Film directors start out as movie buffs, often of the most obscure sorts of films. On top of that, many modern directors went to film school and saw hundreds of legendary movies. Even after they get to direct movies of their own, they often love to use angles, compositions, and shots they saw in school. Of course, all directors use tricks and shots invented long before. But while anyone can do a Power Walk
, it takes skill and devotion to light and shoot a power walk exactly like Philip Kaufmann did in The Right Stuff
(especially if your film isn't about astronauts).
This trope does not count deliberate parody, or remakes of old movies, unless it's a new adaptation from the original medium. (Peter Jackson
's The Lord of the Rings
trilogy qualifies for this trope, while the remake of Psycho
does not.) Something similar occasionally appears in comics, but the comparative ease of copying (light tables) makes it hard to tell the homages from the flat-out swipes.
Occasionally this is Inspiration Nod
, but usually it's more of a Shout-Out
to a director that inspired them to get into the business. It's Pietà Plagiarism
but of the church of cinema. If the homage is referential to a series or property's own past, it's an Internal Homage
Anime & Manga
Film — Live-Action
Film — Animated
- Film sequences that are especially prone to homage:
- Steven Spielberg is the absolute king of this. While his own style is distinctive (and subject to homage by other directors), he loves to work in bits from other movies.
- His longest sequence of homage shots comes in the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan. As the rangers hit the beach, Spielberg slips in bits from war movies that have come before (this case might count as Pink Bunny Slippers). After Tom Hanks falls into the water, we have a shot of bullets making water trails round floating bodies that looks like a scene from Peter Weir's Gallipoli. As the troops crawl along the beach, we see a medic checking a wounded soldier and discovering that he's been completely eviscerated. The wounds and the pose are straight out of Catch-22. Lastly, we catch a glimpse of a wounded man holding his own severed arm, a twin of a shot from Kurosawa's Ran.
- Many people noted the use of the generic "Japanese man looking back at Godzilla" shot in The Lost World: Jurassic Park. More obscure is the sequence where the hunters are running through the tall grass at night. A series of tracking pans of each figure, snapping back to pick up the next man, it's a direct lift from Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, down to the tall grass. The moonlight helps match it to the black-and-white original.
- George Lucas is also an old Kurosawa fan. (He, Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola were instrumental in finding the money for Ran.) While Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope is built off Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress and The Dam Busters, the homage shot (the pan along the ground to a severed arm) is lifted from Yojimbo. There's also bits and pieces of other stuff, like Westerns and older Sci-Fi movies, if you pay real close attention and know what to look for.
- Peter Jackson shot one bit at Bilbo's birthday party in The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring ("Proudfeet!") as an exact copy of a shot in Ralph Bakshi's animated The Lord of the Rings. Jackson even helpfully points this out in the commentary. A circle-round shot of the four hobbits at Weathertop is also lifted from the original, although the camera moves much faster and Aragorn is absent. And the hobbits hiding in the crotch of a tree from the Nazgûl? Also from the Bakshi version. (It's the last shot you'd expect, isn't it?)
- The scene at the black gates of Mordor appears to be a homage to The Wizard of Oz.
- Saruman telekinetically closing the 4 doors in his tower to keep Gandalf trapped in Orthanc mirrors a similar scene in Dragonslayer where Ulrich traps Galen in the wizard's tower-yes, 4 doors are also involved.
- Wormtongue brings a flame too close to some gunpowder, Saruman deftly moves the flame away = The Wise Man and Ash respectively in Army of Darkness.
- Another The Wizard of Oz example: Saruman (through a possessed King Théoden) telling Gandalf that "You have no power here!", a line for line echo of what Glinda says to the Wicked Witch of the West.
- And again: Frodo and Sam crouching behind a boulder as they watch enemy troops march past near an enemy citadel essentially duplicates the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion as they plot to enter the Wicked Witch's citadel. Can you tell that PJ loves this film yet?
- The fight scenes at Helm's Deep have a certain similarity to those in Zulu. Orc's Drift, anyone?
- Another animation to (sorta) live-action lift: Luna's Patronus in the film version of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is a rabbit. It runs around the air in a pattern lifted from the opening narration/montage of the movie Watership Down ("Prince with a thousand enemies").
- Jennifers Body contains several homage shots to the Twilight movie, all twisted in some way, like Jennifer kissing her victim in a forest clearing that looks like the one where Edward confessed that he was a vampire to Bella; and the deer lapping the victim's corpse, which recalls the deer sipping from a pool that Edward ate at the start of Twilight.
