400 Times Movies Have Broken The Fourth Wall

Anna Green

In movies, when characters acknowledge the presence of the audience, that’s called “breaking the fourth wall.” It can be as simple as staring straight into the camera or as elaborate as speaking directly to the audience, commenting on film conventions, or even literally “breaking out” of the film as the characters do in Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles (1974). Though it’s most common in comedies, filmmakers working in all genres have used the technique. 

In “400 (Or So) Fourth Wall Breaking Films,” editor Adam Bennett has compiled an immense supercut of fourth wall-breaking film clips that date all the way back to the 1920s. From Ferris Bueller’s famous post-credits speech to classic moments from Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard (1950), Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960), and pretty much every Mel Brooks and Woody Allen film ever, the nearly 17-minute video reveals the many creative ways filmmakers have spoken directly to their audiences.

“There’s no rhyme or reason behind the grouping of the clips other than what seemed to work,” writes Bennett. “So while, yes, there are highbrow French New Wave films in there, I’ve also had to include The Silence of the Hams and Rocky and Bullwinkle. But then, I kind of like that.” Check it out above.

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