19 of the Top MacGuffins in Popular Culture

19 of the Top MacGuffins in Popular Culture

For the few readers of Cracked that aren’t budding film majors, a MacGuffin is a term created by screenwriter Angus McPhail and popularized by talented director/creep Alfred Hitchcock that is reserved an object, device, or an event that drives the plot of a movie or TV show but serves no actually purpose aside from that.

A prime example is the Maltese Falcon in the classic film The Maltese Falcon. Sure, it’s the title and it seems important, but (SPOILERS FOR AN 80+ YEAR OLD MOVIE) it’s just a worthless item that motivated Sam Spade and all the other characters to interact together and turn itself into a movie. Sure, it’s a worthless prop, but it’s kind of the reason that caused tension or the call to adventure or whatever plot you wish to occur to happen in the first place.

Pop culture has a lot of MacGuffins that are great for various reasons, even if its importance is overblown.

The Briefcase in 'Pulp Fiction'

MacGuffins Pulp Fiction THE BRIEFCASE What's in the briefcase? It's never said in the movie and isn't even the primary focus, in spite of its mystery. Like a good MacGuffin, it's just an excuse for the characters to interact. CRACKED.COM

CBR

The Ruby Slippers in 'The Wizard of Oz'

MacGuffins The Wizard of Oz RUBY SLIPPERS The slippers are what The Wicked Witch of the West desires the most (well, that and revenge for her sister's death), but are mostly forgotten until Dorothy is told to click her heels together to get back home. CRACKED.COM

Oz Wiki

Milton's Red Stapler in 'Office Space'

MacGuffins 4210 % GRA Histories - - = 4210 % GRA Bendalle - - - - Office Space MILTON'S STAPLER While the iconic red stapler can be seen as just that, one can interpret it as a physical manifestation of Milton's pride that starts his path of quiet rage. Swinglina CRACKED.COM

CBR

The Triforce in 'The Legend of Zelda'

MacGuffins The Legend of Zelda THE TRIFORCE Most of the games in the series feature Link needing to assemble the Triforce at one point or another during the main quest, but it's just an excuse for Link, Zelda, and Ganon to get into conflicts. CRACKED.COM

Zelda Wiki

Rosebud in 'Citizen Kane'

MacGuffins Citizen Kane ROSEB A ROSEBUD Who or what is Rosebud? is the question that causes the journalist to interview all of the folks in Charles Foster Kane's life, but the story is focused on the man rather than on Rosebud. CRACKED.COM

Screen Rant

The Green Destiny in 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon'

MacGuffins Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon THE GREEN DESTINY Li Mu Bai's sword isn't really special, but is a symbol of his desire to give up the life of a warrior. Sometimes MacGuffins are objects and metaphors. CRACKED.COM

Paste Magazine

White Castle Hamburgers in 'Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle'

MacGuffins Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle - WHITE CASTLE HAMBURGERS The sliders are the driving force that sparks Harold and Kumar's quest, but it's just an excuse for the characters to go on a jokey journey. It would've been the same movie if it was Wendy's, Taco Bell, or any other fast food joint. (Not Panera Bread, though.) CRACKED.COM

IMDb

Marvin Acme's Will in 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit'

MacGuffins Who Framed Roger Rabbit DEARJESTY Auntino NOV ILOV en James the home time LET Me COUR del TWE WAYS one! National proyes and all Y His NITE MIT 21000 acc y ICW u too MARVIN ACME'S WILL It's the missing item that the plot sort of revolves around, but takes a backseat to the relationship conflicts between Eddie and toons, Roger and Jessica, and figuring out Judge Doom's master plan (plus Doom's big reveal). CRACKED.COM

Disney Wiki

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