Analysis of Inglorious Basterds

Summary In Nazi-occupied France, a French farmer and his family are visited by a German S.S. officer. The officer interrogates the farmer and reveals his mission to round up Jews hidden underneath their floorboards. The farmer, while secretly protecting the hidden family, provides information about another Jewish family. In another subplot, Lt. Aldo Raine recruits a team of Jewish-American soldiers to infiltrate enemy territory and kill Nazis. Shosanna, a cinema owner, encounters a German soldier who tries to engage her in conversation. Suspicious of his intentions, she realizes an opportunity to sabotage the Nazis' event at her cinema. The film climaxes with a grand plan to kill Hitler and high-ranking Nazis during a movie screening, resulting in the collapse of the theater and Germany's surrender. Lt. Aldo confronts Col. Landa and secures his surrender before carving a swastika into his forehead, marking the Basterds' victory.

Screenplay Story Analysis

Story Critique The plot/story of the screenplay is compelling and engaging, with well-defined character arcs and strong conflict. The interactions between the characters, particularly Col. Hans Landa and the French farmer Perrier, are intense and thought-provoking. The screenplay effectively captures the tension and uncertainty of Nazi-occupied France and creates a sense of urgency throughout the story. The portrayal of Lt. Aldo Raine and his team of Basterds adds an element of excitement and action to the plot. However, there are a few areas where the screenplay could be improved. The character arcs for some of the supporting characters, such as the German soldier and Major Hellstrom, could have been more fully developed to provide a deeper understanding of their motivations and beliefs. Additionally, the final decision made by Shosanna feels somewhat rushed and could have been foreshadowed earlier in the story. Overall, the plot/story of the screenplay is strong and engaging, but there are a few areas where it could have been further developed.
Suggestions: To improve the plot/story of the screenplay, the screenwriter could consider adding more depth to the supporting characters. This could be achieved through additional scenes or dialogue that explore their motivations and backgrounds. Furthermore, foreshadowing Shosanna's final decision earlier in the story would make it feel more organic and impactful. Additionally, the screenwriter could consider enhancing the pacing and tightening the narrative to ensure a consistently captivating and engaging story from beginning to end.

Note: This is the overall critique. For scene by scene critique click here

Characters in the screenplay, and their arcs:


Colonel Hans Landa is a cunning and ruthless German S.S. officer. He is intelligent, calculating, and manipulative. Known as 'the Jew Hunter', he uses his wit and violence to eliminate his enemies without any mercy. He holds great power over the people he interrogates and can be very intimidating. Col. Landa is portrayed as a formidable antagonist in the movie.


Perrier is a French farmer, initially polite and cautious when visited by the S.S. officer. He becomes determined to protect the Jewish family he is hiding underneath his floorboards at all costs. As the threat of discovery looms and he is interrogated, he gradually loses his cool facade and becomes more conflicted.

Lt. Aldo Raine

Lt. Aldo Raine is a passionate and determined leader who seeks to seek revenge on Nazis. He is a strong, intimidating and charismatic leader of the Basterds, valuing talent and determination in killing Nazis. He is also resourceful, cunning and skilled in negotiation, and is willing to go to extreme lengths to protect his own in Operation Kino.


Shosanna is a survivor seeking revenge against the Nazis. She is a young French Jewish woman who initially seeks refuge as a projectionist at a Paris cinema, but later becomes the fierce and determined owner of the same cinema. Her past experiences with the massacre of her family have shaped her character and motivations, making her cautious and skeptical of those around her. Despite this, she is also intrigued by the stories of a German soldier and realizes the potential to sabotage the Nazis' event. She is strategic and ruthless, willing to do whatever it takes to achieve her goal.

German Soldier

The young German soldier is a persistent and friendly war hero with a teasing personality. He enjoys talking about films and often makes small talk. He is intrigued by Shosanna but is met with caution from her.

German Soldier

The German soldier is a tall, muscular man in his mid-thirties with short-cropped blonde hair and piercing blue eyes. Despite his menacing appearance, he has a charming, friendly demeanor that puts others at ease. He is fiercely loyal to his country and believes in the mission of the German army, but also possesses a subtle sense of curiosity and empathy for those who are different from him.

