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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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138
votes
8answers
37k views

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 ...
113
votes
3answers
14k 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. ...
103
votes
12answers
23k 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 ...
71
votes
11answers
14k 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 ...
45
votes
4answers
14k 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 ...
35
votes
9answers
10k 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 ...
32
votes
3answers
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 ...
26
votes
3answers
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 ...
26
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2answers
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 ...
23
votes
2answers
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 ...
22
votes
2answers
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 ...
21
votes
2answers
9k 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 ...
16
votes
1answer
5k 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 ...
16
votes
1answer
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 ...
15
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
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 ...
13
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
670 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
237 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
231 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
570 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
440 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
3k 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?
9
votes
1answer
918 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
622 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
2k 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?
8
votes
1answer
803 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
898 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
351 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
871 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?
8
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
219 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 ...
8
votes
0answers
261 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
881 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
464 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
574 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
302 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. ...
6
votes
1answer
597 views

What is the name of this “character suddenly has expert knowledge” trope?

What is this called? The trope where, in some episode, a character suddenly has advanced, expert knowledge in a field that they have never mentioned, especially something almost out of character for ...
6
votes
1answer
357 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. ...
6
votes
1answer
226 views

What's the first appearance of Becoming the Costume that happens on Halloween?

What's the first appearance of Becoming the Costume that happens on Halloween? Something turns people into whatever costume they are wearing.
6
votes
0answers
186 views

Which movie first did the chase sequence/pane of glass gag?

There's a common gag/cliche/trope/whatever in chase sequences in movies/tv/cartoons where two people are carrying a window/mirror/pane of glass across a road that gets smashed during the chase. In ...
5
votes
1answer
822 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
161 views

Origins and name of the head-turn / 4th wall breaking shot on TV and film

There's a cliche shot used more often on TV than on film (IMHO) where we see the character first in profile. They then turn to look directly at the camera. Does anyone know if there a name for this ...
5
votes
3answers
329 views

Term to convey the recent trend of Marvel/GotG “Serious>Joke” moments

It's tough to describe without going into a tirade and listing off all these moments in a bunch of movies. It started back in Transformers if I recall. But it really caught on and no new movie seems ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the origin of the cat jump scare?

It has become cliche for horror movies to be full of false jump-scares, probably the most common example being that of a cat jumping out of the darkness and running away. There is even a cat scare ...
5
votes
1answer
401 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, ...
5
votes
2answers
424 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
267 views

TV Trope where the first words spoken of a scene are the exact same as the last words of the previous scene

Is there a TV Trope that describes where the beginning dialogue of a scene is the exact same as the last words spoken in the most previous scene? Often, the beginning dialogue of the second scene ...