Compilation Movie

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

A Compilation Movie is created by editing together episodes of a television series to create a movie-length installment. Although this usually applies to home video releases, it can happen with broadcasts as well. How seamless the resulting movie is depends on how good the editor was, and what materials they had to work with (sometimes the opening credits or To Be Continued caption will be left in as the editor only had the complete version of each episode, or the end credits may only refer to the people who worked on the last episode). While the bulk of each episode is usually kept intact, some minor editing is usually made for time, continuity, or to make the new edit more seamless.

Back before home video recorders became widespread these would sometimes be released to cinemas as feature films. As home videos became more common, these were increasingly released as direct-to-video "movies". Often the plots of the two episodes thus used had absolutely no relation to each other (save the involvement of The Hero, natch); this was sometimes patched over with dubbed-in dialog attempting to link the two adventures. With the modern trend of releasing full seasons of series on DVD (or in bulk on streaming services), this form of Compilation Movie seems to be dying out.

A Compilation Movie can also be used in serialized TV to combine all the episodes of a serial into a single "movie", if the serial was very long then the resulting Compilation Movie may be essentially a feature length Clip Show. In the mecha anime genre, these movies are pretty much still par for the course. In the case of Soap Operas that are aired several times a week, a compilation at the end of the week may be the only repeat. This is preferable to a a back-to-back showing as it avoids viewers leaving after only the first episode, and in theory allows more advertisements where the credits used to be.

In the 1970s and 80s, this was a not-uncommon method of making a Macekre of an imported Japanese anime series.

While the pacing of these movies is often quite suspect, especially in a series where there was originally a cliffhanger, new scenes are sometimes added to justify their release.

This is sometimes inverted by editing an extended episode or Direct to Video movie into several episodes for for Syndication, leaving a several odd cliffhangers if this wasn't intended during production.

Compare Five Episode Pilot and especially Patchwork Story.

Examples of Compilation Movie include:


  • Variation: The American release known as Digimon: The Movie was made by editing together the first three Short Anime Movies from Digimon Adventure and Digimon Adventure 02. Digimon Adventure 02's movie originally wasn't going to be included but Higher ups insisted that the 3rd movie be included. No one in the dubbing process realized that the only people who would be watching the movie were people who were planning to see the film anyway (and wouldn't have minded the extra footage required for decent editing (especially of the 3rd part) that had been taken out due to length concerns) or critics. To make matters, worse anybody who's seen the 3rd part, knows how crudely it was edited. (This doesn't apply to the first two parts.)Clips were taken out of context, and an entire subplot was completely destroyed. In short this is one film that could have it edited and improved by remixing it. (But not the lines, just the editing cuts.)
  • Evangelion: Death and Rebirth is kind of a corner case, containing parts of both the show and The Movie.
    • The reason why Death and Rebirth happened was because Hideaki Anno felt that the Japanese public's memory needed to be refreshed regarding the events of the series, considering End of Evangelion was due for release soon and the series had ended a year previously. As well, there were scenes cut from the series (and re-added for the Director's Cut episodes) that would have been critical to understanding End of Evangelion; for example, the scene where Gendo tries to merge Rei with the Adam embryo on his hand would be nearly incomprehensible without first knowing that Gendo even had the embryo on his hand.
    • Then came Rebuild of Evangelion, a remake of the old series in the form of four movies. The first simply covered the first six episodes, while giving Ramiel a serious badass upgrade, the second started going Off the Rails at about the time Asuka was substituted for Toji as the pilot of Unit 3, and instead of simply destroying and eating Zeruel, Unit 1 sort of merges with it, along with Shinji, and begins to ascend into godhood... or something. Before being Impaled with Extreme Prejudice by Kaworo, who then proclaims that he will make Shinji happy, this time.
  • Gundam loves doing it. There were compilation movies of the original series, Zeta Gundam, Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, Endless Waltz, Turn a Gundam, Gundam SEED, and Gundam SEED Destiny. 0083 and Endless Waltz are an odd cases, since they were originally OVAs rather than full TV series like the others.
  • Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. -? The Laughing Man and Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd Gig -? Individual Eleven were compilation movies of the first two seasons of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.
  • RahXephon: The Movie edited together whole episodes with new scenes and had a different ending.
  • Shogun Assassin was a compilation and rewrite/redub of a few Lone Wolf and Cub movies
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has two Compilation Movies, each around two hours in length. The first, Gurren-hen or Childhood's End, covers the first half of the series, streamlining the plot and restructuring it after episode eight. The second, Lagann-hen or The Lights in the Sky Are Stars, is a semi-aversion, containing more new film animation than it does recycled TV animation. It spans the invasion of Teppelin and battle with Lordgenome to the end of the series, bringing the scale of the final battle to even greater heights. To the disappointment of some fans, the movies were never dubbed.
  • When Funimation first aired Dragonball Z in the U.S., the five-episode Raditz arc that started the series was edited into a single movie released on home video titled Dragon Ball Z: Arrival
    • An inversion: the DBZ Short Anime Movie Tree of Might was initially shown in the U.S. as a three-part episode back when the series was syndicated.
  • Inuyasha had a couple of one-hour TV specials that were carved up into two regular episodes for the DVDs (losing some footage in the process). Since the dub used the DVD version of the series, this was blamed on it at first.
  • Four episodes of the Japanese show Kyoryu Daisenso Aizenborg were badly dubbed into English and released on VHS as Attack of the Super Monsters.
  • The three Kiddy Grade movies serve this purpose for the events of the first (and so far only, not counting the spinoff) season.
  • One of the Stratos 4 movies does this for the first season and the movies before it.
  • Space Carrier Blue Noah was dubbed as Thundersub and the first four episodes were compiled to be released on VHS tape together after being shown altogether as one large movie pilot on American TV.
  • Death Note got two compilations, the first supposedly a look at the first half of the anime from Ryuk's perspective with a bit of extra footage implying Light became a Shinigami after he died and the second a straight-up compilation of the second half of the anime.
  • The movie edition of Macross Plus is arguably the only example of this in the Macross franchise as all others have been Alternate Continuity non-serial movies.
  • Inazuma Eleven had its first movie consist of mostly recycled footage of the first season, before finally swerving off to an Alternate Continuity. Some fans liked it, but others weren't impressed.
  • Uchuu Senkan Yamato is a strange tale. It originally started life as a 26 episode series that tanked. In an effort to make back some cash, producer Nishizaki edited the season into a 2.5 hour long movie using animation from the series, some test footage and some new stuff - and it took off like a rocket.
  • Eden of the East had "Air Communication," a condensed-by-editing version of the series with additional narration from the characters, packaged with the first of the show's two sequel movies.
  • Madoka Magica is getting two of these, followed by an actual sequel.
  • Martian Successor Nadesico has a Show Within a Show example with Gekiganger 3 which was mostly recap with some new animation at the end.


  • Many movie serials of the 30s, 40s and 50s were later edited together into features (a process unsurprisingly called "Featurization") so they could released through cinemas again.

