Follow TV Tropes


Dueling Works / Film - Drama

Go To

Main: Dueling Movies

Navigation: Animation | Comedy | Drama | Horror | Period Pieces | Sci Fi | Spy Fiction | Superhero | War | Film Cross Genre

Initiators Followers Description Implementation Winner?
The Man Who Laughs (1928) Laugh Clown Laugh (1928) 1928 silent films about tormented clowns and the beautiful young orphan girls they love. Of the two, The Man Who Laughs was a more experimental surreal film. There was also a 1924 precursor called He Who Gets Slapped. The Man Who Laughs is better regarded and much better remembered now, in large part because the main character was the inspiration for The Joker.
Hell's Angels (1930) The Dawn Patrol (1930) Two 1930 movies about British pilots with the Royal Flying Corps during World War I that have to go on dangerous combat flights against the Germans Hell's Angels producer Howard Hughes sued for plagiarism when he heard about The Dawn Patrol; the suit was dismissed. Hell's Angels itself is thought to be a response to Wings (1927). Both films are generally well-regarded, and both received Oscar nominations (Hell's Angels was nominated for cinemmatography, while The Dawn Patrol won for original story).
Gentleman's Agreement Crossfire 1947 Best Picture Oscar nominees about antisemitism. Crossfire is a Film Noir take on the subject, while Gentleman's Agreement is a melodrama. Tough call; Gentleman's Agreement won the Best Picture nod, but Crossfire is better-regarded by critics today.
Lizzie (1957) The Three Faces of Eve (1957) 1957 films about a woman suffering from disassociaive identity disorder, released in April and September respectively. The former is based on the novel The Bird's Nest by Shirley Jackson, and the latter on the non-fiction book of the same name by psychiatrists Corbett H. Thigpen and Hervey M. Cleckley. Nunally Johnson immediately bought up the film rights to Eve in response to the The Bird's Nest's 1954 success. The Three Faces of Eve won Joanne Woodward an Academy Award for Best Actress. Lizzie, while not as remembered​, spawned two hits for co-star Johnny Matthis, It's not for me to say and Warm and Tender.
The Trials of Oscar Wilde (1960) Oscar Wilde (1960) Two biopics of Oscar Wilde, each released in 1960 during the same week. Both focus on Wilde's relationship with Alfred, Lord Douglas and the related criminal trials. Both movies feature formidable casts: Trials stars Peter Finch as Wilde and John Fraser as Douglas, along with James Mason, Nigel Patrick and Yvonne Mitchell. Oscar Wilde features Robert Morley as Wilde, costarring John Neville, Ralph Richardson and Dennis Price. However, Trials had a much larger budget, filmed in color and received broader distribution. Critics and audiences preferred Trials, though both have good reputations today.
Harlow (1965) Harlow (1965) Sensationalized biopics of 1930s sex symbol Jean Harlow, both released a month apart in 1965. One version was mostly fictional, portraying her as a troubled girl a la Marilyn Monroe. The first version was a big-budget Hollywood film starring 1950s star Caroll Baker as Jean and Angela Lansbury as her mother. The other was a very independent production (shot on videotape) starring Carol Lynley as Harlow and was supposed to feature Judy Garland as Mama (she was replaced by Ginger Rogers). The Hollywood version was rushed into production in order to compete with the video version. Both versions were flops. The Hollywood version was criticized for its script and the video version was criticized for Lynley's performance. The former version is the only one available on video.
A Doll's House (1973, Patrick Garland) A Doll's House (1973, Joseph Losey) Two film versions of Henrik Ibsen's classic play appeared almost simultaneously; however, Garland's received a theatrical release while Losey's was relegated to television. Garland's film starred Claire Bloom as Nora, having previously portrayed the role on Broadway, along with Anthony Hopkins as Torvald, Ralph Richardson as Dr. Rank, Denholm Elliot as Krogstad, Anna Massey as Kristine. Losey's movie featured Jane Fonda as Nora, David Warner as Torvald, Trevor Howard as Rank, Edward Fox as Krogstad and Delphine Seyrig as Kristine. Both versions received something of a mixed reception. Garland's version was praised for its performances but regarded by most critics as stiff and uncinematic. In contrast, Losey makes significant changes to Ibsen's play, and Fonda's performance drew largely negative reviews (though the supporting cast earned praise). Today Garland's film is readily available on DVD, while Losey's is difficult to find.
Black Sunday (1977) Two-Minute Warning (1976) Two films about a terrorist plot at a football game, released in April 1977 and November 1976 respectively. Black Sunday is about a sinister blimp pilot, while Two-Minute Warning is about a sniper. Despite studio predictions that Black Sunday would be the next Jaws, Black Sunday was only a modest success at the box office; nevertheless, it is still better-remembered than Two-Minute Warning, if only for the somewhat campy premise of an evil blimp pilot.
