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Questions tagged [trope]

Something recurring across a genre or type of literature, such as the ‘mad scientist’ of horror movies or ‘once upon a time’ as an introduction to fairy tales. Similar to archetype and cliché but not necessarily pejorative.

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140 votes
10 answers
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Why are films where the bad guy "wins" at the end so rare?

It seems that there is a rarity in films where the bad guy wins at the film's conclusion ("bad guys" being defined by the culture of the movie makers). By "win" I mean the good guy(s) have been ...
RobertF's user avatar
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117 votes
3 answers
17k views

Origin of movie trope where impaled character pulls/pushes blade/spear further into body?

Over the years there have been a number of films where the villain (e.g., Artemisia in 300: Rise of an Empire) or the hero (e.g., Arthur in Excalibur) have been impaled with a spear, blade, etc. ...
RobertF's user avatar
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111 votes
15 answers
28k views

Who was the oldest actor to play a teenager?

There's a common trope in Hollywood where teenagers are played by adult actors. But which TV show or movie set the absolute record in terms of the age difference between the role and the actor? To ...
JonathanReez's user avatar
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77 votes
14 answers
15k views

Has there been a movie or a TV show where an abortion was portrayed without negative connotations?

There is a common trope about abortion in movies, where the main characters either completely disregard abortion as a possibility, mention it and never go through with it (e.g. Juno) or do it and then ...
JonathanReez's user avatar
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50 votes
4 answers
30k views

What is the point of the Red Thread/Tape around evidence or newspaper clippings?

I have seen in a lot-lot of movies that the person who searches for a crime or another person creates a web of red tape or wire around the newspapers and evidence he acquires. I never guessed its ...
Aditya ultra's user avatar
36 votes
9 answers
11k views

What exactly is an Anti-Hero?

In the trailer of "The Foreigner", is Jackie Chan considered to be an anti-hero? My friend said that an anti-hero does not care about anything and would kill innocent people. Anti-heroes are only in ...
Benjamin's user avatar
  • 393
32 votes
3 answers
7k views

Who came up with the "death trap" concept?

The Big Bad has caught the dashing hero. But he's not going to simply shoot him, oh no, he'll place him in some sort of convoluted death-trap (generally unattended) which the hero will no doubt find ...
Haedrian's user avatar
  • 443
26 votes
2 answers
8k views

Why do assistant type characters tend to have British accents in movies?

Assistant-type characters like: Alfred in the Batman movies Zazu in The Lion King series C-3PO in the Star Wars series Curator in Ready Player One Jarvis in Iron Man etc. often have British accents. ...
user avatar
26 votes
3 answers
5k views

A "groundhog day" world of animated series. Does this trope have a name?

There are quite a lot of series (usually animations, because doing it for something live-action would be rather hard, I presume) with one common trope: the timeline never progresses forward. "The ...
Mr Scapegrace's user avatar
26 votes
2 answers
2k views

Is there a specific name for a character that is a sacrificial "example"?

I was wondering if there is a title/role in movies, specifically horror or Sci-fi movies, for characters that are cast specifically to die as a way of being an example. This could be as a way to show ...
Austin's user avatar
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23 votes
2 answers
2k views

What trope would Indiana never leaving his hat behind fall under?

In the Indiana Jones movies whenever his hat is lost he'll always at least try to get it back. He's risked limbs amongst other things in order to make sure he always has it with him. This isn't ...
user56652's user avatar
  • 395
22 votes
2 answers
10k views

Why is Skinner so awkward in Hot Fuzz?

In Hot Fuzz, Simon Skinner is one of the core members of Neighborhood Watch Alliance, which have successfully managed to hide numerous murders for years. Why does he talk so awkwardly though? He ...
M.A.R.'s user avatar
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22 votes
2 answers
2k views

What's the purpose of people shouting "Hello" into the phone several times after they've clearly been disconnected?

This is usually done with a landline phone. The character calls someone or someone is calling him, they talk for a while and then for any reason the other person hangs up earlier than the character ...
sharptooth's user avatar
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20 votes
2 answers
550 views

Has there ever been a drama film with an unreliable death scene confession?

This film is prompted by watching The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. In Venice, the crewman gasps "it was Grey, not Skinner", and dies. Various aspects of screenplay and score suggested ...
Stilez's user avatar
  • 861
18 votes
1 answer
7k views

The Simpsons/Futurama: walk in the dark with neon signs

In many episodes of The Simpsons or Futurama, a character (usually drunk or sad) walks in the dark with neon signs moving in the background; where does this come from? A few examples: The Simpsons ...
mattiav27's user avatar
  • 6,087
17 votes
1 answer
3k views

Why do criminals always leave the front door ajar so cops can easily detect something is wrong?