Live-Action TV

  • "Mission Impossible Versus the Mob" was created from a two-part episode of Mission: Impossible ("The Council," for the record).
  • "The Wackiest Wagon Train in the West" was a compilation of episodes from the failed comedy Dusty's Trail.
  • "King Arthur, the Young Warlord" did a good job of editing together episodes of Arthur of the Britons into a single cohesive story
  • MST3K has featured several of these clunkers:
    • "Cosmic Princess" was made from two episodes of Space: 1999 (although the series only had one two-parter - "The Bringers Of Wonder," which itself was turned into the movie Destination Moonbase Alpha).
    • "Master Ninja" and "Master Ninja II" were each pieced together from two episodes of the obscure martial arts show The Master. Because the show's premise is "two guys travelling the country in a van fighting injustice," the two halves of each film take place in different cities with different villains and different guest stars, and pretty much no transition in between.
    • "Riding with Death" came from two episodes of Gemini Man that featured country singer Jim Stafford as a guest star - never mind the fact that they were a good distance apart in the show's run, and The Chick had left the series by the time of the latter, requiring a clumsy cover-up.
    • "Manhunt in Space" and "Crash Of The Moons"came from episodes of an old 50s sci-fi show, Rocky Jones Space Ranger. The editing was so inartful that Joel and the 'Bots lampshaded it by treating the first-episode fade-out as the end of the movie... only to react with shock and disgust that they were actually only halfway through the feature.
    • "He triiiiiiied to kill me with a forklift! OLE!" "Fugitive Alien", from the Star Wolf series.
    • "Time of the Apes", from SF Drama Army of the Apes.
    • The legendary Prince of Space was made from two films in the same series: Planet Prince and The Terrifying Spaceship. This is why the plot seems so disjointed, and why the second "half" makes no mention of the rocket fuel formula stolen in the first.
  • The iCarly 'movies' iGo To Japan and iParty With Victorious are setup like this, with each being aired as a full 1 and a half hour movie, but split into three parts when aired as part of a regular schedule.
    • At least they're long enough to qualify as feature-length episodes, unlike "iStart A Fan War," "iPsycho," "iQuit iCarly," iAnd so on...
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood had three 'movies' released on video, and later DVD, called "Robin Hood: The Movie", "Robin Hood: The Quest for the Crown" and "Robin Hood: Greatest Adventures" that were only way to get any of this classic show before the entire series was released on DVD.
  • The original (1970s) Kolchak the Night Stalker had two pairs of episodes grafted together to form movies. "Firefall" and "The Energy Eater" became "Crackle of Death", and "Demon in Lace" and "Legacy of Terror" were joined to create "The Demon and the Mummy".
  • The 1970s the Battlestar Galactica episodes "Living Legend" (parts 1 and 2) and "Fire in Space" were edited together to produce "Mission Galactica: The Cylon Attack".
  • The Monty Python movie And Now for Something Completely Different. This was in fact a compilation of completely re-filmed sketches made for theatrical release, since the originals a) were shot on video tape, b) had laugh tracks, and c) were only available for TV distribution (the movie could also be viewed in full colour, at a time when many british viewers owned only black-and-white television sets).
  • One of the constituent serials of the NBC series Cliffhangers, "Stop Susan Williams" was later re-edited into a telemovie, The Girl Who Saved The World. Because the original serial's broadcast was Cut Short by cancellation, it ended up being the first time Americans saw that serial's ending. Details.
  • Gerry Anderson's Supermarionation series Stingray, Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet and The Mysterons were subjected to this.
  • Also applies to Anderson's live action UFO and Space: 1999.
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E. may be the originator of this format, releasing most of its two-part episodes (with some new footage) as theatrical features (usually overseas first, because the show was not being aired in foreign markets). The films released were:
    • To Trap a Spy (1964) (reedited version of "Solo", the original series pilot)
    • The Spy with My Face (1965) (reedited version (with additional footage) of the first season episode "The Double Affair")
    • One Spy Too Many (1966) (reedited version (with additional footage) of the second season two part episode "Alexander The Greater Affair")
    • One of Our Spies is Missing (1966) (reedited version (with additional footage) of the second season two part episode "The Bridge of Lions Affair")
    • The Spy in the Green Hat (1966) (reedited version of the third season two part episode "The Concrete Overcoat Affair")
    • The Karate Killers (1967) (reedited version of the third season two part episode "The Five Daughters Affair")
    • The Helicopter Spies (1968) (reedited version of the fourth season two part episode "The Prince of Darkness Affair")
    • How to Steal the World (1968) (reedited version of the fourth season two part series finale, "The Seven Wonders of the World Affair")