Benji The Hunted (1987) Full Metal Jacket (1987) Two dramas from June 1987 and a chapter in the Warner Bros. vs Disney rivalry. Benji was done by Disney and featured the titular dog getting lost in the wilderness and "adopting" orphaned cougar cubs. Full Metal Jacket is a Stanley Kubrick classic about Vietnam War soldiers; the first half of the movie follows one given the code name of "Joker" through the grueling boot camp under gunnery sergeant Hartman (who was played by a real retired drill sergeant, R. Lee Ermey; this character provides the Page Quote and Trope Codifier for Drill Sergeant Nasty), and the second half puts him in Vietnam, at which point the war element of the film comes into play. This duel is thanks to an infamous spat on Disney-distributed Siskel & Ebert between Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert; Siskel had given his approval to FMJ while Ebert gave it a Thumb's Down with a 2.5 star rating, while praising Benji with his highest rating after Siskel panned the film. This prompted Siskel to lay into Ebert, a moment that got a Shout-Out on The Critic. Also, Disney is somewhat tied to FMJ as well as BTH; the name "Mickey Mouse" is mentioned at the end of both of FMJ's major settings, plus Mickey and Minnie figurines are part of a background set in the film's second half and the film's soldiers sing "The Mickey Mouse Club March" to close the film. Much to Ebert's chagrin and Siskel's delight, Full Metal Jacket was critically loved, and the first half of the film, with Ermey's infamous Drill Sergeant Nasty routine (one of the Trope Codifiers) made it a Star-Making Role for him (he would appear in Disney/Pixar's Toy Story trilogy later, voicing a sergeant toy), with the film as a whole becoming a cinema classic, one of several for Kubrick. Benji on the other hand got a few mixed reviews and eventually dropped off the face of the Earth; that movie's director and the Benji film series wouldn't return until 2004 (said director, Joe Camp, focused more on horse training during that time). Neither film was able to turn much of a profit, if they could at all, and this fact was likely the reason Kubrick didn't direct another film until what became his final movie, Eyes Wide Shut, with Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks picking up his other film A.I. Artificial Intelligence.
Rain Man (1988) Dominick and Eugene (1988) Films released in the same year about two brothers, one of them with a mental/neural disorder. Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man suffers from autism, while in the latter, Tom Hulce (Mozart in Amadeus) played Nicky, a man who is mentally challenged due to severe beatings from his abusive father (the brother in this one is Ray Liotta). Rain Man was obviously the successful one, with glowing reviews and a Best Picture Oscar. You may not have heard about Dominick and Eugene; it was well received by critics (Hulce ended up with a Golden Globe nomination), but comparisons to Rain Man and a screwed-up release (as the producer can attest to you) destroyed its chances of catching most of the public's interest.
Ghost (1990) (1990) Truly, Madly, Deeply (1990) Romantic films about lovers returning as ghosts. Ghost leaned more towards the comedic side with Whoopi Goldberg's casting. Both films received around the same score on Rotten Tomatoes (74% and 72%, respectively), but Ghost was easily the winner. It was the highest-grossing film of 1990, and earned 5 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Score, and Best Film Editing, with Whoopi Goldberg winning Best Supporting Actress and Bruce Joel Rubin winning Best Original Screenplay.
Quigley Down Under (1990) Dances with Wolves (1990) A 1990 Western ( least kind of) drama about an American who bonds with the indigenous local population of a land, in the Australian Outback and Western Frontier of the United States respectively, whilst on an assignment and comes to side with them.   Dances wound up winning both critically and financially. Going on to win a number of Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director.
Lambada (U.S.) (1990) The Forbidden Dance (1990)

Lambada (Brazil) (1990)
Three drama films all released the same year centered on the same Brazilian dance craze that few people even knew about. The American Lambada film was created by Cannon Films, while The Forbidden Dance (promoted as The Forbidden Dance is Lambada!) was created by former Cannon Films co-owner Menahem Golan, who had recently departed the company. A third Brazilian film called Lambada was also released the same year but did not have an American release. Neither of the American films made much money or received any critical fanfare, but the Brazilian Lambada film was a modest financial success and was regarded as slightly better.
Naked Lunch (1991) Kafka (1991) Two 1991 movies that are centered around the works of two renowned but vastly different authors, William S. Burroughs and Franz Kafka respectively. Although the title of Naked Lunch implies otherwise (it is probably Burroughs' most (in)famous novel), neither movie is an adaptation of any single piece of their work, but focus on the themes present in them to create a single allegorical tale of their entire careers, with fictionalized versions of the authors themselves as the protagonist. Naked Lunch was directed by the Canadian Body Horror director David Cronenberg, Kafka by the then-up-and-coming Steven Soderbergh, best known for Ocean's Eleven and Traffic. Both movies starred Ian Holm for some reason. Neither film really won. Naked Lunch is more widely remembered nowadays than Kafka, which is an obscure footnote in Soderbergh's filmograpy. The former still bombed at the box office due to its perplexing premise that Siskel & Ebert struggled over.
The Amy Fisher Story (1993) Casualties of Love: The "Long Island Lolita" Story, Amy Fisher: My Story (1993) Made for TV films that dramatized the Amy Fisher affair (unsurprisingly, Platypus Comix noted that the story was a perfect storm of love and violence). All three major networks had produced an Amy Fisher film, and they all premiered within the same week. Going even further, the ABC and CBS films (The Amy Fisher Story and Casualties of Love) aired against each other. The Amy Fisher Story, aired by ABC, had better reviews and viewership than CBS's film. All three networks were shamed in What Were They Thinking? The 100 Dumbest Events in Television History for having rushed out films to capitalize on the phenomenon.
Outbreak (1995) Crisis In The Hot Zone (1995) Two films intended for release in 1995 concerning an outbreak of a deadly virus on American soil. Crisis in the Hot Zone was based on fact, while Outbreak was fiction. This gave Outbreak the edge in generating drama, but Crisis In The Hot Zone had the edge on realism. Hot Zone was initially the higher-profile project, and was to star the then-red hot Jodie Foster along with Robert Redford, and be directed by Ridley Scott. Clashing egos eventually led to the film's collapse. Outbreak, by a million miles. Not only was it the only one to get made, but it also became a modest hit and is well-remembered today. Soctt recently announced plans to relaunch Crisis in the Hot Zone as a TV miniseries.