Why does it seem like in every cop based TV drama (CSI, Law and Order, etc.) that whenever something bad has happened that the front door is always left open or slightly ajar? Do criminals not ...
Dave Glass's user avatar
16 votes
1 answer
686 views

What was the first occurrence of background music turning out to be diegetic music for comedic purposes?

There are a lot of music which have this joke: The actor moves through a scene with background music playing, when the actor acknowledges the musicians in the scene for comical effect. I think by now ...
hgiesel's user avatar
  • 261
15 votes
1 answer
6k views

Is there a name for the trope when there is a moments dialogue when someone pauses just before they leave the room?

There is a common trope both in theatre and in film where a scene is about to end. One actor is about to leave a room. They pause at the door and either ask or are asked a final question just as they ...
MiguelH's user avatar
  • 305
14 votes
2 answers
2k views

Is there a specific "convenient parking" trope?

Is there a name for the trope where the characters in a car always just so happen to get a spot exactly in front of whatever location they're driving to? It's certainly the norm in movies, and I'm ...
Johnny Bones's user avatar
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14 votes
1 answer
1k views

"Would the witness please point at the defendant?"

I wasn't sure which forum to post this on, but I think it belongs here as I believe it relates to the screen more than to the actual law, so here it is. There's a weirdly specific trope that you often ...
komodosp's user avatar
  • 4,774
13 votes
2 answers
6k views

Is there a name for a trope where protagonist's family members are kidnapped in the climax of the movie?

We often see in films that the villain kidnaps the protagonist's family members (or girlfriend) and threatens to come to him. Otherwise, they will be killed. This usually happens in the climax of the ...
Nog Shine's user avatar
  • 11k
10 votes
3 answers
731 views

Is there a name for this illogical sequence of events that often shows up in movies?

Here's something that I see over and over again in movies. It seems very illogical and forced to me, and I am wondering if it is a known cliche with a name? Basically, it's where two people have ...
ewfoeo's user avatar
  • 125
10 votes
2 answers
582 views

What is today's version of the 'cutting the phone line' trope?

I watched Kiss the Girls last night and thought it was funny in the final scene that it all happened because the bad guy pulled the phone line. If you watch any Lifetime movies this might happen ...
blankip's user avatar
  • 1,135
10 votes
2 answers
1k views

Why does a character talk to the back of another character?

This seems to be commonplace in action TV series in movies: our hero talks to the villain, there is some exposition and instead of facing each other as civilised people tend to do, the villain will ...
drolex's user avatar
  • 1,304
9 votes
7 answers
780 views

Besides iCarly, has there ever been an (official) adult sequel to a kids' series?

Previously I asked What's the term for some sequel where we see the characters in the original but much older? where an answer is Character Aged with the Actor but in the examples I've mentioned ...
BCLC's user avatar
  • 1,513
9 votes
1 answer
1k views

What is the name of this "backup plan of last resort" trope?

You know the old trope of how the person has a "backup plan of last resort" where in case of the person going missing or turning up dead, they have info that will be released. How many scenes have we ...
saunderl's user avatar
  • 193
9 votes
2 answers
2k views

Is it a trope that exposed electric wire in a pool causes electrocution?

We see in Movies and TV Shows that electricity and water don't mix. And when they do, fatal results take place. But I've heard that this is only an exaggeration for the dramatic effect. I've read a ...
Ahmad's user avatar
  • 6,406
9 votes
1 answer
836 views

First occurrence of a house built on a graveyard?

I was doing some research on an unrelated topic, and the movie Poltergeist (1982 version) appeared to be the first occurrence of a residence being haunted because it was built over a cemetery. I am ...
JohnP's user avatar
  • 8,771
9 votes
1 answer
6k views

What movie or TV show had the first instance of heroes walking in slow motion?

There's a trope of heroes walking towards the camera in slow motion, shoulder-to-shoulder. What was the first movie where this kind of shot was used?
BrettFromLA's user avatar
  • 23.6k
9 votes
1 answer
6k views

When was the phrase "It's quiet, a little too quiet" first used?

"It's quiet, a little too quiet." We have all heard this famous line being used in many movies. What was the first movie to use this popular phrase?
Plexus's user avatar
  • 4,776
8 votes
1 answer
923 views

Hair changes in The Book of Life - What's this called?

In The Book of Life, I just noticed a very interesting graphic effect. Manolo's hair swirl physically changes from scene to scene to face the camera. This effect occurs constantly but is never ...
CuriousWebDeveloper's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
5k views

What is the origin of the Canadian Girlfriend trope?

Its a common occurrence in various stories that a character who wishes to impress their friends will claim to have a girlfriend living in Canada. Obviously this works since it is far enough away to ...
ThunderGuppy's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
7k views

From which movies does the stereotypical b/w film noir voice-over introduction originate?

