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"I'm still not sure what exactly the game plan with this week's outing was, beyond 'Hey, remember Aliens?'"

Sometimes rather than just a brief reference or homage to some other work of fiction, a work will actually be a full-blown recreation of something else's story. This is most commonly done in sitcoms, and is likely a spoof to at least some degree.

Expect it to reference/parody the original's Signature Scenes.

Contrast Homage Derailment where references to a plot or scene get subverted for shock and humor.

Tropes Are Tools — a story can serve as a reference or re-mixed version of another one without just ripping it off. Clever parodies put a lot of their own creative thought in while still referencing the original.

Trope relations:


Other See also Homage, Foreign Remake, Fountain of Expies, Characteristic Trope, Recycled with a Gimmick, and Transplanted Character Fic... sometimes with the Serial Numbers Filed Off.

Compare Parody Episode, Whole Costume Reference (the clothing version) and Recycled Script (internal recycling). May be a Twice-Told Tale. For when this is subverted, see Not His Sled. The opposite would be a Shallow Parody, which claims to be a parody but has almost no real references to either the plot or any other aspect of the target.

For a more fun take on this, see Recycled IN SPACE!

Example subpages:

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Astro Boy: The titular character's origin story bears more than a few parallels to Pinocchio. Knowing Osamu Tezuka, this was almost definitely intentional. He's remade stories from Faust to Crime and Punishment to The Bible.
  • Blame! draws very heavily on the Iain Banks novel Feersum Endjinn for many elements of the setting and story (the Net/Cryptsphere, its substrate in the megastructure, the system corruption, the governing authority's attempt to restore order, the reincarnating Chief Scientist plotting against her boss, the wanderer walking the Earth until he can incarnate the child that will fix the Sphere). If Feersum Endjinn hadn't wrapped up the story itself, Blame! could easily have been a sequel.
  • The Bount Filler Arc of Bleach is exactly the same as the Chapter Black arc of YuYu Hakusho up to the point that everyone enters Soul Society. What's especially noticeable is the beginning where Urahara's test to show Ichigo he relies too much on bankai is almost identical to Genkai's test to show Yusuke that he runs in without knowing enough about his enemies.
  • Cheat Slayer is Garth Ennis' The Boys with isekai protagonists instead of super heroes.
  • DARLING in the FRANXX:
    • Episode 10 shows that life in the Plantation inner city is basically Brave New World, and the kids are pretty much one of the lower classes used by the "adults" for their needs.
    • The plot of "The Beast and the Prince", the book that shows up in Episode 13, is strikingly similar to Hans Christian Andersen's version of The Little Mermaid.
  • Episode 15 of Digimon Adventure 02 is a reference to Kaiketsu Zubat, complete with Yolei and Hawkmon delivering a recreation of Zubat's Once an Episode declaration that he can prove he's better than the villain of the week at their signature skill.
  • Episode 18 of the Dirty Pair TV series is a straight-up remake of the Clint Eastwood movie The Gauntlet, with the girls filling in for Clint.
  • The entire Dragon Ball universe is an adaptation of the story of Son Goku, the Monkey King. One guess which character represents Son Goku.
  • The Tower of Heavens arc in Fairy Tail is one massive reference to the Etherion arc from Rave Master. The subtlety of the points where the older story is referenced varies. (Having the villains of each arc virtually identical was not that subtle, but some of the moments found are not ones you would notice if you didn't know to look.)
  • An episode of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig is a futuristic homage to Taxi Driver, and another is a homage to the sniper shootout at the end of Full Metal Jacket. Lampshaded by one of Section 9's junior members, who thinks that Saito is pulling one over on them: The story Saito tells over their poker game is entertaining, but there is "an old movie" with the same plot.
  • Hello Kitty once did "The Little Match Girl". Yes, with the original ending. There's an entire series of Hello Kitty and her friends performing fractured fairy tales called Hello Kitty's Furry Tale Theater.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War is basically a modern day retelling of The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, just with one of the five suitors taking the place of the emperor. Most of the major characters' names and personalities are derived from the story in one way or another.
  • Love Hina:
  • Lupin III: Part II spent an episode remaking Murder by Death (with a different set of No Celebrities Were Harmed detectives, and set on a zeppelin for some damn reason).
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury is essentially William Shakespeare's The Tempest IN SPACE!, with some Gender Flips to make it queer; A wizard (or witch in this case, Prospero/Elnora Samaya) is wronged and exiled alogside their daughter (Miranda/Ericht) at the hands of a powerful and influential figure (Antonio the Duke of Milan/Delling Rembran). The exile ends up in a distant, desolate place (the island/Mercury) and become that place's leader. Years later, they hatch a plot to get revenge by having their daughter marry the son (or in this case daughter) of the man who wronged them (Ferdinand/Miorine), using an entity named Ariel/Aerial. Elnora even changes her name to Prospera to avoid being recognized.
  • Monster broadly mimics the story of the Beast from Revelation 13, but there are many subplots which mirror many popular fairy tales, including Beauty and the Beast, Hansel and Gretel, and The Pied Piper of Hamelin. There is also an in-universe example, in that the characters unwittingly enact the plots of Bonaparta's fairy tales and his son's puppet show.
  • The episode "The Lilliputian Hitcher" of Neon Genesis Evangelion is a not-quite-completely-following-the-original-plot homage to the film version of Michael Crichton's The Andromeda Strain.
  • Oddman 11 is Scott Pilgrim as a raunchy Yuri harem comedy with Cute Monster Girls. The inspiration for the plot is even referenced in the very first chapter.
  • One Piece Film: Gold: A film featuring an All-Star Cast, setting in a Casino City as background, involving a convoluted heist against a powerful evil casino owner in order to rescue a crew mate, only to find out this convoluted plan is the cover to another plan in order to trick the casino owner. Are we talking about this film or Ocean's Eleven?
  • Ouran High School Host Club has a manga chapter based on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and a considerably looser adaptation in one episode of the anime.
  • Patlabor:
  • Pokémon: The Original Series: "Battle Aboard the St. Anne", and "Pokémon Shipwreck", two episodes of a three-part arc, are directly inspired by The Poseidon Adventure.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
  • Prétear is Snow White made into a Magical Girl series.
  • The Queen's Blade animated adaptation has three of them per season:
  • Urusei Yatsura episode 75 is based on Agatha Christie's novel And Then There Were None — the episode's title actually means "and then there were none", and it uses a different nursery rhyme ("Who Killed Cock Robin") in the same manner that the novel uses the nursery rhyme "Ten Little Indians".
  • The Space☆Dandy episode "There's Music in the Darkness, Baby" (Episode 15) borrows heavily from the narrative style and visual design of Courage the Cowardly Dog. Ukuleleman would not look, sound, or act out of place if he were suddenly transplanted to Courage and made the focus of an episode.
  • The entire run of SSSS.GRIDMAN is unusual in that it's a reference to a plot that doesn't actually exist, as many of its plot points are homages to the unused preproduction material from the original Denkō Chōjin Gridman. SSSS.DYNɅZENON follows suit by pulling nearly all of its major plot elements from one particular episode of the original show.
  • In an episode of Strawberry Marshmallow, Miu tells the story of Cinderella, with Matsuri as Cinderella, Chika and Ana as her stepsisters, Nobue as the prince, and herself as the Fairy Godmother. Miu being Miu, however, it's riddled with all sorts of weird additions and changes, and ends up with the Fairy Godmother marrying the prince as compensation for her falling down the stairs twice. She figured the original had a messed-up moral, which, if it's true, means she wants a thousand yen for the beauty salon.
  • The Tailor of Enbizaka, aside from building off of the song it's named after, features large elements from the Japanese folktale of Momotaro, with the primary character being born from a tree, meeting 3 friends who symbolize the animals Momotaro befriends, and going to a place called Onigashima and dealing with a demon there.
  • Episode 40b of Tamagotchi is about the Tama-Friends acting in a TAMAX-TV television show. The show mimics the plot of The Little Mermaid, with Lovelitchi as the mermaid who becomes lovesick after seeing Mametchi the pirate and resorts to some kind of magic to travel onto the land and find him.
  • One chapter of Yandere Kanojo retells "Cinderella".
  • In YuYu Hakusho, the gang fights a team of baddies who are perversions of the main characters from various Japanese myths.

