Interpreting classic movies via Campbell's "Hero with 1000 Faces" monomyth

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?

In my senior year of High School the teacher used ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ as an example of the monomyth.

The only part I really remember from the discussion was that Luke’s separation from his friends (going to Dagobah, then facing Vader) was an impotant part. But I don’t see where it fits in with the above breakdowns.

Great analysis in both cases, particularly for Casablanca, which is not usually considered a “hero journey” story. A couple of points/quibbles:

I don’t think that “Rebel forces intervene” during the escape from the Death Star; the Falcon fights off the TIE fighters themselves, then jump to hyperspace (they were, in fact, allowed to go–the Imperials planted a tracking device on the Falcon, and the pursuit was just for show).

The letters of transit, though unquestionably a McGuffin, don’t seem to qualify as a classic example of “Supernatural Aid” (though it’s been over a decade since I read THWATF); maybe it qualifies under the book’s definition.

"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. "

The first half of that statement us undoubtedly true, the second half is highly debatable. Rick isn’t staying in Casablanca; at the end he and Louis explicitly state that they’re headed to Brazzaville to join the Free French garrison. Rick is definitely losing the life he has made for himself in Casablanca–that’s why he sells the Café Americain to Señor Ferrari (Sydney Greenstreet, the “fat hypocrite” who owns the Blue Parrot). But this is more than made up for by the “Freedom to Live” part of the equation: Rick is back in the fight and will have his place in the victorious Free World to come.

Nevertheless, an excellent job reading the symbolism. One of the reasons I love
Casablanca is the fact that the story is a metaphor for the then-current geopolitical situation. (Technically, current when the play “Everybody Comes to Rick’s” opened, prior to the USA’s entry into the war in '41; the movie came along in '43, when the battle against isolationism had already been won.) Every time I watch it I really dig the multiple levels to the story.

Got almost no responses to this thread on Monday, but perhaps it was because it’s too analytical for a Monday afternoon topic. Thus, I’m ressurecting it for one more go around. I’ll even plug in another flick:

Taxi Driver:
Call to Adventure - Travis becomes obsessed with Betsy and asks her out on a date. This is a twist on the subject - rather than having some outside force entice him to embark on an ‘adventure’, Travis himself seeks out an adventure, in a desperate effort to break out of his lonely, solitary existence.
Refusal of the Call - Betsy is repulsed by Bickle and refuses to have anything to do with him.
Supernatural Aid - Another twist on the category; rather than being aided by someone else, Travis has a run-in Iris, a teenaged prostitute whom he believes is in need of help. Travis also picks up a strung-out fare who rants about his wife having an affair, and how he intends to kill his wife’s lover to punish her. (This plants in Travis’s mind the idea of killing Sen. Palatine to ‘get even’ with Betsy - since she works for his re-election campaign.)
Crossing the First Threshold - Travis throws himself into ‘training’ for his mission to assassinate Senator Palatine.
Belly of the Beast - According to Scorsese himself, the dark heart of the film is a scene in which Travis desperately tries to call Betsy from a pay phone in his apartment building lobby, and learns she refuses to take his calls. This is the event that pushes him over the edge from fantasizing about unleashing his rage, to actually trying to carry out acts of violence.
Road of Trials - Travis’s assassination attempts are frustrated by secret service men. He realizes he won’t ever get his chance to get close enough to Palatine to shoot him.
Meeting with the Goddess - Travis has a ‘session’ with Iris; he pours out his feelings to her. Although she assures him that she likes living with her boyfriend / pimp, she also appreciates Travis’s desire to ‘rescue’ her, and isn’t condescending toward him like Betsy.
Woman as Temptress - Same as above (Iris is a hooker after all).
Atonement with the Father - Travis tries to intimidate Sport (Iris’s pimp) - and while ‘Sport’ is hardly a father figure, he is a twisted authority figure since he holds Iris under his thumb. Of course, Sport humiliates Travis.
Apotheosis - Travis speaking to himself in the mirror (the key bit of dialogue being (paraphrasing) “You talkin’ to me? Cuz there’s nobody else here!” - Travis acknowledges to himself that he’s all alone in his lonely little world. Neither Betsy, nor Iris, nor anybody else really cares about him.)
the Ultimate Boon - Travis goes on a bloody rampage in order to ‘save’ Iris…
Refusal of the Return - …but Iris doesn’t necessarilly want to be rescued by this murdering lunatic. (still more twists on the familiar category.)
Magical Flight - n/a
Rescue from Without - n/a
Crossing the Return Threshold - Following the shootout, Travis is hailed as a hero by the press, by Iris & her family, by his fellow cabbies…and by a suddenly very smitten Betsy! But…
Master of Two Worlds - Travis’s life is now so happy, he has no need of Betsy anymore. When she tries to come onto him in his cab, he brushes her off.
Freedom to Live - I’ve read analyses of the film suggesting that Travis actually dies in his shootout with Sport, and that the final scenes of the film are actually his own dying fantasy. Whether the final scenes “actually happened” or are only in Travis’ mind, the point is he’s now become ‘somebody’, a celebrity whom people respect and women desire.

