. Other long takes in the movie include the pool party scene and the end-of-the-70s New Year's party.
- One-Scene Wonder: Alfred Molina as Rahad Jackson, though Anderson said he intended for the part to be larger.
- Porn Names: Dirk's original name was Eddie Adams.
- Inverted when Buck opens his stereo store called "Buck's Super Cool Stereo Store" and Maurice opens the "Rodriques Brothers Night Club". Both have very unclever names.
- Remake Cameo: Michael Stein, who appears as the stereo store customer, played Dirk Diggler in The Dirk Diggler Story, P.T. Anderson's 1988 short film that was expanded into this movie (also, Robert Ridgely played Jack Horner in the short).
- Running Gag Penis: Dirk's.
- Round Table Shot: The scene where Dirk, Reed, and Todd plot their visit to Rahad Jackson's house.
- Shaped Like Itself: "See this system here? This is Hi-Fi... high fidelity. What that means is that it's the highest quality fidelity"
- The party scene where the camera wanders through Jack's home and dives into the pool is a homage to a similar sequence in I Am Cuba/Soy Cuba.
- The final shot of this movie is basically the same as the final shot of Raging Bull, just in color, with Mark Wahlberg instead of De Niro, and featuring a Gag Penis.
- At one point of the movie, Dirk joins a group disco dance lifted straight from Saturday Night Fever.
- Show Within a Show: Several of Dirk's starring vehicles; also, The Dirk Diggler Story.
- Stylistic Suck: Dirk's ill-advised foray into music, made funnier when you bear in mind Mark Wahlberg's previous life in The Funky Bunch.
- Not to mention that the clips from the porn movies being filmed are absolutely dripping with this trope, which is to be expected when you consider that they're making porn here.
- Survival Mantra: "I'm a star. I'm a star. I'm a big, bright, shining star."
- Team Mom: Amber takes many of the younger stars in Jack's employ under her wing and mothers them, in what is all but outright stated to be a substitute for her own custodial battles over and Missing Mom nature towards her own daughter. Takes on a slightly weird edge when it comes to Dirk, in that she appears to view herself as a mother-figure to him while simultaneously kind of falling in love with him at the same time.
- Tone Shift: The movie is rather lighthearted and comedic for the first half, until the 1979-1980 New Year's Party scene where Amber introduces Dirk to cocaine, and Little Bill finally snaps and shoots his philandering wife, her lover and himself dead. From this point on, things get a lot darker.
- True Companions: All the main characters share a close bond, with many of them working out their respective family issues through this shared bond. Considering what they all do, it should be slightly squicky, but it's done so well that, at the end, you really just feel happy for all of them having each other.
- Truth in Television: Due to all the prejudice they face, most porn stars only have friends in the business, and many of them can't even talk to their families anymore. Note that this is still true as of right now.