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Contrived Coincidence / Live-Action Films

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Contrived Coincidences in live-action movies.

  • The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle lampshades this repeatedly.
    Boris: If only we had a helicopter.
    Narrator: But since they were in the middle of the desert, there was obviously no chance whatsoever of finding a helicopter.
    Natasha: (gasps) Boris, look!
    (cut to a helicopter parked at what can only be described as a chopper pilot rest stop)
    Narrator: Oh, damn. Never mind.
    • He later remarks that Karen Sympathy running into Rocky and Bullwinkle (literally) after having been separated from them is "a beautiful, if impossibly coincidental, reunion".
  • The Assignment (1997): Annibal just happens to be identical with one of the most notorious terrorists in the world, arrested after being mistaken for him then recruited by the CIA. On top of that, he's also Latin American and even has the same last name, Ramirez.
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  • In Back to the Future, the day Doc invents time travel just happens to be the same day that Marty's parents meet. Lampshaded by Doc in Back to the Future Part II:
    Doc: It could mean that that point in time inherently contains some sort of cosmic significance, almost as if it were the temporal junction point of the entire space-time continuum. On the other hand, it could just be an amazing coincidence.
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Batman promises to save Martha Kent, who only has about 10 minutes left to live. Luckily for him, Alfred has just managed to trace her kidnapper's phone, and that said kidnapper is currently in the same room as Martha instead of just leaving his army of goons to watch over her. And they're located in a warehouse just a few blocks away instead of on the other side of the world.
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  • How two twelve-foot hyper-aggressive Great White Sharks both ended up in the same flooded convenience store in Bait 3D is anyone's guess.
  • Lampshaded in a Reality Is Unrealistic context in The Big Short, which is based on true stories.
    • Mark Baum's hedge fund team finds out about the incoming 2007 financial crisis, and thereby are able to successfully plan ahead for and profit from it, because of a single misplaced phone call.
    • Charlie and Jamie are able to profit from the crisis as well due to living right next door to Ben Rickert, a former securities trader who loans them his credit and a lot of financial advice.
    • Subverted in another instance. Charlie and Jamie find a copy of Vennett's pitch to short the housing market in the lobby of a bank office. Then they break the fourth wall to explain this didn't actually happen — in Real Life, they found out about the short in a roundabout way.
  • The Book of Henry:
    • The first time Henry enters a gun shop, he overhears how to purchase a weapon illegally.
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    • Frank always commits his abuse of Christina in the same room, with the window open, while Henry or Christina are awake to see him do it, while never noticing them.
    • The second half of the film relies on The Tape Knew You Would Say That to a massively absurd degree, to the point that Henry's pre-recorded messages are able to perfectly predict when his mother is hesitating or has a question or took a wrong turn on the street.
  • How Kelly discovers the terrorist plot in Bradley's Summer. One of them contacts her on AOL Instant Messenger by flubbing the intended screenname, accidentally contacting "Radio 549" (who is Kelly) instead of "Radio249" (who is the terrorist's accomplice). Furthermore, said terrorist happens to be the one who plans to blow up the house the main character is staying at.
  • Brooklyn's Finest has its climax as one of these when all three cops end up in the same area as each other for different reasons. It's still done well, though.
  • In Borat, the titular character falls for Pam Anderson at first sight, but doesn't wish to cheat on his wife. A few hours later, Borat receives a letter telling that his wife is dead. High five!
  • Tokusatsu action film Casshern runs on this in almost every single scene, with the broken lightning bolt from a giant mountaintop statue accidentally landing in a scientist's mystical Neo-Cell soup and reanimating a bunch of dismembered body parts into the badass Shinzo-Ningen...who then just happen to stumble during their escape into the funeral of the scientist's dead war-hero son and kidnap his mother and then just happen to find a giant war factory in the middle of nowhere with an army of robots for them to use...while the scientist resurrects his dead son whose expanded musculature can only be contained by a super-suit coincidentally designed by the scientist dad of his girlfriend... and that's only the beginning! The only excuse this movie has for any of it is its stylized weirdness and the epic, Gotterdammerung-esque tone that hints that, though not explicitly stated, literal Deus ex Machina may be involved. After all, that was a convenient lightning bolt.
  • Quite a bit of it goes down in Crash, most conspicuously the car crash scene with the cop and the woman he had molested earlier.
