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Movies and Literature

Updated on September 30, 2015

Movies and Literature


Many movies involve a story about an individual who is being confronted with disturbing or evil forces. The struggle against these forces often demands a certain amount of heroism. In most cases the main character is masculine, whereas, in the course of the story, one or more feminine persons also play a role.

Historical origins

At first sight this type of movie seems to be something unique – something connected to our time. At a second sight it isn’t. These movies namely stand in a tradition that goes back to the Middle Ages.

In these times there existed a literary genre that contains many elements we also see in our movie culture: the so-called knight literature. An important centre of this type of literature was France. Here it is known as the Chanson de Roland. This genre is connected with the dynasty of the Karolingians.

A lesson

An objective that returns in many of the above mentioned movies is the restoration of justice or the restoration of a just order. Concerning this question traditionally great significance is being attached to institutions or abstract ideas.

These movies seem to want to tell us that in many cases the realisation of this objective does not, in the first place, depend on institutions or ideologies but, rather, on individuals and individual agency. We could say that this idea is typical for Western culture. We also see it back in the culture of Russia (see for example the work of Fjodor Dostojewsky).


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