Col. Hans Landa

Col. Hans Landa is a complex character who embodies cunning and manipulation. He is an S.S. officer who has a reputation as a skilled interrogator and hunter of Jews. He adds an air of mystery and intrigue to his scenes, which makes him a standout character in the film. Despite the atrocities he has committed, he is also charming and seemingly well-educated, making him a formidable opponent and an interesting character to watch.

Col. Landa

Col. Landa is a charismatic, menacing and cunning German soldier. He is highly intelligent and skilled in the arts of manipulation and deduction. He revels in taunting and manipulating his enemies and captives, and takes great pleasure in revealing their true identities. He is a skilled detective, driven by a thirst for power and control. He is calculating and strategic, always thinking ahead and planning his next move. Despite his cruel and sadistic nature, he is a charismatic and cultured man with a formidable intellect.


Marcel is a dedicated and loyal individual who is deeply committed to the cause of sabotaging the event. He is Shosanna's trusted confidant and lover, and supports her plans to the fullest extent possible. Marcel is willing to go to extremes to ensure that the plan succeeds, and is always there for Shosanna when she needs him the most.

Lt. Hicox

Lt. Hicox is a British officer and spy who is charismatic, confident, and clever. He is skilled at infiltration and is resourceful in his missions.

Major Hellstrom

Major Hellstrom is a high-ranking Gestapo officer who is charming and comical but also intimidating and cunning. He is intelligent and perceptive, with excellent deductive skills that he uses to uncover the true identities of the Basterds. He is a dangerous opponent who can escalate tensions and create conflicts, but he is also fair and honest when he is convinced of the truth.


Bridget is a complex character who starts out as a clever and assertive spy, but then transforms into a courageous and determined actress-turned-spy. She is a German movie star and double agent who kills Willi to protect her true identity. Bridget is a fearless and cunning member of the Basterds. She is willing to sacrifice her acting career and even her life for the mission. She shows resourcefulness and a strong sense of self-preservation.


Hirschberg is a member of the Basterds, known for his ability to establish trust. He is often the one who communicates with locals and works on undercover operations. He is less experienced than some of his peers and lacks language skills, but makes up for it with his loyalty to the Basterds and willingness to follow orders. As the mission progresses, Hirschberg begins to struggle with the weight of their actions and the guilt of knowing the deadly consequences of their mission.


Willi is a German soldier who initially exhibits suspicion towards Aldo and Hirschberg. He eventually becomes a potential ally for the Basterds. Willi is portrayed as a wounded soldier who is caught in the middle of a tense situation. He is potentially untrustworthy and becomes a target of suspicion. Willi's character is complex and multifaceted.

Sgt. Donowitz

Sgt. Donowitz is a tough and ruthless soldier who is a dedicated member of the Basterds. He speaks limited Italian but is strong and capable in the face of danger. He takes charge and is resourceful when it comes to carrying out the mission.


Utvich is a resilient and sarcastic chauffeur turned soldier who is loyal to Lt. Aldo. He initially shows fear but gains composure throughout the story. He is resourceful and supports Aldo in negotiations with the enemy. He is caught in dangerous situations but remains loyal to his comrades.