  • One of the oldest examples must be the 1955 movie Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier, edited together from three episodes of Disneyland: "Davy Crockett: Indian Figter", "Davy Crockett Goes to Congress" and "Davy Crockett at the Alamo".
    • Davy Crockett and the River Pirates did the same thing with the remaining two episodes, "Davy Crockett's Keelboat Race" and "Davy Crockett and the River Pirates".
  • The 1966 TV adaptation of The Green Hornet had two of these. In 1974 four episodes of the series--"The Hunter and the Hunted", "Invasion from Outer Space" (Parts 1 and 2), and "The Preying Mantis"—were stitched together for overseas theatrical release. DVDs of this movie are noteworthy for its spotlight stealing billing: "Bruce Lee as Kato in The Green Hornet". Followed by a 1976 release, Fury of the Dragon, which compiled the episodes "Trouble for Prince Charming", "Secret of the Sally Bell", "The Ray Is for Killing", and "Bad Bet on a 459-Silent".
  • During the 70s, the BBC would air a Compilation Movie of a previous Doctor Who serial at Christmas, These would then be used as replacement programs if bad weather had canceled a live sports game.
    • Some PBS stations used to show classic Doctor Who episodes in Compilation Movie format. The color used to re-colorize "The Daemons" came off such a compilation. BBC America has also done this with new series episodes, albeit quite badly by leaving the director and producer credits in half way through the movie.
      • The Five Doctors inverted the trope: it was made as a 90-minute movie, but intended to be cut into four episodes for syndication.
    • Also done to a few classic serials for their DVD release, unlike many other examples these Compilation Movies are special editions that add new special effects, put deleted scenes back in, or improve the pacing. With the exception of the original DVD of The Five Doctors (which was later re-released with both versions), these are always bundled with the original episodic versions.
  • Two episodes of the live-action The Flash TV series guest-starring Mark Hamill as The Trickster were released as a "movie" on VHS. In the original run they were episodes 13 & 22.
  • Dead Set was originally aired as a 5-part mini series but has later been shown as a 2.5 hour movie.
  • The 1936 Flash Gordon serial was later condensed into a feature-length film called Rocket Ship.
  • Yor, the Hunter from the Future was compiled from 4 episodes of an Italian TV miniseries.
  • For some reason, this is still being done where it shouldn't be. Parallax had one done that was a compilation of the first five episodes, which were largely stand-alone stories (although each did have some connection to the others.
  • Also happened to H₂O: Just Add Water when it was shown on the Disney Channel. This time, they mixed the first few episodes with two episodes from later in the first season, meaning that one character came out of nowhere, did very little and just walked off. Technically not a Non Sequitur Scene, as the same character later reappeared and came dangerously close to discovering Cleo, Emma and Rikki's big secret.
  • I Love Lucy had a movie compiled from three episodes of the first season, but fear of competition with another Lucy/Desi movie, The Long, Long Trailer, prevented a public release until it came to DVD in 2007.
  • A Direct to Video Cruel Intentions Prequel, "Manchester Prep", was actually a compilation of episodes produced for a never-aired TV series based on the movie.[1]
  • Babylon 5 has an interesting case with In The Beginning, which was basically recapping the established history of the Earth Minbari War, complete with whatever flashback footage they'd used to depict The War on the show (which took place 10–15 years after the end of the conflict). Quite a bit of the movie was original footage specific to the plot of filling in the blanks in what we had been shown about the war, but there are still quite a few recognizable scenes spliced in from the show, leading to things like Micheal York appearing in the movie for all of one second, with no lines.
  • While not a stitching together of TV episodes, many of the scenes in the On the Buses movies were lifted from TV episodes.
  • Several episodes of Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot (the American version of the Giant Robo Toku series) were edited together into the movie "Voyage Into Space".
  • Salvage 1: The two part episodes "Golden Orbit" and "Hard Water" were combined in the late eighties and aired as "movies" on CBS Late Night.
  • In the UK, two Mr. Bean compilation DVDs have been released, 'Happy Birthday Mr Bean' and 'Mr Bean's Holiday Havoc' (not to be confused with the similarly titled movie), lasting 60–70 minutes.
    • There was also a 'Best Of Mr Bean' Special with a newly recorded Framing Device of Mr Bean looking through his loft.
  • Some of the UK Top Gear DVDs are compilations of the challanges that last up to three hours, and from 'The Challanges Three' onwards have even included bonus discs; there have been five of these compilations so far.
  • Inverted with Get Smart. After the success of Batman: The Movie, a script was written for a proposed feature. After the failure of Munster Go Home, the project was scrapped and the script was split into a three part episode.