I’m thinking the Taxi Driver analysis is a little too tortured to really fit Campbell’s hero framework. You’re really stretching in some places remain within the structure of the monomyth. But maybe you could create your own paradigm and write a book about that–something like, “The Anti-hero With A Couple Of Different Haircuts.”

Just kidding. Or maybe not…

Anyway, I’ll give it a shot, playing the game with The Princess Bride (perhaps the only movie I know well enough to try this).

Call to Adventure - Westley leaves the farm to gain his fortune and win the right to be with Buttercup.

Refusal of the Call - Westley’s ship is captured by the Dread Pirate Roberts, thus thwarting his intention to make it big in the wide world.

Supernatural Aid - On the brink of execution, Westley’s appeal to the DPR strikes the old man’s fancy, though he’ll still probably kill him in the morning.

Crossing the First Threshold - Westley survives being the DPR’s captive, eventually becoming his friend and successor.

Belly of the Beast - Westley’s years as the DPR, during which he hones his skills, becoming a master swordsman, brilliant strategist, medieval fashionista (his fetching black mask) and develops an immunity to iocaine powder.

Road of Trials - Duh–Westley’s pursuit of and ultimate triumph over Buttercup’s captors.

Woman as Temptress - The spat between Westley and Buttercup on the ridge above the ravine. Westley is momentarily “thrown off his game” by Buttercup’s shrewishness and his angry response.

Atonement with the Father - Westley submits to Prince Humperdinck and Count Rugen, and gets the Pit of Despair and The Machine for his troubles, thank you very much.

Apotheosis - The moment of Ultimate Suffering–i.e., Humperdinck kills Westley–which Inigo recognizes as being Westley’s death cry.

Rescue From Without - Inigo and Fezzik make their way into the Pit of Despair and retrieve Westley’s dead body. Excuse me; mostly dead body.

Magical Flight - With the help of Miracle Max, Inigo and Fezzik resurrect Westley.

Refusal of the Return - Westley briefly loses hope when confronted by the realities of storming the castle. Fortunately, Fezzik has a holocaust cloak!

Crossing the Return Threshold - Westley and the others literally cross the threshold, entering the castle after Yellin wisely decides not to have his arms torn off.

Master of Two Worlds - The ultimate confrontation between Westley and Humperdinck, wherein it is indisputably determined that the Prince is a coward and a knave.

Freedom to Live - Westley and Buttercup escape and ride off into the sunset to live happily ever after, and occasionally shuffle the “history’s best kisses” rankings.

I think I left out a step or two, and I may have fudged the order a bit, but I think that fits rather nicely.

I don’t remember all the details from the New Testament, but can’t this be applid on JC as well?