Character Arc Critique Suggestions
COL. LANDA In the beginning, Col. Landa is portrayed as a cunning and ruthless antagonist who shows no mercy. However, throughout the movie, he experiences an unexpected change of heart. He allows Shosanna to escape his wrath and aligns himself with the Allies by betraying the Germans. In the end, Col. Landa becomes a double agent and emerges as one of the key allies behind the downfall of the Nazi regime. The character arc of Col. Landa is believable and engaging. However, some parts of the storyline could have been developed further to provide more depth to his character.
To improve the character arc, the filmmakers could have included more scenes showcasing the internal conflict and transformation of Col. Landa. Some backstory or flashbacks could have been added to provide more context to his actions. Additionally, the filmmakers could have explored his motivations and beliefs more deeply to provide a more 3-dimensional portrayal of the character.
PERRIER Perrier's character arc in the screenplay is one of transformation from a polite, cautious farmer to a determined protector of the Jewish family to a conflicted man facing the threat of discovery. Through his interactions with the S.S. officer and the Jews he is hiding, Perrier becomes more emotionally invested in their safety and willing to take greater risks to protect them. However, the pressure of keeping up the facade of normalcy and the possibility of betrayal take a toll on him and he begins to crumble, exposing his vulnerability. The character arc for Perrier is well-defined, but could benefit from further development. There could be more exploration of his motivations and past experiences that led him to risk his own safety for the Jews he is hiding. Additionally, the transformation from cautious farmer to determined protector to conflicted man could be more gradual and nuanced.
To improve the character arc, consider adding scenes or dialogue that delve deeper into Perrier's backstory and his relationship with the Jews he is protecting. This could help to further explain his motivations and create a stronger emotional connection with the audience. Additionally, show his transformation as a gradual progression, indicating the increasing stakes and dangers he faces along the way.
Lt. Aldo Raine Throughout the movie, Lt. Aldo Raine remains a determined leader, driven by his passion for seeking revenge on Nazis. Initially, he is willing to use threats and intimidation to achieve his goals, but his arc progresses as he showcases his negotiation skills and willingness to protect his own. By the end of the movie, he is a cunning and resourceful leader of Operation Kino, valuing teamwork and determination over intimidation. The character arc of Lt. Aldo Raine is strong and consistent, showcasing his development from a ruthless leader to a skilled and resourceful negotiator. However, more depth could have been added to his character, such as exploring his personal motivations and backstory.
To improve the character arc of Lt. Aldo Raine, the screenwriter could include more moments of vulnerability and showcase his personal motivations and backstory, adding depth to his character. They could also explore the conflict between his desire for revenge and the personal relationships he develops with his fellow soldiers.
Shosanna Shosanna's arc throughout the movie begins with her as a cautious and reserved projectionist seeking protection. She becomes the strong and independent owner of the cinema, driven by her need for revenge against the Nazis. Her arc culminates in her strategic plan to sabotage the Nazi leadership gathering in her theater, ultimately killing them all. However, her arc takes a tragic turn when she finds herself caught in the crossfire of the Basterds' plan, forcing her to make a difficult decision that ultimately results in her death. Overall, Shosanna's arc is well-developed and consistent throughout the movie. However, the abruptness of her final decision to sacrifice herself feels a bit rushed and could have been more fully developed to make it feel more organic to her character and motivations.
To improve Shosanna's character arc, the final decision to sacrifice herself could have been foreshadowed earlier in the movie, perhaps through her interactions with other characters or her own internal thoughts. This would make her decision feel more fully developed and true to her character, rather than feeling like a sudden plot point.
German Soldier Throughout the movie, the German soldier's innocence and naivety are juxtaposed against the evil actions of his fellow soldiers. He begins to question the morality of the war and his place in it. As he becomes more aware of the atrocities committed by the Nazis, he begins to exhibit guilt and remorse. This culminates in a pivotal moment where he decides to help Shosanna and the resistance by sabotaging the film premiere. He sacrifices his own life in the process, realizing that it is the only way to make amends for his past actions. The character arc is compelling and showcases the internal conflict of the German soldier. However, it could benefit from more explicit scenes or dialogue that convey his guilt and questioning of the war. Additionally, his decision to help Shosanna and the resistance could be more nuanced, as it seems rather sudden in the movie.
To improve the character arc, the screenplay could include scenes where the German soldier witnesses or experiences the brutality of the Nazis, causing him to question their actions. This would better convey his moral struggle and eventual decision to assist the resistance. Additionally, his decision could be foreshadowed earlier in the movie, perhaps by showing him having empathy towards Jewish prisoners or dialogue that hints at his growing disillusionment with the war.
German Soldier Throughout the movie, the German soldier slowly begins to question his beliefs and the actions of his fellow soldiers. He is initially excited about the upcoming event at the cinema, but begins to feel uneasy as he develops a bond with Shosanna and learns more about her past experiences with the Nazis. Despite his internal conflict, he remains loyal to his duty until the very end, where he ultimately sacrifices himself to try and stop the massacre at the cinema. The character arc seems solid, but there could be more depth added to the soldier's struggle with his beliefs and what ultimately motivates his decision to try and stop the massacre. It also might be interesting to explore more of his backstory and what led him to become a soldier in the first place.
To improve the arc, perhaps dive deeper into the soldier's internal conflict and the specific moments or conversations with Shosanna that make him start to question the Nazi regime. Adding flashback scenes or scenes of him interacting with his fellow soldiers could also contribute to a more complex character arc. Additionally, adding scenes that show the soldier's life before the war or his relationships with family and friends could provide a deeper understanding of his motivations and beliefs.
Col. Hans Landa At the beginning of the film, Col. Hans Landa is a feared and respected member of the S.S. He is confident in his abilities and sees himself as superior to those around him. As the film progresses, he gains a new level of complexity when it is revealed that he is working as a double agent for the O.S.S. While he continues to be manipulative and deceitful, he also begins to show flashes of vulnerability and doubt. This culminates in the climactic scene between him and Lt. Raine, where he agrees to betray the Nazis in exchange for his own safety. His character arc ends on a somewhat hopeful note, as he is allowed to live and begin a new life in America. While Col. Hans Landa is a fascinating character, his arc feels somewhat rushed. His sudden turn towards betrayal feels somewhat abrupt, and more time could have been spent exploring his motivations for turning on the Nazis. Additionally, while he is presented as a complex and multifaceted character, some of his actions (such as murdering Shosanna's family) are so abhorrent that it can be difficult to root for him in any way.
To improve Col. Hans Landa's character arc, more time could be spent showing his internal conflict as he starts to question his loyalty to the Nazis. This could be accomplished through additional scenes with Lt. Raine or other characters who challenge his beliefs. Additionally, while it is important to show the complexity of his character, it is important not to gloss over the atrocities he has committed. By showing the full extent of his actions, the audience can understand the weight of his conflicted feelings and the struggle he faces in his decision to betray the Nazis.
Col. Landa Throughout the movie, Col. Landa's character arc is one of extreme manipulation and deceit. He consistently reveals his superior intellect and cunning, using his skills to gain power and control over those around him. However, when he finally meets his match in the Basterds, he is exposed as a double agent and forced to confront the true consequences of his actions. He is humiliated and defeated, his once-impenetrable facade crumbling to reveal a deeply flawed and insecure man. While Col. Landa is a fascinating character, his arc feels somewhat predictable and formulaic. As a highly skilled manipulator and detective, it's clear that his character will eventually be exposed and humiliated – there's no real tension or surprise in this outcome. Additionally, while his character is certainly complex and interesting, it would be beneficial to see more of his vulnerabilities and weaknesses, rather than simply depicting him as a superhuman destructor of his enemies.
To improve Col. Landa's arc, it might be interesting to explore his relationships with other characters in more depth. Does he have any true allies or confidants, or is he ultimately a solitary figure driven only by his own ambition? Additionally, it might be worthwhile to delve deeper into the reasons behind his obsession with power and control – is there something in his past that drives him to seek out these things? Finally, it might be interesting to see him show a moment of genuine vulnerability or weakness, perhaps grappling with doubt or fear as he realizes the true cost of his actions.
Marcel During the course of the movie, Marcel's character arc is primarily focused on his relationship with Shosanna. At first, Marcel is simply a supportive and reliable partner who works alongside Shosanna to achieve their goals. However, as the plan becomes more dangerous and complex, Marcel begins to question whether or not it is worth the risk. He worries constantly about Shosanna's safety and well-being, and starts to wonder if there is another way to achieve their objectives without putting her in harm's way. As the climax of the movie approaches, Marcel is forced to make a difficult decision - whether to stay with Shosanna and continue the mission, or to leave her behind and try to save himself. Ultimately, Marcel chooses to stay by Shosanna's side, even if it means risking his own life in the process. This decision shows the depth of his commitment to her, and his selflessness in the face of danger. The character arc for Marcel is overall well-done, as it explores his complex relationship with Shosanna and the sacrifices he is willing to make on her behalf. However, there could be more to his character development beyond his relationship with Shosanna.