- The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time film had a scene where the camera rotates around The Prince on a high tower to give a good view of the landscape. The exact same shot which was used for viewpoints in Assassin's Creed.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Gore Verbinski stuck in a virtually identical shot of Orlando Bloom in Tortuga echoing one he did in the 1st Lord of the Rings film in Lothlórien: in both cases Bloom reacts to an offscreen comment or activity with a concerned look as he turns his head.
- Word of God has stated the scene in Love Actually where Mark reveals that he's in love with Juliet by showing her his tape of her wedding, which is entirely made up of shots of her is a homage to the ending of Cinema Paradiso.
- In Aragami there is an Homage Shot to Metal Gear Solid, of which the director, Ryuhei Kitamura, is an outspoken fan. When the nameless Samurai shoots at Miyamoto Musashi, Musashi dodges, and then stands framed exactly like the cyborg Ninja in Metal Gear Solid does if you try shooting at him in battle. He performs an identical sequence of Weapon Twirling as him, and then directly quotes the Ninja by saying "You can't defeat me with a weapon like that."
- The confession scene in American Psycho is very evocative of Walter's confession scene in Double Indemnity.
Music Videos & Album Art
- Animation copying animation: Several of the shots during the final chase in the first Kim Possible episode at Camp Wanaweep look exactly like a Jonny Quest episode that also featured a villain like that in The Creature From The Black Lagoon. Gill swims down through the bubbles in the same pose and as the creature.
- The first shot of the fight between Diego and Soto at the end of Ice Age is identical to the first shot of Simba's fight with Scar at the end of The Lion King.
- Lilo & Stitch has a shot of Stitch walking away in a path surrounded by foliage that is taken directly from the 1939 Silly Symphony short The Ugly Duckling. An earlier scene has him by the road under the rain while a frog sits by him, in reference to the bus stop scene in Hayao Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro.
- The climax of "Be Prepared" in The Lion King is another homage to Triumph of the Will. It's particularly blatant because the geometry of the cave is quite suddenly artificial looking to invoke the city setting of Triumph of the Will, and because the legions of marching hyenas are the first and last time in the film where you see more than three hyenas working for Scar.
- The cover of the Homestuck music album "Medium" is a reference to the iconic Japanese/European cover of Final Fantasy VII, copying the shape of Meteor and the Black Materia almost exactly with a planet and a meteor.
- The music video to Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" contains a long shot of Miley's crying face directly taken from the music video for Sinead O Connor's "Nothing Compares 2U".
- The Metal Gear games do this with actual hidden meanings, and so frequently it gets to the point where it's like What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic? but with movies instead of religion.
- An example of one with a hidden meaning is the homage shot to Terminator 2: Judgment Day in Metal Gear Solid 2, in which Snake's stealth camo is shown glitching out, giving the impression of him materialising out of thin air in the same manner as the time jump effect from the film. Word of God explains that this is intended as Foreshadowing of how Snake's role has been significantly altered in 2 from being the main character to being The Obi-Wan for the real main character, just like how at the beginning of Terminator 2 we assume that the Terminator is the Big Bad just because he'd been that in the first film, when he's really The Hero.
- In Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, there's an homage shot to The Right Stuff, done entirely in narration. In Strangelove's audio tapes, she describes a scene where NASA is selecting someone for a suicide mission in space, and how no-one volunteered until The Boss raised her hand, "as if acting out a scene from a movie".
- In a more obscure gaming homage, the briefing scenes from Microprose's Gunship 2000 helicopter simulator look almost identical to the briefing shots in Fire Birds.
- Final Fantasy XII pays more than a few homages to Star Wars. Most noticeable are the Strahl/Millenium Falcon taking off from Rabanastre/Mos Eisley, and Gabranth/Vader disembarking his shuttle as the game/movie's Imperial March plays.
- Silent Hill 2 contains a scene almost directly lifted from David Lynch's Blue Velvet.
- The anime preview FMV in Star Ocean: Second Evolution has a shot of Dias standing amidst fire lifted straight out of the famous FMV of Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII, down to the placement of the flames.
- The Simpsons does this all the time, mostly for the sake of parody. The scene where Homer bites into a "Ribwich" for the first time, and his pupils dilate and we have sudden shots of the food travelling down his gullet, is a pitch-perfect recreation of a scene from Requiem for a Dream.