The beloved Muppets have made seven feature films, and (like many of you), I’ve revisited the whole lot over the past week — both the “original trilogy” of The Muppet Movie (1979), The Great Muppet Caper (1981), and The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) and the “secondary” trio that includes Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), Muppet Treasure Island (1996), and Muppets From Space (1999). And yes, I’ve seen the new movie, and I adored it.
Of course the characters, the humor, the music, and the sweetness are what make the films work, but let’s be honest: there’s nothing quite like seeing an actor you love pop up in a “kiddy” flick and play along with something silly. With that specific pleasure in mind, I took a lot of notes. Sure, I could have cheated by using the IMDb, but then I ran the risk of getting something wrong. Also if I cheated I wouldn’t have revisited six very cool movies. (OK, five. I’m just not a fan of Muppets From Space, and believe me, I’ve tried!)
SPOILERS NOTE! I have included the human celebrities that appear in the brand-new movie! If you’d rather save those surprises for the film, please close this page after favoriting it and then come back in two days!!
F. Murray Abraham — Muppets from Space — Plays a rather rude rendition of Noah who refuses Gonzo admission into the ark.
Amy Adams — The Muppets — The adorable doll who travels with her boyfriend to L.A. and helps to restore the Muppets’ name.
Alan Arkin — The Muppets — A sweetly sardonic tour guide.
David Arquette — Muppets from Space — A goofy scientist who tosses Rizzo and some other rats into a maze.
Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy — The Muppet Movie — The late ventriliquist and his puppet pop up as the judges for Miss Piggy’s beauty pageant.
Milton Berle — The Muppet Movie — The legendary entertainer plays a predictably two-faced used car salesman.
Jack Black — The Muppets — Animal’s “rage support group” colleague — and a key component to the Muppets’ comeback bid.
Emily Blunt — The Muppets — A gorgeous but unhelpful secretary.
Mel Brooks — The Muppet Movie — The insane filmmaker gets some goofy laughs as a mad scientist who plans to turn Kermit’s brain into guacamole!
Michael Caine — The Muppet Christmas Carol — One of the best Scrooges ever adapted to cinema. That he does it against Muppets only makes it that much cooler.
Art Carney — The Muppets Take Manhattan — Kind-hearted Broadway producer who lets his starry-eyed son produce Manahttan Melodies.
Josh Charles — Muppets from Space — A creepy government agent who gets his butt kicked by Miss Piggy.
John Cleese — The Great Muppet Caper — Plays Neville, the very non-plussed owner of a house on Highbrow Street that Piggy wants to use as a front.
James Coburn — The Muppet Movie — Owner of the El Sleezo Cafe, which is sort of like the Muppet version of Mos Eisley.
Bill Cobbs — The Muppets — The veteran character actor is briefly glimpsed while enjoying the Muppets’ telethon.
James Coco — The Muppets Take Manhattan — The owner of an outrageously spoiled puppy that Rowlf must look after.
Dabney Coleman — The Muppets Take Manhattan — A slimy “Broadway producer” who uses a chicken as a hostage!
Billy Connolly — Muppet Treasure Island — A former pirate who give the Muppets a clue to buried treasure before dying. Yes, in a Muppet movie!
Chris Cooper — The Muppets — Every Muppet movie needs a slimy villain, and man is Cooper up to the task.
Tim Curry — Muppet Treasure Island — The adorable character actor delivers one of the more entertaining Long John Silvers in recent memory.
Dom DeLuise — The Muppet Movie — The first human to appear with a Muppet in a movie! He plays a goofy agent who inspires Kermit’s Hollywood dreams.
Charles Durning — The Muppet Movie — He plays the nefarious Doc Hopper, a fast food tycoon bent on acquiring Kermit’s legs!
Peter Falk — The Great Muppet Caper — A nonsense-spouting hobo who means well.
Zach Galifianakis — The Muppets — A weird but funny hobo who shows up to support the telethon.
Donald Glover — The Muppets — A young TV executive who throws a mean door.
Whoopi Goldberg — The Muppets — Swoops in to help out on the telethon!
Selena Gomez — The Muppets — See above.
Elliott Gould — The Muppet Movie — The lovable actor plays the emcee of a small town beauty pageant where Miss Piggy makes her entrance.
Elliott Gould — The Muppets Take Manhattan — A cop walks into a diner… (Trivial note: This makes Mr. Gould the only actor to appear in two separate Muppet films.)
Kathy Griffin — Muppets from Space — A lady security guard who gets scared off by Animal, who is invisible at the time. They later kiss.
Charles Grodin — The Great Muppet Caper — A rotten little jerk who schemes to steal the priceless Baseball Diamond.