Perhaps Marcel could reveal more about his background or motivations throughout the movie. Additionally, it would be interesting to see how he interacts with other characters in the story, beyond just his role as Shosanna's partner. By giving Marcel more depth and complexity, his character arc could become even more impactful and meaningful.
Lt. Hicox Initially, Lt. Hicox is cautious and concerned about the chosen rendezvous spot and the presence of the German soldier, but he is able to maintain his cover and successfully deceive Major Hellstrom. As the movie progresses, he becomes more confident and persuasive in his role as a British officer. However, his character arc takes a tragic turn when he is captured by the Germans and forced to participate in a game of Russian roulette. Despite his bravery, he ultimately loses the game and dies. The character arc for Lt. Hicox is well-crafted and effective in highlighting his skills as a spy and his tragic end. However, the arc does not fully explore the potential internal conflicts or emotional journey that Lt. Hicox may have experienced throughout the movie.
One suggestion for improving the character arc would be to provide more insight into Lt. Hicox's thoughts and feelings as he navigates the dangerous world of espionage. This could be accomplished through voiceover narration or flashbacks that reveal his motivations and fears. Additionally, exploring more of his relationship with the other Basterds could provide additional depth to his character.
Major Hellstrom Major Hellstrom's character arc involves a gradual shift from suspicion to acceptance of the Basterds' authenticity. At first, he doubts their story and interrogates them aggressively. However, as they produce evidence and prove their credibility, he begins to see their value as allies against the larger war effort. By the end of the movie, he is willing to negotiate with them to achieve a common goal. This arc shows his growth as a character, from a rigid adherence to Nazi ideology to a pragmatism that recognizes the need for flexibility in wartime. The character arc for Major Hellstrom is relatively short, and it could benefit from more complexity and nuance. While he does undergo some changes in his beliefs and actions, they are relatively straightforward and predictable. In addition, he remains a somewhat one-dimensional villain throughout the movie, with limited motivation or backstory.
To improve Major Hellstrom's character arc, the screenwriter could explore his backstory and motivations more deeply. What led him to become a Gestapo officer, and how does he reconcile his personal beliefs with his loyalty to the Nazi regime? Additionally, the screenplay could show more instances of him grappling with moral dilemmas and making difficult choices, rather than simply reacting to the Basterds' actions. Finally, by giving him more dimensions and a more complex personality, the character could become a more compelling and memorable antagonist.
Bridget Bridget's character arc is one of transformation from a spy with divided loyalties to a committed member of the Basterds. Initially, Bridget is torn between her duty as a spy and her desire to help the Basterds. However, after killing Willi to protect her true identity, she fully commits to the mission and becomes a valuable member of the team. Along the way, she learns to trust and rely on her fellow Basterds and becomes a key player in their plan to take down the Nazis. The character arc is well-executed, but it could benefit from more exploration of Bridget's internal conflicts. It's clear that she struggles with her loyalty to both sides, but it would be interesting to see more of her internal struggles before she ultimately chooses the Basterds. Also, some of the transitions in her arc feel a bit abrupt and could benefit from more development.
To improve the character arc, consider adding more scenes that explore Bridget's internal conflicts and make her ultimate decision to join the Basterds more impactful. Also, work on smoothing out some of the abrupt transitions in her arc with more subtle cues and development.
Hirschberg Hirschberg begins the movie as a dedicated and reliable member of the Basterds, following orders and supporting their efforts. However, as the mission progresses and the violence and death he has contributed to become more apparent, he begins to question the morality of their actions. He struggles with the guilt of knowing the devastation their bombings have caused and begins to doubt the righteousness of their mission. Though hesitant at first, he eventually musters the courage to confront Aldo and the others about the consequences of their actions. He ultimately decides to leave the Basterds and turn himself in, hoping to make amends for his part in the violence. The character arc for Hirschberg is interesting and provides a unique perspective on the cost of war. However, the arc would benefit from a more nuanced exploration of Hirschberg's inner turmoil and his journey to make the difficult decision to leave the Basterds. The transition from loyal soldier to conflicted doubter feels somewhat rushed and could benefit from more development.
To improve Hirschberg's character arc, consider exploring his inner conflict more deeply throughout the film. Show him struggling with the moral implications of their actions and grappling with the consequences of his involvement in the bombings. Additionally, consider adding more scenes that show Hirschberg's journey to make his decision to leave the Basterds, including conversations with other characters and moments of self-reflection. This will make his decision to leave feel more earned and emotionally impactful.
