The Movie

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"Just add a few new cuts and you will be able to fool the audiences, uh-huh!"
Kagura, Gintama

The Movie is a heavily expanded, one-shot episode of a TV series usually meant for theatrical distribution. Oftentimes the film will be used to further the storyline of the show (see Myth Arc). However, usually there are other motivations for this, generally involving green slips of paper going into the pockets of film executives from the hard-working fanbase of a show. Although not always, The Movie tends to be an Ur Example or two to three hour long summary of the series or franchise in question, as well.

This trope primarily dates from before DVD, and occurred a lot during the 80s and early 1990s. A cinematic feature was considered much more important for a particular series or franchise at the time, than it would be now; although it can still sometimes occur.

Not all movies are The Movie; compare Non-Serial Movie and The Film of the Series. See also Made for TV Movie, and note that not all examples of The Movie are theatrical. (A Reunion Show, for instance, will often take the form of a movie.) Most anime movies, for example, are either non-serial adventures or the Arc or Myth Arc of the entire series compressed into the space of two hours. The latter frequently requires an Alternate Continuity to pull this off.

Frequently, The Movie will decide to raise the stakes (often changing the dynamic of the original work) so it can be a Big Damn Movie. It can also act as the Grand Finale. There is also the Compilation Movie.

If it's a series' first attempt at making one, it might even be called some variation of Title: The Movie. You know, in case you didn't realize.

For the inverse, a series based off a movie, see Recycled: the Series.

If you came here from a link in the Literature section of a page, see The Film of the Book and go back and correct the link. Then take a drink.

Examples are sorted according to the original source.

Examples of The Movie include:

Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • The first Pokémon anime film was meant to tie up loose ends and make sense of certain events in the first season. Later films in the series were more standalone, though still considered in continuity. Interestingly though, the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth movie feature an overarching storyline involving the three Dragon legendaries of Sinnoh.
    • It is worthy to note that the first movie was once intended as a Grand Finale in the early production process, indicated by early teasers, but that plot was dropped later because of popularity.
  • The End of Evangelion, a feature-length movie that was supposed to be the "true" ending, as opposed to the low budget, confusing ending of the TV series. Instead, we were given a high budget, confusing Kill'Em All ending.
  • Lampshaded in Bokusatsu tenshi Dokuro-chan, where Sakura takes Shizuki to the cinema... to see Salaryman Binkan: The movie.
  • Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do You Remember Love? told an alternative version of the events during the series, and was later retconned into appearing in later Macross series as a fictional movie produced in the Macross 'Verse twenty years later, telling a garbled version of events that the few survivors had witnessed.
  • The Revolutionary Girl Utena movie takes the series' already-difficult-to-understand (at least for Westerners) Buddhist allegory, compresses it into two hours, and makes it even more allegorical. The resulting head trip of a film requires advanced knowledge of jungian theory, and knowledge of Gnostic belief to understand at all (but is still plenty hot if you don't).
  • The Vision of Escaflowne movie radically altered characters and motivations, hitting similar themes in a very different way than the series.
  • The RahXephon movie made similar radical alterations in the attempt to compress a season's worth of difficult-to-understand story into two hours.
  • The movie based off of the 2003 anime adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist, The Conquerer of Shamballa, was essentially that canon's Grand Finale/epilogue.
  • The eighth One Piece movie, One Piece: Episode of Alabasta, Princess of the Desert and the Pirates, is a retelling of the series' Alabasta arc.
    • There are a total of 11 One Piece movies so far. To be specific, Movie 1 takes place before Sanji joins. Two and Three before Alabasta (though three is consider very non canonical as they forgot to add Vivi). 4, 5, 6 and 7 between Alabasta and Water 7. 8 as stated, a abridged retelling of the Alabasta arc. So was 9 with Drum Island, though that one was designed as a What If story (The Straw Hats have Sunny Go, No Vivi, Franky and Robin are now in this tale). 10 was a major shake up because it's in canon with the manga. The 11th movie reverts back to being non-canon to the manga, but is notable as the first One Piece movie to be rendered in 3D CGI instead of hand drawn animation.
    • A twelfth film has now been confirmed to be in development for the end of 2012. It will follow upon the model of the tenth movie in which it will contain canon material thanks in no small part to Oda's involvement in the writing process.
  • Currently there are 4 Bleach movies released. The first is about a group of rebels trying to destroy Soul Society, the second is about Captain Hitsugaya trying to clear his name, the third is about people forgetting Rukia and Ichigo, and the fourth is about Hell.
  • Similarly, there are six, with a seventh announced, Naruto movies. The first three films are set in Part 1, only the first of which takes place before the Sasuke Retrevial arc, the latter two sometime during the filler arcs. The three Shippuden movies take place, presumably, before Sai's introduction, before Sasuke kills Orochimaru and sometime after Asuma's death respectively.
  • Showing just how far in popularity Axis Powers Hetalia has risen since its anime release in 2009, a movie was announced in September, 2009, for 2010.
  • Robotech was set to have a movie which used footage from Megazone 23, but a combination of Executive Meddling and poor reception in test screenings caused it to be shelved.
  • Sailor Moon had three, one in the second season (Sailor Moon R The Movie), one in the third (Sailor Moon S The Movie), and a final in the fourth (Sailor Moon SuperS The Movie). None have anything to do with their corresponding seasons but seem to take place in just 'somewhere' in them. The S movie is the only one directly based on anything, a standalone manga chapter, The Lover of Princess Kagyua, Naoko Takeuchi wrote purposefully for adaption... there are quite a few plot diversions between them though.
    • The SuperS movie is notable for having a traditional episode style title. It's full title is Sailor Moon SuperS: The Movie: The 9 Sailor Senshi get together! Miracle in the Black Dream Hole! The other two don't have any title aside from Sailor Moon R/S: The Movie. (Though the dub tacked one on anyways)
    • Each Movie also aired with a short special. R had Make-up! Sailor Senshi, which introduced the Sailor Senshi, S had Ami-chan's first love (based off the manga chapter of the same name), while S had 3 smaller ones: An Elegant Metamorphosis? Crybaby Usagi's Growth Diary" a recap of the first 3 seasons, Haruka and Michiru, Again! The Ghostly Puppet Show", which shows what Uranus and Neptune are doing during SuperS, and Chibiusa's Adventure! The Dreaded Vampire Castle" which has the Sailor Senshi fight a vampire and is loosely based on a manga side-story.
  • Fist of the North Star has the original 1986 movie, which was basically a Bloodier and Gorier big-budget version of the earlier TV series produced by Toei (who also did the TV series); the Legends of the True Savior movies from the late 2000's, which also retold events from the manga, but with new story elements; and the Live Action Adaptation.
  • The Cowboy Bebop movie is a Non-Serial Movie, although the fandom also has alternate speculations about it.
    • It does fit in passably, considering the episodic nature of Cowboy Bebop - a reasonably long amount of time could pass between any two given episodes.
    • Given that Big Shots is still on, but we see a cameo of Andy as a ronin instead of a cowboy (which happened at the end of the episode he was in) it'd easily take place between episodes 22 and 23.
      • Word of God stated that the movie is meant to show us the Bebop crew's last full mission together, before Ed's departure and Spike's death. That places it squarely in between episodes 23 and 24.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society is effectively the show's "Third Gig", although it only occupies one film rather than a whole series. It shows. (Not in a directly bad way, it's just glaringly apparent.) There are also two movies, "The Laughing Man" and "The Individual Eleven", which are basically compilations from the two original season arc episodes. These two films have been criticised for compressing the plots so much that they are hard to follow, and also for the fact that the English dubs were not performed by the actors who dubbed the series.
  • The sequel movie to Martian Successor Nadesico is an example of an anime Grand Finale, despite not actually concluding anything.
  • Be Invoked, the Grand Finale (of sorts) for Space Runaway Ideon. Also known as "the worst Kill'Em All in the history of mankind".
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha The Movie 1st retells the first season of the series and is described by Seven Arcs as a "new parallel history".
    • Though if you go by the related sound stage, it's apparently an actual movie in story...
  • Pretty Cure has roughly one movie of this sort per series. (If Hikari hadn't been in the first movie, it would have been exactly one per series.) Like the Sailor Moon movies mentioned above, all of them are disconnected from the parent series' plots but seem to take place somewhere along the way.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann had two movies: Gurren Chapter and Lagann Chapter that were essentially summaries of the original series with new animation put in. Don't let that fool you though. In Gurren-hen the beginning of the movie shows Lord Genome's rise to Spiral Knight and fall to despotic tyrant. Then it's pretty much the same until: Adine, Guame, Cytomander, and the new general: Viral (Yes that Viral, complete with his own Enkidu-daiganzan) all attack the Dai Gurren-dan at once. Simon later snaps out of his wangst after trying to climb Suzaku to save Nia. (Suzaku is at least a mile in the air at this point) The generals then combine their mechs to form the Dai-Gan Doten-Kaizan which falls after a combined attack by the entire Dai Gurren-dan (GIGA DRILL BREAKER! DAI GURREN-DAN SHOOT) Lagann-hen then takes the last episode of the series and raises it to the power of itself after: The ENTIRE Dai Gurren-dan (Only Kittan died, the rest of the Mauve Shirts survived) get their own Tengen Toppa Ganmen. (Even Nia) After Lord Genome converts the Big Band Storm all of the ganmen combine to form SUPER Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. From Super Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann's drill comes Tengen Toppa's drill. From Tengen Toppa's drill comes Chouginga Gurren-Lagann's drill. From Chouginga's drill comes Arc Gurren-Lagann's drill. And from Arc's drill comes Gurren-Lagann. Viral does a Cannonball Attack. And then Simon and the Anti-Spiral fistfight. Then Simon turns his own blood into a drill and goes straight through the Anti-Spiral.
  • Of the dozen or so movies in the Gundam franchise, Chars Counterattack, Mobile Suit Gundam F91 and the Gundam 00 movie are so far the only The Movies, while the rest are Compilation Movies of the various series and OVAs. However, SEED and Destiny may be getting a movie at some point in the future.
  • Slayers has five Non Serial Movies, but only the first is considered The Movie. Drawn to the mysterious resort island of Mipross by dreams planted in her head by the ancient wizard Rowdy Gabriev, Lina and Naga get involved in a battle against a demon named Joyrock that culminates in Lina being sent back in time to kill him before he could slaughter the elves of Mipross, an act that is stated to be directly responsible for the existence of Lina's companion Gourry Gabriev.
  • The movie version of X 1999 was produced when the manga was still beginning. Because of this, many plot elements were over-simplified or cut-out completely, with one of the antagonists (Kakyo Kuzuki, who was yet to be introduced in the manga when the movie was made) being replaced with a new character (Shogo Asagi). The movie sets aside the conflict between the individual Heavenly Dragons and Earth Dragons to focus more on the relationship between the childhood trio of Kamui, Fuma, and Kotori.
  • The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, based on the light novel of the same name, was released 2010.
  • Gintama will now have a movie adaptation of the fan-favorite Benizakura Arc.
  • Eureka Seven has an alternate continuity movie which re-writes everyone's back story and motivations. It is connected to the series though.
  • Doraemon will have more than 30 movies in a year or two, but since the story doesn't have a real ending nor it has any development, plus what most of what the studio's doing nowaday is to remake em'all for new genaration's kids. All Doraemon movies (except some short movies and spinoffs) are considered not the Non-Serial Movie
  • Fate/stay night got a movie based on one of the routes in the game: Unlimited Blade Works. Like all anime adaptation movies, some things were cut, some scenes were changed, and some others possibly enhanced.
  • Sundome was adapted into four live-action movies.
  • Dragon Ball has had 17 movies released theatrically in Japan (4 for Dragon Ball, 13 for Dragon Ball Z). The majority of them do not fit into the series continuity and are usually basic re-imaginings of the series sagas (Movie 7 featured three more androids made by Dr. Gero. Sound familiar?). In addition to these, there were 3 made for TV movies (that do fit into the series continuity), 2 OVAs and 3 live-action adaptations (with only one being more or less official).
  • K-On! now has a movie planned for release in early 2012. Oddly enough, it supposedly takes place in the middle of the already-completed second season.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica is getting three: A two part Compilation Movie of the anime followed by a movie-length continuation.