Video Games

  • Metroid: Other M contains a collection of cutscenes compiled as a two-hour movie, linked with game footage. The end result can be a bit inconsistent, jumping from in-engine cutscenes, lavishly-detailed CGI cutscenes, to unaltered gameplay footage with a fixed camera angle.

Web Original

  • Red vs. Blue does this with each season they make, at the expense of cutting out most of the jokes that occur at the end of the episodes, since these occur as the episode fades to black. Those jokes that are simply too hilarious to be cut have extra footage shot for them. There are currently eight Compilation Movies in total.
    • The newer seasons of Red vs. Blue are written as movies to begin with, then cut up into episodic scripts before filming. Rooster Teeth continues to use the episodic format because of the advantages of instantaneous feedback.

Western Animation

  • The various Looney Tunes movies (and TV specials) were created by editing together vintage shorts with new linking material. Listen carefully to those movies that were put together in the 1970s and '80s and you'll be able to easily tell which is new and which is original from earlier years. The aged-sounding voice of Mel Blanc in the new material stands out from his younger-sounding self in the clips from the 1940s, '50s and '60s. There are also differences in the animation and character designs, sometimes subtle and sometimes approaching Art Shift levels of obviousness.
    • The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie (1979)
    • The Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie (1981)
    • Bugs Bunny's 3rd Movie: 1001 Rabbit Tales (1982)
    • Daffy Duck's Movie: Fantastic Island (1983)
    • Daffy Duck's Quackbusters (1988)
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh combines Disney's first three theatrical Winnie the Pooh shorts with new linking material.
  • Inverted by Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The movie compiling the first three-episodes story arc was released in theaters before the show itself debuted on Cartoon Network. The fourth episode that was later produced as a prequel to that arc, was included in the movie chronologically as well.
    • It may have been an inversion, but all of the problems of the original form shine through. There are very obvious breaks between what would have been the stories of the separate episodes.
      • It seems more of a subversion as I caught an airing of the film on TV and cut out everything reffering to the Rotta arc via DVD Recorder and my cut is nearly half an hour long. That´s not even taking deleted scenes from the DVD and unreleased material into account. In case of the pilotmovie it is less a compilation movie and more an extended cut.
    • The show now had a rerun of the first two seasons in Germany where the channel Super RTL cut together four episodes for one movie. They cut out the morals and titlescreens for all episodes except the first one of each movie. Newsreels stayed where they are, although they most of the time just explained what already happened.
  • The first Star Wars: Clone Wars miniseries aired on Cartoon Network with 4 minute episodes and was later released on DVD as an hour long movie. Inverted in some countries outside the US as this is the only form the episodes were available and TV-airings are in the same format.
  • The South Park: Imaginationland movie is all three episodes of the "Imaginationland" arc of the TV show edited together in one movie, and—in a surprisingly notable first for the franchise on DVD—is completely uncensored, to boot.
    • Similarly, a marathon of South Park's most notorious episodes concluded with the Season 1 cliffhanger and its resolution episode edited together as one, interspaced with "Great Destinations" segments from the creators in Snoqualmie, Washington.
    • While not yet edited into a compilation movie, the three meteor shower episodes from Season 3 were edited into one in script form by a fan.
  • The 1981 Spider-Man cartoon released most of the Doctor Doom Story Arc (four episodes, skipping one in the middle that didn't have much to do with him anyway) under the title Doctor Doom Conquers the World.