Showgirls (1995) Striptease (1996)

Barb Wire (1996)
1995/96 female star vehicles marketed entirely around the appeal of seeing then-sex-symbols show some skin. All three received multiple Razzie Award nominations, including Worst Picture wins for BOTH Showgirls and Striptease. Barb Wire got a Worst Picture nomination too, only losing because Striptease came out the same year. Striptease stars Demi Moore, Showgirls stars Elizabeth Berkley, and Barb Wire stars Pamela Anderson. The first two were seen as direct competition in that they were marketed as semi-respectable dramas, and were often compared by critics. Barb Wire had no such pretensions, being presented as a theatrical soft-core porno, and was treated as such by critics. Showgirls is additionally notable for being the most widely released NC-17 film in history. Striptease made far more money at the box office (around $110 million) than the other two, making it the easy winner here. Showgirls was a notorious box office bomb, grossing only $37 million on a $45 million budget despite a huge marketing campaign, killing the NC-17 rating as a serious alternative to R, and starting the career derailment of director Paul Verhoeven and writer Joe Eszterhas (though it fared VERY well on home video) note . Barb Wire fared even worse, grossing just $3 million worldwide and getting labeled a softcore porno copy of the cinematic masterpiece Casablanca, and it derailed Pamela Anderson's movie career and got further adaptations of the comic that it was based on banned by Dark Horse Comics. Based on the movie's infamy, however, Showgirls.
Emma (1996) Emma (1996) Prestige adaptations of Jane Austen's last completed novel starring rising stars supported by the best the British repertory had to offer. The McGrath/Paltrow/Northam adaptation was a theatrical release from primarily American creators (the director, studio, and eponymous lead). The Davies/Beckinsale/Strong production was a telefilm from Britain's ITV, springboarding off the success of Davies and producer Sue Birtwistle's previous Pride and Prejudice miniseries. Both films were preceded a year earlier by Clueless, which was a modern-day retelling of Emma. The McGrath/Paltrow/Northam film tends to have a slight edge, due to its friendlier, sweeter timbre. However, both tend to be fondly remembered (except by fans of the other version). When the 2009 BBC miniseries was released, many simply added a third adaptation to their list of favorite Emma adaptations. (As a side note, Austen films tend to be dueling movies given the passion and long memories of the fanbase. The clustering of film and television releases from 1995-1996 and 2005-2009 highlighted this fact).
Prefontaine (1997) Without Limits (1998) Late '90s biographical films about track-and-field star Steve Prefontaine. Billy Crudup's depiction of the title character in Without Limits is generally better regarded, as is the directing and production; Prefontaine stands mostly on the basis of greater historical accuracy and a standout performance by R. Lee Ermey. Without Limits, although neither was much of a box office or critical success.
Stag (1997) Very Bad Things (1998) A bachelor party gets out of hand, resulting in the death of a prostitute. The revelers devolve into infighting as some of them push the group into covering up the crime. Stag was a TV movie that takes place in one location and plays the scenario as a straight thriller. Very Bad Things is a Hollywood theatrical film that plays it for black comedy. The makers of Very Bad Things actually became aware of Stag mid-production and made changes to be less similar to the earlier film. Neither film was successful, though Very Bad Things wins by default for being a high-profile film with major stars, while Stag is almost completely forgotten.
City of Angels (1998) Meet Joe Black (1998) Romantic dramas released in 1998 that centers around a supernatural entity comes to Earth and finds love. Notably both are loose remakes of Wings of Desire and Death Takes a Holiday respectively. Both got divisive reviews from critics, but a mostly positive reception from audiences. Both did decently at the box office, however City of Angels made more on a budget that was smaller than that of Meet Joe Black.
Knockout Girlfight 2000 boxing dramas with troubled Latina protagonists. Girlfight technically debuted first, premiering at Sundance about two weeks before Knockout was released, but it didn't open nationwide until months later. Girlfight is more of a character piece and concerns amateur boxing, while Knockout is a little more genre-oriented and deals with pro boxing. Interestingly, the films also have a costal rivalry going on: Knockout is set in Los Angeles while Girlfight takes place in New York. Girlfight is the undisputed champ here. It had much better reviews and won several awards, is more well-known today, and while it wasn't itself a box-office hit (not even doubling its budget), it made almost 10 times Knockout's take.
Secondhand Lions (2003) Big Fish (2003) 2003 films centering around the tall tales of old men about their adventures from their youth that are put into question. By the end of it, a major character who is skeptical of their stories comes to get a deeper understanding and respect for them.   Big Fish had a much larger box office gross, stronger reviews from critics, and seems to be more widely remembered by the general public. Though that is not to say that Secondhand Lions is without its fans.
The Forgotten (2004) Flightplan (2005) 2004/5 thrillers about a mother whose child/children vanish without a trace, with everyone around her insisting that the child never existed. Flightplan is set entirely on board a plane and about the immediate search for a missing child, while The Forgotten is about the search for evidence of a child the mother believes dead. Of course, just seeing these two movies mentioned together means you can probably guess what the big twist of The Forgotten is. Flightplan made more at the box office and got better reviews.
Flightplan (2005) Red Eye (2005) 2005 thrillers about a woman facing danger in an airliner. As noted above, Flightplan relies on the suspense of if the missing child existed, while Red Eye has a straighter plot about a woman dealing with a Psycho for Hire. Red Eye switches back and forth between the plane and land, Flightplan doesn't leave the plane. Both have a climax once the plane lands. Flightplan made more at the box office, but Red Eye got better reviews. Red Eye also has over 650 Fanfics archived on, more than franchises like The Bourne Series and Mission: Impossible!
Finding Neverland (2004) Neverwas (2005) 2004/5 films about children's books and the "reality" that inspired them. Finding Neverland was about the real-life book of Peter Pan while Neverwas was about the eponymous fictional title. Also, Finding Neverland establishes the source of the story straight off, while Neverwas explores it via a seemingly outside character. Neverwas never received much promotion because the studio felt that it would be seen as an attempt to imitate Finding Neverland.
Million Dollar Baby (2004) Cinderella Man (2005) Two emotional and evocative stories involving boxing, released several months apart. Both movies feature underdog stories of fighters trying to succeed where others would have them fail, each with the support of an engaging mentor. One ends happy, while the other one? Not so much.

(The Fighter came out in 2010, a bit late to make weight, but it coulda' been a contender).
