Live Poll: Breaking the Fourth Wall

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  • Updated 1 year ago
  • (Edited)
Imagine you’re sitting in a theater. There are three walls that surround the stage: on the left, on the right, and in the back. Between the audience and the stage exists this imaginary fourth wall, which separates the real world from the fictional world of the stage. So when a film breaks the fourth wall, that means the line has been crossed, there is no longer a boundary between what is real and what is fiction. The spectator is now taken out of the film world - they are purposely being made aware that they are watching a movie.

What are some of the ways that a filmmaker breaks the fourth wall? The most common device is when a character turns to the camera and directly addresses the spectator. A film can also be meta, which means it is referencing itself. For example, a film within a film about filmmaking is another way to break the fourth wall.

Which of the following movies that break the fourth wall did you like the most?
List: https://www.imdb.com/list/ls022593617/
Poll: https://www.imdb.com/poll/crgTStqKuyM/
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Migjen Toska

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Posted 1 year ago

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Jeorj Euler

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I would not be able to decide.
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dgranger

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“Star Wars” and “The 13th Warrior”. Contrary to your point of view, these did not break the fourth wall to make you know you are watching a picture but to further draw you in and envelop you into the picture. They use sound effects of things off screen to pull you in. For example, in “Star Wars”, several times, you hear the space ships and plaster shots go through the theater ether before the object is seen on screen or after the object leaves the screen. In “The 13th Warrior”, The Director place the theater audience in the middle of a crowded room of Vikings, and used sound effects of Vikings off screengrunting or murmuring and reacting to the characters on screen.
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ElMo

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I would separate this into two different polls, one centering on parody movies, because it's a genre-defining trope and all you have to do is pick up the tiny minority that doesn't apply it.

And one about movies from other genres that happen to break the fourth wall,  "Ferris Bueller" isn't a parody for instance and would be a good candidate.

FYC:

Amelie (the couple smiles at the camera near the end)
On her Majesty's Secret Service (that doesn't happen to the other guy?)
Pierrot le Fou (a nod to the audience in the beginning)
Breathless
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Timothy Gray

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I disagree. I think mixing up parodies, comedies and dramas makes it more interesting. They are all unified by the common theme of fourth-wall-breaking. It shows that breaking the fourth wall is a technique that can be used in various creative ways; it's not just a niche gimmick for a particular genre.
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ElMo

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I don't think I said it was a niche gimmick, just a technique mostly anticipated in parodies because they all rely on that wink-to-the-audience device, that's all. It can be used in various ways even in parody, but its use is more memorable  in a movie or a genre where you don't expect it in the first place. 

That said, I just tend to avoid when a specific genre will cover most of the options, for instance, if you make a poll about "gorier movies" you expect a majority of horror films. If I made a poll about favorite breaking the 4th wall in a cartoon, I would specify non-Tex Avery cartoon because he was a Master of the trope and his cartoons would cover most of the list.

It's better I think when you give a chance to the "underdog" options.
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dgranger

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“f I made a poll about favorite breaking the 4th wall in a cartoon, I would specify non-Tex Avery cartoon because he was a Master of the trope and his cartoons would cover most of the list.”
Only to have it replaced by every Looney Toons cartoon by Chuck Jones..You are right in what you have said.
What about 3D movies that throw things at the audience or even that shot in “Raiders Of The Lost Ark” when the tribe is shooting darts and arrows at the camera / AKA you, in the beginning part of the film. Isn’t that breaking the fourth wall?
(Edited)
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dgranger

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Disney’s “Aladdin” (1992) with The peddler at the beginning.
“Disney’s “Hercules” That starts with Charlton Heston as the narrator and then the Fates interrupting him and take over, regularly breaking that wall with a song addressing the audience. (Btw: I still like the song “I Won’t Say I’m in Love” better than “Zero to Hero” and “Go The Distance”. Enjoy https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=FqDaoMt... Ohhhh, that is so good you can play it 3 times).

Bob Hope regularly broke the fourth wall. In the “Road to Utopia” breaks it no less than six times by different characters and Hope does it at least twice.
“Arsenic and Old Lace” broke it with the captions at the beginning that end with the words “From here on, you are on your own.”
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Stephen N Russell

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Blazing Saddles
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Jen, Champion

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Nice idea.

You could also do a TV version.

