Follow TV Tropes


Aesop / Live-Action Films

Go To

  • 2:37: It's not always obvious when somebody's suicidal. Or as Luke puts it: "Sometimes, you just get so wrapped up in your own problems that you just don't notice anybody else."
  • Parodied in the Coen Brothers' dark spy comedy Burn After Reading. At the end, the CIA director tries to find a lesson in all that has happened, only to conclude that there is none.
    CIA Chief: What did we learn, Palmer?
    Subordinate: I don't know, sir.
    CIA Chief: I don't fucking know either. I guess we learned not to do it again... Fucked if I know what we did.
  • Advertisement:
  • Cloud Atlas: Spelled out for us by Sonmi's revelation: "To be is to be perceived, and so to know thyself is only possible through the eyes of the other. The nature of our immortal lives is in the consequences of our words and deeds, that go on and impressionate themselves throughout all time. Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb, we are bound to others. Past and Present. And by each crime and every kindness we birth our future."
  • The Aesop in Coming Soon is that piracy is a bad, bad thing.
  • Quoth the Doctor Strange (2016) movie: "Driving while distracted can be hazardous for both you and others around you. Please drive responsibly." Dr. Strange fails to heed this advice and gets a car crash, two shredded hands, and a premature end to his surgery career for his trouble.
  • Advertisement:
  • The title character in Drop Dead Fred tells Elizabeth at the end that she's never really alone as long she had herself.
  • Exam: Teamwork and cooperation are better than selfishness and competition.
  • The theme of The Duff seems to be "Don't let labels define you."
  • Gold Through the Fire: Faith is the most important aspect of a person's life, and also the US barring religious expression from public schools (though the film portrays this wrongly) isn't right. As a result, it's not that different from the Soviet Union's anti-religious policies.
  • Health Education movies such as The Keg Party.
  • Lights of New York has an awkward one: "We want to do right to each other and everyone else. There's no luck in anything else".
  • Played in Mean Girls. Be yourself (of course!).
  • Most of the stories in Muppet Classic Theater have some sort of moral.
  • Advertisement:
  • Nixon:
    Richard M. Nixon: Always remember: others may hate you. But those who hate you don't win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself.
  • None Shall Escape (a 1944 film about a trial against a Nazi officer following the end of the then-ongoing second world war): Nazis are bad, and must be held accountable for their actions. Though they may say that they're Just Following Orders, that's merely an excuse used by those who do not dare to do what is right.
  • This trope is used and then averted in The Onion Movie. Immediately after a pro-West, "violence is not the answer" speech by a former terrorist, the main character goes on to say:
    "I think we've all learned a few things in the past 90 minutes. We've learned that Irishmen have huge nipples. We've learned that film-critic intellectuals are a bunch of gaywads. And most of all, we've learned that creeping corporate influence over the news protects us from terrorism."
  • The Central Theme of Pay It Forward is that by performing random acts of kindness for complete strangers we are able to change the world for the better.
  • Played straight in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Just because a man is an outlaw doesn't mean he isn't a good person in his own ways.
  • The Aesop in Reefer Madness is this: if you smoke marijuana... sorry, "marihuana"... even once, you'll instantly become addicted and as a result you'll go crazy, become a sex-crazed lunatic, and murder your girlfriend in cold blood.
  • Rollo and the Spirit of the Woods: You'll be better off in life through tolerance and consideration. You must be responsible with how you use the power and recognition you gain. And while you can fool around a bit, you mustn't do so stupidly, else the consequences can be severe.
  • In Silver Lode, the moral is that mob justice is terrible. And that Senator Joseph McCarthy is, too.
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. This movie (and by extension the next one) can be seen as being about consequences. Most of the events in this film occur because of Kirk's actions in the past, or reference his cavalier attitude to rules — the entire film would have been averted if Kirk had not been so careless as to have marooned Khan on Ceti Alpha V without doing a complete survey of the planet and the surrounding system. He even acknowledges this when he ruefully admits that he never actually learned the lesson that the Kobayashi Maru test from the beginning of the film was actually trying to teach — instead of accepting some situations for what they were, he merely kept cheating until he was able to get his way. Both Spock and later David die for his hubris. And his refusal to raise the shields despite the fact that Starfleet regulations state that if ANY approaching ship does NOT respond to any communications, you are to RAISE THE SHIELDS. Saavik was cut off by Spock before she quoted the regulation in its entirety; however, the implication is pretty clear. Plus the fact that after the attack, Kirk said to Saavik, "You go right on quoting regulations".
  • Star Trek Into Darkness: Listen to your friends and advisers. In order of occurrence;
    • If Kirk had listened to Spock and not lied in his report, he would have been able to defend his actions at the inquest instead of being chewed out by Pike, which at the very least would have delayed his demotion long enough for him to still be a captain when Khan attacked.
    • If Pike hadn't pulled a Not Now, Kiddo on Kirk at the captain's meeting he would have figured out Khan's plan a few precious seconds earlier, possibly saving the lives of all present.
    • If Kirk had listened to Scotty's complaints and let him check the payload of the torpedoes, instead of overruling Scotty so he could pursue his vendetta against Harrison, the frozen super soldiers would have been discovered, undoing everyone's plans.
    • Had Kirk not listened to Spock and killed Harrison with the torpedoes, he would have aided Marcus' plan to start a war. Granted, it did end up getting him killed and San Francisco leveled by a starship, but those things might have happened anyway if a war started.
    • More importantly, don't let your desire for revenge compromise you, lest you pay the price for it. And good friends and advisers will point this out to you.
  • What Price Hollywood?: Celebrity Is Overrated. People die for it.
  • The Wizard of Oz (1939). After Glinda asks Dorothy what she's learned, Dorothy gives one.
    If I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, l won't look any further than my own backyard, because if it isn't there I never really lost it to begin with.
    [and after Dorothy returns to Kansas] There's no place like home!
  • Wonder Woman (2017):
    • One person, no matter how badass they are, can't save the world. It takes the help of many.
    • Evil has complex roots. Killing one bad person will not, on its own, fix an evil situation.
    • Also, Humans Are Flawed. Wars and conflicts can bring out the worst and the best in people, and we should strive to achieve the latter and help others to do the same, not simply giving up on them.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: