Follow TV Tropes


Common Knowledge / Live-Action Films

Go To

Franchises with their own pages

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey:
    • The Sufficiently Advanced Aliens that manipulate human evolution don't look like giant black monoliths. Though the details about them are left very vague in the Stanley Kubrick film, Arthur C. Clarke's accompanying novel makes it clear that the monoliths are actually vessels used by aliens who have evolved beyond the need for their physical bodies. The aliens themselves are never actually seen.
    • Advertisement:
    • Because he is one of the Trope Codifiers for A.I. Is a Crapshoot, everybody knows that HAL 9000 is an evil supercomputer who rebels against the human race and slaughters humans because he views them as inferior. Except he's not. Though he does cause the death of one of his handlers, and he does eventually refuse to obey his handlers' orders, he's not evil, and he doesn't hate humanity. The truth is that HAL goes insane because his commanders give him conflicting orders, asking him to obey the astronauts on the Discovery while keeping their true mission secret from them, thus forcing him into a situation where he might have to lie to them when they ask why they're being sent to Jupiter. The trouble with HAL starts, ironically, because he's too obedient, and doesn't know how to compromise, handle two contradictory commands, or perform any action that might jeopardize his primary mission. When he does kill one of the human protagonists, it's because he learns that they're planning to shut him down, and he believes that he has to defend himself; being a machine, he equates being shut down with death. This is the source of his famous line "I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that." HAL doesn't open the pod bay doors because he's genuinely incapable of doing so, believing that he would be violating his programming by allowing Dave Bowman to enter the ship to shut him down, putting the mission at risk.
  • If you've heard the complaints about the ending of A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, you've likely heard them centered around the sheer stupidity of "aliens showing up to fix everything at the last minute". Actually, the creatures in the final scene are never said to be aliens, and Word of God has repeatedly stated that they're just the highly evolved descendants of the mecha.
    • Also, their "fix" may actually be a happy Dying Dream they gave to the protagonist before shutting him down. Many people regard it as a Surprisingly Happy Ending, but it's really anything but. David will still be alone forever and he never achieved his goal of becoming human.
  • "Xenomorph" is not supposed to be the proper species name of the creatures from Alien. "Xenomorph" is simply a scientific word meaning an alien lifeform, which they use because no one's seen such a creature before and don't know what to call it (i.e. it's the taxonomic equivalent of "UFO"). It doesn't actually have a name but a mere designation: "Xenomorph XX121". It has been given two separate binomial names though, refered to as Internecivus Raptus in some of the home video releases and Linguafoeda Acheronsis in some of the comic books, and the Yautja refer to it as "kiande amedha."
  • Advertisement:
  • Everybody knows that Amadeus is the one where the evil Antonio Salieri schemes to destroy his rival Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's career, and ultimately murders him out of jealousy. It's not. Salieri confesses to Mozart's murder in the opening scene, but the movie makes it pretty clear that he died of a random illness (partly brought about by overwork), and most of his career struggles were his own fault rather than Salieri's doing. Salieri doesn't cause his downfall, though not for lack of trying. Notably, this one is prevalent enough that the trope Driven by Envy used to be called "Salieri Syndrome".
  • Sony Pictures is known to have planned many bizarre-sounding Spider-Man spinoff films during the window of time when they had exclusive movie rights to the Spider-Man comics, but a prequel film about Aunt May as a spy in the 1960s was not one of them. That was just a rumor, and it likely started as a joke mocking Sony for planning weird spinoff movies that nobody asked for. Sure, they did plan a Sinister Six movie, a Spider-Man 2099 movie, a Superior Spider-Man movie, a Clone Saga movie, various solo villain movies starring Carnage and Kraven the Hunter (among others), and even a Silver Age throwback directed by a returning Sam Raimi—but no spy thriller starring Aunt May.
  • Many people claim that Avatar has an anti-technology message, and that it strongly implies that humans should learn from the Na'vi and return to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. In truth, while it has a strong pro-conservation message, it also has very strong Science Is Good themes: the scientist Grace Augustine is one of the most sympathetic characters in the movie, and Jake Sully is only able to save the Na'vi because of the Avatar Project—which utilizes advanced genetic engineering. This supplementary materials make this even more evident, making it clear that Earth is suffering from a massive environmental collapse that can only be fixed with science and technology.
  • The Back to the Future trilogy:
    • Crossing this with Fake Memories: In Part I, the terrorists drive a blue and white Volkswagen van. For some reason a lot of people misremember the vehicle as a brown or white Toyota van.
    • Marty never flew the DeLorean during the movies; only Doc and Old Biff were seen flying it. However, Marty drove it around on the ground pretty frequently.note 
    • This franchise has a number of frequently-repeated Common Knowledge, which mostly seems to forget which version of a character is present in given scenes. Because Biff, Lorraine and Doc himself are present in both the past and present, and Biff even in the future, people tend to confuse which one they are, sometimes mistakenly believing that Doc and Marty travel together from the start, when in fact the only trips Doc and Marty take together are to 2015 and back, and then to 1955 a second time, and all those trips are from Part II. Biff only travels in time once, when as an elderly man he steals the De Lorean for a single trip back to 1955 to deliver the sports almanac to his past self. On that note, a lot of people confuse Biff and Griff, his grandson in 2015. Lorraine never actually travels in time herself, and Jennifer only does so once, going to the future with Marty. There also seems to be confusion on what Marty's goal is. It's often described as him going back in time to assure his parents meet (it's actually him going back by accident and causing them not to meet, then having to fix it). Others believe that his very act of traveling back in time caused him to start erasing his existence, and many have suggested it makes no sense that he doesn't disappear immediately instead of gradually fading, forgetting that it's his accidentally taking his father's place in history, causing his mother to fall for him instead, that threatens to wipe out Marty's existence, not doing so immediately because no one has yet taken an irreversible action.
