The MacGuffin is one of the popular storytelling methods that has existed in the world of cinema for decades. One of the reasons for its popularity is that it can appear in many different genres of movies, making for many options. A MacGuffin is usually an object that the protagonists are very invested in and want to obtain for themselves.
The entire story revolves around the search for the object, only for the protagonists and the audience to realize that the object is essentially worthless, or that it remains a mystery. The most iconic MacGuffins in movies lend something special to the story and make it easy for the audience to remember.
5/5 Rosebud in Citizen Kane (1941)
One of the best examples of a MacGuffin is just one word. The words of a dying man, a lonely rich man, uttered before he died. But what does ‘rosebud’ mean? That’s what journalist Jerry is trying to find out. Except the fact that it is not Citizen Kane about It tells the complex story of Cain’s life, how he became powerful and rich and managed to alienate all the people in his life.
As such, the film comes across as a tragic life story of a man, focusing on everything he has done and faced over the years. Citizen Kane MacGuffin is kinder to its audience than other movies that feature it, but not to the characters, as the journalist never discovers that Kane had a ‘rosebud’ sled as a child.
4/5 The Secret Military Data in the 39 Steps (1935)
Alfred Hitchcock is known primarily as a horror director, despite the fact that he focused on thrillers and detective films throughout his career. He was a master at subverting expectations and making something seem more important than it was. The same is true of British films 39 steps In which a group of interested parties want to get their hands on military secrets. As Hitchcock was fond of doing, he focuses primarily on an innocent man drawn into a dangerous situation against his will.
The main character, Richard, is a tourist who is falsely accused of murder, and must escape from the police and criminals alike, while trying to prove his innocence. While it may seem like this would originally be the main focus of a military secret film, instead, it focuses on how Richard will solve the problem he finds himself in. 39 steps Helped introduce the concept of the MacGuffin, although Hitchcock would name it only a few years later.
3/5 The Briefcase in Pulp Fiction (1994)
Whenever a mysterious object in a movie is important to many people, the chances are high that it could be a MacGuffin. As the characters become increasingly invested in the material, so does the audience. In the context of the famous Quentin Tarantino movie, the audience wants to know what is inside the briefcase which is important to both Jules and Vincent. Most movies would have answered that question in the end but Pulp Fiction does not
Judging by the movie’s popularity and high rating on Movie Database, this doesn’t diminish its quality one bit. In fact, quite the opposite – the mystery surrounding the briefcase helped build the movie’s reputation. This led fans to create several theories about what might be in the briefcase. A popular theory says that it may harbor Vincent’s spirit!
2/5 The Diamond Necklace in Titanic (1997)
James Cameron’s legendary movie Titanic, one of the most profitable movies of all time, begins and ends with a diamond necklace called Heart of the Ocean. Brock Lovett is looking for a precious jewel and when he sees it in an old diagram found on the wreckage of a ship, it leads him to Rose who proceeds to tell him the story of her love affair with Jack and the sinking of the ship. Details on the movie.
However, even though Haar features heavily in the story, Titanic It is mainly about Rose’s love for Jack and his struggle for freedom. That is best demonstrated by the fact that Rose keeps the necklace in the movie’s finale and throws it into the ocean, even though she could have easily sold it for millions of dollars. But Rose doesn’t care about defeat and neither does the end of the movie.
1/5 The Two Million Dollars in No Country for Old Men (2007)
Two million dollars is a lot of money, and it has the potential to change people’s lives. In the modern western crime drama There is no country for old men, money changes the characters’ lives – but for the worse, as many people die trying to get their hands on the money. It all starts when Llewellyn Moss takes two million dollars from a drug deal gone south.
Mainly because of Javier Bardem’s Anton Chigurh, one of the most chilling movie killers of all time, those who come into contact with money usually don’t survive long. In the end, the movie is primarily about crime and destruction, not about money, and it only serves as a catalyst for horrific events, the goal people pursue no matter how dangerous.
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