    Asian Animation 
  • The Simple Samosa episode "Aampur Ke Choley" copies the plot of the Bollywood film Sholay, with Jalebi cast as the dacoit (bandit) leader and Samosa and Dhokla taking on the roles of the film's two protagonists.

    Audio Plays 

    Comic Books 
  • The European western graphic novel series McCoy once did a remake of the movie Comanche Station called Mescalero Station. Everything in the movie was in the graphic novel, including the twist ending.
  • In Aquaman (1986), Nuada and Bres's storyline is taken from Celtic mythology's tale of Nuada Silverhand and Eochaid Bres, with the main difference being a Gender Flip.
  • Batman: Son of the Demon takes the plot of On Her Majesty's Secret Service practically whole cloth and applies it to Batman. A hero allies with the head of a known criminal organization to stop a mutual enemy. The hero marries his criminal ally’s beautiful daughter as part of their pact (but also because he kind of wants to). Due to the machinations of the villain, the marriage quickly ends in tragedy.
  • "Leavetaking", a story in the Batman: Black and White anthology series, reprises the parable of the Good Samaritan, with Batman in the role of the gravely injured man whom nobody will stop to help. In this updated version, the passersby include an African American teenager, an alcoholic, and a policeman who refuses to help because he doesn't want to deal with the paperwork he'd have to do. In the end, this being Gotham, there is no good samaritan, and Batman has to summon up his heroic willpower and drag himself to an emergency room.
  • A Stranger in Town is based on Django. In both stories, the protagonist arrives in an isolated settlement with a large and mysterious box that turns out to contain a BFG, and then uses that weapon against an army of invaders.
  • The Major Grom story St. Patrick's Day is a retelling of the Taken film series, with St. Petersburg investigator Igor Grom taking the place of American government agent Bryan Mills, his girlfriend Yulia taking the Kim Mills role, and a Dublin wing of the IRA subbing for the films' Albanian terrorist cell. It's especially obvious with the stories' respective villains: compare Taken's Albanian terrorist Patrice Saint-Clair to Murdock Macalister, the head of the Saint Patrick's Children.
  • Marvel Fairy Tales: X-Men Fairy Tales is a series of these, casting the X-Men in the role of characters from various fables. Followed up by Spider-Man Fairy Tales and Avengers Fairy Tales.
  • Sometimes in The Spirit Will Eisner would create new versions of fairy tales, set in the 1940s.
  • Górsky & Butch do a brief Matrix parody in their first book. In the third one, they do a more extended parody: Butch makes a Face–Heel Turn, joining the agents of Comix, in hope of achieving his goals and finally ending the senseless plot so he can star in a 'real comic'. In the meantime Gorsky leads the resistance under the guise of Morfinius, attempting to destroy the Comix by making Jerry (the heroes Butt-Monkey sidekick) the main character. They also do Aliens at one point: the whole section of the comic is the movie but it turns out to be an illegal copy with borked subtitles: all sorts of whacky hijinks result from it, most importantly the aliens getting replaced with sheep because their name have been misspelled (makes sense in Polish) - the marines discover a nest with missing colonists hanging on the walls in oversized wool sweaters.
  • The comic book version of PvP did a homage/parody of The Matrix called "The Comix".
  • There's a Star Wars Expanded Universe comic featuring Luke's childhood friend Janek "Tank" Sunber, who'd joined the Empire, become a lieutenant, and ended up stationed on a planet of tribal aliens. The plot of that handful of comics is essentially Zulu, with Imperials desperately fighting wave after wave of aliens and being worn down.
  • Judge Dredd did this quite a bit in the late 80s and 90s, with parodies of such things as The Wizard of Oz, Twin Peaks, Edward Scissorhands, and many more.
  • The whole Hellfire Club section of the X-Men's The Dark Phoenix Saga is basically Chris Claremont's riff on The Avengers (1960s) episode "A Touch of Brimstone", in which Mrs. Peel becomes the Hellfire Club's Queen of Sin under the "authority" of John Cleverly Cartney.note  Claremont even gives Mastermind the real name Jason Wyngarde, after Peter Wyngarde, who played Cartney, and Jason King, Wyngarde's most famous role.
    • Similarly, the famous Claremont & Byrne issue where Kitty Pryde has to survive against a demon for a night is self-consciously, deliberately just the two creators riffing off "the last fifteen minutes of Alien."
  • The story of Steve Rogers' return to the land of the living, Captain America: Reborn, is an extended reference to Slaughterhouse-Five.
  • The plot of the Marvel Comics villain miniseries Identity Disc is taken directly from The Usual Suspects.
  • The plot of Avengers Arena bears more than a passing resemblance to works like Battle Royale, The Hunger Games, and Lord of the Flies, which the writer gleefully owns up to in the first issue. Additionally, the covers of the first few issues are all homages to the movie posters and book covers of the above-mentioned stories.
  • Several DC Comics Elseworlds do this. Most of them are very obvious about it (JLA: Island of Dr Moreau is based on, well...), but one that plays it a bit more subtly is the Legion of Super-Heroes Elseworld Castles in the Sky, which is a 30th century riff on Arthurian Legend, with Cosmic Boy as King Arthur, Saturn Girl as Guenevere, Lightning Lad as Lancelot, R. J. Brande as Merlin, Lightning Lord as Mordred, Mordru as the Fisher King, the flight rings as Excalibur (only Rokk can pull the Nth metal from the ruins of Thanagar), and the Miracle Machine as the Holy Grail.
  • The first four issues of Adventure Time: Banana Guard Academy are a specific parody of the original Police Academy.
  • Many reviewers have noted a similarity between the first couple issues of All-New Wolverine to Orphan Black, to mixed reception. Though to be fair, Laura herself being cloned has been a plot thread almost as long as she's been in the books, and it's a major reason why the Facility has spent the better part of a decade (both real-life and in-universe) trying to get her back.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe: Some select stories homage other works in their entirety. For instance, one Italian one was based on Fahrenheit 451, just with the Ducks living in a dystopia where all music is forbidden. There's also a Danish one based on The Shining, though obviously with less ax-murder.
  • Camp Lazlo: A story features a lake monster and Lazlo treats the case like a Scooby Doo mystery. There's a "Mystery Latrine" with a sign painted the same style as the Mystery Machine, Lazlo and his friends split up ("Tradition dictates that we all split up and explore!", Lazlo says), someone theorizes the "monster" is some Corrupt Corporate Executive wanting the land for mining rights and, when the monster is revealed to be the squirrel scouts just out for a midnight boat ride, Lazlo remains convinced that Patsy is someone wearing a mask.
  • Clone Wars Adventures: A Stranger in Town is based on Django. In both stories, the protagonist arrives in an isolated settlement with a large and mysterious box that turns out to contain a BFG, and then uses that weapon against an army of invaders.
  • Marvel's original Conan the Barbarian run adapted one of his creator's short-stories The Shadow of the Vulture, which was based on historical events rather than taking place in Hyboria, set during the Great Turkish War where the Ottoman sultan Suleyman the Magnificent sets one of his best hunters to kill a knight for offending him and he teams up with a red-haired swashbuckler known as Red Sonya to survive. Conan replaces the knight, Suleyman is replaced by an Turanian warlord and Red Sonya is transformed into Red Sonja, who actually debuted in this story.
  • The final battle of Miracleman is basically a Played for Drama riff on the classic MAD story Superduperman. A Superman Substitute with a loser alter-ego and heavy Unscrupulous Hero tendencies faces off against an Expy of Captain Marvel, who has turned evil for the sake of using his powers for his own gain. The hero fails to damage the villain due to them being equally invulnerable, and the battle wrecks most of the city. Eventually, the hero manages to circumvent the villain's invulnerability by exploiting his powers, but in the aftermath, he ends up alienating his Love Interest.
  • Spider-Man:
  • Batman and the setting of Gotham wears its Zorro influence on its sleeve, to the point that the movie that the Waynes had gone to see the night of Thomas and Martha's murder is typically The Mark of Zorro.
  • No One Left To Fight is essentially Dragon Ball if Goku never got married and enemies stopped appearing after the Buu saga; the authors specifically said that part of the intent was to play around with the stories of Goku and Vegeta and present their own take on it.
  • Watchmen is this to Percy Bysshe Shelley's Ozymandias, though this may not entirely be too apparent on an initial reading (which speaks volumes of Moore's writing skill). In the end, the results of the Fallen Hero Ozymandias' schemes have pretty much gone the way he'd planned them to go. Earth's leaders are now collaborating to better keep the world safe from the threat of war. But in the end, this peace is on a very shaky foundation that can easily be shattered by the notes written in Rorschach's journal — the "stronger loving world" that Adrian has created is still standing on the precipice of the apocalypse. In short, his efforts may very well be rendered meaningless due to forces outside his control. This parallels the ultimate fragility of the original Ozymandias's great achievements, which he believed would be memorialized eternally, only to instead be buried under the desert dunes and forgotten by the passage of time.
  • The Paperinik New Adventures story "Timewreck" heavily references the Disney Ducks Comic Universe story where Donald first met the Time Police, the biggest difference being that in PKNA the Time Police' ability to track a stranded time traveler is very approximate in both timespan and location due Paperinik having changed the timeline (it's stated it would be otherwise just as good and they'd have been able to show up at his exact location right after he got stranded).