      • John Mulaney has a routine that uses a bunch of these misconceptions, and creates some more, including the idea that Marty is interested in having sex with his mother (it's the other way around) and that it has Marty "write" Johnny B. Goode, which is really just Marty playing it based on his memories, and having Chuck Berry hear a snippet of it and evidently realize it's the "new sound" he was looking for. Chuck still writes the actual song himself, though.
  • In Batman (1989), despite what many people think, Alfred doesn't just reveal that Bruce Wayne is Batman to Vicki Vale. She managed to figure it out on her own after discovering the article about Bruce's parents being killed in front of him when he was a child. However, he does let her into the Bat Cave without Bruce's permission.
  • We have no idea what the Blair Witch looks like, right? Actually, in the movie, the witch is in fact described as an ugly floating elderly woman with long hair. True, the descriptions given by different characters aren't consistent, but there's also a drawing that's close to it.
  • Even if they've never seen it, everybody knows that Brokeback Mountain is "the gay cowboy movie". Even though they're shepherds, not cowboys. And their sexuality is left ambiguous enough to leave open the possibility that they're bisexual rather than outright closeted gays. It could even be a case of If It's You, It's Okay, considering that neither of them had any other homosexual relationships before each other, and never have any after. Jack could be gay or bi, considering he attempts to solicit a gay prostitute, but this could just be a case of missing Ennis, whereas Ennis never shows interest in any other man than Jack.
  • Mistakes people make about Bruce Almighty are annoyingly common. Even worse, they're normally by people who've actually seen the movie! They include:
    • People thinking that Bruce only had God's powers for a week. This is never stated, and mid-way through God actually said "You've had my powers for a little over a week now", so this can't be right, as we know Bruce had his powers for several more days at minimum. Even the DVD cover and the TRAILERS make this mistake, as does the title of the Italian dub, "Una Settimana da Dio" (A week as God).
    • People thinking Bruce's powers only worked in Buffalo. This is wrong; Bruce only got PRAYERS from Buffalo, but he could use his powers anywhere. This is especially obvious when Bruce moves the moon.
    • People thinking that Bruce and Grace are married. This one is least forgivable, since it's a major plot point that Grace wants Bruce to propose to her. Anyone who makes this mistake clearly wasn't paying attention when they watched the film.
    • There are also several people who miss the point of the movie, by complaining that Bruce used his powers frivolously, not helping others, humiliating his rival, punishing some thugs that had beaten him up, (accidentally and unknowingly) killing thousands of people and *Gasp* having pre-marital sex. They clearly missed the point of Bruce intentionally being an imperfect person, who can learn a lesson during the movie.
  • In A Christmas Story, Ralphie's father does not refuse to get Ralphie a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas on the grounds that he'd "shoot [his] eye out". Though many adults in the movie tell Ralphie this, his father is not one of them (though his mother is). The Old Man is the one who ultimately does buy Ralphie a Red Ryder BB gun.
  • One of the most famous plot holes in cinematic history comes from Citizen Kane: supposedly, nobody actually heard Charles Foster Kane's last words, therefore the whole "Rosebud" mystery should never have happened. In reality, Kane's butler Raymond tells Thompson that he was there for his boss's death, so presumably he heard "Rosebud" himself.
  • The Criterion Collection has a reputation for providing extremely lavish DVD and Blu-ray releases of famous, critically acclaimed and respected classic movies with hours and hours of bonus material, but many incorrectly assume that's all they do. In reality, Criterion releases a lot of movies, not all of which are well-known, old, or even acclaimed, and while certain high-profile releases get treated well in the extras department, most have only a few basic supplements such as a commentary track and a trailer. However, it is true that all Criterion releases get extensively restored and remastered, so you can expect consistently excellent video and audio quality even if it's a lesser-known film or a modest release overall.
  • The DC Extended Universe:
    • Everyone knows the DCEU is more violent and angsty than previous DC films, particularly when it comes to Superman and Batman killing people. On the other hand, Christopher Reeve's Superman almost constantly questioned whether he should be Superman, even turning human in the second film. And the Tim Burton Batman is noticeably kills both mooks and major villains constantly and The Dark Knight is given that name for reason.
    • The DCEU has garnered a reputation for consistently putting out movies that are viewed as overly bleak, angsty and pretentious, with later entries like Aquaman and SHAZAM! (2019) receiving positive early buzz for steering the franchise in a more colorful, fun and optimistic direction. The truth is, despite all the many, many jokes about the DCEU being gritty and depressing, that really only describes the films where Zack Snyder had heavy involvement, namely Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Wonder Woman (2017) was already moving away from the bleak tone and murky color palette of Snyder's movies (with director Patty Jenkins explicitly citing the aforementioned Christopher Reeve Superman movies as a major influence on her work), while both Suicide Squad (2016) and Justice League (2017) were subjected to extensive Executive Meddling to make them Lighter and Softer after Batman v. Superman was panned by critics and experienced negative word of mouth from audiences. Furthermore, James Wan and David F. Sandberg, the respective directors of Aquaman and Shazam only signed on to direct if they could make their movies light-hearted in tone. More shockingly, Zack Snyder's Justice League showcased that even Snyder can infuse heavy amounts of levity in his moviemaking (also taking into account the fact that writer Chris Terrio said from the get-go before principal photography began that this film would be lighter and more hopeful, like Return of the Jedi was to The Empire Strikes Back).
  • Disney:
    • Disney did not "fire" Jerry Bruckheimer after The Lone Ranger flopped, as he was never their employee to begin with. All they did was end their "first look" contract with him. Bruckheimer will still make movies with Disney but most of his newer films will be made for Paramount, who he has a new "first look" deal with.