  • A variation, the ReBoot movies Daemon Rising and My Two Bobs were later split into separate episodes to be aired as episodes for the final season.
  • The Futurama direct-to-video movies (Bender's Big Score, The Beast with a Billion Backs, Bender's Game, and Into the Wild Green Yonder) are technically each about four TV episodes cut together. However, they were released as movies before being broadcast as individual episodes, making this something of an inversion.
  • Family Guy: The Stewie Griffin Story is an inversion. It was conceived as a direct-to-video movie shortly before FOX decided to renew the series a few years after its earlier cancellation. The movie was written in a way that it could split into three episodes, all connected to a main story arc, and shown on television.
  • Several direct-to-video Disney movies released between 1998 and 2003 that were based on TV shows and weren't sequels (and even some that were, like Cinderella II and Atlantis: Milo's Return) were basically really random episode compilations with linking material.[2]
  • This was the original plan for the each arc of The Spectacular Spider-Man; the resulting movies would include footage cut from the episodes for time and standards and practices reasons. However, this plan was scrapped after the release of the first such collection, "Attack of the Lizard".
  • The two or three part pilot for any animated series is quickly dubbed as a "movie" when it hits shelves, in order to influence buying power: Justice League, Transformers Animated, Gargoyles, Batman Beyond, The Mighty Ducks Animated Series, etc.
  • The series Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds was condensed (with a new redub and script) into a 90-minute TV movie.
  • All of the Trollz DVDs are these.
  • The five-part pilot for the '80s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was edited into a movie titled "The Epic Begins", which was released on VHS by Family Home Entertainment.
    • Double Market-Based Title: Not only was the series renamed Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles in the UK, the pilot video was renamed too: How It All Began.
  • Samurai Jack had several. The first 3 episodes were originally aired as a movie, and there are at least two multi-part stories (Birth of Evil and The Scotsman Saves Jack) that got the same treatment.
  • The Spider-Man: The Animated Series compilation Secret Wars just barely qualifies as a stand-alone story, as it consists of the last five episodes (the three-part "Secret Wars" adaptation, followed by the two-part "Spider Wars") of a serialized TV series. However, it is particularly notable for cramming five half-hour episodes onto a single VHS tape.
  • An unusual case happened for the Series Finale of Justice League. For the US release, Starcrossed had it's three-part episodes edited together into one single long 60-minute (or so) movie for it's first DVD release, complete with an entirely new opening credits sequence and was advertised as "Starcrossed: The Movie". When it was released in the UK, the cover of the DVD indicated that this is exactly what had been released there as well; but nope, it had all three episodes UNEDITED, playing in a continuous manner.
  • Dennis the Menace: Memory Mayhem is a compilation of episodes from the 80s animated series linked together by a story about Mr. Wilson getting Easy Amnesia.
  • The entirety of the first Redwall cartoon series got compiled into a single movie.
  • Kim Possible's "A Sitch In Time" three part arc was billed as a movie when Disney aired it. It even got its own DVD.
  • The third (and final, for the time being) Recess movie, Recess: All Growed Down, was just strung together with previous episodes, one unnaired episode, and linking material.
  • Heathcliff: The Movie compiled from seven episodes with linking material.
  • The first two episodes of Young Justice were advertised as a single event (Independence Day).
  • Few episodes of Highlander the Animated Series were compiled together into video film Highlander: The Adventure Begins.
  1. FOX was the would-be broadcaster, of course.
  2. The Atlantis one was actually from a series that was called off after the movie's underwhelming box office.