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The Movie

"Just add a few new cuts and you will be able to fool the audiences, uh-huh!"
Kagura, Gintama

The Movie is a heavily expanded, one-shot episode of a TV series usually meant for theatrical distribution. Often times the film will be used to further the storyline of the show (see Myth Arc). However, usually there are other motivations for this, generally involving green slips of paper going into the pockets of film executives from the hard-working fanbase of a show.

This trope primarily dates from before DVD, and occurred a lot during the 80s and early 1990s. A cinematic feature was considered much more important for a particular series or franchise at the time, than it would be now; although it can still sometimes occur. Although not always, The Movie tends to be a death knell for the franchise in question, as well.

The Movie usually takes two main forms.

  • A distilled/compressed summary or Ur Example of the entire central arc of the series it is based on. The X-Files: Fight the Future was a good example of this. A subtype here is the Compilation Movie.

  • It will raise the stakes, (often changing the dynamic of the original work) or otherwise contain a story with a scope larger than the usual series' budget, in which case you tend to have a Big Damn Movie. It can also act as the Grand Finale, or a Series Fauxnale, should they make sequels. Serenity would qualify as an example of this, as would the original animated Transformers movie.

Not all movies are The Movie; compare Non-Serial Movie and The Film of the Series. See also Made-for-TV Movie, and note that not all examples of The Movie are theatrical. (A Reunion Show, for instance, will often take the form of a movie.) Most anime movies, for example, are either non-serial adventures or the Arc or Myth Arc of the entire series compressed into the space of two hours. The latter frequently requires an Alternate Continuity to pull this off.

If it's a series' first attempt at making one, it might even be called some variation of Title: The Movie. You know, in case you didn't realize.

For the inverse, a series based off a movie, see Recycled: The Series.

If you came here from a link in the Literature section of a page, see The Film of the Book and go back and correct the link. Then take a drink.

Examples are sorted according to the original source.

Examples with their own subpages:

Other examples

Comic Books

Fan Works
  • Neon Exodus Evangelion, despite being a fanfic, has a The Movie, set after the episodes and wrapping everything up with an epic fight scene.


Meta OriginMedia Adaptation TropesMovie Superheroes Wear Black
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Live-Action AdaptationThe Millennium Age of AnimationNetwork Decay
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The ScrappyOverdosed TropesBig Eater
Return of the JediEpic MovieSteamboy
Spin-Off BabiesThe Renaissance Age of AnimationThick-Line Animation
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alternative title(s): Movie Sized Episode
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