    • The reason that Disney and Bruckheimer parted ways wasn't completely because of The Lone Ranger bombing either - it was because all of their non-Pirates of the Caribbean collaborations from 2008 to 2013 (Confessions of a Shopaholic, G-Force, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and The Sorcerer's Apprentice) were high-profile box office disappointments, and the timing of the contract ending in late 2013 just happened to match up with their latest collaboration The Lone Ranger flopping.
    • When Disney CEO Bob Iger announced at the 2015 shareholders meeting that depictions of characters smoking was more or less banned in future Disney-branded films, it was treated as big news. In reality Iger was just reiterating a policy that the studio had put in place in regards to depicting smoking back in 2007. It's apparently been loosened since then: the 2007 ban was for all movies and characters, but in 2015 Iger said that exceptions would be made for historical characters as well as for Disney distributed films that don't necessarily target kids.
    • Many people believe Song of the South is about an old black man who finds Happiness in Slavery, to the point that Disney is reluctance to distribute it nowadays — except the story is set after the Civil War, meaning all the black characters in it are sharecroppers, not slaves. Given how scarcely-distributed this movie is, this misinterpretation about what the movie is actually about is something that's not easily corrected.
      • Even sympathetic viewers tend to think that the "Tar Baby" is supposed to be some kind of racial insult and that the storyline was changed for Splash Mountain precisely because of it. They apparently don't know that the basic folktale not only exists in many cultures around the world, but that it originated in Africa.
    • Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a collaboration and jointly owned effort between Disney, Warner Bros, and other animation studios right? Actually that's only partly true. While animators hailing from various studios did help work on the film, it's officially considered a Touchstone Pictures (alternate label of Disney) and Amblin Entertainment co-production. Many of the studios only gave permission to use the characters and did not actively work on the film.
  • People going on a trip by motorbike often reference Easy Rider, for the true spirit of the freedom-loving, all-American road-trip... forgetting the Diabolus ex Machina ending. Of course, that may be intentional, since the ending was tacked on to meet with censor approval, allowing them to make the rest of the film glorifying freedom-loving hippy bikers.
  • One of the most popular ways of referencing the film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is to mimic the scene in which ET holds his index finger out toward Elliot as the tip of his finger glows and he says "ET phone home". The problem is that no such scene exists. There is a scene of him holding his finger up with a glowing tip, and a scene where he says "ET phone home", but they are two entirely different scenes. Elliot isn't even in the first scene where ET says "phone home"; he's talking to Elliot's younger sister Gertie, and only later says it to Elliot. Also, people seem to imitate him by saying it robotically: "Eee-Tee-Phone-Home!" when he actually says it slowly, with inflection implying that he finally can make the humans understand what he needs to do. As for the glowing finger, in that scene ET uses his healing ability to heal Elliot's cut, and what he says is "ouch". No phoning home mentioned in that scene.
  • People frequently reference Kate Winslet's character in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind as the classic modern example of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, forgetting (or unaware of) the movie's Twist Ending. The first scene of the movie, where a free-spirited woman with dyed hair randomly strikes up a conversation with a shy loner, isn't actually the couple's first meeting (it occurs after Joel and Clementine erased their memories of each other). In their real first meeting, Joel introduced himself to Clementine, he got a much more frosty reception, and the two actually had to work to make a romance feasible. Even aside from that, the trope is deconstructed pretty thoroughly - at one point, Clementine tells Joel in so many words that she's her own screwed-up person, not a plot device in his story, and Joel later expresses shame that even after that he still secretly expected her to "save" him.
  • Most people assume that 20th Century Fox owned the film rights to the Fantastic Four movies and Disney got them after they bought the studio; this is not the case, as Germany-based Constantin Film has the Fantastic Four film rights since 1986, and they licensed them to Fox for their three theatrical films, as well as to Roger Corman's New Horizons for the 1994 unreleased film.
  • In Forrest Gump, Jenny doesn't die of AIDS. She dies in 1982, when AIDS was first becoming well documented, so many people assume it was a given. There was in fact no distinct disease ever intended for her to die of, and it's never stated in the film. The sequel to the original book, does say that it was Hepatitis C.
  • Frankenstein (1931):
  • The Friday the 13th series revolves around Jason Voorhees, a hockey-masked, machete-wielding Serial Killer who murders carefree teenagers. However, Jason isn't in the first movie (the killer is his mother), and he doesn't wear a hockey mask until the third movie (the second movie has him wearing a burlap sack over his head). Furthermore, though parodies of the movies frequently depict Jason wielding a chainsaw, he never actually does this in the movies; the closest he ever comes is wielding a hedge trimmer in Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, and being attacked with one in Friday the 13th Part 2. Jason's also generally thought of as a guy who somehow manages to catch up to his victims despite an inability to move quickly, but he runs full-tilt on multiple occasions, especially in the early movies.
  • In The Godfather, "The Godfather" is not Vito Corleone's nickname, and it's not a title used for the head of the Corleone family. Whenever a character addresses Vito as "Godfather", they mean it literally: Vito and his wife Carmela actually are the godparents of most of the Italian characters in the movie. In Italian/Sicilian culture (as it's presented in the film, anyway), asking someone to be their child's godparent is one of the deepest gestures of respect that a person can make; hence, many of the local Italian-Americans in New York ask Vito to be their children's godfather as a sign of their loyalty to him.
  • Godzilla:
    • Everybody knows that the title character is a big green lizard who breathes fire. Except that the original Toho version is a charcoal grey note  mutated dinosaur who breathes "Atomic Breath" note . The 1998 film managed to get all three wrong—making him a green mutated iguana without Atomic Breath—and was subsequently labeled In Name Only for it.