This is a rare case of two excellent movies that happened to be released in the same year, instead of a studio quickly greenlighting a cheap imitation of the first. Both were directed by powerhouse directors (Clint Eastwood and Ron Howard), both with stellar casts and critical acclaim. Poor promotion and a summer release date doomed Cinderella Man at the box-office, while Million Dollar Baby was released during a more opportune time of the year, and was far more successful. Million Dollar Baby took home the Oscar, while Cinderella Man was mostly forgotten by the time the next year's nominations came around. Million Dollar Baby, though really, everyone wins. See both movies.
Capote(2005) Infamous (2006) Biopics of Truman Capote during the years he was writing In Cold Blood. Capote came out first, with Philip Seymour Hoffman winning an Oscar for his performance, along with dozens of other awards and nominations for the film. Infamous opened a year later, and was largely ignored save for a satirical Onion article about a slew of new films about Capote coming out. Capote.
The Illusionist (2006) The Prestige (2006) Period movies centering on magicians who seem to perform the impossible, both having their wide release in fall 2006. The Prestige is a twisty thriller, while The Illusionist is a love story with a softer fairy-tale feel. The films were about equally successful in their time, both critically and financially, but The Prestige is better remembered today, in part due to Christopher Nolan's continuing success.
The Killing of John Lennon (2006) Chapter 27 (2007) Independent films depicting Mark David Chapman's life before he killed John Lennon in 1980. Killing is British and begins three months before the murder; 27 is American and takes place over only three days. Neither, due to the Audience-Alienating Premise of being films about Lennon's killer from the killer's perspective. Though Killing was made a year earlier, it wasn't released in the United States until 2008 and it received much less attention than 27. As for 27, critics praised Jared Leto's interpretation as Chapman, but depised everything else.
3:10 to Yuma (2007) The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) Star-studded, prestigious revisionist westerns based on popular books. 3:10 was a remake of a movie from The '50s, while Assassination was based on real events. Both movies were critically acclaimed flops, though 3:10 less so. Time has been much kinder to Assassination, however, appearing on many best-of lists and receiving more praise in the years that followed.
No Country for Old Men (2007) There Will Be Blood (2007) Auteur films about the dark heart of a highly memorable Villain Protagonist isolated from humanity as he slowly eliminates his enemies in what looks like the desert of West Texas (where both movies were filmed). "Hint": One is about a middle-aged sociopath, one is about a serial murderer.

Both films were released by the same companies—Miramax Films and Paramount Vantage.
Tied. No Country won more awards at the Oscars of that year, including nabbing Best Picture, while TWBB is on many best-of lists.
No Country for Old Men (2007) In the Valley of Elah (2007) Auteur films set in West Texas, starring Tommy Lee Jones as weary elderly detective on a case, using 60% of the same cast and crew, including Josh Brolin and One-Scene Wonder Barry Corbin, and almost the same budget. The moral of Elah, a broad social commentary in the vein of director Paul Haggis' previous film Crash, is essentially the opposite of that in No Country. No Country by a mile, at the box office ($171.6m vs. $29.5m), with critics (93% on RT vs. 73%), and at the Oscars (4 wins, 8 nominations vs. 1 nomination for Jones).
Rendition (2007) Lions for Lambs (2007) Prestige films critical of (real and perceived) US foreign policy under George W. Bush, starring Meryl Streep. Rendition was about extrajudicial kidnappings of civilians; Lions was about the real military intervention in Afghanistan and fears of expanding into Iran. Lions made far more money ($63.2m vs. $27m), and while most critics disliked both films, Rendition received more favorable reviews (47% on RT vs 27%), with Lions making many worst-of-the-year lists. Despite being overt Oscar Bait, neither received any nominations for any industry award.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) The Time Traveler's Wife (2009) Fantasy/romance adapted from a written source in which an otherwise perfect couple is tested by the man's "chronological disorder". Button is based on a short story where a man "merely" ages backwards while Wife's protagonist bounces around time in a Trauma Conga Line. Interestingly, both films were produced by Brad Pitt, who also starred in Button. While Wife was a modest hit, Button made tons of money and Oscars for its Uncanny Valley-defying special effects work.
Middle Men (2009) The Social Network (2010) Origin stories about the start of Internet revolutions by rather ordinary men, and the hazards of falling out with one's partners after making a great deal of money. Middle Men is about the development of online porn, while The Social Network is "the Facebook movie." No contest — The Social Network grossed far more, received much better reviews, won three Academy Awards and four Golden Globes, and has been hailed as one of the defining movies of its generation. Middle Men, meanwhile, received mixed reviews, made little money in its limited theatrical release, and vanished from people's minds about as quickly as a thirty-second "free sample".
Crazy Heart (2009) Country Strong (2010) Troubled country singers (played by Oscar winners who do their own singing) make comebacks while trying to navigate potential new loves and Younger and Hipper rivals. While Crazy Heart's male protagonist is long past his prime, Country Strong's female protagonist is still wildly popular.

Also, in a roundabout way, in Country Strong Paltrow's character falls for a character played by the same actor who portrayed Bridges' character's son in TRON: Legacy.
While both movies seem to have become all but forgotten in the long run, Crazy Heart at its time earned Jeff Bridges an Oscar for Best Actor; Country Strong... really didn't go that way for Gwyneth Paltrow.
Buried (2010) 127 Hours (2010) Suspenseful films about a man trapped in a very tight place for a very long time. In a funny coincidence, both star actors who also play green comic book characters (Green Lantern (2011) and Green Goblin, respectively). Buried, about a man who's trapped in a coffin and buried somewhere in Iraq with only a dying cellphone for communication, is fictional, while Hours is based on a Real Life hiker who cut off his own arm to free himself after it was pinned by a boulder. Both had really good reviews, but 127 Hours was tapped as potential Oscar Bait, and was nominated for several awards. Both were considered good in various ways.