Willi Willi's character arc revolves around his shift from being an enemy to a potential ally for the Basterds. Willi initially exhibits hostility towards Aldo and Hirschberg, but slowly becomes more willing to cooperate with them. He eventually ends up being betrayed by Bridget, which results in his death. Willi's character arc is one of deceit and redemption, which ultimately ends in tragedy. While Willi's character is complex, his arc feels rushed and underdeveloped. His character is introduced and killed off relatively quickly, which doesn't allow for enough time for his arc to fully develop. Additionally, Willi's ultimate betrayal by Bridget feels forced and contrived, which detracts from the overall impact of his character arc.
To improve Willi's character arc, his role in the film could be expanded upon. By giving him more screen time and allowing his arc to develop more slowly, his eventual demise will carry more weight and significance. Additionally, the betrayal by Bridget could be foreshadowed more effectively, making it feel like a more natural progression of the story.
Sgt. Donowitz At the beginning of the movie, Sgt. Donowitz is violent and forceful in his actions, but over the course of the film he learns to become more focused and disciplined. He becomes a more effective soldier and leader as he prioritizes the mission above his own personal desires. The character arc for Sgt. Donowitz is well-written and effective, but could benefit from more specific moments of growth and change throughout the film. His transformation feels somewhat sudden and lacking in subtlety.
To improve the character arc for Sgt. Donowitz, the screenplay could include more scenes of him struggling with his violent tendencies and trying to become a more disciplined soldier. Perhaps he could have a moment of introspection or reflection where he realizes the importance of following orders and working as a team. These small moments of growth and change would make his transformation feel more earned and impactful.
Utivich Utivich's character arc starts with him as a chauffeur, showing his resilience and sarcasm. As a young soldier, he is initially frightened but gains composure during the conversation with Col. Landa. As the story progresses, he becomes a loyal and resourceful soldier, supporting Lt. Aldo in negotiations with the enemy. He is caught in dangerous situations but remains loyal to his comrades. In the end, he continues to demonstrate his resilience and loyalty, showcasing his growth as a character. The arc is well-done but does not have a clear conflict or climax. While Utivich's growth is evident, there could be more moments of tension or struggle to make the arc more compelling.
To improve the character arc, Utivich could be faced with more difficult decisions that challenge his loyalty to Aldo or endanger his life. The climax could involve a moment where he must choose between following Aldo's orders and following his moral compass. This would give his growth more weight and make his arc more memorable.
Theme Theme Details Themee Explanation
Resistance against Nazi occupationThe screenplay explores the theme of resistance against the Nazi occupation in France during World War II. The French farmer and Shosanna both engage in acts of resistance against the Germans, with the farmer hiding a Jewish family and Shosanna planning to sabotage a Nazi event at her cinema.This theme explores the bravery and defiance of individuals who resisted the oppressive Nazi regime and their efforts to protect and fight for their freedom.
Hiding and protecting Jewish individualsThe screenplay depicts the theme of hiding and protecting Jewish individuals during the Nazi occupation. The French farmer hides a Jewish family under his floorboards, risking his life and the safety of his family to protect them. Shosanna also plays a role in protecting Jewish people through her plans to sabotage the Nazis.This theme emphasizes the importance of compassion and humanity in protecting vulnerable individuals in times of oppression and persecution.
Deception and undercover identitiesThe theme of deception and undercover identities is prominent throughout the screenplay. Characters like Lt. Aldo and Utivich pretend to be Italian to avoid suspicion, while Col. Landa reveals himself as a double agent. This theme adds suspense and tension to the narrative.This theme explores the complexities of war and the strategies individuals employ to survive and achieve their goals. It also highlights the constant danger and mistrust that existed during the Nazi occupation.
The horrors of war and its aftermathThe screenplay also touches upon the theme of the horrors of war and its aftermath. Scenes depict violent shootouts, brutal interrogations, and tragic deaths. The senseless loss of lives and the impact of war on individuals are explored.This theme serves as a reminder of the devastating consequences of war and the toll it takes on both the victors and the vanquished. It provides a realistic portrayal of the harsh realities of World War II.
Bravery and sacrificeThe theme of bravery and sacrifice runs throughout the screenplay. Characters like the French farmer, Shosanna, and the Basterds demonstrate immense courage and selflessness in their resistance against the Nazis. They risk their lives and make personal sacrifices to fight for what they believe in.This theme highlights the resilience and heroism of individuals who stood up against injustice and tyranny. It celebrates the extraordinary bravery and sacrifices made by ordinary people during times of war.