Fan Works[edit | hide]

  • Neon Exodus Evangelion, despite being a fanfic, has a The Movie, set after the episodes and wrapping everything up with an epic fight scene.


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Doctor Who had two films starring Peter Cushing as 'Dr. Who' (his real name) which took place outside the series' continuary. A canon film was the 1996 Paul McGann TV movie, which was an attempt to get the show back on track after its original 1989 canceling.
  • The X-Files used its first movie to further its storyline, although it mostly used the medium to reveal important secrets of the Government Conspiracy. By contrast, The X-Files: I Want to Believe has nothing to do with the Myth Arc, so it's more of a Non-Serial Movie.
  • Firefly spawned a theatrical film, Serenity, which tied up most (but not all) of the dangling threads from the short-lived series. Universally known to fandom as the Big Damn Movie. Fan Fiction even uses this to help identify the time frame: Post Show Pre BDM, Post BDM, No BDM. There are some that are Post BDM + AU.
  • The 1970s Speculative Fiction series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century found its pilot released to theatres rather than broadcast.
    • This was also the case for the original Battlestar Galactica Classic, at least in Canada and Europe.
      • ...and In America! Where it appeared in some theaters ... in Sensurround!
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 's movie was actually shorter than any episode of the TV series - having apparently had a few of the 'host segments' cut right out just prior to release - and featured slightly dumbed-down riffing (i.e. fewer obscure references, more crude language) as well as an actually tolerable movie (This Island Earth, considered by many to be a sci-fi classic) at the behest of guess who. This is not to say the movie isn't still pretty funny.
    • This Island Earth was itself edited down significantly for use in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 movie which- even including the new footage- still ran almost 15 minutes shorter than the original film.
  • Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation have had 10 films between them—six of the former and four of the latter. In a more conventional way of speaking, however, the first one (Star Trek: The Motion Picture) was the The Movie for TOS and the seventh and first unnumbered one (Star Trek Generations) for TNG—the sequels to them essentially icing on the The Movie cake, allowing their respective shows to basically continue well past their final TV episodes and to engage in the Grand Finales they didn't have during their original run. Then again, if you have not heard about the "even-odd rule"... basically, there is a strange pattern in which the even-numbered films are (in general) better than the odd-numbered films. The result is that the second TOS film, The Wrath of Khan, is usually considered their best, and the second TNG film (movie #8) First Contact, is also considered the quintessential TNG film, distilling all that was best in their respective series. Still, their first movie outings still had that "The Movie" effect, where everything was a shiny new movie set focusing more on "wow, we're actually in a theatrical film now". Of course, of the four TNG films - movies #7 through #10 - #7 and #9 fell victim to the odd-numbered rule (though #9 is more like a pleasant stand-alone, the cast officially thinks its boring), and #10 so Nemesis officially broke the "even numbered Trek films are great" rule (the cast openly stated that "it sucked"), First Contact was the only TNG film universally accepted as a great entry.
  • The Sixties' Batman series had a theatrical film (Batman: The Movie) between the first and second seasons, featuring the Joker, Penguin, Riddler, and Catwoman as a Legion of Doom.
  • McHale's Navy spawned two movies during its run as a TV series in the early 1960s; then The Film of the Series in 1997 attempted to tell an "after-the-series" story mainly by ignoring the show's WWII roots and throwing in a Cold War Retcon.
  • The Naked Gun series of films continue the adventures of the short-lived series Police Squad!!. The combined running-length of the three films is 253 minutes, over an hour and a half more screen-time than the six-episode series which you've probably never seen or heard of.
  • Gilligan's Island had three Made For TV Movies, in addition to its two Animated Adaptations.
    • Rescue From Gilligan's Island had the cast finally escape the island, struggle to reintegrate into normal life, and finally become shipwrecked on the island once again during a reunion cruise.
    • The Castaways on Gilligan's Island saw them escape yet again, but return to open a holiday resort. This was intended to be the pilot for a Spin-Off that never eventuated.
    • The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island saw, you guessed it, The Harlem Globetrotters crash landing on the island before helping to thwart the schemes of a Mad Scientist who wants the island for its rich energy supply. The issue is, naturally, settled in a basketball match between The Globetrotters and the Mad Scientist's robotic team.