    • Godzilla has never been exactly 400 feet tall.note  Depending on the film in question, for the first 28 films he's either 165, 262 or 330 feet tall, while his Monsterverse incarnation is either 355 or 393 feet tall (the closest he's ever been to 400 feet). This error comes from a line in the American dub of the first movie, where someone looks at a depiction of Godzilla and estimates he is "over 400 feet tall", despite the original version of the film explicitly saying he is 50 meters (about 165 feet) tall. Why they felt the need to change it in the American version is anyone's guess.
    • Everybody knows that Godzilla was originally a scary harbinger of destruction before he went through Villain Decay and became a hero. While it's true that the series got considerably Lighter and Softer after the first movie, that isn't because Godzilla got friendlier. Godzilla actually dies at the end of the original film; the character who repeatedly saves Earth from King Ghidorah in later films is a different mutated dinosaur also called "Godzilla". Even through the series' various reboots, that detail has more-or-less always stayed consistent; in nearly every version, the original Godzilla was killed (usually by Dr. Serizawa's oxygen destroyer) after he attacked Tokyo in 1954, but then another, more benevolent (or at least less malevolent) monster by the same name showed up years later.
    • Everybody knows that Gamera is one of Godzilla's most famous enemies. Except he comes from a completely separate series of Kaiju movies made by a different company than the Godzilla movies.
    • Destoroyah tends to be known as one of Godzilla's toughest foes that accomplished the rare feat of killing him. But in the actual movie, Godzilla had already begun to die due to causes unrelated to other monsters — people just tend to think that Destoroyah was the culprit due to its prominence in the film and its powers being based on the Oxygen Destroyer, the device which had killed the original Godzilla. Destoroyah did kill Godzilla's adopted son Godzilla Jr., though he's Back from the Dead by the end, and its attacks worsened Godzilla's state, but Godzilla actually defeated it. And while Destoroyah was tough, it is destroyed by the human military of all things as it tries to flee, a rare occasion of humans scoring a definite triumph over a monster in the series.
    • Toho Studios "bought" the American Godzilla from Godzilla (1998), changed its name to Zilla and had the original Godzilla demolish it under seconds in Godzilla: Final Wars as a clear show of their power differences. The real situation is more complicated because of legal matters. Toho did not "buy" the 1998 Godzilla, they had owned rights to its design to begin with. "Zilla", despite using mostly the same design, was not the same monster — legally, Toho still acknowledges the 1998 creature as Godzilla. They have simply stipulated that beginning from 2004, most portrayals of the '98 design not to be tied to its feature film have to be named Zilla. So in technical terms, the design is used by two characters: an American version of Godzilla and a Japanese copy thereof. As for the famous scene in Final Wars, it's not the "definite" version of how a fight between any Japanese Godzilla and the '98 Godzilla might play out. The scene was little more than a gag, and this specific version of Godzilla beat most of his other enemies with similar ease. In Godzilla vs. Hedorah, Godzilla barely managed to defeat his titular foe, suffering major injuries and needing help from humans. In Final Wars, Hedorah suffers an even more humiliating defeat than Zilla. Clearly, any sort of "power levels" alternate depending on the story.
    • The supposed fact that Akira Kurosawa wanted to direct his own Godzilla film tends to crop up when people argue over the franchise's artistic merit. It's also said Toho rejected his offer fearing that he'd have gone over budget. Kurosawa's real life close friendship with Godzilla co-creator and director Ishir⁠ō Honda might partially explain where this legend came from, but no actual sources are ever given. Western Kurosawa scholars and film historians suggest it's just a misconception.
    • One of the most often cited bits of trivia from Godzilla vs. Hedorah is that suit actor Kenpachiro Satsuma had to have an appendix surgery on the film set, still inside the massive Hedorah costume, and that's where he learned painkillers had no effect on him. This is mentioned in countless books and articles, but an actual interview with Satsuma tells the event differently. Filming had wrapped and Satsuma was doing a publicity interview for a news article while only half-wearing the suit when pain hit him and he was rushed off to surgery, without the monster suit. The part about painkillers being ineffective on him was true though.
  • If These Walls Could Talk is comprised of three segments, each about a woman who becomes unexpectedly pregnant and seeks out an abortion. The women are played respectively by Demi Moore, Sissy Spacek and Cher, the three women billed on the poster. Or so one might be inclined to think. Cher actually plays the doctor who performs the procedure in the third segment, but since she was a bigger name than Anne Heche, she's on the poster. Also of note is that only Heche's character has a successful abortion. Moore's character's procedure is botched and ends up killing her (it's the 1950s), and Spacek's character opts not to have an abortion despite support from her daughter.
  • Because of a popular bit of Memetic Mutation spawned by Inception (jokingly referring to anything that can be described as "A [thing] within a [thing]" as "[thing]ception"), many people seem to be under the impression that the title of the film refers to the technique of building one dream inside another, or that said technique is used specifically for the process of inception. Inception refers only to planting an idea in the target's mind. The opening sequence of the film outright shows the main characters using a nested dream for the exact opposite — stealing information from the target's dream, known as an "extraction".
  • The James Bond series is the one where Bond always manages to seduce the beautiful lady working for the baddies into helping him? This has happened precisely ONCE, in Goldfinger. Most of the time, the main Bond girl is either on his side from the start (Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, Tomorrow Never Dies), an innocent caught up in the adventure (Dr. No, A View to a Kill, Goldeneye) or working with the villains but unaware of their true plans (From Russia with Love, Octopussy). Or they don't turn at all. Octopussy is the nearest example in that the title girl is a criminal, but while in league with the villains she is ignorant of their evil scheme, and is actually a target of it. She is also kindly disposed to Bond already, as he saved her father from the ignominy of a court martial and so didn't really need seducing to help him. A View to a Kill has May Day, who does sleep with Bond and turn against her employer, but these are unrelated events - her Heel–Face Turn was inspired by Zorin being a psychopath who murdered all her coworkers.