Dave Grohl — The Muppets — Plays a knock-off Animal in a rather funny sight gag.
Neil Patrick Harris — The Muppets — On hand to answer phones at the Muppet telethon.
Gregory Hines — The Muppets Take Manhattan — Miss Piggy borrows his roller skates to track down a nasty purse-snatcher in Central Park.
Pat Hingle — Muppets from Space — A blustery military man who demands results in the alien race.
Katie Holmes — Muppets from Space — Withstands some overt flirting from Pepe and Clifford.
Josh Jackson — Muppets from Space — Appears as half of a now-dated TV reference.
Judd Hirsch — The Muppets — Easily spotted helping out with the telethon phone calls.
Bob Hope — The Muppet Movie — Adds a tiny but massive touch of class as a carnival ice cream vendor who jokes with Fozzie.
Hulk Hogan — Muppets from Space — A villainous minion with some truly stupid facial hair.
Ken Jeong — The Muppets — Host of a terrible TV show called “Punch Teacher.”
Rashida Jones — The Muppets — A fastidious TV executive who demands big results from the Muppet telethon.
Madeline Kahn — The Muppet Movie — Lady at El Sleezo who accuses Kermit of unkind advances.
Carol Kane — The Muppet Movie — The adorable punchline to the running “myth/miss” gag.
Ed Koch — The Muppets Take Manhattan — A silly cameo for the then-mayor of New York City.
John Krasinski — The Muppets — One of the helpful pals on hand at the Muppet telethon.
John Landis — The Muppets Take Manhattan — A Broadway producer who has no interest in silly Muppet shows.
Linda Lavin — The Muppets Take Manhattan — A good-natured doctor who tries to help Kermit cure his amnesia.
Cloris Leachman — The Muppet Movie — The snooty (and highly allergic) receptionist of Hollywood mogul Lew Lord.
Ray Liotta — Muppets from Space — A gruff security guard who quickly has a change of heart when Piggy shows up.
Andie Macdowell — Muppets from Space — A bossy TV host who is in danger of losing her job to a certain ambitious sow.
Steve Martin — The Muppet Movie — A hilariously rude (shorts-wearing?!?) waiter at a semi-fancy restaurant.
Gates McFadden — The Muppets Take Manhattan — The secretary of a sleazy fake producer.
Liza Minnelli — The Muppets Take Manhattan — Expresses sincere disappointment when her caricature is replaced by that of Kermit the Frog in a swanky New York restaurant.
Robert Morley — The Great Muppet Caper — The very proper British actor meets the Muppets as they plummet out of the sky and into a pond. He is both helpful and disapproving.
Austin Pendleton — The Muppet Movie — Reluctant sidekick to the villanous Doc Hopper.
Richard Pryor — The Muppet Movie — The immortal comedian sells Gonzo a bunch of balloons at the carnival.
Diana Rigg — The Great Muppet Caper — The very snooty Lady Holiday, fashion designer and alleged victim of the Baseball Diamond heist.
Joan Rivers — The Muppets Take Manhattan — A department store perfume saleswoman who has some funny moments with Miss Piggy.
Mickey Rooney — The Muppets — Pops up randomly (but awesomely) in an early musical number.
Telly Savalas — The Muppet Movie — Tough guy at El Sleezo Cafe who shows Kermit some unkind behavior.
Jennifer Saunders — Muppet Treasure Island — A seemingly omniscient landlady who helps our heroes avoid some nasty pirates.
Kristen Schaal — The Muppets — The calm but quirky comedienne contributes a few chuckles as an anger management counselor.
Rob Schneider — Muppets from Space — A cheesy and opportunistic television producer.
Jason Segel — The Muppets — The big-hearted human who takes his Muppet brother to Los Angeles to tour Muppet Studios. He also has great taste in women.
Brooke Shields — The Muppets Take Manhattan — A diner patron who shares a funny moment with a lovestruck Rizzo the Rat.
Sarah Silverman — The Muppets — Not the woman you want seating you if you’re dining alone.
Jeffrey Tambor — Muppets from Space — Head of a government division convinced that Gonzo is a space alien.
Peter Ustinov — The Great Muppet Caper — A very unhelpful truck driver.
Jack Warden — The Great Muppet Caper — The irritable editor of the Daily Chronicle who reluctantly assigns Kermit, Fozzie, and Gonzo a big story.
Orson Welles — The Muppet Movie — Who else but this larger-than-life genius could actually give Kermit and Company a “standard rich and famous” contract?
Paul Williams — The Muppet Movie — Songwriter extraordinaire plays a pianist / emcee who plays some tunes at the El Sleezo Cafe.