Story Plot Breakdown: Why Do These 7 Common Movie Plots Stay Popular?

Story Plot Breakdown

Is there such a thing as the greatest story that hasn’t ever been told? When we look at movies over time the answer is probably no. This doesn’t mean that you can’t write an amazing script that will one day be turned into a blockbuster hit.

There is an old adage that says there is nothing new under the sun. Therefore, don’t spend your time trying to recreate the wheel. Take the tools and knowledge you have at your disposal to work on a story plot that is unique.

Write the story from a different angle with strong characters and an interesting backstory. We are in a digital age where there is a high demand for content and streaming services are opening doors for creators.

Are you looking to write a screenplay worthy of an Oscar nomination? Keep reading for seven common movie plots that every writer should know.

What Makes a Good Story Plot?

There are several key ingredients to a successful story plot. The most important one is creating a dilemma that your audiences are invested in seeing resolved.  

We all know that every story needs a protagonist and an antagonist to provide balance. This requires some form of tension or conflict that needs to be resolved by the end of the movie.

The central characters need a backstory that bridges the connection between the other characters. Too many players that don’t align with the main point of the movie can be distracting.

There are other things that can separate a movie from others like it.


The location of your story can sometimes make or break a great plot. The setting for a movie is an extension of the cast. You can’t have an authentic movie centered around the character’s love of the beach or ocean but have the story set in Iowa. 


When writing about a popular theme, one way to give it a nudge is by changing the cast of characters. In the era of inclusiveness, diversity is important so don’t be afraid to create characters that go against what’s typically expected.


Sometimes a storyline is written to target a certain demographic. This could be based on race, location, nationality, gender, or social class. When writing these types of plots, you want to be careful not to offend.

Now let’s look at the most reliable themes for movies today.

1. The Real-life Overcomer

When it comes to movie genres, the real-life overcomer is a special movie that isn’t as common as it should be. In this story plot, the writer has uncovered a true story that he feels the world needs to hear about.

It can be the life of a historical figure like King George VI. The movie The King’s Speech won Best Picture at the Academy Awards, among numerous others.  Or it could be a made for television movie on the life of one of the greatest gymnasts of all time. 

The success of these compelling movies is they tell the story of triumph and overcoming diversity. Audiences love them because at some point we all need a little inspiration and a belief that our own lives can be changed in an instance. 

2. As Seen in the News

Similar to the real-life overcomer, as seen in the news movie genres are based on actual people and events. How they differ is the story plots are usually very dramatic and there is a chance the hero of the movie does not have a happy ending.

The basis of the movie is to reenact something that made the news headlines and held people captive as they tuned in to see the resolution.

To make this form of writing work for you, it will require a lot of research. You will also have to pay very close attention to details. The story plot is based on factual events. Therefore, viewers will know whether the script is authentic.

When dealing with stories based on real events you will also have to take into account where the even took place. You’ll also need to study the main players and the root cause of what led to the event.

3. The Romantic Comedy

Two things we all need in our lives is love and laughter. For this reason alone the romantic comedy is a sure-fire story plot that will survive the test of time. 

In 2019 Vogue magazine compiled a list of the 65 best romantic comedies but conceded, there is no “best” romantic comedy. Why…because all romantic comedies serve their purpose. 

The key to a successful rom-com is to have very likable and funny actors to bring life to the plot. Next, you need to deliver a storyline full of calamity and mishaps.

Through these what can happen next moments, there needs to be a game of cat and mouse because the pursuer can’t win until the end of the movie. The pursuit isn’t relegated to one town.

It is more intriguing when the love interest leads him or her from city-to-city or to another country.

4. The Mystical Magical Place

When we think of mystical magical places, movies like Harry Potter and The Wizard of Oz came to mind. To write these types of movie plots you’ll need a very active and creative imagination.

Although these movies were film adaptations of popular books, they had to be converted from 100s, if not 1,000 pages of text. To create a screenplay the book has to be reduced to a script that can be turned into a movie in the two to three-hour range.

Successfully making this transformation can be some of the ultimate challenges for any writer. The creative mind has to envision the scenery and present enough imagery to bring life to the visual presentation that will become the movie.

The best part of writing this type of story plot is you can allow your imagination to run wild. Nothing in your story has to be real or realistic. You have the creative freedom to make the characters and the conflict whatever you want it to be.

5. An Almost Impossible Mission

Global box office revenues hit a record $41.1 billion in revenue. When we look at the top ten grossing movies of 2019 we see a pattern. Five were sequels to successful action-packed franchises. 

These screenwriters have mastered the technique or writing suspenseful stories that leave us on the edge of our seats and wanting more. If you line up each of the installments you’d see that they all follow the same formula.

  • Likable main characters
  • A conflict that needs to be solved
  • Lot’s of fast-moving action 
  • Disposable characters
  • A hero who lives to fight another day

The other movies included four animations and one stand-alone suspense thriller.

An almost impossible mission is an action-packed movie that is fast-paced. The main character can be an antagonist, protagonist or both. You’ll have a balance of good vs. evil, but evil can prevail.

The ultimate goal is to get the audience to either love the main character or really hate the main character. Either way, they are sold on what is being offered and will patiently await the next installment.

6. The Guy Get’s the Girl or Vice Versus

Not exactly the rom-com so many people love. In this movie genre, there is a point of tension that connects two people. In the beginning, the tension can be between the two individuals. It is a traumatic event that ultimately places them on the same team.

Throughout the movie, they work together to solve a conflict or mystery. As the movie moves along the two grow an alliance that eventually turns into a love connection.

The more action written into the story plot, the more tension is built between the two. By the end of the movie, there is no denying their chemistry.

The climax is when the main characters realize what the audience has felt from the first scene. They were meant to be together.

7. Where’s the Kleenex

Death is something many people want to avoid but the perfect ending for story plots meant to make us cry.

In these movies the evitable is inevitable. Our most beloved character will not get out alive. The strength of these movies is getting the viewer to make a connection with someone they know they will lose in the end.

Tear-jerkers are meant to touch the humanity and empathy in the viewing audience. To make the storyline work you need a fractured family structure that is mended by a traumatic event that brings them together. 

In loss, the fracture is healed for the common good of everyone remaining.

Have You Found Your Muse?

The perfect story plot is inside of you waiting to be brought to light. These seven strategies can help you bring it out.

Once you’re done writing the screenplay, the hard part comes. This is where  Storyfit comes into play. We provide you with the tools you’ll need to get noticed.

Are you ready to talk? Click here to learn about tailored solutions for your project and the amazing outcomes we can help you obtain.

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