  • The shark's name is Jaws, right? Everyone knows that! Actually the shark canonically has no name. The dummy shark used for filming was nicknamed "Bruce" by the crew which is commonly considered to be the name of the shark in the first movie, while fans have nicknamed the sharks in the following movies to be Brucette or Scarface, Brucetta or Mommy, and Vengeance.
  • Everyone knows that the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park were brought to life primarily through incredibly photorealistic CGI that still somehow surpasses the digital effects found in films made today. However, most of the dinosaurs were actually created using old-school practical effects such as puppets, animatronics, and even men in suits. Groundbreaking CGI was used for select shots, but there's far less of it than people remember and it has not aged as well as fans would like you to believe; the really breathtaking moments are almost all practical effects.
  • In The Karate Kid, the Training Montage set to "You're The Best" by Joe Esposito is so iconic that it has become the default music for training montages. There is only one problem with this; the song does not appear during any training montage in the movie. During the montage the song being played is "Moment of Truth" by Survivor. "You’re the Best" appears later in the film accompanying a montage of Daniel and Johnny competing in the tournament.
  • King Kong:
    • Due to hyperbolic marketing, it's widely thought that Kong is 50 feet tall in the original 1933 film. While his height does vary in the film due to differently-scaled puppets being used, he ranges from around 18 feet to about 40.
    • It's also a common misconception that Kong is simply an oversized gorilla, but he was actually designed to be an entirely unique species, with a far more human posture and face than any living ape, and both the Japanese Kong films of the 60s and the 1976 remake followed suit. Peter Jackson's 2005 remake was the first film to go for the upscaled gorilla look and is the only incarnation to be primarily quadrupedal. Kong: Skull Island returns him to the more humanoid design & stance and upright posture of the original film.
  • You will often hear that Abigail Breslin played the title role in Little Miss Sunshine. While one can interpret the title to have a double meaning to the viewer, within the context of the film, Little Miss Sunshine is a children's beauty pageant, not a character, and Violet, Breslin's character, competes but does not win. If she can be called the title character at all, it's only under the interpretation that she's a ray of sunshine herself.
  • Mad Max's supercharged black coupe is not the Interceptor. The Interceptor is his yellow patrol car in the first film. The black coupe is designated Pursuit Special. Fans simply started calling the Pursuit Special 'Interceptor' because it sounds cooler. Even the 1:18 model of it is called Interceptor. Partially justified: the mechanic in The Road Warrior refers to the car as "the last of the V8 Interceptors."
  • Nelson Mandela does not appear As Himself in Malcolm X, as many people assume. While he does appear in the film, the credits indicate that his character is supposed to be a schoolteacher.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Iron Man 2, Black Widow has a Three-Point Landing. Except she doesn't. Iron Man himself does it often, but in this publicity image, Agent Romanov actually getting up from a slide along the ground, not landing from a fall (to be fair, the trope page does include such slides). This misconception somehow persists even in people who have actually seen the movie and the scene in question.
    • A common grievance with the MCU by fans is that it apparently has no magic, and they try to explain everything away with science. While it's true that they attempt to explain the nature of magic more than in the comics, the magic of the universe is still exactly that. The two examples that get cited as proof are the Thor and the Asgardians becoming super advanced aliens rather than gods, and Doctor Strange using otherworldly energy of scientific origin to emulate magic. Both of which have little, if any, basis in the narrative of the MCU.
      • For the former, it's true that the Thor movies do downplay the prominence of it (because at the time the really comic book stuff wasn't "cool"), but they are still of magical origin. Mjölnir, for example, only works for those who are worthy to wield, with no scientific explanation given. Other Asgardians use powers that are very clearly spells, such as Loki shapeshifting and having mentioned turning Thor into a frog once. Also, Tony Stark tries to explain the nature of Mjölnir in scientific terms, but Thor simply says they're not worthy and that's proven to be the true requirement, yet the former tends to get remembered more than the latter.
      • As for Doctor Strange, it's made very, very clear that the Masters of the Mystic Arts are true sorcerers, with all that it entails, both in the movie and by the director Scott Derrickson and producer Kevin Feige. Strange uses magical spells of a origins that are stressed in-universe as not being explainable by science. Yet, some fans still think he's not truly using magic, due to a scene where The Ancient One explains it to Strange in terms easier to understand — again, that isn't to explain away the magic, but to explain how magic works to a Strange that (at the time) was very much science-oriented because he had only recently discovered it.
      • Considering that the Infinity Stones are explicitly magical MacGuffins with vast power that goes beyond science, that the Celestials are of otherworldly origin and not mere aliens, that the Black Panthers visit another world to meet their ancestors via mystical herbs when they take the title, and that soon enough the MCU will have vampires and Doctor Doom, it's rather silly to argue that the MCU has no such thing as magic.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy is often praised for its soundtrack, with people particularly noting how well the songs from the seventies and eighties mix with the story. This is actually only half-true, as there are no songs from the 1980s featured in the film. The most recent song that plays in the movie, Rupert Holmes' "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)", was released in 1979.
  • Every Marvel Comics movie adaptation produced by Marvel Studios is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with only a few movies produced by other studios (like the X-Men and Fantastic Four films) existing in separate continuities due to Marvel Studios not owning the characters' film rights.note  While this is mostly true, there are a few exceptions: Punisher: War Zone and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance were both produced by Marvel Studios after the Marvel Cinematic Universe began, but neither of them are actually part of the MCU's continuity.note 
  • Zeppo Marx is known as the fourth member of the Marx Brothers who added little to their movies besides singing sappy love songs. Actually, the only love song Zeppo sings in the Marx Brothers movies, not counting the Maurice Chevalier impersonation in Monkey Business, is "Everyone Says I Love You" in Horse Feathers.
