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The Rules of Movie World

Updated on November 2, 2015
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It’s not difficult to tell that movies can be somewhat…formulaic. Certain rules and convenient situations tend to pop up in films in familiar yet comfortable ways, whether it be to tie a story neatly together or just to keep a story from becoming too similar to a real life situation. Below are some familiar scenes that have been popping up in films throughout the years.



1. Phone numbers begin with “555”.

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2. Animals understand what characters are saying and follow orders to help them out of a jamb.

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3. Characters can faint without getting hurt or feeling woozy afterwards.

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4. They have chance encounters with other characters at opportune moments.

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5. When they're fired from their job, they collect their belongings in a box before shuffling out the door.


Clip from 'Bruce Almighty'

6. They spill or drop their (usually glass or breakable) drink when they hear bad news.

Clip from 'E.T.': Mom Spills Her Drink

7. Musical numbers are executed perfectly without rehearsal, often in public with total strangers.

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8. Bed sheets make a strong, solid escape rope.

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9. Women gain superhero strength while in labor.


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10. Heroes can disarm a bomb with just a few seconds remaining.


'Rush Hour' Disarming the Bomb

11. Characters can survive a large explosion uninjured.

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12. A hero can pull someone who is hanging off of something high to safety without dislocating both characters' arms.


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13. Good guys don’t get hit by flying bullets, especially in the middle of the movie.

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14. Calling someone a “chicken” will get them to do whatever the name caller wants.

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15. To void a contract, a character will tear it up.

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16. Important news stories are viewed from multiple TV’s in a store window.


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If you know of any other “movie rules,” please leave them in the comments below, and I’ll add them to the list.

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    • Breanne Ginsburg profile image

      Breanne Ginsburg 2 years ago

      Ha, this is a very funny and true article! It always gets me how every time a character hears bad news, they drop their glass! Also, while the musical thing is part of the whole musical television concept, it is utterly unrealistic; people would never happen to know the same lyrics and start at the same time randomly!

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