movies popcorn

ARE ALL MOVIES ESSENTIALLY THE SAME?

Have you ever noticed that movies have a lot in common? Do you know this feeling? You are watching a new release. The characters and the settings are unique, but you know what is going to happen next, as though you’ve seen the movie before. Sometimes two films are so similar that it’s difficult to tell them apart. But even movies from completely different genres have a familiar ring to them.

Similar Movies

The movie Avatar resembles Disney’s Pocahontas in many ways. They have so much in common that, according to BuzzFeed, Avatar is “a story about Pocahontas, except its the year 2154, she’s blue, and she lives on Pandora”.

Screenshot from Pocahontas Official Trailer
Screenshot from Avatar Official Trailer

Antz and A Bug’s Life? Well, the titles are different, if that counts for anything. Okay, I exaggerate. But not by much.

Screenshot from Antz Official Trailer
Screenshot from A Bug’s Life Official Trailer

Deep Impact and Armageddon are takes on the same plot. A large rock is headed for Earth, and a team of astronaughts try to save the planet. Not only are these movies incredibly similar, they were released within weeks of each other! The parallels between the films were not lost on movie critics, who have written many articles comparing the two. Which movie is better? Mostly comes down to whether you prefer Morgan Freeman or Bruce Willis and how much you enjoy watching things explode.

Screenshot from Armageddon Official Trailer
Screenshot from Deep Impact Official Trailer

A common thread

The resemblance between different movies isn’t always as obvious as in the examples above, but it is still there.

What is going on? Do movie writers lack creativity? Are they just copying each other? Well, some are. But that’s not the whole story.

In fact, great story writers all follow the same underlying structure, often intentionally. Movies, plays, novels, fairy-tales, comic books, cartoons and even some of the best ads on TV all have the same pattern. It is a template that we see over and over again, all over the world and throughout the ages.

This pattern is called a story arc, and it is very old. We find the classic story arc in Grendel’s journey in Beowulf which was written all the way back in 700 BC! How amazing to think that when we watch a movie, no matter how modern it is, it is based on a story structure that has been handed down through the generations, from the beginning of human history.

Let’s learn more about this classic story arc, and talk about movies in English.


Access the full movie lesson plan here.

We’d love to hear your thoughts. Can you think of any striking similarities between movies that you have seen?

Add your comments below!

5 3 votes
Article Rating

What do you think?

18 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Erika Ocampo
Erika Ocampo
9 months ago

Edtv and truman show teacher but in Edtv is not secret. 🙂

ERICK SANTIAGO GALLO BURITICA
ERICK SANTIAGO GALLO BURITICA
8 months ago

very intresting. i haven´t think about movies in that way.

ERICK SANTIAGO GALLO BURITICA
ERICK SANTIAGO GALLO BURITICA
8 months ago

very interesting

Henry González
Henry González
8 months ago

My favorite movie is “Survivor”. Tom Hanks is one of the main characters in the movie. The second one is not really a person. Its name is Wilson, a volleyball ball. Both work beautifully together, but Wilson do not speak any word. However, it is a great star in the movie. I have to say that is really a very strange cast for a drama movie. In fact, the more dramatic scene in the movie is when Wilson disappear in the ocean. The situation was very sad, because Wilson was the only companion for Tom hanks, who was alone in a lost island.

Gabriela Díaz
Gabriela Díaz
8 months ago

My favourite movie is The Avengers Endgame, because I like the action and plot of the movie, the thing I liked the least was the dead of iron man.
I also like all the characters, I think they are really good acting and pretty. 🤭❤

Camilo
8 months ago

My Favorite movie is spiderman , because is my superhero favorite

Adriana
Adriana
8 months ago

My favorite movie is “Diary of a passion” because i like the themes of love♥ and love lives until the end.

Natalia Sandoval
Natalia Sandoval
8 months ago

Mi Favorite movie is Anabelle because I really like suspense

Katerine
Katerine
8 months ago

I Love forest Gum movie