  • Noah's Arc: Jumping the Broom, the movie about Wade and Noah's wedding (and the craziness that precedes it).
  • After already being a spinoff of the original Stargate movie, once Stargate SG-1 was canceled, the major plot of the ninth and tenth seasons was brought to a climax in the movie Stargate: The Ark of Truth. This was then followed by a sequel called Stargate: Continuum. Further movies were apparently planned, including another SG-1 movie, an SGA movie, and an SGU movie, but these have since devolved into Development Hell if not cancelled altogether.
  • Numerous British Sit Coms of the 1970s had movie spinoffs, featuring the original cast and (usually) writers, but filmed on different sets and locations. These films typically featured the cast going on a bus trip, or a cheap foreign holiday, and generally had poor reviews. Examples include:
  • Thunderbirds: The series was followed by two theatrical movies, which were unexpected box-office flops.
  • In one of the largest dichotomies in this trope, the otherwise-cheery and humorous Sesame Street had Follow That Bird, a full-length Tear Jerker of a film that delves into much darker territory of family, loss, and self-identity than anything that ever showed up in the normal show. This was followed over a decade later by Elmo in Grouchland.
  • Some '80s US sitcoms had made for TV extensions:
    • Family Ties Vacation sends the cast to Merrie Olde England after Alex wins a summer scholarship to Oxford.
    • The Facts of Life had more than one of these: The Facts of Life Goes to Paris sends Mrs. Garrett and the girls to France, while The Facts of Life Down Under sends them to Australia. There was also a reunion movie about a decade after the show ended.
  • Several movie-length Reunion Shows not yet mentioned:
    • Leave It to Beaver had a reunion movie (Still the Beaver) which led to a new series (titled, creatively enough, The New Leave It To Beaver) in the '80s. It also had a very forgettable theatrical version, with a whole new cast and set in more modern times, in 1997.
    • The Brady Bunch had two reunion movies The Brady Girls Get Married, A Very Brady Christmas. Each of these spawned a short-lived series (The Brady Brides, The Bradys).
    • The Andy Griffith Show (Return to Mayberry)
    • Eight Is Enough: A Family Reunion
    • I Dream of Jeannie: 15 Years Later
      • Also, I Still Dream of Jeannie
    • The Love Boat: A Valentine Voyage
    • Back to the Streets of San Francisco
    • Several Rockford Files movies in the '90s.
  • Lizzie McGuire and its Spiritual Successor Hannah Montana both have one.
  • Columbo started as an ABC Mystery Movie of the Week, then spawned a TV series, then spawned even more TV Movies!
  • Sex and the City took 4 years to get the movie out. Originally planned for the year after, but Kim Cattrall wanted more money for the work. (and who can blame her?) So it dragged on for a while until Kim got a deal.
  • British political satire The Thick of It spawned In the Loop, in which the action transferred to the US and most of the actors played different characters.
  • The new Battlestar Galactica got two of these in Direct To DVD form: Razor and The Plan. Razor is a Midquel and The Plan is a POV Sequel. Each focuses on a troubled villainous character, Admiral Helena Cain and Brother John Cavil, respectively.
  • Get Smart had planned to make a full-length movie, which instead became the three-episode story arc "A Man Called Smart". Way after the series ended, there was a bad movie, a made-for-tv movie, and another 2008 movie.
  • The Gong Show Movie.
  • The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse, in which all the characters became Refugees From TV Land, and enacted a terrible revenge on the writer-performers.
  • Power Rangers got two movies during the height of their popularity. The first is a non-canon film based on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. It introduced early the ninja powers they would be using for Season 3 (which later formed their own story arc on how they got those powers). The second was used to introduce the Power Rangers Turbo series. This one was part of the TV show's continuity.
  • On the Japanese end of things, every year (since the early 2000s) there's a Super Sentai / Kamen Rider double-feature, with the Sentai movie getting about half the screen time the Rider movies get. (In contrast to America, where toku adaptations can be divided into the categories of "Power Rangers" and "everyone else" when it comes to audiences outside the toku fandom, Kamen Rider is much bigger than Super Sentai in Japan.)
  • Monty Python refilmed a bunch of their TV sketches and released it in 1972 as And Now For Something Completely Different. It became must-see viewing on the midnight movie circuit.
  • Our Miss Brooks had a theatrical movie at the end of its run. Miss Brooks finally marries Love Interest Mr. Boynton. She also spends much of her time tutoring a Lonely Rich Kid
  • Studio 3's Bitcom segment of shorts became popular enough to get its own 40-minute Spin-Off special, Bitcom And The Oblivion Ray.


Music[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]