  • Everybody knows that M. Night Shyamalan loves to appear in his own films so that he can have an excuse to play saintly or heroic characters who are thinly veiled portrayals of himself. Actually, that's just in Lady in the Water (where his character is a writer who's revealed to be responsible for the future salvation of humanity), and people never stopped making fun of him for it. It's often forgotten that he plays incidental background characters much more frequently, and sometimes even plays blatantly unsympathetic characters. Case in point: in Signs, he plays the man responsible for the death of the protagonist's wife.
  • Everybody knows that Morgan Freeman is famous for playing "Magical Negro" characters, to the point that he's sometimes blamed for inventing the trope. In reality...not so much. While a few of his roles arguably fit the definition of the trope, they're a very small portion of his filmography, and he much more frequently plays commanding authority figures (e.g. Se7en, Deep Impact, Lean on Me, Glory, Invictus), loyal friends and sidekicks (e.g. Unforgiven, The Shawshank Redemption, The Bucket List, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves), or wise sages (e.g. Bruce Almighty, The LEGO Movie, Wanted). On the rare occasions when he does play humble service workers who dispense folksy advice to white protagonists, his roles tend to subvert or deconstruct the trope much more often than they play it straight. Case in point: Driving Miss Daisy is all about his character forcing his racist employer to see him as a human being, and his character in Million Dollar Baby is a former prizefighter who's forced to become a simple handyman after a Career-Ending Injury costs him his shot at fame and fortune.
  • Many fans of A Nightmare on Elm Street will tell you Freddy Krueger was a child molester in life. Speaking strickly about the original film, it never explicitly says this, only says he was a child murderer, without explaining his motivation for being that way. Most likely, people just assume this from context. The remake, however, explicitly says he was a child molester, making this something of an Ascended Fanon.
  • Pacific Rim: Coyote Tango is widely believed to be the only Jaeger with a single-pilot cockpit, but in reality, it's a 2-man Jaeger like all the others. Pentecost is forced to fight solo after his co-pilot, Tamsin Sevier, blacks out during the battle that levels Tokyo, which is why she isn't seen in Mako's flashback.
  • The Pink Panther film series has little to nothing to do with an anthropomorphic panther with pink fur, though the character is used in the animated title sequences and became popular enough to earn a series of cartoon spin-offs to star in. The title also is not a nickname for the lead character, bumbling Inspector Jacques Clouseau, though the films themselves confuse people by using that title as if it does refer to the Inspector. The second film in the franchise, A Shot in the Dark, is the only one not to use the Pink Panther name, as it isn't about the diamond at all, but about Clouseau solving an escalating murder case. The third official film features the return of the diamond, and is thus called The Return of the Pink Panther. As audiences were already calling it "The Pink Panther series", the future titles just ran with it, using the Pink Panther name even if the diamond never makes an appearance, rendering the Panther himself an Artifact Title. The worst offender is Son of the Pink Panther, which openly suggests that Clouseau is in fact the title character.
  • The flying saucers in Plan 9 from Outer Space are commonly believed to have been pie tins or paper plates, to the point that it's tradition to throw paper plates around during screenings of it. In fact, they are children's flying saucer toys.
  • Popeye:
    • One big problem fans had with the film is the idea of Popeye not liking spinach, initially. That makes no sense! Actually, It Makes Sense in Context. When the character was introduced in the original comic strip (way back in 1929) it was the same story, he claims he doesn't like it until he tries it.
    • Also, the film was a Box Office Bomb...actually, it earned around $50 million, putting in the top 15 grossing films for 1980. The perception that it flopped was due to the budget bloating to $20 million, meaning that the profit was far more modest than had been forecasted.
  • Rambo:
    • The first movie is often thought to be called Rambo and is referred to as such by name. The actual name is First Blood.
    • Rambo is thought of as the ultimate Invincible Hero who can shoot anything in sight and never be shot at without strategy, to the point where "going Rambo" is a colloquialism for such types of fighting. This is true for the later movies, but not for the first nor is it how he was originally written in the novel the movie was based on. In First Blood, Rambo is not an Invincible Hero, and heavily uses stealth and tactics to elude his foes rather than fighting them outright. It wasn't until later movies did the "shoot everything in sight" get established, which is through Actionized Sequels where that idea went into place. It's like how John McClane would also become a more standardized action hero when the first movie portrayed him as the opposite of invincible.
    • First Blood also contains an inverted example of the above. It's common knowledge that, in contrast to the later Rambo movies, Rambo only kills a single person in First Blood, and it's accidental...well, unless you count the police car he blows up while someone is driving it; while the fate of the driver technically isn't shown, people don't usually survive their car exploding into a fireball.
  • Everyone knows that Rashomon is an In Name Only adaptation of the story of the same name, since it's a dramatization of Akutagawa's "In A Grove", but it uses the title of an unrelated Akutagawa story because it sounded better—much like what happened with Blade Runner. note  However, this isn't actually the case. The framing narrative of the film Rashomon is a loose interpretation of the story "Rashomon", which is also about several characters meeting at the Rashomon Gate during a time of crisis and ruminating on morality versus the necessity of survival. Much like in the film, one character in the story references the events of "In A Grove" to justify his immoral actions. Therefore, the movie is actually an amalgamation of the two separate stories, both of which are more-or-less intact.
  • Red Dawn (1984) is known as a jingoistic action movie about American teens killing communists. It's actually a movie where War Is Hell, most of the heroes die in vain, and the main villain is tired of fighting and plans on retiring. The epilogue was added at the last minute so viewers would know that America eventually won the war.
  • Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves: Even to this day, reviewers often comment on Kevin Costner's lack of historical accuracy in using an American accent rather than a British one. However, a modern British accent would be no more accurate to how 12th-century English people sounded, and their language would be nigh-incomprehensible to a modern speaker. And Robin himself, as a Norman, would probably not even speak English (the real King Richard didn't, after all.) Ignoring all that, the modern-day American accent actually sounds closer to what the 15th century British accent sounded than the modern-day British accent does because the British didn't begin using the broad a (as in pahst for past), dropping r's (fah for far), and losing syllables (as in NESS-A-SREE for necessary) until after the American Revolution.
  • Today, everyone knows that the Scream movies all start with a scene in which a big-name celebrity is killed off, and that the first of these is Drew Barrymore, who, being the one of the biggest names on the bill, is set up as a Decoy Protagonist. This is all true, but many don't realize that Barrymore's character is actually the second person to die on-screen. Every movie begins with the death of not only a celebrity, but a couple (well, until the fourth, but that opening is atypical for a lot of reasons). It's interesting to note that one of the movie's more famous moments is Drew Barrymore citing Common Knowledge about Friday the 13th and getting a trivia question wrong, with grave consequences.
  • In The Shining Jack's wife does not lock him up in the meat freezer after he goes crazy. The room she actually locks him up in is the pantry.
  • One frequent point of mockery in Signs is that the aliens can't open doors. Except they actually can. There are many scenes in which the characters board, block and wedge the doors shut just to keep them from getting through.
  • The Silence of the Lambs is all about Hannibal Lecter using his psychological expertise to help the FBI find and unmask a serial killer. Except it's not. While Lecter does help the FBI bring "Buffalo Bill" to justice, he doesn't actually solve the mystery of his identity—because he knows it from the beginning, and it isn't a mystery to him. note  Lecter also isn't the one who deduces Bill's whereabouts: Clarice stumbles upon his hideout by accident after visiting a victim's home to look for clues.
    • Those who are aware of the film, and the character of Lecter, but have not seen it, often assume him to be the film's principle antagonist, perhaps the very man Jodie Foster is tracking down. This may be due to how often he shows up on "greatest film villains of all time" lists.
  • Singin' in the Rain:
    • Some fans believe that Lina Lamont's white coat she wears in the first scene is made out of monkey fur. While it is evidently fur, since faux fur was not invented until two years after the year the film was set, there's no reference to what sort of pelt it is. One woman did wear monkey fur in Singin' in the Rain, but a.) she was a nameless bit character model, not Lina, and b.) it was not a white coat, but rather black trim on a dress.
    • There's also the idea that they used milk for the rain. Nope, they used water. The reason it looks white is because they shone a light through it.
  • STALKER: Many analyses of the movie claim that the ending leaves it open to interpretation whether the glasses on the table are being moved by Monkey's telekinesis or by vibrations from a passing train. However, in the actual scene, there are clearly no vibrations until after the glasses have stopped moving; the glasses move in totally fluid straight lines, never shaking as they would if moved by vibrations. Also, since the glasses are so similar in size and close together, vibrations from a train would cause them to move approximately simultaneously, yet in the movie none of the glasses start moving until the previous glass has stopped completely.
  • Star Trek films:
    • Everybody knows that Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is the one where Ricardo Montalbán used a fake plastic chest to make himself look more muscular than he really was. Actually, that's just an urban legend: Montalban worked out rigorously for the film, and he really did get buff in preparation for reprising his role as Khan.
    • Everyone knows the film ‘’Star Trek (2009)’’ features all the characters meeting as teenage cadets. This is expressly untrue. Kirk, McCoy, Uhura and Chekov are cadets, but no dialogue implies Sulu is (though he may be a recent graduate), and Spock and Scotty are not at all. Spock is an Academy instructor, and Scotty is a long-serving officer Reassigned to Antarctica due to an unfortunate transporter accident. Also they are not meant to all be teens, and the only one who is still a teen is Chekov. McCoy has applied late in life for Starfleet and is a middle-aged man, as is Scotty. They are younger, but not children or teens.
    • Many people who dislike Star Trek Into Darkness have been known to complain about the idiotic opening sequence, where Kirk, Spock, and McCoy intervene to save some primitive aliens from a volcanic eruption by luring them away from it, and where the entire planet's population is depicted as a single village at the foot of an active volcano. Except... not really. They aren't just trying to save that village from the volcano, they're trying to neutralize the volcano before its eruption destroys the planet's atmosphere and renders it uninhabitable; their "distraction" is just to get the villagers out of the blast radius of the "cold fusion reactor" that they use to neutralize the eruption. note 
  • It's a common assumption that all movies based on Stephen King books are critically-trashed disappointments. While this category has definitely seen some infamous duds (Maximum Overdrive), it also includes some very well-regarded classics, including Carrie (1976), The Shining (one of Stanley Kubrick's masterpieces), Stand by Me, Misery, The Shawshank Redemption (voted by IMDb users as the greatest film ever made), and The Green Mile, and many others that received mixed reviews rather than outright negative ones.
  • Everyone knows Schwarzenegger's character, in both The Terminator and Terminator 2, first takes a badass pose while holding a gun, says "I'll be back" or "Hasta la vista, baby", then delivers some serious ass-whooping to whoever is about to be terminated. In the films, the T-800 isn't delivering those lines while posing like on the poster/cover as if ready to start a gunfight, but most parodies imitate it like this anyway, leaving out the part about driving a vehicle through the front door of a building. "I'll be back" is said nonchalantly to the police in the first film, and informatively to Sarah Connor in the second: "Stay here, I'll be back." In Terminator 2, "Hasta la vista, baby" isn't delivered this way at first; the T-800 has to learn it from John Connor, and simply repeats what John Connor has said. The next time, "Hasta la vista, baby" is delivered as a Pre-Mortem One-Liner against the T-1000, but not successfully; the T-1000 reconstitutes itself and still has to be dealt with.