  • In Crime Doctor, Joe and Nick just happen to end up in the same nightclub as Robert and Grace, and recognise Robert as Phil Morgan. Emilio's presence is justified as he has been tailing Robert. However, this event bring all three members of the gang currently at large back together.
  • In The Dark Knight Rises, Batman just happens to show up when Selina Kyle is being cornered by Bane's men and upon returning to Gotham, it seems Bruce is very quick to locate Selina. It's a Small World After All.
  • In Die Hard with a Vengeance, McClane is chasing Simon Gruber through the half-finished aqueduct, when the latter blows a dam and floods it. The water pressure shoots McClane out of a drainspout literally the moment Zeus passes it, allowing him to pick him up and continue the plot. Had the two missed each other and taken any time to reconnect, they would have missed their opportunity to later board the boat and Gruber's plan would have gone off without a hitch. Not to mention, of the hundreds of schools in New York City, the one Simon has planted his bomb in is the one where Zeus (who only entered the story randomly) has his two kids enrolled.
  • In Dodsworth, Dodsworth meets Edith, a pretty divorcee, on the boat from New York to London. Then he meets her again, months later, in Italy.
  • Dracula: The Dark Prince: Esme and Alina are carrying the Lightbringer, the only weapon capable of destroying the title's villain. At first glance and in the hands of anyone else, it looks like a Simple Staff, but if wielded of a Cain's descendant, it turns into a Sinister Scythe. Shortly after barely escaping Dracula's minions, they are attacked by a thief band who steals the staff. Their leader just so happens to be a descendant of Cain and after his fellow thieves are murdered by Dracula's minions, he joins the heroines as The Chosen One.
  • In Drag Me to Hell the protagonist is cursed to go to Hell via being given a cursed button. Towards the end of the film she is carrying the button with her in a blank envelope, when her co-worker gives her a lift in his car. He has a bunch of paperwork from the office in the back of his car, and he happens to be a coin collector, and he is also carrying with him a rare coin he recently acquired, about the same size as the cursed button, also in a similar blank envelope. Naturally this improbable similarity leads to a mixup, with him picking up the envelope with the button and her the coin.
  • In The Fifth Element, the taxi Leeloo falls into just happens to be that of the ex-special forces major who was chosen to bring back the four elemental stones. Apparently, The Call Knows Where You Drive.
  • In The Final Sacrifice, Troy escapes from cult members by jumping in the back of a truck, which turns out to be owned by former cult member. They later stumble onto a cabin owned by a friend of Troy's father.
  • Receives a Lampshade Hanging in George of the Jungle, with the narrator's line, "Every story has a really big coincidence and here's ours..."
  • In GoldenEye, Bond's performance evaluation just happens to be set in Monte Carlo, where Xenia and the Janus Syndicate are just about to steal the experimental EMP-proof helicopter. Moreover, Bond randomly meets Xenia while they are driving on the same road into the city at the exact same time, leading to their impromptu race. In fairness, this appears to have been a field test, and Bond was already in Monte Carlo following up on a lead tracking down members of the Janus syndicate to question. Him encountering Xenia on the road is the only contrived coincidence there.
  • The Great Dictator: Let's see...there's a random barber who happens to look exactly the same as Adenoid Hynkel, the fascist dictator of Tomania. He happens to be Jewish. And he happens to wake from a coma in which he's been trapped for twenty years, just around the same time that Hynkel is planning on invading Osterlich. Moreover, it turns out that this barber's old war buddy is now a high-ranking member (turned Defector from Decadence) of the fascist party. Oh...and Hynkel just happens to get lost on a duck-hunting trip at exactly the right moment for the barber to take his place.
  • Lampshade Hanging in The Great Muppet Caper: When Miss Piggy is stranded and needs to get across town in time to foil a museum heist, a motorcycle just happens to drop off a passing box van, to which she remarks, "What an unbelievable coincidence!"
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince hangs a lampshade on the frequency Harry, Hermione, and Ron stumble into a plot that puts the whole school in danger, which is every time it happens.
    Prof. McGonagall: Why is it, when something happens, it is always you three?
    Ron: Believe me, Professor, I’ve been asking myself the same question for six years.