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Gristle and Bridget's storyline from Trolls is one for Cinderella, complete with Bridget losing a rollerskate at the pizzeria's steps and Gristle picking it.
  • The Incredibles is essentially an adaptation of Watchmen. In a world where most superheroes have died or gone into retirement and/or hiding, a villain (a tech magnate who wanted to be a hero earlier but was rejected) has a plan to stage a crisis by unleashing a tentacled horror on a major city, with many further parallels. Both even include a reference to a hero dying because their cape got snagged on something.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Forbidden Kingdom is either a remake of the tale of Son Goku, or its "prequel".
  • Mandalay: To Rudyard Kipling's eponymous poem. The poem is about a working-class, British soldier whose boring life in London pales in comparison with the time he spent in the city of Mandalay (part of British India). In the film Mandalay, the protagonist goes from a miserable life in Rangoon (also part of British India) to Mandalay; therefore, her route is not quite equal to that of the soldier. Tanya does, however, arrive there in a ferry boat — the soldier goes back to London in a paddle steamer, so both of them travel by water. The city of Mandalay, nonetheless, holds the same connotations of freedom (and getting a romantic partner there) as the poem. Unfortunately, there's a tweak — the city is currently ravaged by the Black Fever, so she's kind of doomed anyway.
  • My Own Private Idaho keeps dropping in and out of the plot of Shakespeare's Henry IV.
  • Epic Movie was essentially the storyline of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe with a Shallow Parody of everything else they could think of bolted onto it. Likewise, Meet the Spartans did the same for 300, as did Disaster Movie for Cloverfield and Vampires Suck for both Twilight and New Moon.
  • Similarly, most of the first Scary Movie follows closely the plot of Scream (1996) (with some scenes from the second and a slew of late '90s horror in-between), and the second is mostly based on The Haunting (1999). (The others have the main plot being an amalgam instead, with the third being a mix of The Ring and Signs, and the fourth mixes War of the Worlds (2005), The Village (2004), The Grudge and Saw.)
  • O Brother, Where Art Thou? is based off of Homer's The Odyssey. Although the entire plot is only loosely similar, there are certain parts that mirror the source material quite closely, such as the cyclops and the sirens.
  • Barb Wire is basically Casablanca with more boobage.
  • The Confirmation: To The Bicycle Thief, another film about an impoverished father trying to recover stolen property that he needs for his new job, while being accompanied by his young son.
  • Strange Brew puts the MacKenzie brothers in the role (sort of) of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in a loose adaptation of Hamlet. The brewery is called Elsinore.
  • The Cheap Detective combines the plots of The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, and Casablanca.
  • Now, rip-offs of Alien or Aliens are legion, but the movie Carnosaur 2 repeats the whole plot of Aliens almost scene by scene, with Distaff Counterparts of Ripley and Newt, and dinosaurs instead of the Xenomorphs (with a Tyrannosaurus rex stand-in for the Alien Queen).
  • Spiders replaces the Xenomorphs of Alien with giant spiders, and eventually sets them loose in a city, allowing for giant monster sequences.
  • While Mel Brooks is fond of referencing/parodying films, classic and contemporary, in his works, Spaceballs is essentially a cross between Star Wars and It Happened One Night.
  • Akira Kurosawa's done a couple of these.
  • A Thousand Acres is King Lear on an American farm.
  • With the success of Clueless - a retelling of Jane Austen's Emma set in a modern high school - a wave of similar teen comedy versions of classic fiction appeared on the market:
  • Although it isn't apparent at first, Transformers: Dark of the Moon is a combination of two G1 cartoon episode plots: the three-part episode "The Ultimate Doom", with the Decepticons attempting to transport Cybertron to Earth via space bridge and then enslave humans to restore it to its former glory; and the two-part episode "Megatron's Master Plan", where the Decepticons receive the help of several treacherous, sycophantic humans, also resulting at one point in the Autobots being exiled from Earth, and their chosen means of escape destroyed in transit by the machinations of the Decepticons, though the Autobots survive in both cases. It also copies a lot from the Doctor Who episode "The End of Time".
  • The plot of Ip Man 2 heavily borrowed from that of Rocky IV. This includes: a rival-turned-friend killed in a fight against a foreign fighter, the main character training to avenge his death, and the fact that the fighter in question was supposed to be an unbeatable juggernaut. Ip Man himself went as far as giving a speech promoting tolerance like Rocky did after he won the match.
  • Outland is High Noon on a space station.
  • Assault on Precinct 13 is Rio Bravo in 1970s Los Angeles.
  • One of the Bring It On sequels, In It to Win It, is West Side Story with cheerleaders instead of gangs. The two squads are even called the Sharks and the Jets.
  • Teaching Mrs. Tingle is essentially a (semi)serious/teen thriller rehash of 9 to 5 without the awesome cast (except Dame Helen Mirren of course)