When doing stereotypical film noir style stories they always have the hard boiled black and white detective narrating to himself with smooth jazz playing while it is raining, like in the first minute ...
Shadows Fall's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
364 views

Name of trope where the character briefly defies laws of nature/physics?

Is there a trope for when a character defies the laws of physics/nature, but doesn't realize it for a moment, and so, because of this, the laws of nature don't take effect immediately, but only until ...
Charles's user avatar
  • 14.3k
8 votes
1 answer
751 views

Ants are stealing our picnic!

So we often see scenes in cartoons in which a nice picnic is laid out with all sorts of tasty food, and all of a sudden, we see half a sandwich moving away, followed by a banana, then the other half ...
user35594's user avatar
  • 697
8 votes
2 answers
2k views

Are there any Indian movies which contain breaking the fourth wall?

India produces the second most movies after Hollywood. So does the trope of breaking the fourth wall exist in Indian movies?
Rene Arago's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
349 views

Has there ever been a movie in which humanity found a "Golden Record" of another species?

The idea of the Golden Record is already epic enough, and since movies that include sentinent alien species are always popular, it suprises me that apparently there is no popular movie about humans ...
Flying Thunder's user avatar
8 votes
0 answers
2k views

What was the first movie to show a crazy person's wall covered with photos & articles connected by colored yarn?

In movies such as A Beautiful Mind, a crazy / obsessed person will cover a wall with photographs and news articles, and connect them with colored yarn. (This is called link analysis). We've all seen ...
BrettFromLA's user avatar
  • 23.6k
7 votes
4 answers
825 views

In films, especially horror, Why does the devil interact with random people?

In most supernatural horror movies, especially religious ones, the characters will fight evil spirits and entities, the Devil being one of the most popular ones. However, what confuses me is when he ...
Crafter's user avatar
  • 279
7 votes
3 answers
628 views

Is there a name for characters who are not exactly part of the movie but affect the incidents in the movie?

In some of the movies I have watched, there are some characters whose screen presence is less and has a minor role in the movie. But their role play an important role in causing a twist in the movie. ...
Nog Shine's user avatar
  • 11k
7 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why is Los Angeles targeted for destruction so often in Hollywood movies?

One of my favourite types of films are ones where some form of cataclysm occurs (morbid I know). But one thing I have noticed in many films is the destruction of the city of Los Angeles (sometimes ...
user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
222 views

Who was the first to take Manhattan?

We know that in 1984, the Muppets took Manhattan. In 1989, Jason Voorhees took Manhattan as well. Later, DeGrassi took Manhattan, the Weeping Angels took Manhattan, and countless others have taken ...
TenthJustice's user avatar
  • 1,252
7 votes
1 answer
478 views

Is there a term for the trope where a character says something they should not know?

Is there a name for the trope where a character betrays himself/herself when they say or do something they shouldn't know? For example, somewhere in the series Homeland, Carrie offers Nicholas some ...
thieupepijn's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
3k views

What's the first use of the "power walk"?

I'm curious how the "power walk" originated, where characters walk inline (or sometimes in a triangle with the middle furthest towards the camera) towards the camera. What was the first use? Has it ...
Zach Saucier's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
832 views

Is there a name for the “last henchman that runs away” trope?

There’s a somewhat common trope, largely in movies, where the hero fights a horde of henchmen and defeats them all. All but a single weak one that is left shivering and eventually runs away (the hero ...
user137369's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
1k views

Is there a trope for a pile-on fight?

Is there a trope about one person being tackled and piled on and the hero uses tremendous strength to get up and the multiple opponents go flying? Here is what I am talking about from The Matrix ...
cameron's user avatar
  • 307
6 votes
2 answers
2k views

Origin of "red glowing eyes in the dark" trope?

I can't find/think of any examples off of the top of my head, but it is a common trope (especially in animated films) to show an area covered in shadow and have red eyes appear in the darkness. ...
scohe001's user avatar
  • 393
6 votes
4 answers
504 views

Trope for repeating some detail

In GoT season 7 This seems to be far to conspicuous to not be important and (probably) to be later proven wrong (the finale seeming to strongly hint that). This seems like a trope, but I'm not sure ...
Matt Burland's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
1k views

Name for the effect with an 'intensifying thriller sound' as someone is shown eavesdropping?

Generally in thriller-type movies, there is a scene where A & B are talking. But the scene ends with C listening secretly with an intensifying thriller sound. Is there any single name for this ...
user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
490 views

What is the first instance of the "Saving humans from themselves" trope

After watching Age of Ultron (in which, ridiculously reduced, Ultron, tasked with saving humanity, decides that to save it, he must destroy it, because it is its own worst threat) I thought of I, ...
rosends's user avatar
  • 1,833