The Nine Best Movie MacGuffins
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Mac•guff•in: In cinema vernacular, an object of great importance that serves as the primary motivator for the protagonists, and their antagonists.
It’s actually not a made-up word! Originally, it was coined by the venerable Alfred Hitchcock: “In crook stories it is almost always the necklace and in spy stories it is almost always the papers.” These days, it can be damn near anything. Here’s nine of the very best movie MacGuffins, arranged in no particular order (since we all knew the Maltese Falcon was the best one anyway, right?).
1. The Ark of the Covenant (Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981)
No wonder the Nazis were after the Ark of the Covenant: It can melt people’s faces off! As far as plot devices go, a “radio transmitter to God” is a pretty good one.
2. The Necronomicon (Army of Darkness, 1992)
A book of unspeakable unholy power, it’s Ash’s only ticket out of ye olde times and back to his days as a low-grade retail salesman at S. Mart (shop smart, that’s S. Mart). If only he could remember that damn incantation correctly.
3. Project Genesis (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, 1982)
An energy weapon that, when fired at a planet, reorganizes matter in order to terraform the surface. Naturally, the genetically-altered super-dictator Khan (responsible for something called the “Eugenics Wars of the 1990s” in the Star Trek universe) has other designs for it.