FYC:
My fave - Tony Wilson's constant wall breaking in 24 Hour Party People, including when his wife is f'ing Howard DeVoto from The Buzzcocks in a bathroom stall, then Tony walks by the REAL Howard DeVoto playing a janitor, who says, "I definitely don't remember this happening." 

Tampopo - "So you're at a movie too?"
Funny Games - "What do you think? You think they stand a chance?"
Sixteen Candles - "This is getting good."
Alfie (1966) - "They never make these cars big enough, do they?"
The Simpsons Movie - "Everyone in this theater is a giant sucker. Especially you (viewer)."
Cape Fear (1991) - "I'm sorry your honor. I agree - that was argumentative."
On Her Majesty's Service Service - "This never happened to the other fella."
Pierrot le Fou - "All she thinks about it fun." "Who are you talking to?" "The audience."
Man in the Moon - "I am Andy and I would like to thank you for coming to my movie."
Layer Cake - "My name? If you knew that, you'd be as clever as me."
Casino Royale (1967) - [Peter O'Toole dressed as a piper]: "Are you Richard Burton?" [Peter Sellers]: "No, I'm Peter O'Toole!" [Peter O'Toole as piper, emotional]: Then you're the finest man who ever breathed."
The Producers (1967): "This man should be in a straight-jacket!"
Hot Tub Time Machine - "It must be some kind of...hot tub time machine."
Last Action Hero - "If God was a villain, he'd be me."
To Die For - "Four letters, begins with C."

Do the Right Thing (NSFW):

(Edited)
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rubyfruit76, Champion

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Your intro. includes one of the best brief explanations of the fourth wall that I've read - I'd imagine that will be easy for people, who aren't acquainted with it, to understand. 

'Tough choice, too. There are so many great films in the list. I also second some of Jen's suggestions, especially 'Do the Right Thing.' 

'Very good poll! 
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Migjen Toska

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I added some of them. Sometimes are many movies with same name, without the year I wouldn't know which one is it. Thanks.
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Jen, Champion

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If you need any help understanding why I suggested the others or which movies they are, ask away.
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Migjen Toska

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I added some of them that I've seen. Suggest me ones that have good rating and lot of votes. Thank again.
(Edited)
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Jen, Champion

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With the more famous/memorable suggestions on the top:
On Her Majesty's Secret Service - 6.8 stars - 67,691 votes
Last Action Hero - 6.3 stars - 118,533 votes
Man on the Moon - 7.4 stars - 112,088 votes
Hot Tub Time Machine - 6.4 stars - 149,109 votes
The Simpsons Movie - 7.4 stars - 280,398 votes
Sixteen Candles - 7.1 stars -  86,280 votes
Funny Games - 6.5 stars - 79,289 votes
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Migjen Toska

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This was very helpful, thanks a lot Jen.
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dgranger

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Are you going to tell me this isn’t breaking the fourth wall? This is outrageously breaking it. From “Alladin” - the peddler’s scene: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5M4Stqg....
(Edited)
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Migjen Toska

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No, I'm not going to tell you this isn't breaking the fourth wall, however I'm not going to add Alladin on the list, and any other Animated Movies. List is almost full, so I have to exclude Animated Movies, those with less votes. I added Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) that you've suggested. Thanks, and feel free to suggest more.
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Nikolay Yeriomin (Mykola Yeromin), Champion

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That's a tough poll to vote already, lots of great movies on the list. 
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dgranger

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I don’t know if these two apply here.
George Pal’s production of H.G.Wells “The Time Machine”. The man on screen doesn’t talk directly to the audience but his voice narration does as he gets into the machine and the audience sees him speed through time through George Pal’s stop motion effects. The audience is very well aware of that this a theater presentation.
Or how about the ending to “Who Frame Roger Rabbit” with porky pig coming on screen dressed as a policeman telling everybody to get moving along and there is nothing to see. Then he turns to the audience and delivers one of Warner Bros.’ signature closing lines, “That’s all folks!”
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rubyfruit76, Champion

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Dan Dassow, Champion

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Congratulations Chihir0 on your 52nd live poll! As of 20-Jun-2018 8:59 PM Pacific your polls have 85,343 or more votes, for an average of 1,641 votes per poll.

Breaking the Fourth Wall
6590th Live Poll: https://www.imdb.com/poll/crgTStqKuyM/
Seen: http://www.imdb.com/seen//ls022593617

This is the 2,912th Title poll. Such polls have a total of 7,132,884 votes for an average of 2,449 votes per poll.
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Projected Date of 20 Million Votes	05-Jan-2020
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