Why Do We Watch Crisis Movies?


Crisis films are one of the most popular types of action films. They resonate globally and generally do well at the box office.

The hallmark of crisis movies is that they always center around some kind of seemingly insurmountable threat. Sometimes it’s known, sometimes it isn’t. They demonstrate the resilience and courage of the human spirit. Even in the face of rampant destruction, there is always a glimmer of hope at the end when we start to rebuild our lives. The greater the crisis, the more positive the outcome in our lives.

Crisis movies are also a metaphor for lessons we need to learn. They show how we handle major external problems in our lives while dealing with our internal crises. They force us to rethink what is important in our lives and ultimately evolve from a state of selfishness to one of compassion.

Gods have severely punished humanity’s excessive arrogance, greed and non-righteousness in various mythologies.

The A story in crisis movies always focuses on the external crisis itself, while the B story focuses on the inner turmoil of the main character. This often involves correcting a past wrong and taking a second chance at resolving a previous bad decision they made. This includes repairing a broken relationship, accepting a situation, or letting go of what no longer serves them. A crisis isn’t necessarily always a negative event despite the loss and destruction caused.

In Chinese culture, crises are seen as a hidden opportunity by diverting our attention from the status quo and forcing us to rethink  and redefine our futures.

In Judeo Christian culture, the fable of Noah’s Ark serves to reset humanity after they had lost their spiritual way and needed to start again. There is always sunshine after a storm.

In Eastern cultures, crises are considered essential for growth. The pain and hardship is temporary. It will end and our lives will become more righteous and happier. Crisis is the death and destruction phase of the birth, life death paradigm.

While it’s entertaining to watch and endless array of CGI generated death and destruction, don’t forget the emotional underpinnings of crisis movies. Happy writing!

For in depth Film & TV script analysis visit Script Firm.

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