  • Subverted in The Hateful Eight. The eight protagonists, some of whom know each other or are going to the same town, all just happen to end up at the same tiny haberdashery in the middle of Wyoming at the same time by complete coincidence. Ruth and Warren lampshade how unlikely this is and are immediately suspicious that something else is going on. They're right. Three of the eight are members of Daisy's gang who have set up a trap to kill Ruth. The only people there by coincidence are Warren, Mannix, and Smithers; the former two were just travelling down the same road as Ruth and hitched a ride with him, while the latter was at the haberdashery before any of the others even got there.
  • Quite a few of these involve Kevin being left behind by his family on Home Alone:
    • In the first movie, Kevin being punished and sent to his room after punching Buzz for eating his pizza kept him out of sight from the rest of his family when they left for the airport. Also, a tree branch happened to fall on the power lines, muting the alarm clocks and caused the family to oversleep which drove them into such a hurry that they forgot about Kevin, and finally, a nosy neighbor boy who bears a quick passing resemblance to Kevin is counted in the initial head count.
    • In the second movie, Kevin winds up in New York after following a man who looks like his father from the back (and was even wearing the same coat). Harry and Marv were also in New York after escaping prison, but they didn't come looking for Kevin. They simply wanted to go there to get filthy rich. They also visited the toy store they planned to rob when Kevin just happened to be shopping there as well. And when they kidnapped Kevin and were waiting to cross the street, Kevin seized the opportunity to escape by touching the butt of a woman standing in front of them and blames it on them. Surprisingly, this happened to be the same woman that Marv encountered earlier in the film.
  • Subverted in I, Robot. Lt. Bergin muses how it's a hell of a coincidence that Detective Spooner, a man with a reputation for being paranoid about robots, has just investigated the only case involving a killer robot in the world. Spooner then realizes it's not a coincidence, and that Doctor Lanning wanted him on the case because he's paranoid about robots, as he was the only one who would believe that a robot would purposefully kill someone.
  • Independence Day has loads of this, being a massive homage to old disaster and sci-fi movies, which were also loaded with this.
    • To take just one of many, Capt. Steven Hiller, an astronaut wannabe and the only fighter jock to survive an attack on his base, who has shot down an alien fighter and captured its pilot, just happens to crash nearly in front of a convoy of refugees who happen to be driving in the general vicinity of Area 51, which Hiller just happened to notice in the middle of a dogfight. The most contrived coincidence is David Levinson's Eureka Moment on how to beat the aliens...triggered by his father's admonishment to bundle up to avoid catching a cold...
    • David Levinson also just happens to be the ex-husband of the President's Chief of Staff, giving him a way to save the President in the 11th hour. Hiller's fiancée also just happens to be the one who finds the First Lady.
  • Indiana Jones:
    • Subverted in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Indy finding Marion coincidentally in the first tent he happens to stumble into? Meh, clichéd. Him deciding to leave her there since he can't take her that easily out of the camp? That's a new twist.
    • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. As a teenager, Indy used a whip for the first time (giving him his chin scar), gets his fear of snakes, and his signature fedora all in the same day.
  • During the famously frightening "Raptors in the Kitchen" scene from Jurassic Park, one of the raptors knocks over some pots and pans with its tail, happening to hit Tim and Lex who are crawling past it one aisle over and they panic, making more noise. Tim hides just around a corner next to a bunch of hanging ladles and other utensils, hitting most of them and barely avoiding detection by the raptor. And then the one ladle that he didn't touch falls off its handle all by itself and clangs on the floor. Improbable? Yes. Scary? You bet it is.
    • Just a few scenes later in the same film, Grant and company are surrounded by the two remaining velociraptors and are surely about to be killed by them. At the last possible second—as one of the raptors is in midair, no less!—the Tyrannosaurus appears out of nowherenote  and snaps up the raptor, killing it. This also distracts the other raptor, which blindly attacks the tyrannosaur to try and avenge its packmate, allowing the protagonists to escape from both of the carnivores. "This makes no sense, why is the rex here when there's no reason for—" I'm sorry, I can't hear you over the sound of how awesome this is!
