Breaking the Fourth Wall Supercut

by
in Filmmaker Videos
on Apr 24, 2013

I couldn’t make it through House of Cards for one reason: Kevin Spacey’s asides to me, the viewer. Yes, I know it’s from Richard III. But I still found the device insufferable.

But it’s hardly something that’s never been done before. There’s plenty of good instances of breaking the fourth wall in films, and many of them — as well as some not-so-good examples — are included in filmmaker Leigh Singer’s supercut, posted above.

Writes Singer:

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….

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).