  • Airheads borrows numerous plot points from Dog Day Afternoon. This becomes especially apparent in the second half of the film, where the crowd outside comes to side with the hostage-taking lead characters, just like in the original film.
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service being a riff on Roger Moore era James Bond, Valentine's plan is quite similar those from The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker: He intends to trigger a massive depopulation of humanity while he and a number of individuals deemed worthy hide out in a secure location.
  • Juan in a Million: To The Quiet Earth. Man wakes up finding the world empty of people. Man searches fruitlessly. Man goes crazy from the isolation. Man finally finds another person. Man finally takes matters into his own hands and ends up in an ending that doesn't make much sense.
  • Do You Believe?: To Crash. Both are hyperlink stories featuring a large number of central characters with their own storylines that eventually converge in a car crash, though Crash deals with race and Do You Believe? deals with faith.
  • The Kevin Sorbo film What If?, in which he plays a wealthy, atheist businessman and is taken by an angel to an alternate universe where he is a happily married preacher with children because he chose to stay with his girlfriend rather than leave her, has many similarities to the Nicolas Cage film The Family Man, where Cage plays an unmarried wealthy businessman who is taken by an angel to an alternate universe where he is a humble, happily married family man for the same reason.
  • The Faculty for Invasion of the Body Snatchers. One Genre Savvy character also points out that Invasion took a lot from a book called The Puppetmaster.
  • Struck by Lighting for Classical Mythology, the story of Icarus. Although this time not Apollo but Zeus kills the protagonist instead.
  • Cloud Atlas: The entire structure of the story bears a very strong similarity to Osamu Tezuka's manga Phoenix, including the time jumps, the themes of resurrection and of intertwined fates, the denouement set After the End and much more. The individual stories also qualify:
    • "An Orison of Sonmi~451" has several key similarities to Brave New World, such as the foundation of a dystopia following a Great Offscreen War, mandatory consumer quotas, tailor-made clones, a populace kept happy with psychoactive drugs, and a rebellion informed by modern literature. Sonmi actually reads Brave New World halfway through her story.
    • Adam Ewing's plot to Moby-Dick (with Melville and whales being mentioned frequently), and Cavendish's story to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (he saw the film once).
  • Italiano Medio starts as a Limitless parody, but it actually follows closely Fight Club if one thinks about it: dissatisfied man has a wild, outgoing alter ego who makes his most secret fantasies become true, becomes part of a group of eco-terrorists, and when their plot is set in motion he no longer wants to be part of it.
  • Gleahan and the Knaves of Industry has been described as "Don Quixote for the modern age," but they only share the same initial premise. The actual plot varies wildly from the classic Spanish novel.
  • The Rapture: Sharon is basically Job questioning God at the end. Unlike him though, she doesn't reconcile with God.
  • Fulltime Killer is a riff on Assassins, with the top assassin in the world being targeted by a Young Gun rival, and a girl in the mix. The Genre Savvy young gun specifically states that he's modeling their rivalry after the film.
  • In Machete Kills, the Big Bad's evil plot is a hybrid of those of two James Bond movie villains, Carl Stromberg in The Spy Who Loved Me, and Hugo Drax in Moonraker.
  • Prometheus is essentially a retelling of H. P. Lovecraft's classic story At the Mountains of Madness but set in the Alien universe: A science expedition travels to an isolated place and uncovers the ruins of a lost civilisation, and also uncovers the Awful Truth that humanity is nothing more than a failed genetic experiment, and our alien creators would much prefer to be rid of us.
  • Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? is one to "Hansel and Gretel." Christopher notices the similarities, which causes him to incorrectly assume Aunt Roo is a cannibal.
  • Airplane! is nearly a shot-for-shot remake of the 1957 film Zero Hour! (1957) (but with about a million times more jokes).
  • Blame (2017): The plot builds increasingly to a parallel with The Crucible (its start at least), with the play being put on in the story as well.
  • The Vindicator is a modern-day take on Frankenstein, with the good doctor's creation now being a cyborg. This is reflected in its alternate title, Frankenstein '88
  • Godzilla (2014): Much of the film's plot bears close resemblance to Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book story, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, with Godzilla taking the role of Rikki and the two MUTO as the cobras:
    • The MUTO are a mated pair, in which the femals is bigger and more dangerous
    • Godzilla is their natural enemy, who indirectly benefits the humans by hunting them
    • Godzilla fights and kills the male MUTO first, while the nest of eggs is destroyed, enraging the female
    • The female directly threatens a primary human character in retaliation, but is saved by Godzilla who arrives in time to kill her
    • Godzilla becomes viewed as a 'protector' of sorts by the humans

