10 Best MacGuffins Movies, According to Reddit
Whether the IndianaJones various franchise artifacts or pulp Fiction, the history of cinema is replete with objects that guide the plot of a film but have uncertain or non-existent value from the point of view of a film’s audience. These are the “MacGuffins”, a term popularized by director Alfred Hitchcock.
They’ve been around for decades, and as the internet has allowed discussion of the movies to proliferate, fans on Reddit have formed opinions on which movie MacGuffins are their absolute favorites. Here’s what ten Redditors cited as the best.
ten the ark of the covenant
A former Redditor points to “The Ark of the Covenant in Raiders of the Lost Ark” as the finest example of MacGuffin in movie history. Raiders did not originally feature Indiana Jones in its title, as there was no franchise guarantee, and thus the main star of the title is the object of desire, although after the stunning success of the film, Jones is became the real star.
There is some debate as to whether the Ark qualifies as a MacGuffin, in part because it effects the plot by killing everyone but Indiana and Marion on the island. However, until then, neither the audience nor the characters know exactly what the ark can do, and even when it’s open, there’s a tease with the sand that doesn’t make sense, so it’s definitely qualifies.
9 The Pulp Fiction Briefcase
Another classic and frequently quoted modern example of a MacGuffin is the briefcase in pulp Fictionwhich is quoted by Bonnaraw: “The most recent film I can think of that uses [a MacGuffin] is Pulp Fiction.” Considering how many other Redditors have also mentioned it, this is definitely one of the go-to examples.
Although according to Reddit nothing is happening in pulp Fiction, Jules and Vincent’s part of the film’s interwoven, non-linear narrative is centered around the briefcase, meaning it’s important to them. Yet famously, it is never revealed what is in the briefcase, i.e. the public can not care about its content, since they don’t know what it is. The brilliant thing is, however, that it doesn’t matter.
8 The suitcase in Ronin
Another film with a briefcase/suitcase as its focus is the 1998 action thriller Ronin, starring Robert DeNiro. The plot revolves around a team of agents obtaining a briefcase they’ve been hired to steal, but the reliability of the team members is up in the air from the start of the mission.
“Ronin’s Suitcase was probably the most mysterious if not the best MacGuffin IMO,” Redditor Mistakeknife said. Without spoiling the ending, it is revealed that the briefcase was just a ruse for another, more important mission, with the secret resting on the team members believing the briefcase to be the focus, proving the Mistakeknife point. Definitely worth watching.
seven Jingle All the Way Turboman Doll
There can be a lot of things about Jingle All the Way it doesn’t make sense, but its craziness is part of what makes it a cult classic holiday flick. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s quest to get the Turboman action figure for his son, however, is at the heart of the film, and what made Bluelegs designate “Turboman in Jingle All The Way” as a great MacGuffin movie.
Arnold’s character only cares about the toy because his son wants it so badly, and to viewers, the toy makes absolutely no sense. The real focus of the story is a father trying to get his son a good Christmas, and while it’s done in a fairly commercial way, it’s also very family-relevant.
6 The Holy Grail of Monty Python
Unlike most MacGuffins, which appear in action movies, the example of cerberaspeedtwelve comes straight from a comedy movie, Monty Python and the Holy Grail. “Unlike other cinematic depictions,” they say, the titular Holy Grail, “has absolutely no plot bearing and might as well be a packet of noodles.”
As a comedy film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail needs even less of a meaningful MacGuffin, since the focus is on jokes rather than plot progression. Still, the choice certainly matches the time period the film is set in, and its result is one of the most classic British comedies of all time… even if they don’t find the holy grail.
5 Money in No Country for Old Men
When Llewelyn Moss takes a pile of $2 million dollars from a drug deal gone wrong, it sets off a chain of death and destruction that grows There is no country for old peoplefor that is precisely what the supernatural Anton Chigurh seeks.
Redditor therealbobsteel lists “the silver suitcase in No Country For Old Men” as an easily accessible example of a MacGuffin. It’s not like audiences wouldn’t find $2 million significant if it fell into their own lap, but the movie isn’t about the money; instead, it focuses on the violence Moss’ understandable act unleashes and the question of surviving the onslaught.
4 The necklace in Titanic
Although fans would love to own Titanicnecklace accessory because of its association with classic James Cameron romance, it is definitely is not due to the necklace’s significance to Jack and Rose’s love story, because if anything, in the past, it acts as a symbol of Cal’s view of Rose as essentially a prop.
The necklace is “pretty pointless other than it neatly connects the start and end of the story arc,” AskDaveTaylor points out. That’s what Brock Lovett is looking for and why he wants to hear Rose’s story, but that’s it. Rose kept it all her life, but brought it with her only to let it rest with the Titanic. If fans were serious about Lovett getting the stone, this ending would have been a disappointment rather than a triumphant and poignant one.
3 The stolen car in The Rover
An Australian dystopian western, 2014 the rover stars Guy Pearce and The Batmanby Robert Pattinson, and follows what happens when the car of a mysterious man, played by Pearce, is stolen by a gang. This is madmax meets John Wickbasically.
When the movie begins “we don’t know why the car…is so important to Pearce, but his obsession with getting it back makes sense in the end,” ShaneBertram said. This is another example where the movie is so worth watching that explaining MacGuffin’s importance would ruin the experience, but rest assured that in the end, viewers will understand why Pearce’s character unleashes so many carnage.
2 Mission: Impossible III’s Rabbit’s Foot
Mission: Impossible 3 released six years after the second film, and its direction by JJ Abrams helped bring the franchise back, although Ghost Protocol really made the series the staple it is today. The third film centers on the search for a weapon known as the Rabbit’s Foot.
Redditor thehumanear called it “the most thrilling use of a MacGuffin in a movie.” While this makes for an exciting adventure, it remains to be speculated what Rabbit’s Foot is. It doesn’t matter what it is, just that the story and the characters recognize its danger, which makes them act on that threat like the franchise is known to do.
1 The Maltese Falcon
It may be the titular centerpiece of Humphrey Bogart’s Best Picture, but the Maltese Falcon is a pretty useless object on its own. It may have become the most iconic MacGuffin in movie history, thanks to (1) its presence as a title and (2) how influential and beloved the film is.
CelticGaelic praised the film in a post after seeing it for the first time: “The whole story behind the Macguffin, the titular Maltese Falcon, is certainly very interesting, especially the ultimate reveal” that the object of interest has been a fake all along time. It doesn’t make sense to the characters even before that point, but by the end of the movie it doesn’t make sense in all meaning of the word.
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