  • In Lantana the number of coincidences builds up to become a theme. All of the major characters bump into each other randomly. Taken further in the original play, Speaking in Tongues. In the first act, Leon and Jane's tryst takes place simultaneously with Sonja and Pete, and with nearly all the same dialogue. This occurs again when Sonja and Pete confess their near-affair to Leon and Jane only to find that their spouse cheated on them. In later acts, it is revealed that Sarah is having an affair with John behind her therapist/his wife's back, and that Leon, the detective investigating Valerie's disappearance, ran into Sarah's ex-boyfriend while jogging. In the film, Sarah is changed into a male gay patient of Valerie's who she wrongly suspects of having an affair with her husband. The jogger ends up dating Leon's police partner. In addition, Jane lives next door to Nick, who is suspected of Valerie's murder, while Pete was accosted in the street by Valerie the night she died, shortly before meeting Leon and having a drink with him.
  • Lethal Weapon 2: The first film establishes that Riggs' wife died in a car crash. In the sequel, he learns that The Dragon of this film's Big Bad murdered his wife in a completely unrelated scheme.
  • In the Brazilian comedy Lisbela e o Prisioneiro (Lisbela and the Prisoner), this sort of coincidence sets up the plot. The protagonist happens to have sex with a woman who is married to a Psycho for Hire. He escapes before the man can kill him, and neither of them gets a good look at the other's face. Months later, the hitman is about to be run over by a stray bull... and guess who saves him? It becomes really funny when the Psycho for Hire decides he must pay the favor to this man he's just met by killing one of his enemies - and the protagonist launches into a tirade insulting and mocking the very man who's in front of him.
  • The Man Who Could Work Miracles: What are the odds that that Fotheringay would walk into a discussion in the pub about the nature of miracles mere moments after being granted his Reality Warper powers?
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Steve Rogers just happens to befriend a random Air Force veteran who turns out to be trained in using a classified Stark Industries flight exosuit that allows him to become The Falcon.
    • Avengers: Age of Ultron: After Ultron attempts to cover his tracks by erasing important information from the databanks in Avengers Tower, the Avengers go through hundreds of paper files in an attempt to determine where he fled. They happen to correctly guess that he's gone to South Africa, solely because of finding a dossier on Vibranium smuggler Ulysses Klaue, despite no clues that Ultron is interested in him or any other figure in their files.
    • In the first act of Captain America: Civil War, Tony Stark demonstrates a holographic memory projection (to a live audience) of the last time he saw his parents alive, and the cause of their deaths the same day plays a big part in the third act.
    • Early on in Thor: Ragnarok, Thor and Loki accidentally end up stranded on the alien world of Sakaar after Hela attacks them while they are being teleported by the Bifrost. Luckily for them, Thor's old teammate the Incredible Hulk is also on Sakaar, having somehow ended up there after the events of Age of Ultron two years earlier. What's more, Thor quickly encounters a bounty hunter who turns out to be an Asgardian warrior living in exile, whom he is eventually able to convince to help him escape Sakaar and return to Asgard to stop Hela.
    • In Avengers: Infinity War, this is how the Guardians of the Galaxy meet Thor. First, they are the only ones to hear the distress call from the Asgardian refugee vessel, and happen to be close enough to the ship's position to locate it. Despite protests from Rocket, Gamora argues that they need to go and help out. They arrive to find the ship completely destroyed, with the dead bodies of the various Asgardians floating through space. Then, Thor crashes into their windshield, and briefly opens his remaining eye, signaling that he's somehow still alive. Because of this, the Guardians bring him aboard their ship and learn that the Asgardians were slaughtered by Thanos, Gamora's adoptive father, who is after the Infinity Stones. Were it not for all of these extremely unlikely coincidences, the Guardians likely never would have gotten involved in the plot of the movie, and Thor probably would have been left floating in the vast emptiness of space.
    • In Captain Marvel (2019), S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Keller and Skrull commander Talos happen to have the same voice, though they speak with different accents, since they're both portrayed by Ben Mendelsohn.
    • In Avengers: Endgame, reversing the damage caused by Thanos would not have been possible if it wasn't for a random rat in a storage locker stepping on the right button to release Scott Lang from the Quantum Realm. If it wasn't for that, no one would have possibly seen time travel as a reasonable solution.
  • In The Mummy (1999) when Rick and Evelyn set out on their expedition to Hamunaptra, another expedition for the same long lost city being led by Rick's old associate Beni just happens to depart from the exact same location, on the exact same ship, on the same totally random day.
  • Music and Lyrics: Alex is a musician and former pop-band singer/songwriter who has been commissioned to write a pop song for a current pop queen, but only ever wrote the music and can't write lyrics. Sophie, the girl who waters his plants, turns out to be a budding lyrical prodigy. What a happy coincidence!
  • The plot of The Perfect Host kicks off when an escaping bank robber goes into a convenience store to treat his injury. It just happens to get robbed by a completely unrelated criminal, which delays him and gets him noticed by the store clerk. So he talks his way into a nearby house to hide out, the occupant of which just happens to be a lunatic who likes drugging strangers and having all night "dinner parties" with them. And it gets more ridiculous from there: the lunatic just happens to be the LAPD Lieutenant assigned to investigate the robbery he committed.
  • In Petticoat Planet, Lily happens to possess the exact component Steve needs to fix his distress beacon, despite Puckerbush having been out of contact with the rest of the galaxy for more than 20 years.
  • In Pixels:
    • The US President happens to have a friend who used to be a world champion in arcade games and he has his term when aliens invade using arcade games.
    • Sam comes to install Violet's son's console just as he's called by the President to the White House and she's called by her bosses in the military to the White House. At least this time, it's lampshaded.
  • R.O.T.O.R.: Sonya is shown stopping her car at a gas station to call the police, which suggests that she doesn't have any on-board means of communication. In a later scene, she steals a car which happens to have a C.B. radio in it. Nobody finds this strange.
  • Serendipity: All the events that prevent Jonathan from finding with Sara in NYC (and vice-versa), with some of them being far more believable than others.
  • The Silence of the Lambs: FBI trainee Clarice Starling is asked to interview the institutionalized Hannibal Lecter—a former psychiatrist—in the vague hope that he might be able to give the FBI some psychological insight that might lead them to the fugitive killer "Buffalo Bill". It turns out that Buffalo Bill's first victim (who the authorities never found out about) was one of Lecter's old patients, and that Lecter has personally met Buffalo Bill himself. The FBI had no way of knowing either of those things when they decided to interview Lecter for clues, and it's a complete coincidence that someone who knows Bill's identity is already conveniently under lock and key in an asylum.
  • Slumdog Millionaire could easily be titled "Contrived Coincidence: The Movie". Somehow, nearly every single question Jamal is asked during Who Wants to be a Millionaire? is related to a specific incident from his past. To give an example: one of the questions is "Who appears on the American $100 bill?" This prompts a flashback to Jamal's childhood working as a beggar, when an American couple offered him just such a bill; another blind child then tells him that the name of the man on the money is Benjamin Franklin. It's mildly lampshaded in the movie, as the showrunners remark that Jamal's explanations for knowing all of the answers are "bizarrely plausible." The whole situation could be chalked up to Because Destiny Says So—one of the film's taglines was "It is written," implying that fate had a hand in Jamal's success—but still, it's a large stretch.

    CollegeHumor later spoofed the film's ridiculous coincidences in their parody "Slumdog 'The Price is Right'", which saw characters randomly yelling out the cost of items that just so happen to appear on the show later ("No, don't get blood on that patio set, it cost $399!").
  • As noted by Honest Trailers, every movie in the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man Trilogy has this trope.
    • The worst offender is Spider-Man 2, though:
      • First, Peter is delivering some pizzas as Spider-Man and just happen to be swing by in the exact instant that some kids are about to get run over by a car; he saves them.
      • After that, Peter just happens to be crossing the same street and area in which some thugs are escaping from the police that very moment and gets his bike destroyed by their car, leading to an important plot point that strikes a rift in his relationship with Mary Jane.
      • Next, Peter just happens to walk past some thugs beating up a guy and can't help but feel unable to intervene (that others are ignorant of the mugging could be an example of the bystander effect).
      • He and Aunt May just happen to be at the same bank that Octavius decides to rob to get money for his enhanced tritium experiment. Then when Ock nabs a civilian out of a crowd to use a human shield, it just happens to be the aunt of his nemesis whose identity he doesn't even know yet.
      • And then finally, Peter just happens to be at a nearby newsstand when an apartment building on the nearby corner catches fire. Note that in all but one of those examples, he wasn't in his Spider-Man costume; he was merely a bystander minding his own business. It's like he attracts accidents and crimes!
      • Then there was also the part in which Spidey is fighting Doctor Octopus and they both plummet onto the rail tracks and land on a train that was just passing under them. If they fell even a second earlier, they would've landed on the tracks in front of the train, with predictable results.
    • Spider-Man 3: The Venom symbiote just happens to fall out of the sky and land near Peter Parker, and the Sandman just happens to be the guy who killed Uncle Ben. Then Peter chooses to get rid of the symbiote in the same church where Eddie was praying at that very moment, which allowed the latter to become Venom.
    • On a broader Spider-Man note: all five major villains had a personal connection to Peter Parker. Green Goblin was his best friend's father. He'd met Otto Octavius several times, and he definitely remembered him. New Goblin was his best friend, Venom was a rival photographer whose girlfriend he stole, and Sandman killed his uncle. In addition, the villains tend to take his friends and family hostage a lot - Mary Jane gets kidnapped in every movie (by Norman Osborn in the first, by Otto Octavius in the second, and by Eddie Brock in the third), Aunt May is taken hostage by Octavius in the aforementioned bank robbery, and the Bugle is attacked by the Green Goblin. It seems the writers never quite grasped the concept that there are in fact more than eight people in New York (though the comics are much the same way, to the point it was considered a twist when a villain turned out to be someone Peter didn't know).
  • Star Trek (2009):
    • No attempt is made to explain the immense improbability of Kirk running into Spock Prime in a cave on the ice planet and thereby getting the exposition he needs to save the day. Even if we assume that both Nero and current Spock dropped their respective people off near the outpost, what are the chances of running into another person within a 14km radius? They're both going to the same place, but the most likely place for them to encounter each other is near the facility, not in a random ice cave. The novelization lampshades it by suggesting that the timeline is attempting to restore itself.
    • Then there's the fact that Scotty just happens to have been Reassigned to Antarctica in an outpost a mile away from the cave...
    • Also the Enterprise's Chief Medical Officer and Chief Engineer are killed leaving those posts vacant for McCoy and Scotty respectively, Uhura has the specific linguistic knowledge to bump her up to the Communications station and Kirk gets an implausibly rapid promotion from cadet (on probation!) to Starship Captain, all so we can get the classic crew together in their correct places by the end of the film.
  • Star Wars:
    • All six films are riddled with bizarre It's a Small World After All (or rather galaxy) moments, starting with C-3PO and R2-D2 just happening to be brought to the Lars homestead. There's some justification, since "There's no such thing as luck", and KOTOR lampshades the matter by having most Jedi characters interpret the massive coincidences and unlikely happenings coming their way as part of the Will of the Force.
      Mission: Wow. What are the chances of that happening?
      Canderous: Remember, we're talking about the Force here. At this point, Malak himself could drop out of the sky, and I wouldn't bat an eyelash.
      Mission: Good point.
    • A specific example from A New Hope: the odds of Luke meeting up with childhood friend Biggs at the Rebel base (as shown in the Special Edition) is next to nothing — as the two characters themselves acknowledge earlier in the film (this part of the footage was not restored).
    • In The Empire Strikes Back, R2-D2 is meandering aimlessly around Cloud City after being separated from Luke. He just happens to bump into Leia, Chewie, Lando and C-3PO...and he proves instrumental in saving everyone's bacon later on.
    • In Attack of the Clones, Obi-Wan happens to find an army being formed on Kamino at almost exactly the same time the Republic needs one, as the growing Confederacy problem is mere days away from spilling into outright war. As usual for Star Wars, it's justified much better in the expanded universe, but taking the film on its own merits, the sudden turn of events is just too convenient to take seriously.
    • Episode II makes the coincidence of C-3PO and R2-D2 arriving at the Lars homestead even more contrived. Episode II shows that C-3PO came to the Lars homestead along with Anakin's mother, and was there for YEARS, along with Owen and Beru, before being taken away by Anakin and Obi-Wan during their visit. When C-3PO happened to coincidentally return there 20 years later (during Episode IV), Owen didn't even recognize him, and C-3PO didn't remember being there. This is handwaved at the end of Episode III with an order to wipe C-3PO's memory (since he was built by Anakin). But his name didn't change, and that shouldn't have prevented Owen from remembering him (although to be fair, Owen was old by that point and had probably seen a LOT of protocol droids in his time, C-3PO was a fairly common model). It does explain R2-D2's knowledge of exactly where to go on Tattooine in Episode 4 though - he'd been there before, and unlike C-3PO, his memory wasn't wiped.
    • Padmé Amidala, the Queen of Naboo, ends up giving birth to Leia Organa, the Princess of Alderaan, by a complete coincidence. After Padmé's untimely death, her daughter is adopted by the Alderaanian senator Bail Organa, who just happens to be married to the Queen of Alderaan; Leia then grows up as a princess without ever knowing that her biological mother was also a Queen. Taken a step further in Legends: Leia's daughter Jaina Solo ends up marrying the man who becomes the new Galactic Emperor (making her an Empress) and her son Jacen Solo has a daughter with the Queen of Hapes (making Leia's granddaughter a princess too). Apparently, the Skywalker women just have a knack for ending up as royalty.
      • This one is at least minimally explained by Bail Organa being a close friend of Padmé Amidala (given that they're both Senators with some connection to royalty and similar values, this one is plausible) and the fact that he's one of the few people to know the truth (a little more coincidental, since most of Padmé's friends aren't told). The expanded universe variations, however, do stretch the bounds of credibility, especially given that Jacen and Jaina never thought of themselves as royalty (at most, they were the children of an elected leader when Leia was running the Senate). The fact that Jacen even knew Tenel Ka, let alone became the man she fell in love with, was more or less by chance.
    • Used egregiously in The Force Awakens to get the main cast together. Rey happens to live within walking distance of Lor San Tekka, despite there being no known reason as to why they'd even be on the same planet, and BB8 just happens to run into her while fleeing the First Order. Finn, meanwhile, just happens to be part of the First Order division that attacks Tekka's village. When his and Poe's ship is shot down, they land close enough to the market Rey sells her goods at that he's able to find it wandering aimlessly, and Rey just happens to be there with BB8 (who recognizes Finn because he just happened to take Poe's jacket) when he arrives. Then, when they need to steal a ship to escape from the First Order, the ship they choose just happens to be the Millennium Falcon, which had, by a series of unrelated events, somehow ended up in the possession of Rey's boss. After they escape, they're picked up by another ship... Which just happens to belong to Han and Chewie, the Millennium Falcon's previous owners, who just happened to be in the area looking for it.
    • The Rise of Skywalker is practically built of this trope. To wit:
      • Rey is the granddaughter of Darth Sidious, putting the Millennium Falcon, the map to Luke, and the descendant of the former Emperor all within 10 miles of each other.
      • Near the start of the movie, Poe triggers a series of blind hyperspace jumps with no prior calculation. Each time he comes out not only near a planet (which would already be astronomically long odds), but in atmosphere, within metres of smashing into something. The idea that this would happen three times in a row completely randomly beggars belief.
      • Rey, Poe, and Finn are chased out into the deserts of Pasaana; the exact spot where their transports are destroyed happens to be in quicksand, which is right over the remains of the Jedi hunter they were searching for, allowing them to stumble upon a dagger that will point them to the location of the last Sith wayfinder.
      • When searching for the Sith wayfinder on Endor, Rey happens to wind up standing in the exact spot where she needs to be in order to fit the dagger into the outline of the Death Star II's wreckage (which somehow has not shifted, collapsed, and/or been scavenged in the decades since Return of the Jedi.
      • The droid that Poe and the others bring back with them from the droidsmith on Kijimi just happens to have extensive records of Exegol, the mysterious Sith planet that barely anyone even knew existed that the group is trying to reach.
  • Street Angel: Gino and Angela, parted lovers, happen to run into each other in the docks. Gino chases Angela, who had left him, and they happen to run into the church where the portrait of Angela, painted by Gino in their happy days, is exhibited. Seeing it makes him forgive her.
  • In The Suicide Theory, a series of these set off the plot, and prove to Percival that his fate is intertwined with Steve's. He turns out to be absolutely right.
  • Superman. When Otis screws up and enters the wrong coordinates into the first nuclear missile they just happen to be the coordinates for Hackesnsack, New Jersey, where Miss Teschmacher's mother lives. This motivates Miss Teschmacher to save Superman from Luthor's Drowning Pit so he can stop the missile. What are the odds?
  • Swelter has Pike dying from a bullet to the head in the exact patch of desert where the only doctor for miles happens to be walking in the middle of the night. Doc lampshades this.
    • That film also has Pike end up by chance in the same tiny town as Carmen, an ex-girlfriend of the Mastermind of the heist he just pulled, and be in a relationship with her when said Mastermind comes to town ten years later.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: In ancient Japan, April O'Neil ends up in a wooden cage next to an ancestor of Casey Jones, and finds an ordinary rat that is implied to be the ancestor of Splinter.
  • In Theatre of Death, Charles happens to frequent a restaurant run by a pair of Rumanians who part of the same refugee caravan after World War II that included the infant Nicole.
  • In Top Secret!, this receives a Lampshade Hanging courtesy of the protagonist.
    Nick: I'm not the first guy who fell in love with a woman that he met at a restaurant who turned out to be the daughter of a kidnapped scientist only to lose her to her childhood lover whom she last saw on a deserted island who then turned out fifteen years later to be the leader of the French underground.
    Hillary: I know. It all sounds like some bad movie. [Aside Glance]
  • Jake happens to see and stop a random schoolgirl from being raped in Training Day. Afterwards, she runs off and he takes her wallet to give back to her later. Several hours later, Alonzo betrays Jake by turning him over to some gang bangers. The lead of those gangbangers happens to be the girl's cousin and they discover her wallet seconds before blowing Jake's head off. It's the only thing that saves him. To be fair, Antoine Fuqua stated in the commentary that the incident with the schoolgirl is what gave Alonzo the idea to use the Hillside Très crew to get rid of Jake. Considering the gang can't be bigger than a single block, it makes the coincidence much more plausible. One might even think is plausible enough to make it a bit risky for Alonzo to use such a small crew who's cousin his partner just saved.
  • In The Truman Show, the producers' increasing reliance on these in desperate attempts to convince Truman everything's normal and stop him from suspecting the sham he's living in backfire spectacularly and only drive him ever more paranoid.
  • Lampshaded in Wayne's World when, upon stepping out of an Alice Cooper concert for a moment, they conveniently talk to a security guard who tells them the travel plans of a producer who could help the career of Wayne's girlfriend Cassandra.
    Garth: Aren't we lucky we were there to get all that information?
    Wayne: Yes. It seemed extraneous at the time.
  • Where Hands Touch: Leyna just happens to be put in a camp Lutz's father runs, then he gets Lutz a job there and they meet again.
  • Played for laughs in Without a Clue. Holmes's (and Watson's) contrived method of solving the final clue turns out to be true, but the real solution is far simpler. Holmes and Watson read the final clue, a partial serial number (234) as being part of a kidnap victim's code. The victim's favorite book of the Bible was the book of Psalms. Psalm 23, verse 4 leads them to a passage that referenced an In-Universe famous play: The Shadow of Death, which played at a local theater which was, in fact, where he was being held captive. 234 was also the address of the theater, which was what the victim really intended.
  • In A Woman of Paris, Marie is given vague directions to a party. She goes to the wrong apartment, which just happens to be where her old boyfriend from her hometown now lives.
  • Honest Trailers accused the plot of the film adaptation of World War Z of being like this:
    Narrator: Watch Brad Pitt survive an un-survivable apocalypse thanks to a constant stream of lifesaving coincidences like: never hitting traffic in the middle of mass hysteria; finding an RV with the keys and a loaded gun inside; this friendly mugger showing him where to find medicine; this friendly Mexican family taking him in, no questions asked; these fast zombies who slow down as soon as they are about to catch him; this small child headshotting a zombie on top of him; this plane dropping a ladder down to save him at takeoff; this Israeli soldier killing a zombie about to eat him; surviving this car crash; surviving this plane crash; surviving a spike through his stomach; and shooting up with a randomly picked virus that happens to be curable while also serving as zombie camouflage.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • X-Men: First Class: Schmidt/Shaw working with the Nazis to perform genetic experiments upon prisoners makes sense. But what are the odds that he'd be in the very same prison camp as a young Erik Lehnsherr, looking out his window at the very moment when Erik's power just happen to manifest?
    • X-Men: Apocalypse: It's awfully convenient that Colonel Stryker and his team were already near Westchester, NY when Apocalypse mind-controls Xavier with Cerebro to force every nuclear missile operator across the globe to launch nukes into outer space.


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