  • A Court of Thorns and Roses:
    • A Court of Thorns and Roses is inspired by Beauty and the Beast (Feyre is an impoverished merchant's daughter with two sisters, who has to make a deal to live with a mysterious beast. The mysterious beast turns out to be a handsome royal under a curse, and it is her love that will break the spell) and later the myth of Cupid And Psyche (Feyre is set three difficult tasks by a cruel and envious queen in order to be reunited with her love interest; after completing them she is magically turned into an immortal being). It's also inspired by the Scottish ballad of "Tam Lin"; besides this being where Tamlin gets his name from, the plot concerns a young human woman who must rescue her lover from the Queen of the Fairies.
    • A Court of Mist and Fury is inspired by the myth of Hades and Persephone (Feyre, a lady of the Spring Court, is whisked away by the sinister ruler of a land with a dark reputation, and must remain there for a set amount of time. Said ruler is revealed to be Not Evil, Just Misunderstood, has fallen in love with her and makes her his queen. It also turns out the land has some unexpectedly beautiful and benevolent parts, where Feyre resides. Oh and the loved one she left behind in the Spring Court pitches an almighty fit when she disappears).
    • A Court of Wings and Ruin is loosely inspired by Snow White; Feyre eats an apple containing faebane that temporarily causes her to lose her power, the villain is an evil monarch with magical powers (albeit a king rather than a queen), the villain is betrayed by a subordinate who helps the protagonists, there's a subplot involving a magic mirror that shows your true self, and the scene in which Rhysand dies and Feyre begs the High Lords - of which there are seven including her - to save him out of love loosely resembles the seven dwarfs watching over Snow White until she's brought back to life by the prince.
  • Several Discworld novels are referential parodies of famous works. For instance, Wyrd Sisters spoofs Macbeth, Lords and Ladies parodies A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Maskerade parodies The Phantom of the Opera. Night Watch Discworld is Les Misérables with time-travel thrown in, and The Truth parodies All the President's Men. However, most of these examples throw in a significant twist: Wyrd Sisters elevates the Witches Three to protagonist status and sets them against the counterparts to Macbeth and his wife, Night Watch replaces the original Inspector Javert with Sam Vimes and Valjean with a genuinely dangerous criminal, and The Truth has a shadowy conspiracy trying to depose a mostly benevolent (if pragmatic to the point of ruthless) ruler instead of keep a corrupt President in office.
    • An honourable mention goes to Hogfather, which takes time out of its "The Grim Reaper is Subbing for Santa" plot thread to reference The Little Match Girl... and have Death himself decide that this is just too bloody depressing to stand for and Rules Lawyer his way to saving her.

