Plot points are pretty simple in concept for screenwriters who have been studying the craft for awhile, but they can be a bit confusing for newer writers. So today we have a reference sheet of example plot points from a variety of movies to help drive the point home. Study the list and add to it from the movies that you know and love best. Now write down what the plot points for YOUR script are.
1. JAWS: The first shark attack is reported.
2. THE SIXTH SENSE: The boy sees his first dead person.
3. LEGALLY BLONDE: Elle’s fiancee breaks off the engagement.
4. THE HANGOVER: The gang realizes that Doug is missing.
5. BRUNO: Bruno is fired and blacklisted in Austria.
6. DIE HARD: Terrorists storm the building.
7. VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA: Vicky and Cristina learn about Juan Antonio’s sordid past.
8. PRETTY WOMAN: Edward hires Vivian to drive him to his hotel.
9. THE TRUMAN SHOW: Truman begins discovering abnormalities in his world.
10. GOOD WILL HUNTING: Professor Lambeau finds the answer to a complex math problem written anonymously on a chalkboard.
First Plot Point:
1. JAWS: A child is killed by the shark, and a reward is announced.
2. ALIEN: The crew discovers an alien (which attaches to Kane’s helmet).
3. LEGALLY BLONDE: Elle starts college, but gets kicked out of a class.
4. VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA: Vicky and Cristina spend the weekend with Juan Antonio.
5. TROPIC THUNDER: The actors are dropped into the jungle.
6. WHATEVER WORKS: Boris agrees to let Melody live with him.
7. PRETTY WOMAN: Edward hires Vivian to spend the night.
8. THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS: Buffalo Bill abducts a Senator’s daughter.
9. GOOD WILL HUNTING: Will agrees to study math and see a therapist instead of jail.
10. YOU DON’T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN: Zohan lands a job at a Palestinian-owned hair salon.
1. ALIEN: The creature jumps out of Kane’s chest, killing him.
2. VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA: Maria Elena moves in with Cristina and Juan Antonio.
3. THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN: Andy finally asks Trish out.
4. DIE HARD: John steals Hans’s walkie talkie and taunts Hans, making it personal.
5. CRASH: John apologizes to Shaniqua, Tom is reassigned, Graham and Ria discover a break in their case, when they learn a crooked cop is involved.
6. WHATEVER WORKS: Boris and Melody get married.
7. PRETTY WOMAN: Edward and Vivian go on a series of real dates and actually fall in love.
8. TRANSFORMERS: Sam’s car turns into a transformer in front of his eyes.
9. YOU DON’T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN: Zohan’s true identity is revealed and terrorists begin targeting him.
10. BACK TO THE FUTURE: Doc tells Marty that he must get his parents back together to save himself and the future.
Second Plot Point:
1. DIE HARD: Hans regains control of the detonators.
2. THE DARK KNIGHT: The Joker places explosives on the ferries.
3. BRUNO: Bruno tells Lutz that he doesn’t love him, and Lutz leaves.
4. TWILIGHT: James attacks and almost kills Bella.
5. THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN: Steve panics at the thought of having sex with Trish, and they break up.
6. THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS: Hannibal Lecter kills his keepers and escapes from prison.
7. THE TRUMAN SHOW: Meryl (Truman’s wife) is taken off the show.
8. GOOD WILL HUNTING: Will breaks up with Skylar and walks away from Professor Lambeau.
9. YOU DON’T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN: Zohan declares his love for Dalia, but she rejects him upon learning his true identity.
10. THE PRINCESS BRIDE: Wesley is tortured to death (although he is later revived).
Climactic battle scene:
1. DIE HARD: John kills Hans and rescues his wife.
2. LEGALLY BLONDE: Elle wins the case (and then turns down her ex’s proposal).
3. THE DARK KNIGHT: Batman stops Dent and saves Gordon’s son.
4. THE HANGOVER: The gang makes the exchange in the desert…only to get the wrong Doug.
5. BRUNO: Bruno participates in a cage fight and makes up with Lutz in the cage.
6. SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE: Jamal names the third musketeer and wins the grand prize.
7. PRETTY WOMAN: Edward stops Phil from raping Vivian.
8. THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS: Clarice rescues the Senator’s daughter and kills Buffalo Bill.
9. TRANSFORMERS: Sam kills Megatron during a giant battle between transformers and decepticons.
10. THE TRUMAN SHOW: Truman navigates through and survives the storm manufactured by Christof.