Home Blog The 25th Anniversary of the First Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie

The 25th Anniversary of the First Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie

by Justin W

Although 2014 may have been the 30th Anniversary of the TMNT, that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing special to celebrate this year. In fact, 2015 marks a very special anniversary in the franchise, an event that spawned four other momentous occasions in the history of the Ninja Turtles. 25 years ago, on March 30th, 1990, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles made their first jump onto the silver screen. That’s right, the first ever Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie is officially 25 years old.


While many of you shellheads might be too young to remember when this movie came out, I’m sure there are quite a few TMNT fans out there who have fond memories of this film’s release. If you can imagine it, the Ninja Turtles were still a pretty fresh franchise, and the success of the animated series in 1987 lead to bigger opportunities. The turtles had gone from the pages of a comic book to the aisle of a toy store, and it was only fitting that they should finally take on Hollywood.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film was an unmitigated success. At its roots, it was a low budget independent film (much like the roots of the comic book that inspired the characters), but that wouldn’t stop the fans from going to see their favorite heroes in a half shell in live action. Despite the low budget, the film featured some incredible animatronics and action, and would go on to become the most successful TMNT movie of all time.


Okay, so last year’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie from director Jonathan Liebesman was incredibly profitable, earning over $475 million worldwide. However, Paramount and Platinum Dunes spent $125 million to make that film a reality, while the original 1990 film had a budget of only $13.5 million. With a tenth of the money, a rag tag group of production studios worked together to create an incredible film that would make back almost 15 times its budget. Worldwide, the film made a total of $201 million, far surpassing expectations and becoming the 9th highest grossing movie of the year.

The success of the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie was nothing to sneeze at, as it lead to two sequels which would also do pretty well in theaters. To date, there have been five Ninja Turtles films released in theaters, and all of them have been successful. That being said, none have been quite as lucrative as the original film from 1990. Due to its importance in the history of the franchise, it’s worth taking note of the 25th anniversary of this film and paying due respect.

What’s your favorite scene from this movie? If you can remember your favorite moments, quote them in the comments below and let all of your fellow shellheads know that it’s time to celebrate the first (and widely considered to be the best) TMNT movie ever made!

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TigerClaw305 January 14, 2015 - 5:00 pm

I remember going to the theater on opening weekend to see it. 🙂

Andrew Yowaiski January 14, 2015 - 6:22 pm

saw it with my dad and during the credits i was jumping around like crazy and we went for pizza. Great memory

Guest January 14, 2015 - 10:24 pm

Me as well. They had a special afternoon showing and we were all lined up on the sunny streets waiting to get in. I was also freaking out, bouncing around, just so excited to see the movie.

Lord Kel January 14, 2015 - 6:26 pm

Geez, the whole movie is my favorite scene!
I guess if I had to choose one part it would be the meeting of Casey Jones and Raph.
At 25 years old, will there finally be a special edition with special features, outtakes and such coming out?!?!

Lorraine January 14, 2015 - 8:07 pm

the part where Mikey is doing impersonations and he goes, “You dirty rat, you killed my brother, you dirty rat, mmmm!” then April says, “That must be Splinter’s favorite!”

autumndandelion January 15, 2015 - 1:00 am

I didn’t get to see the movie in the theatre, but I had the poster on my wall. My favourite part was when Raph woke up. I adore the brotherly love in this movie!

Zach January 15, 2015 - 3:03 am

Mikey “hey wait for me!”…..”god I love being a turtle”. Mikey had so much swagger. Such a good movie for kids and adults alike…..and shredder was awesome in this movie too!

A.J. January 15, 2015 - 11:06 am

Donny (to Casey) – “You’re a claustrophobic!”

Casey – “You want a fist in the mouth? I’ve never even looked at another guy before!”

Risi January 15, 2015 - 2:03 pm

Raph in the bathtub.. ‘whats a guy gotta do.. to get some food around here’

Love that scene forever

Jay January 15, 2015 - 10:35 pm

My favorite scenes involved the father-son moments between Splinter and either Raph or all the boys. The candlelit lecture he gives Raph and the campfire meditation are some of the strongest moments beyond just the action, and that speaks a lot since we’re talking about an animatronic rat and suited up actors underneath it all.

Chris Vance January 16, 2015 - 3:19 pm

Both of the Leo and Raph arguments are my favorite scenes. Bringing April to the lair: “Are you crazy?!” “Yeah, Leo! I’m crazy ok? I’m loony ok?” And the argument at April’s: “Oh so that’s the plan from our great leader huh? Just sit here on our butts!” I can quote the whole movie by heart but those two scenes were the first ones i committed to memory.

Rob Veatch January 16, 2015 - 10:08 pm

Gotta go with the rooftop showdown with Shredder. Awesome martial arts action is exponentially enhanced by the presence of awesome ninjas turtle outfits.

Daniel February 10, 2015 - 10:34 pm

Wiseman say, forgiveness is divine, but never payed low price for late pizza!

SKR Imaging February 14, 2015 - 10:50 am

I feel that after 25 years, we deserve a proper home video release of this first movie.. Blu ray with audio commentary. all the deleted scenes, making of documentary.. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for.. I wouldn’t mind that for all three 90s movies aswell.

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