Screenwriting Resources on Themes


Site Description
Studio Binder Movie Themes: Examples of Common Themes for Screenwriters
Coverfly Improving your Screenplay's theme
John August Writing from Theme

YouTube Videos

Title Description
Story, Plot, Genre, Theme - Screenwriting Basics Screenwriting basics - beginner video
What is theme Discussion on ways to layer theme into a screenplay.
Thematic Mistakes You're Making in Your Script Common Theme mistakes and Philosophical Conflicts
Goals and Philosophical Conflict
internal Goals The protagonist's internal goal is to protect his family, navigate the dangerous circumstances of Nazi-occupied France, seek justice and vengeance for the atrocities committed by the Nazis, ensure the success of their mission to kill Nazis, understand and gather information about their enemies, and survive in a war-torn environment.
External Goals The protagonist's external goals are to comply with the Nazis' demands, provide information without arousing suspicion, maintain their cover and resist detection, recruit and assemble a skilled team, issue orders to soldiers, gather information about the enemy, secure resources for their mission, navigate dangerous situations, and carry out their plan to sabotage the Nazis' event.
Philosophical Conflict The overarching philosophical conflict is the clash between resistance against the Nazis and collaboration with the enemy. The characters grapple with issues of self-preservation, justice, vengeance, survival, loyalty, and the moral implications of their actions. They confront the beliefs and values of the Nazi regime and challenge their own ideals of compassion, justice, and human dignity amidst a violent and oppressive context.

Character Development Contribution: The protagonist's goals and conflicts contribute to their development by challenging their beliefs, values, and worldview. They are forced to make difficult choices, navigate ethical dilemmas, and confront the consequences of their actions. Through these experiences, they undergo personal growth, transformation, and reflection on their own identity, purpose, and resilience.

Narrative Structure Contribution: The protagonist's internal and external goals provide a driving force for the narrative, creating tension, suspense, and a sense of urgency. The evolving goals shape the plot development, character interactions, and conflicts that propel the story forward. The goals also contribute to the pacing, structure, and rhythm of the screenplay, ensuring a dynamic and engaging narrative.

Thematic Depth Contribution: The protagonist's goals and conflicts contribute to the thematic depth of the screenplay by exploring themes of resistance, collaboration, justice, revenge, survival, and the human capacity for resilience. The conflicting ideologies and moral dilemmas deepen the exploration of power dynamics, the consequences of violence, and the complexities of war. The goals and conflicts also highlight the importance of loyalty, camaraderie, and the pursuit of justice in the face of oppression and injustice.

Screenwriting Resources on Goals and Philosophical Conflict


Site Description
Creative Screenwriting How Important Is A Character’s Goal?
Studio Binder What is Conflict in a Story? A Quick Reminder of the Purpose of Conflict

YouTube Videos

Title Description
How I Build a Story's Philosophical Conflict How do you build philosophical conflict into your story? Where do you start? And how do you develop it into your characters and their external actions. Today I’m going to break this all down and make it fully clear in this episode.
Endings: The Good, the Bad, and the Insanely Great By Michael Arndt: I put this lecture together in 2006, when I started work at Pixar on Toy Story 3. It looks at how to write an "insanely great" ending, using Star Wars, The Graduate, and Little Miss Sunshine as examples. 90 minutes
Tips for Writing Effective Character Goals By Jessica Brody (Save the Cat!): Writing character goals is one of the most important jobs of any novelist. But are your character's goals...mushy?