11 Movie Cliches You Couldn't Live Without

Cool guys don't look at explosions.

X Men Origins Wolverine Explosion

Movie cliches are only cliches because, for a time, they were effective screenwriting tools that proved popular with audiences.

Nowadays it might be easy to scoff at the rom-com where everything could be solved by a single conversation, thrillers where grainy surveillance footage is incredulously "enhanced" to crystal clear quality, and people saying "hello? hello!?" to a phone's dead dial tone, but these things are cliches for a reason: audiences respond to them.

Not all cliches make audiences groan or roll their eyes, though: in fact, sometimes viewers are oddly fond and even protective of them, and while you probably won't see these things happening in next year's Oscar winner, they can serve the greatest purpose of all: to entertain.

It's hard not to smile whenever these tropes show up, primarily in the action, adventure and horror genres, and because they're tried and tested facets of film narrative, they won't be going away anytime soon.

Here are 11 movie cliches you couldn't live without...

11. Henchmen Who Can't Shoot Straight

X Men Origins Wolverine Explosion

The Cliche: Anyone who's ever seen more than two or three action movies knows this one: the fleet of villainous henchmen fire everything they've got at the hero, but they never once manage to hit him, while he can conversely take each of them out with a single, well-placed shot.

It's most memorably associated with Star Wars' Stormtroopers, but has also appeared in a ton of action movies, notably the James Bond franchise and almost to the point of self-parody in the Arnold Schwarzenegger cheese classic Commando.

Why It's Awesome: If the bad guys were good shots, there probably wouldn't be much of a movie, given that in these scenarios the hero is almost always grossly outnumbered, and 200 henchmen with even half-way decent aim would inevitably kill the protagonist.

Instead, their terrible aim will often result in prolonged sequences of mass slaughter as the hero metes out heroic bloodshed, and who doesn't love that?


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.