A compilation of scenes and moments from films that all "break the fourth wall" - that is, acknowledge (usually directly to the camera, and therefore the audience) that they're part of a movie. The term comes from the imaginary "wall" at the front of the stage in a traditional three-walled box set in a proscenium theatre, through which the audience sees the action in the world of the play.
The montage includes 54 different films (some used more than once) from perhaps the very first example of breaking the fourth wall right up to today. There were so many other great examples I couldn't find room for (sadly, The Dude and The Big Lebowski's narrator don't abide here), I'd love to hear which 4th wall breakers you'd also include. Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Leigh_Singer on Twitter. Look forward to hearing your comments!
The list of 54 films featured, in order: The Player (1992), Blazing Saddles (1974), The Great Train Robbery (1902), Persona (1966), Alfie (1966), Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), Richard III (1995), Richard III (1955), Sunset Blvd. (1950), Fight Club (1999), Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005), Le Mepris (1963), High Fidelity (2000), Spaceballs (1987), Hot Tub Time Machine (2010), The Hudsucker Proxy (1994), Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001), Horse Feathers (1932), Annie Hall (1977), A Matter of Life and Death (1946), Amelie (2001), On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), Death Proof (2007), Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999), The Meaning of Life (1983), Road to Bali (1952), The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), Animal House (1978), The Omen (1976), The Devil’s Advocate (1997), Psycho (1960), Orlando (1992), Young Frankenstein (1974), Do the Right Thing (1989), Gangster No.1 (2000), A Bout de Souffle (1960), A Clockwork Orange (1971), Top Secret! (1984), Family Plot (1976), Superman – The Movie (1978), Bronson (2008), Airplane! (1980), Funny Games (1997), Funny Games (2007), The Great Dictator (1940), Lord of War (2005), JFK (1991), Goodfellas (1990), Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001), The Nutty Professor (1996), Tom Jones (1963), Monty Python & The Holy Grail (1975), The Holy Mountain (1973), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988).
Set against a backdrop of greed, corruption and political intrigue, lies a story of love, power and betrayal. Beginning with a revolution, and ending on the other side of the world, it is a story about money, oil , and a clandestine romance of a beautiful woman in love with a man from a foreign land. This is where cultures clash, friendships tested, bonds broken and lives lost, in an international conspiracy of lies, spies and secret agendas, hidden behind a Golden Veil.
This short film was a test for Thomas Edison's Kinetophone project, the first attempt in history to record sound and moving image in synchronization. This was an experiment by William Dickson to put sound and film together either in 1894 or 1895.
Unfortunately, this experiment failed because they didn't understand synchronization of sound and film. The large cone on the left hand side of the frame is the "microphone" for the wax cylinder recorder (off-camera). The Library of Congress had the film. The wax cylinder soundtrack, however, was believed lost for many years. Tantalizingly, a broken cylinder labeled "Violin by WKL Dickson with Kineto" was catalogued in the 1964 inventory at the Edison National Historic Site.
In 1998, Patrick Loughney, curator of Film and Television at the Library of Congress, retrieved the cylinder and had it repaired and re-recorded at the Rodgers and Hammerstein Archive of Recorded Sound, Lincoln Center, New York. Since the Library did not possess the necessary synchronizing technology, Loughney - at the suggestion of producer Rick Schmidlin - sent multi-Oscar award winner Walter Murch a videotape of the 17 seconds of film and an audiocassette of 3 minutes and 20 seconds of sound with a request to marry the two. By digitizing the media and using digital editing software, Murch was able to synchronize them and complete the failed experiment 105 years later. This 35mm film was generously made available to the Internet Archive by Walter Murch and Sean Cullen.
The films used, in order of appearance:
Pirates of Silicon Valley
Swimming with Sharks
Star Trek (2009)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
The Iron Giant
Lions for Lambs
The Shawshank Redemption
The Matrix Revolutions
Dead Poet's Society
The Matrix Reloaded
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)
The Bucket List
The Lion King
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Ferris Beuler's Day Off
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Catch Me If You Can
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
The Pursuit of Happyness
The Men Who Stare at Goats
Under the Tuscan Sun
Kung Fu Panda
Quantum of Solace
Copyright Disclaimer: Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.
Please note: I do not own the rights to any of the films featured in this video. All films are copyrighted by their respective owners. No copyright infringement intended.
Written & Directed by Bridge Stuart & Mike Litzenberg Cinematography by Andrew Crighton Featuring "Ahead of Us the Secret" by Wild Orchid Children ADR Recorded by Ian Blackman Party Scene Sound by Brendan Johnson Bridge Stuart as George Lucas, Yoda Marc Moseley as Party Toaster Lacy Hornick as Marcia Lisa Summerscales as Hollywood Report Anchor John Gilchrist as Businessman On His Cell Phone Mike Litzenberg as John Williams, Darth Maul, Chewbacca, Jar Jar Binks, Greedo Julie Warnock as Princess Leia Kyle Isao as Short Round Zach Bourque as Steven Spielberg James Roehl as Unmasked Clone Trooper David Cronin as Spock Party Goers: Izumi Alvarado, Pamela Cedar, Brendan Johnson, Catherine Lydon, Alexander Sanchez Ninjas: Eliot Dewberry, Wes Dewberry, John Gilchrist Clone Troopers: Matt Biron, Eliot Dewberry, John Gilchrist, J.J. Meston, Terrence Scott, Nick Stewart Special Thanks to: Josh Funk, Mark Kienlen, Dave & Cathy Litzenberg, Loyola Marymount University, Revolver Films, The Second City Network, Bridge & Debra Stuart
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