The Secret Simpsons Movie You Didn’t Know Existed

By Robert Scucci | Published

Fans of The Simpsons’ golden era will always be the first people to tell you how brilliant the writing was because of the many Easter eggs and in-jokes that were crammed into the storytelling.

If you dig deep enough, you’ll actually find a hidden McBain movie spread across three seasons. And I’m not talking about McBain: Let’s Get Silly the standup comedy special that cost $80 million to make – but rather the cop drama that starts with season 2’s “The Way We Was,” and concludes with season 4’s “Last Exit to Springfield.”

In The Simpsons universe, McBain is portrayed by an Arnold Schwarzenegger analog known as Rainier Wolfcastle (voiced by Harry Shearer). Wolfcastle is your typical by-the-numbers action movie star who belts out corny one-liners before gunning down everybody in the room.

Throughout the series run, Homer and the rest of the Simpson family can be seen watching a variety of McBain action movies, but when you cobble them all together, they tell one cohesive story.

The McBain scenes from The Simpsons make an action movie

The hidden McBain movie in The Simpsons plays out like an Arnold Schwarzenegger outing, and starts with McBain confronting his captain because he has proof that the corrupt Senator Mendoza is the head of an international drug cartel.


When he’s told to mind his own business, McBain punches the captain out of the window, and that’s the end of the story … or so we think.

The premise that was introduced in “The Way We Was” is revisited in “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?,” three episodes later. 

The plot thickens in The Simpsons’ second installment of the McBain movie when things get personal. In this short, McBain can be found stuffing his face at the Sloppy Joe’s diner alongside his partner, Dexter Scoey. Scoey, who is two days away from retirement, gets gunned down by one of Mendoza’s henchmen disguised as a server. 

The McBain movie is spread out over many The Simpsons episodes

The sequence concludes with McBain swearing revenge against Mendoza in a dramatic fashion as a bullet-riddled Scoey dies in his arms. But revenge won’t be exacted right away, as five more episodes will pass before we revisit McBain’s revenge arc in “The War of the Simpsons.”

Ready to bust out the big guns like Arnold Schwarzenegger himself, McBain is once again confronted by his captain (who miraculously survived his fall) because he’s not following proper protocol.


Nearly a dozen episodes of The Simpsons will pass before we see McBain in this context again in the season 3 episode, “Saturdays of Thunder.”

In this sequence, Senator Mendoza is holding a meeting about a new highly addictive drug called Swank that he plans to distribute. But what Mendoza doesn’t know is that McBain is hiding inside of the ice centerpiece and armed to the teeth (“Ice to meet you!”). Though McBain successfully executes everybody in the room, his attempts to take down Mendoza are thwarted when he is subdued by a drugged salmon puff.

Leaving viewers with an epic cliffhanger, The Simpsons doesn’t revisit the McBain saga until well into season 4. In “Last Exit to Springfield,” McBain finally has his showdown with Mendoza, which results in Mendoza getting tossed out of a skyscraper and exploding when he lands on a conveniently placed tanker truck full of gasoline. 


Across 51 episodes, The Simpsons does the unthinkable and delivers an entire action movie with a four-minute runtime.

Across 51 episodes, The Simpsons does the unthinkable and delivers an entire action movie with a four-minute runtime. Whether the entire story was mapped out from the beginning or the writers decided to run with the premise is up for debate among die-hard fans.

Simpsons writers have suggested that the McBain movie was the accidental result of lampooning generic action movies that tell similar stories, and that the creation of the actual “movie” was merely coincidental. 

Either way, this is just another shining example of how early episodes of The Simpsons have so much depth that fans are still unpacking hidden jokes to this day.