127 Hours (2010) Soul Surfer (2011) Dramatic films about Real Life athletes who lose a limb. Hours, from Danny Boyle, focuses on Aron Ralston, a hiker who is forced to cut off his own arm to save himself after five days of having his arm trapped by a boulder. Surfer, from Sean McNamara (the director of Bratz), focuses on Bethany Hamilton, an evangelical Christian surfer who loses an arm from a shark attack. The main difference between these two films is their intended audience: while Hours aims for a secular/mainstream audience, Surfer is intended for the Christian market. 127 Hours was nominated for six Oscars (including Best Picture and Best Actor for James Franco), and several other awards, but only obtained a modest profit thanks to Fox's mismanagement of the movie. Soul Surfer, on the other hand, received mixed reception from critics. Additionally, while Surfer earned much more than Hours in the United States, it was invisible outside the States, resulting in a lower international box office than Hours. Hours is the victor in this one.
War Of The Buttons (2011) The New War Of The Buttons (2011) Rival French productions in 2011 based on the exact same source material (the work had just gone into the public domain). However, the "new" one is set during World War II, and its rival during the War of Algeria, so they deal with differing issues (the original novel was set in the peaceful "Belle Epoque"). War Of The Buttons was pitched first and has unknown actors in the cast. The New War Of The Buttons was pitched five months later and has a few name actors (such as Guillaume Canet and Laetitia Casta) in its cast. Both films ended up opening a week apart. War Of The Buttons had the bigger opening but it's too soon to tell.
Melancholia (2011) The Tree of Life (2011) Both are "big-budget art-house films" that feature dysfunctional family drama alongside epic cosmic events, with the visuals alternating between realistic shots in hand-held camera and gorgeous, elaborate takes of scaleless scenery and events.   The Tree of Life got better reviews, box office, and awards attention, though it was still extremely divisive.
Hugo (2011) Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2011) From Entertainment Weekly: All-Star Cast movie about young boy who goes on a journey of discovery after finding a mysterious key left by his dead father and helps an old man. Hugo takes place in Paris in The '30s (lovingly recreated by Martin Scorsese) while Extremely Loud takes place before and after 9/11 (which Hollywood hasn't yet grasped is no longer The Present Day). Hugo, by a wide critical and award-winning margin.
Soul Surfer (2011) Dolphin Tale (2011) Aquatic-themed inspirational movies about limb-loss that also happen to center around a competition in which the underdog must compete. Soul Surfer has the girl lose her arm while Dolphin Tale has the dolphin lose her tail. Dolphin Tale scored better both critically and commercially.
Dolphin Tale (2011) Big Miracle (2012) Movies about groups of people saving aquatic creatures. Big Miracle is about a gray whale while Dolphin Tale is centered around...well, a dolphin. While both movies were well received by critics, Dolphin Tale has a higher Rotten Tomatoes score. Also, Dolphin Tale was a box office success, while Big Miracle flopped at the box office.
Argo (2012) Zero Dark Thirty (2012) Films based on true, top-secret, ridiculous-sounding events that took place in the Middle East. Argo is about a rescue in The '70s while Zero is about an assassination in The New '10s (spoiler alert: they succeed). Argo wins. This duel is for awards. (though its box office was also bigger) Argo won best director and film (drama) while Zero won best actress (drama) at the Golden Globes; both were nominated for Oscars for best picture (went to Argo), editing (Argo), and writing (Argo; Zero didn't win its category), but not directing.
The Girl (2012 HBO TV movie) Hitchcock (2012) Docudramas about Alfred Hitchcock and the making of The Birds and Psycho, respectively. The Girl came out first, albeit on HBO rather than in theatres, and stars Toby Jones and Sienna Miller in a story about Hitchcock's obsession with Tippi Hedren while on the set of The Birds; Hitchcock stars Anthony Hopkins and is about the relationship between Hitch and his wife, played out over the production of Psycho. Hitchcock was supposed to be shown in 2013 but was moved up to qualify for the Oscars. Both movies faced controversy for their portrayals of Hitchcock, but that didn't stop both leads from receiving acclaim for their uncanny performances. Reception-wise, The Girl fared somewhat better with critics.
Flight (2012) Sully (2016) An airline pilot's unorthodox decision saves many lives but puts him under investigation. Flight is fictional, Sully is based on a true story. Both star Oscar winners Denzel Washington and Tom Hanks, respectively. Likely a tie. Sully made a little bit gross a little bit more money but its budget is almost twice as much as flight. Critically, both films got largely positive reviews; Sully has a noticeable an edge on Rotten Tomatoes, but Flight got 2 major Oscar nominations (Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay) and a Golden Globe nomination compared to Sully 's single minor Oscar nom for Sound Editing.
Hyde Park on Hudson (2012) Lincoln (2012) Biopics about American presidents (Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, respectively) Hyde Park is a historical dramedy about FDR's private life, while Lincoln was a historical drama that dealt with the last months of the American Civil War and Lincoln's life. Lincoln, hands down. It was a critical and financial hit, and Daniel Day-Lewis' performance as Lincoln earned him the Academy Award for Best Actor, becoming the first person to win the award 3 times. Hyde Park received mixed reviews, with some speculating the film might've fared better if they hadn't competed with Lincoln.
The Great Gatsby (2013) The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) In 2013, Leonardo DiCaprio stars as an ambitious young man who experiences a spectacular rise and fall. Gatsby is based on a novel set in The Roaring '20s while Wolf of Wall Street is Based on a True Story from The '80s. The Wolf Of Wall Street got good critical reception and earned nominations and wins (in DiCaprio's case) during the award season while Great Gatsby got mixed reviews. Gatsby was a bigger box office hit, though.