  • A Dowry of Blood: While the book is meant as an origin story of the brides of Dracula it also takes a lot from the story of Bluebeard with a naive wife whose murderous husband demands she not see his things in his special room, only for her to discover that he murdered his previous spouses.
  • Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes story "A Scandal in Bohemia" can be read as a remake of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Purloined Letter".
  • The Star Wars: Medstar Duology is heavily referentially to the show M*A*S*H, including the setting (a backwater jungle), the fact that one character can hear the medical transports before they come in, and even direct Cold War ideological debates.
  • The second book in the "Tennis Shoes" series of Mormon fiction is called Gadiantons and the Silver Sword. The heroes must take the titular sword to a land far to the southeast and cast it into a box in a mountain where it was forged, while being pursued by servants of Satan who want to recover it. The similarities with The Lord of the Rings could fill its own page on this wiki, starting with the main character's sister remarking on the similarity of their situation.
  • This has been done a number of times with the classic novel The Count of Monte Cristo, resulting in the novel Revenge note  by Stephen Fry, SF classic The Stars My Destination, and the Filipino classic El Filibusterismo, right down to the main character's arc.
  • The Laundry Files is full of Shout Outs, but the plot of The Jennifer Morgue is a whole plot reference to James Bond. An in-universe whole plot reference: the bad guy uses Post-Modern Magik to make himself untouchable by anyone but a person who resembles James Bond, and as a side effect develops a tendency to monologue.
  • The plot of the first Rivers of London book is a whole plot reference of Punch and Judy of all things.
  • Man-Kzin Wars: The Children's Hour by Jerry Pournelle and S. M. Stirling does a whole-plot lift of the movie Casablanca, except at the end when "Ilsa" dumps "Lazlo" and runs off with "Rick".
  • The story "Honor in the Night" from the third Star Trek: Myriad Universes book applies the series' Alternate Universe premise to the Original Series episode "The Trouble with Tribbles". The end result can be summed up as "Citizen Kane in the Star Trek universe".
  • Hyperion (the first novel of the Hyperion Cantos) is mostly a recreation of The Canterbury Tales... IN SPACE! Specifically, the device of having pilgrims tell each other stories en route to the site of pilgrimage to keep each other entertained. It also emulates Chaucer in having each tale copy a different style of story that was popular in the writer's time (making Hyperion a series of classic Science Fiction homages wrapped inside of a Chaucer homage). However, unlike Chaucer, Simmons finished Hyperion, and wove it into a four-book saga.
  • A Necklace of Fallen Stars: Kaela purposefully recites to Kippen a slimmed down version of her own story about a headstrong woman who rejects an arranged marriage and ends up falling in love with a traveling musician. "A Necklace of Fallen Stars" is Kaela's roundabout way of confessing to Kippen that she loves him and wants to stay by his side.
  • Trapped on Draconica: The "Eastern Alliance" arc bears a stunning likeness to 300 though the author throws in a number of twists and other elements. Notably: the line about The Emperor fighting "free men"; Gothon's offer to Kazem is similar in theme and purpose as Xerxes; 300 Proud Warrior Race Guys guarding a narrow pass; and a Last Stand.
  • Lowlands Of Scotland is a four book series by Liz Curtis Higgs, fairly faithfully retelling the biblical story of Jacob, Leah, Rachel, and Dinah, set in the late-1700s (and early-1800s, post timeskip) Scottish lowlands. It works amazingly well considering the disparity between biblical culture and eighteenth century Scottish lowland culture.
  • There and Back Again by Max Merriwell is The Hobbit IN SPACE.
  • A Whole Subplot Reference occurs in David Weber's Safehold novels. The on-screen confrontation between Gray Harbor and Duke Tirian in Off Armageddon Reef plays out almost exactly like the off-screen one that occurred in Honor of the Queen (also by Weber) between Howard Clinkscales and Jared Mayhew.
  • The Phoenix Guards is described by author Steven Brust as a blatant rip-off of The Three Musketeers. Its sequels follow the sequels to The Three Musketeers more loosely.
  • Streams of Silver by R.A. Salvatore, while not parodic and while having some entirely different elements, takes its basic idea from The Hobbit: An exiled heir to a dwarven mountain kingdom travels and adventures with a group of companions to retake the kingdom from a dragon. It also mixes in elements from the mines of Moria in The Lord of the Rings: the monster that has taken over the dwarven halls is a creature of shadow that attacked the dwarves when they Dug Too Deep, and one of the heroes plunges into the depths with it after a climactic showdown at a bridge.
  • The Sundering is modeled very closely on The Lord of the Rings, except told from the villains' point of view.
  • Sweet Valley High: When Jessica lands the lead in the school play, her understudy constantly fawns and gushes over her, etc. Jessica is Genre Savvy enough to be suspicious. Sure enough, the girl is trying to undermine her in order to get the part for herself—All About Eve in high school.
  • Subverted in Ethan Banning novel Undertow, which, at first, appears to be a recreation of H.P. Lovecraft's A Shadow over Innsmouth. It then goes in its own direction.
  • Conan the Barbarian pastiche Conan and the Treasure of Python by John Maddox Roberts is a complete rip-off of King Solomon's Mines.
  • The Four Horsemen Universe: The Short Story "Unto the Last—Stand Fast" is a Fantasy Conflict Counterpart of the Stand of the Swiss Guard by way of Sabaton's song about the battle, "The Last Stand", even using lyrics from the chorus as a Trust Password.
  • "Sorcerer Conjurer Wizard Witch" is Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy with magic, action sequences involving Murderous Mannequins, and a twist ending that isn't in the original.
  • Victor Norwood's novel Night of the Black Horror is basically an uncredited expansion of Joseph Payne Brennan's popular Blob Monster short story "Slime". Norwood essentially takes the entire short story and uses it as the first few chapters of his book, just changing the characters' names. Once he runs out of material to rip off — we mean, copy from Brennan (that is, once he reaches the ending of "Slime" where the Army kills the thing with a flamethrower), a fairly generic "Army vs. the monster" plot takes over.
  • Vox Day's fantasy series The Arts of Dark and Light does this with George R. R. Martin. While the details of the stories are quite different, the general theme of A Throne of Bones (the first book in TAODAL) can be read as "What would A Game of Thrones have been like if Eddard Stark had had Cersei executed and taken over the kingdom, instead of sparing her and thus getting killed himself?" (In the equivalent situation, things don't seem to turn out much better for the good guys when they try to be ruthless.)
  • The System Divine trilogy by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell consisting of “Sky Without Stars”,”Between Burning Worlds” and “Suns Will Rise” is Les Misérables in space.
  • Sam the Cat: Detective: The Maltese Kitten to The Maltese Falcon, complete with the seemingly valuable kitten being replaced with a fake, although the Brigid and Cairo Expys aren't villains.
  • The premise of Forty Millenniums Of Cultivation is basically "what if Warhammer 40,000 was in the Spirit Cultivation Genre?"
  • The Great Zoo of China: While it incorporates plenty of Matthew Reilly's signature fast-paced action, in addition to having some very critical commentary on the Chinese Communist Party, The Great Zoo of China is essentially Jurassic Park at its core—not helped by being released just as the hype train for Jurassic World was getting into full swing.
  • Mr. Majeika: To Gulliver's Travels as Mr. Majeika on the Internet includes modernized parallels to the lands of the Lilliputians, Brobdingnagians, Laputans, and Houyhnhnms, as well as a mouse named Gulliver.
  • Villager A Wants to Save the Villainess No Matter What! has a plot structure that's a full recreation of the first volume of Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs. In some regards it could be seen as a Fix Fic, as it takes out controversial elements like replacing its Jerkass protagonist with someone much more relateable, and removing the Lady Land aspect. Specific scenes recreated include the protagonist being hired to guide idiot princes through a dungeon, and the Villainess condemnation/Throwing Down the Gauntlet event.

  • Puppet: The plot of the story is heavily inspired on The Adventures of Pinocchio, with the added twist of the character taking the role of Geppetto brings his puppet to life not with the aid of a fairy, but rather with dark magic that requires human blood to bring Leaves to life.


    Music Videos 
  • The video for the Anthrax song Inside Out plays out like the plot of The Twilight Zone episode "Nightmare At 20,000 Feet".
  • Wonderwall's "Song For You" video is a reenactment of "Overload" by the Sugababes. The songs themselves are distinct.
  • Fall Out Boy's video for the version of "Irresistible" with Demi Lovato serves as a Whole Plot Reference and a pseudo-sequel to *NSYNC's video for "It's Gonna Be Me". The concept of the video not only allowed them to commentate on their status as "accepted underdogs" in the mid-2010s pop scene and give a respectful shoutout to one of the biggest boy bands ever, but also let them goof off with long time friend Demi Lovato and two-fifths of N*SYNC.
  • Cat Hairballs by Ren & Stimpy more or less recreates the plot of the episode The Cat That Laid The Golden Hairball, with Stimpy being made to "hwarf" up hairballs onto a conveyor belt for Ren, only to be worked to the point of torture and by the end experience a Heroic RRoD. The video even climaxes with the episode's iconic moment where a completely used-up Stimpy falls onto the conveyor belt and gets brutally stamped across the ass. Since it's referencing its own series, it also counts as an Internal Homage.
  • Nanowar of Steel: The basic plot of the animated lyrics video for "Sober" is a straightforward parodic adaptation of that of Pirates of the Caribbean — the first movie with a bit of mixing of elements from the second. A crew of health-conscious pirates have somehow been cursed to look like anthropomorphic animals, and their captain a skeleton, and they search for the holy protein shake to restore them back to normal.

  • The Cool Kids Table game All I Want for Christmas is a riff on the plot of Jingle All the Way. Jake claims that the two stories actually take place at the same time, just in different cities.
  • On Chapo Trap House, the tabletop roleplaying storylines are retreads of funny political scandals In the Style of H. P. Lovecraft. The first campaign is the (Republican) Pizzagate conspiracy theory; the second is based on Eric Garland's (Democrat) "game theory" conspiracy theory.


    Tabletop Games 
  • The d20 Modern adventure A Funny Thing Happened At Carousel #5 is pretty much a Choose Your Own Adventure version of What's Up, Doc?, even having Expies of most of the cast as Non-Player Characters (and one of them even being named after director Peter Bogdanovich!)
  • Fate of Cthulhu, with its plot about heroes with knowledge from a Bad Future out to change history and stop the rise of an Eldritch Abomination, isn't subtle about its influence from The Terminator. The only thing stopping it from entirely embodying a Terminator Twosome is that having a second time traveller out to stop the players isn't necessarily the rule, though one of the adventure seeds does have them run into their Evil Twins.
  • One of the adventure paths of Pathfinder had the Player Characters going to a middle-of-nowhere town to retrieve a MacGuffin and pretty much riding into the Seven Samurai.
    • Another Pathfinder example is unusual in being a Whole Plot Reference to a non-fiction book— the first volume in the Agents of Edgewatch adventure path is clearly inspired by Erik Larson's The Devil In the White City. It takes place during an exposition very similar to the World's Fair, and features a serial killer who has turned the hotel he runs into a deathtrap for his unsuspecting guests. The fact that the adventure in question is called The Devil At the Dreaming Palace confirms that the similarities are entirely intentional.
  • GURPS:


    Web Animation 
  • The first season of Nomad of Nowhere is a western/fantasy/anime mashup that follows two women, the tough-as-nails Captain Toth and her cute-as-a-button companion Skout, hot on the heels of the Nomad, an enigmatic individual with mysterious powers, the largest bounty in the world on his head and a surprisingly gentle nature. It's basically Rooster Teeth meets Trigun.
  • Red vs. Blue: The Chorus Trilogy initially seems to be setting this up in regards of Star Wars, with the idea of La Résistance vs. The Empire, evil white-armored soldiers, an antagonistic Darth Vader Expy, one of the main heroes using a Laser Blade, and even the name of the planet (Chorus/Coruscant). However, this is completely subverted halfway through the arc in Season 12. From then on out, this trope is actually played (relatively) straight in regards to The Magnificent Seven.
  • Episode 3 of Tomorrow's Nobodies is essentially the plot of Half Baked mixed with Daddy Day Care.
  • Ollie & Scoops: "Old Crumplecranks" is based on certain Fleischer Studios cartoons, especially Minnie the Moocher and The Old Man of the Mountain. Poopsie and Rudy decide they don't like living in the city and decide to run away to Mount Cattywumpus. The other cats warn the two about an evil, murderous cat named Old Crumplecranks who lives there, but the two cats ignore the warnings and go to Mount Cattywumpus anyway. Old Crumplecranks shows up and sings a Villain Song introducing himself, . To hammer it in, the Inkblot Cartoon Style and jazz music are used frequently in the episode, and some direct quotes, like the Old Man of the Mountain's "[I'm] gonna do the best I can," are used in the episode.

  • Erika and the Princes in Distress: The plot of each chapter is based on a classic Fairy Tale, often with many elements drawn from their respective Disney adaptation. To note, however, is that while they reprise key elements from the original story, they also tend to vastly deviate from them as a whole.
    • The first arc is inspired by Snow White. A Wicked Stepfather is told by a magic mirror that his step-son is a better chef than him, and sends a huntswoman to assassinate him. The huntswoman cannot bring herself to do the deed, and the Prince, who found refuge in the house of seven miner dwarves in exchange for doing housework, ultimately gets poisoned by a red apple, with the only antidote being a kiss. The outfit of Prince Egg-White and the names of the dwarves are for their part taken right from the Disney movie.
    • The second arc is loosely based on Sleeping Beauty. A wicked witch takes revenge on a prince by cursing him to die if he ever breathes a certain flower scent. A fairy alters the curse so that he would only fall into an eternal slumber until kissed by a princess, and the queen orders all of the flowers in the kingdom burnt. There is however one that they missed, which happens to be in the possession of an old man who turns out to be the witch in disguise.
  • PvP did a series of strips echoing the plot of Watchmen when the movie came out, but due to the difference in mediums, Scott Kurtz used syndicated cartoon characters and called it "The Ombudsmen". They mapped onto the Watchmen superheroes (Dagwood for Dr. Manhattan, Dilbert for Ozymandias, etc.) surprisingly well.
  • Jane's World's current arc is literally The Last Star Fighter with lesbians.
  • Just Peachy does this in one story arc with the movie Singin' in the Rain. They even reference the movie in this strip.
  • Many Sluggy Freelance parodies cobble together from different works in a genre, but the "Torg Potter" storylines were mostly whole plot.
  • Rhapsodies had an episode about the adventures of the house band in Casablanca. A later Halloween Episode blends the The Rocky Horror Picture Show with A Chinese Ghost Story.
  • Zortic before the reboot consisted almost exclusively in this.
  • Pastamonsters has some heavy references to Gravity Falls. Most notable are "Not What He Seems" and the Bill Cipher episodes, with Zalgo in Bill's place.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
  • Empires SMP mainly applies this to individual character arcs.
    • In the latter half of Season 1, when Scott said he wanted an "Elsa Arc", he got exactly what he asked for, down and including accidentally hurting a loved one (coincidentally also a redhead) through Power Incontinence and (temporarily) fleeing the kingdom to live in Self-Imposed Exile, building an Ice Palace in the process.
    • In Season 2, Jimmy is not a toy, thank you very much. Unfortunately for him, literally every other character is trying to get him to accept this as a fact of life for him. Sound a bit familiar? The content creators think so too.
  • The Funniest Minecraft Videos Ever: There are two within the "Time Manipulation mod" video. The first seems to be unintentional, while the second is clearly on purpose.
    • The first occurs while Wilbur holds the stick. A group of unlikely allies, including two teens and a young adult, make a long and arduous journey to assassinate an isolated man who wields the ability to manipulate the flow of time. The final confrontation with this man takes place in a desert-based area, and the man's killer also acquires the ability to manipulate time. One can't help but feel that this is quite similar to something else.
    • After Ninja takes the stick, it switches to something else entirely. A group tries to use lava to destroy a powerful object that corrupts its user, only for someone to steal the object and tumble into the lava themselves, destroying the object.
  • ''Kittisaurus:
    • Stranger Cats is a parody pf Stranger Things, where DD plays the monster stalking the other cats until Chuchu, in the role of Eleven, locks him in the cupboard with her psychic powers, complete with getting a Psychic Nosebleed in the process.
    • The Little Match Cat is one for The Little Match Girl, albeit with a changed ending. Momo tells the story of the Little Match Cat (played by Chuchu), who tries to sell matches so she can earn money for a place to stay. Eventually a catnip seller (played by TT) offers her a job and shelter out of pity. Momo remarks in real life the two would never actually work together- only for TT to walk past, followed by Chuchu.
    • Chuchu in Wonderland is focuses on Chuchu searching for something to help cure a sick TT until she follows Coco (in the role of the White Rabbit) down the rabbit hole.
  • The plot of Season 2 of Noob is basically The Lord of the Rings: an unexpected and weak character (Frodo / Sparadrap) gets a cursed item (the One Ring / the hacked staff) and has to travel to a hostile area at the end of the world to get rid of it. One member of his party betrays him to steal the item and use it himself (Boromir / Omega Zell).
  • The Nostalgia Critic:
  • StacheBros: The 2014 Christmas special "Home Alone" is one to the film of the same name.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Fable Remake


Yes, Actually

The whole plot of the "Yes, Actually" sketch, is a parody of Orson Welles' infamous Frozen Peas Outtakes, with the lines being quoted nearby verbatim. Fitting as the Brian's voice was modelled after Welles himself.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / WholePlotReference

Media sources: