Joseph Campbell’s “Hero with 1000 Faces” monomyth blueprint was famously adopted by George Lucas to create the original “Star Wars” (“A New Hope” to all you young’ins out there who think of it as “the fourth installment.”) The steps in Campbell’s monomyth and the corresponding scenes (IMO) from SW’s break down as follows:
Call to Adventure - Luke discovers an SOS from Leia in R2D2’s databank, prompting him to seek out Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi.
Refusal of the Call - Luke initially wants nothing to do with Ben’s quest to rescue Leia, and turns down Ben’s offer to train him as a jedi (until Luke discovers his home, uncle & aunt have been torched by stormtroopers, that is.)
Supernatural Aid - Luke gets his own lightsaber (weapon). Luke, Obi-Wan & the droids enlist Han Solo & Chewbacca (assistants) to fly them to Dagobah in the Millenium Falcon (chariot).
Crossing the First Threshold - Luke & co. barely manage to take off from Mos Eisley before stormtroopers arrest them.
Belly of the Beast - the Falcon docks at the Death Star.
Road of Trials - Luke, Han & Chewie infiltrate the Death Star’s barracks to rescue Leia.
Meeting with the Goddess - Luke yanks Leia out of her holding cell.
Woman as Temptress - The kiss “for luck” as Luke & Leia are about to leap over the chasm (although Han is sorely “tempted” to leave Leia in the waste disposal room, no doubt.)
Atonement with the Father - Obi-Wan (Luke’s “father figure”) uses the Force to guide Luke & co. back to the Millenium Falcon’s docking bay.
Apotheosis - The duel between Obi-Wan (the light side) vs. Darth Vader (the dark side).
the Ultimate Boon - Obi-Wan sacrifices himself so that Luke & co. can escape.
Refusal of the Return - Luke almost doesn’t leave, Leia begs him to get onboard the Falcon.
Magical Flight - X-Wing fighters pursue the Millenium Falcon away from the Death Star.
Rescue from Without - Rebel forces intervene & pull the Falcon’s fat out of the frier.
Crossing the Return Threshold - Han tells Luke he intends to stay out of the rebel attack on the Death Star, and advises Luke to do the same (“go back to Tattooine farm boy.” - or words to that effect.) Of course, Han will have an 11th-hour change of heart…
Master of Two Worlds - Luke uses the Force to guide him during the final charge on the Death Star. He’s victorious, making him a hero to the rebel factions AND starting him down the road to becoming a true Jedi.
Freedom to Live - Leia decorates Luke & Han as heroes of the rebel alliance.
I’m wondering what other films fit this paradigm. Now, no doubt, there are posters who are already set to flame about how the monomyth paradigm only fits brain-dead, big-budget, overly-CGI’d Hollywood dreck churned out by hack screenwriters. I mightily disagree. In fact, IMO, the flicks with the best screenplays tend to fit Campbell’s outline, and the Hollywood dreck doesn’t.
Let’s take Casablanca for example:
Call to Adventure - Capt. Renault informs Rick that a French resistance-leader wanted by the Nazi’s will probably come to his cafe looking for help escaping Casablanca.
Refusal of the Call - Rick “sticks his neck out for no man.”
Supernatural Aid - the letters of transit are a magical macguffin / get-out-of-jail-free card if ever there was one.
Crossing the First Threshold - Victor Lazlo (the resistance leader on the run) does show up at Rick’s, with Ilsa (a woman from Rick’s past) in tow. (“Of all the gin joints in all the world…”)
Belly of the Beast - Rick’s drunken flashback, including the memory of being deserted by Ilsa at the train station for (seemingly) no good reason - it’s the moment that broke Rick’s spirit, and the event he can’t get over.
Road of Trials - Rick & Ilsa have several awkward encounters: Rick (still in his drunken self-pitying jag) tells Ilsa off. Later, Ilsa reveals that not only is she married to Victor now, but she was already married to Victor when she knew Rick in Paris.
Meeting with the Goddess - As Victor & Ilsa’s circumstances grow more desperate, Ilsa confronts Rick with a gun, demanding the letters of transit. Of course, she can’t carry out her threats against Rick of all men…
Woman as Temptress - Ilsa finally falls into Rick’s arms, telling him she loves him more than Lazlo. (“You have to do the thinking for both of us now!”)
Atonement with the Father - Although not exactly a “father figure”, Rick meets with (? - whatsisname?) who owns a rival drinking establishment about buying Rick’s cafe; it seems that Rick is making plans to skip town himself.
Apotheosis - Victor meets Rick and confides that he will surrender himself to the Nazi’s in order to ensure Ilsa’s safety. He asks Rick to take care of her.
the Ultimate Boon - Instead of taking off with Ilsa himself, Rick finally sticks his neck out for somebody - he gives Victor the letters of transit.
Refusal of the Return - At the airfield, Rick drops the bomb on Ilsa that he won’t be leaving Casablanca with her. (“We’ll always have Paris, baby!”)
Magical Flight - Victor & Ilsa’s plane takes off. Rick shoots Strasser rather than let him prevent Victor & Ilsa’s escape.
Rescue from Without - Renault refuses to arrest Rick for Strasser’s shooting (“Round up the usual suspects!”)
Crossing the Return Threshold - Rick & Renault saunter back to town together. (“This is the beginning of a beee-yooo-tiful friendship.”)
Master of Two Worlds - Rick has had closure with Ilsa and joined the cause of the resistance, all without having to give up the new life he’s created for himself in Casablanca.
Freedom to Live - Victor escapes to freedom, and the nazi’s are on the road to defeat because Rick (and symbolically the USA) have joined the struggle against them.
What other classic movies can you think of that fit Campbell’s outline?