Mandela Long Walk To Freedom (2013) Cesar Chavez (2014) Two films released within a few months of each other, between the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014, that center around a famous civil rights activist that fought for the rights of his people.   Both films lost money at the box office and received a mixed reception. However, Mandela still made more than four times as much (though notably also had a higher budget to begin with) and received mixed-to-positive reviews from critics rather than mixed-to-negative as is the case with its competitor.
Jobs (2013) Steve Jobs (2015) Biopics about Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, released within a few years of each other. Steve Jobs was actually announced first, in 2011, but various production difficulties ended up delaying the film until 2015. Jobs was shot in 2012 and released in early 2013 Jobs is a traditional cradle-to-grave biopic starring Ashton Kutcher, while Steve Jobs (starring Michael Fassbender) has a more unconventional screenplay by Aaron Sorkin, depicting three pivotal moments in Jobs' career. Jobs received positively poisonous reviews, which works in Steve Jobs' favor. Unfortunately, even though Steve Jobs fared considerably better critically, it got its own poisonous reviews from two people that REALLY needed to count: Jobs's widow Laurene Powell Jobs and Apple CEO Tim Cook, though they made those complaints without ever seeing the film. One of Jobs's colleagues, Ed Catmull at Disney/Pixar, was also unfond of the film, saying that Jobs was not like that later in his life and also said Jobs himself would be "appalled" at his portrayal. These condemnations, along with competition such as Matt Damon's The Martian, led the later movie to turn into an immediate Box Office Bomb and got it "deleted" from the cinema circuit only a few weeks into its run, so in terms of box office gross, Ashton Kutcher's film wins, while Fassbender's wins the critical game.
Leviathan (2014) The Fool (2014) Social dramas set in a provincial Russian town, released within mounths from each other in 2014. Both are Shaggy Dog Stories with heavy political undertones.   Leviathan proved to be a huge success among international critics. While The Fool too was met positively by critics, it is far from Leviathan's level of acclaim. It is also much less controversial in its home country, for some reason.
Yves Saintt Laurent (2014) Saint Laurent (2014) Dramas about the French fashion designer of the same name, both released in 2014. Production of the first movie was largely overseen by Saint Laurent's life partner Pierre Bergé. Though both films received mixed reviews from critics, Saint Laurent was nominated for more awards, including a Césarnote  for Best Film, and was the French submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film (it was not nominated). However, Yves Saint Laurent made more money and Pierre Ninney of that film won the César for Best Actor over Gaspard Ulliel of Saint Laurent.
Paper Towns (2015) Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015) Teen Coming of Age films about a guy, his Black and Nerdy best friend, and a girl he likes that isn't (or will not be) around for long. The characters in Paper Towns seems to have a soft spot for writing (it's based on a novel) while Me and Earl appears to be dedicated to film. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl has the upper hand in terms of user ratings and critical reception. Commercially however, Earl gross only 9.1 million on an 8 million budget. Paper towns on the other hand managed to gross 85.5 million worldwide on a 12 million budget.
Black Mass (2015) Spotlight (2015) 2015 drama films about particularly dark recent moments in Boston's history. The former is about gangster James "Whitey" Bulger. The latter is about newspaper reporters uncovering the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal. Both were financial successes, earning back roughly twice their respective budgets. Ultimately, the winner is Spotlight, as it has a higher RT rating and earned several Oscar nominations, winning Best Picture.
Spotlight (2015) Truth (2015) 2015 drama films featuring intrepid journalists investigating a major scandal. The two movies were released less than a week apart in the United States. Spotlight focused on the Boston Globe investigating cover-ups of abuse in the Catholic Church, whereas Truth focused on CBS News investigating George W. Bush's National Guard service during the 2004 presidential election. Spotlight is the clear winner here, between its Oscar nominations (and Best Picture win), critical acclaim and box office success. Truth, meanwhile, received mixed reviews, criticisms over its accuracy, and bombed at the box office.
Creed (2015) Southpaw (2015), Hands of Stone (2016), Bleed For This (2016) Boxing movies focusing on the drama and psychological aspects of the ring, released in 2015/16. Creed and Southpaw are fictional accounts, Creed being the latest installment of the Rocky series. The other two are biopics of the lives of Roberto Duran and Vinny Pazienza, respectively. Creed wins. It received critical acclaim and was well-liked by audiences, with many complaining it was snubbed at the Academy Awards (even then, Sylvester Stallone was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, his first Oscar nomination since the original Rocky film). Bleed for This received generally positive reviews while Southpaw and Hands of Stone got more mixed receptions, though Southpaw got a positive reception with audiences. Commercially, Creed grossed over 170 million on a 35 million budget, well over the other three. Southpaw managed to gross over 90 million on a 30 million budget. The other two failed to recoup their budgets.
Miles Ahead (2015) Born To Be Blue (2015) Biographical dramas about jazz musicians released at film festivals in 2015 and then to wide audiences in 2016. Miles Ahead is about Miles Davis, while the protagonist of Born to Be Blue is Chet Baker. Miles Ahead jumps around in time, while Born to Be Blue focuses on one year in Baker's life. The two were equally well received, both having a Metacritic score of 64. Neither did especially well at the box office, but Miles Ahead won out with $5.1 million to Born to Be Blue's $1.5 million.
All the Way (2016) LBJ (2016) Biopics of Lyndon Johnson, focusing on his efforts to pass the Civil Rights Act All the Way will be an HBO film based on the Tony-winning play by Robert Shenkkan about Johnson's first year in office, with Bryan Cranston reprising his performance in the lead role. LBJ will be a theatrical release directed by Rob Reiner from a Black List-listed screenplay by Joey Hearthstone about Johnson's years as Vice President, leading up to JFK's assassination and Johnson's first year, with Woody Harrelson in the lead.  
Madoff (2016) The Wizard of Lies (2016) 2016 made-for-TV movies about Bernie Madoff and the $60 billion Ponzi scheme he ran on Wall Street. Madoff will be aired on ABC and is directed by Raymond De Felitta with Richard Dreyfuss, Blythe Danner, Charles Grodin, Peter Scolari, and Lewis Black in the cast. The Wizard of Lies will be aired on HBO, was directed by Barry Levinson, and stars Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfieffer, Lily Rabe, Hank Azaria, and Alessandro Nivola.  
The Sea of Trees (2016) The Forest (2016) Westerners journey to a real-life forest in Japan that's a popular spot for suicides. Sea of Trees is a drama about two men who want to commit suicide; The Forest is a "regular" horror movie about a woman searching for her sister. The Forest won. Both films were generally panned by critics but The Forest did manage to make 37 million worldwide on a 10 million budget. Sea of Trees, which costed 25 million to make, didn't even gross 1 million.
Marguerite (2016) Florence Foster Jenkins (2016) Two period dramas set for release in English-speaking countries in 2016, based on the history of terrible singer Florence Foster Jenkins. One is a French film loosely inspired by her story, while the other is a direct biopic from Britain starring Meryl Streep. Marguerite received very positive critical reception and nominated for a few awards (including the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival) and won 4 Caesar awards. Florence Foster Jenkins also had some generally positive reviews. Marguerite grossed 8.5 million worldwide while Jenkins gross about 44 million though Jenkins costed 29 million to make.
Southside With You (2016) Barry (2016) Indie biopics focusing on the early years of Barack Obama. Southside With You is a romance depicting Obama's first date with his future wife Michelle, Barry is a portrait of his time as a college student in New York City. Southside With You by a very narrow margin. Both films were critically acclaimed, but Southside With You earned slightly more positive reviews and award nominations than Barry, as well as a higher box office (Barry was released on Netflix, so it had no box office earnings compared to the $6.5 million Southside made).
Una (2016) Elle (2016) In 2016 woman tracks down the man who sexually assaulted her, twisting the usual dynamic of "innocent" victim and "evil" perpetrator (as per The Los Angeles Times, who noted the two films' similarities in an article about Una). Una is based on the play Blackbird. Has nothing to do with *Uma* and Elle.  
Loving (2016) A United Kingdom (2016) True stories of Maligned Mixed Marriages that altered the course of history. Loving is about a white man in love with a black woman in rural America who go to court to get their union legalized; United is about an African (future Botswanan to be precise) prince in love with a white British woman who go into exile. Commercially, Loving has not be able to make back its budget grossing only 7.9 million worldwide on a 9 million budget. The film has however received a lot of praise from critics and actress Ruth Negga has received several award nominations for her performance. A United Kingdom has also received mostly positive reviews but was also a commercial failure, making only 10.4 million worldwide on a 14 million budget.
Beautiful Boy (2018) Ben is Back (2018) Addiction dramas (both with alliterative "B" titles) about pretty boy drug addicts (Timothée Chalamet & Lucas Hedges) and their concerned parents (Steve Carell & Julia Roberts) who try to help their children rehabilitate. Released within months of each other in the same award season, both featuring all-star casts and co-leads who've all previously been nominated for (or won) Oscars. Depends. Beautiful Boy had a (slightly) bigger box office, but Boy Erased received better reviews overall. Both were snubbed by award season, however.
Boy Erased (2018) Ben is Back (2018) Dramatic vehicles for Lucas Hedges released in the same award season.   Boy Erased. While Hedges' role in the latter was beefier than the former, wherein critics seemed to agree he was overshadowed by the likes of Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe (who play his parents), the box office returns for Ben is Back were quite muted in comparison.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018) Boy Erased (2018) Gay conversion dramas both based on books and starring buzzy young actors (Chloë Grace Moretz & Lucas Hedges, respectively) in their title roles. Cameron Post is based on a fictional novel, while Boy Erased is based on a memoir. In terms of attention, Boy Erased received a wide release in time for award season and features an all-star cast, while Cameron Post mostly played in independent cinemas and isn't as chock full of stars as the former. Both films, however, were critically acclaimed.
A Star is Born (2018) Vox Lux (2018) Award-season musical dramas about troubled performers struggling to remain afloat in the music industry. Both films feature lead actresses Playing Against Type, and both are heavily influenced by Lady Gaga. Vox Lux is an original story starring Natalie Portman as a flamboyant pop diva based on Lady Gaga, while A Star is Born, the third remake of the 1937 film, stars Gaga herself as a more folksy pop singer. A Star is Born features songs composed and performed by the likes of stars Gaga and Bradley Cooper (among others), while the latter's soundtrack is entirely composed by Sia and performed by Portman. A Star is Born, which proved to be a crowd-pleasing blockbuster and immediate box-office hit, Oscar contender, and a Star-Making Role for Gaga as an actor, while the esoteric Vox Lux received mixed reviews and went completely snubbed by award season.
Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) Rocketman (2019) Biopics about two of the greatest (queer) British rock stars (Freddie Mercury & Elton John) portrayed by two rising young actors (Rami Malek & Taron Egerton). Bohemian Rhapsody is more of a by-the-book biopic, while Rocketman takes liberties with John's history and contains surrealist elements. Additionally, Malek lip-syncs the songs of Queen in the former, while Egerton is actually singing in the latter. They also share a director, Dexter Fletcher note  and a common character in John Reid, portrayed by Aidan Gillen & Richard Madden, respectively. Bohemian Rhapsody was the winner. Rhapsody received mixed-to-positive reviews but was a huge financial hit and won multiple Oscars. Rocketman received much more consistently positive reviews, but, while it was a solid hit, it didn't come close to Rhapsody's extraordinary box office numbers.
Widows (2018) The Kitchen (2019) Both are films about a group of women who take over for their criminal husbands in their absence. Widows is based on the 1983 ITV series, while The Kitchen is based on the Vertigo comic. Widows, with significantly better box-office and reviews, though neither were considered box office hits.
A Dog's Way Home (2019) A Dog's Journey (2019)

The Art of Racing in the Rain (2019)
Dog movies in which the animals cannot talk, but the audience is able to hear their thoughts. Way Home and Journey are based on books by the same writer, W. Bruce Cameron, each promoting their connection to the prior Cameron-based film A Dog's Purpose. Meanwhile, The Art of Racing in the Rain is based on a book by Garth Stein (which was actually written before A Dog's Purpose). Journey is a direct sequel to Dog's Purpose and, like that film, was co-produced and distributed by Universal and Amblin Entertainment. Dog's Way Home is based on a separate Cameron novel and was distributed by Sony. The Art of Racing in the Rain was produced by Fox and was released by Disney. Neither Way Home or Journey came close to the success of A Dog's Purpose. However, of the two, A Dog’s Way Home wound up winning, seemingly by virtue of opening first; while Journey beat Way Home overseas ($49 million vs. $34 million), Journey severely underperformed domestically, crawling to a mere $22 million, while Way Home earned a more respectable $43 million. With Way Home earning slightly more overall without the expectations of a sequel/franchise on its shoulders, it's the winner here. Reviews for both were rather mixed, but Way Home just barely scored a (not-Certified) Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes while Journey wound up Rotten.

Meanwhile, The Art of Racing in the Rain wound up being the biggest loser of the bunch. While it mildly outgrossed A Dog's Journey in North America ($25 million), it flatlined overseas, making less than $6 million. It also earned the lowest reviews of the group, though reception was still overall mixed. Ultimately, A Dog's Way Home is the winner, but the three-way duel may have put down this subgenre for now.
A Vigilante (2019) Promising Young Woman (2020) A woman takes it upon herself to punish abusers after suffering a traumatic abuse incident, ultimately leading to a confrontation with her original abuser. A Vigilante, starring Olivia Wilde, is centered on domestic violence, while Promising Young Woman, starring Carey Mulligan, is focused on rape and sexual assault. Both films premiered at festivals prior to their theatrical debuts (SXSW 2018 for Vigilante, Sundance 2020 for Woman). Promising Young Woman. Both films enjoyed excellent critical receptions (89% and 91% on Rotten Tomatoes as of January 2021), but while A Vigilante received mixed scores from audiences (5.7 and 48% on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes, Promising Young Woman has been much stronger (7.5 and 88%). No box office data is available for A Vigilante in the United States; Promising Young Woman had a low-stakes 2020 theatrical release amid the COVID-19 Pandemic before debuting digitally in January 2021, where it charted strongly and built awards buzz. The film was ultimately nominated received Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and won for Best Original Screenplay.
Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020) Unpregnant (2020)

Plan B (2021)
A teenager learns she's pregnant and unable to receive an abortion in her home state without parental permission, subsequently embarking on a trip out of state to get one, with a close friend at her side. Both films are directed by women and (co-)written by said directors. Plan B features a slightly different premise, in that the teens are refused emergency contraceptive drugs, rather than abortion, and forced to travel to a distant Planned Parenthood to obtain them. Never Rarely Sometimes Always, which is an original script, was a (brief) theatrical release from Focus Features, while Unpregnant, based on a novel (whose authors co-wrote the film's script), is a streaming original from HBO Max. Plan B is a Hulu original. While Never Rarely is a serious straight-laced drama, Unpregnant and Plan B are buddy road dramedies. In addition, while Unpregnant has a reasonably well-known cast, most of the Never Rarely cast are acting newcomers or unknowns. Plan B also has a relatively unknown cast. Though neither of the 2020 films were true successes, Never Rarely Sometimes Always has the edge. Both films were critically acclaimed, but Never Rarely (which premiered at Sundance and also won an award at the Berlin International Film Festival) has a 99% score on Rotten Tomatoes compared to 88% for Unpregnant (with vastly more reviews to boot) and has a higher audience score from IMDb (7.3 to 6.2). Never Rarely initially opened theatrically in limited release in March, but was pulled quickly due to the COVID-19 Pandemic closing theaters. It was transferred to digital release in early April, but it is unclear how successful it wasnote . Unpregnant, which launched on streaming in September, was briefly listed as a trending title on HBO Max, but the service's numbers at the time were generally considered very poor, and the film has only 1/3rd as many IMDb ratings as Never Rarely. As a result, Never Rarely's advantage in reviews gives it the win, give or take Plan B (releasing May 28, 2021; early reviews are very positive).
The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) Judas and the Black Messiah (2021) Young radical leftist activists (played by much older actors) in late 1960s Chicago are targeted by the U.S. government; Illinois Black Panther chairman Fred Hampton features as a supporting character, and his murder by police and the impact it has on other activists are important to the plot. Trial is a courtroom drama focused on (mainly white) protestors of the 1968 Democratic Convention; Black Panther Bobby Seale is also put on trial and has Fred Hampton as a counsel and supporter. Judas features an FBI informant infiltrating the Panthers and befriending and betraying Hampton. Hampton in Trial is a minor character whose death emphasizes the different stakes for Seale and the other activists; Hampton in Judas is arguably a co-lead and his murder the emotional climax of the film. Both films' releases were impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Trial was produced by Paramount but picked up by Netflix, while Judas had a limited theatrical run and distribution on HBO Max five months later. Both films' financial performances are hard to judge, as they were released while most theaters remained closed and were available soon or immediately after on streaming. Critics generally loved both films, which scored in the 90s on Rotten Tomatoes and secured multiple Oscar nominations apiece, including Best Picture.
The Prom (2020) Everybody's Talking About Jamie (2021) Two musical adaptations focusing on challenges with LGBTQ youth who are going to prom. The Prom is a Netflix original film (though it was released in some theaters), while Everybody’s Talking About Jamie will have a wide release in theaters. The Prom got mixed reviews from critics. Everybody’s Talking About Jamie TBA.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: