Question by eric k: What are some prominent uses of the McGuffin plot device in contemporary cinema?
I know a lot of classic films used this conceit, the Maltese Falcon in the movie of that name, the papers in “Casablanca”, and of course Hitchcock worked and re-worked it throughout his career. A modern example that readily springs to mind is the mysterious briefcase in “Pulp Fiction”, but what are some more examples of the McGuffin in contemporary cinema?
Secondarily, why do you think this technique has fallen out of favor with screenwriters over the years? (if you think it has)
For those not familiar with the term, a McGuffin is something ostensibly of great value or importance that drives the action of a film (or book), but turns out to be merely a plot contrivance with little to no importance to the story. From wordiq.com: One example of a MacGuffin in Hitchcock’s movies is the uranium hidden in wine bottles in “Notorious”: it is the reason the story takes place, but it otherwise means nothing. The story could just as easily have used diamonds (which were in fact proposed as an alternative MacGuffin during production), gold or extraordinary rare wine as the plot device.
Thanks for your responses, movie lovers.
Answer by Scar Jokes
The mineral unobtainium in Avatar
The “government secrets” in North by Northwest
The case in Ronin
What do you think? Answer below!