  • The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) is thought of by many people to be a movie where people are killed with chainsaws. In actuality, only one person is killed with a chainsaw. The most common weapon used is actually a hammer.
  • It's often claimed that Jack and Rose unintentionally kept the lookouts from seeing the iceberg in time by accidentally distracting them with a kiss in Titanic (1997). Except in reality, they did nothing of the sort; the iceberg only came into view after the lookouts got back to their job.
  • Everybody knows that Top Gun ends with the pilots (in all likelihood) starting World War III after shooting down four foreign fighter planes, which the film tries to play off as no big deal. Except it's not. The film clearly states that the (unnamed) enemy country denied that the incident happened, meaning that they probably aren't in a hurry to get revenge on America.
    • Another "common knowledge" about this movie is that Iceman is responsible for the accident which resulted in Goose's death. This is probably fueled by the fact that martial court deemed Maverick not responsible for it (then again, they did not put the blame on Iceman either), but it still completely ignores that it's Mitchell himself who puts his aircraft in perilous position in the first place. He flies so close to Iceman that it's a miracle they don't collide earlier, and he repeatedly tells Kazansky to break off so he can take a shot at the instuctor's aircraft himself. Therefore, when Iceman obliges, Maverick's plane — still flown too close — gets into his jet wash, resulting in irrecoverable flat spin. All in all, it's more due to Mitchell's recklessness rather than Kazansky's ineptitude that the accident occurs. And even then, Goose would've safely bailed out if not for a faulty ejection mechanism which sends him straight into the detached canopy.
  • V for Vendetta does not take place in an alternate timeline where the Nazis won World War II. It takes place 20 Minutes into the Future, and the fascist political party that rules Britain is quite pointedly not the Nazi Party. note  One of the main themes in the movie is that History Repeats; most of the British characters in the film are persuaded to support the new generation of fascists, despite remembering how Hitler's reign turned out.
  • W.C. Fields built up such a reputation for playing Child Haters in his later movies that it's commonly forgotten that some characters he played in earlier movies are friendly father figures.
  • Classic cowboy movies are often said to have heroes that wore white hats and villains that wore black hats. This is in fact a Dead Unicorn Trope and it never happened in old cowboy movies.
  • The myth that lemmings commit suicide comes from White Wilderness, right? Actually, no. While the final scene of lemmings killing themselves really was staged, the movie didn't actually create the misconception. It was just trying to re-create an already entrenched story. This myth dates back to at least 1908, fifty years before the movie was made.
  • A lot of views think that in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory the bratty kids all died due to what happens to them (a big part of this is probably due to them never appearing again after they get in their assorted predicaments). In fact, there is a line late in the film (when only Charlie is left) where he asks Wonka what will happen to the other kids and he says they will be restored and be fine, though hopefully will be wiser this time. Perhaps as a result of this misconception, the remake shows the kids emerge very much alive at the end, albeit a bit worse for wear (though this bit is also in the book).
  • Nowhere in X-Men: First Class—or the supplemental materials—is it ever stated that the film version of Havok is Cyclops' father. That's just a very widespread bit of Fanon that was mistaken for canon by many fans, who found it improbable that Cyclops could have been in his late 20s in the 2000s if he had a sibling who was a teenager in 1962. It wasn't officially disproven until X-Men: Apocalypse established that Scott and Alex are indeed brothers, just like in the comics.
  • Speaking of Young Frankenstein, the word Blücher (as in Frau Blücher, the housekeeper) is not German for "glue."note  The faux-definition is merely a Fanon explanation of the Running Gag in which mention of her name causes the estate horses to whinny in fear. "Blücher" is simply a common German surname, and Brooks states in the DVD Commentary that the gag with the horses was simply meant to show the housekeeper is ominous.note 
  • Zombie Apocalypse movies in general:
    • Everybody 'knows' that zombies eat brains. This only happens in one series of films, Return of the Living Dead. In every single non-parody portrayal of a Zombie Apocalypse, zombies merely want your flesh, not your brain. They also tend to not groan "braaaaaaaaaains" (again, outside of Return of the Living Dead, where they are actually capable of normal human speech as well), or much of anything resembling words.
    • Also, Zombies move slowly, shuffling as if drunk, and the only way they manage to catch anyone is when they're not seen, or by sheer numbers. This isn't strictly true; zombies who could run have been around since at least the early 80's, if not before. It's mainly George A. Romero's films (or someone imitating him) that keep them slow.
    • While Night of the Living Dead (1968) is the Trope Codifier for a great many Zombie Tropes, the "Zombie Virus" is not one of them. In that film, zombification is not spread as a disease, but it's rather said to be the result of cosmic radiation brought back to Earth by a space probe, which causes all recently deceased human bodies to reanimate as zombies. The misconception likely started with the sequel, Dawn of the Dead (1978), where a character comes back as a zombie after being bitten by one and slowly dying from the resulting bacterial infection; in later works (including that film's own sequel, Day of the Dead (1985)), it's assumed that simply being bitten by a zombie is enough to turn a human into one.
    • For that matter, it's common knowledge the film was the Trope Maker for Tropes of the Living Dead. It's not. Romero himself admitted his zombies were hugely based off the lesser vampires (which are technically living dead) from Richard Matheson's I Am Legend, though Romero's films certainly played a huge role in codifying those tropes in the eyes of pop culture.

Alternative Title(s): Live Action Film


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: