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188 stage Hero's Journey (Monomyth)

The Hero's Journey (Monomyth) is the template upon which the vast majority of successful stories and Hollywood blockbusters are based upon. In fact, ALL of the hundreds of Hollywood movies we have deconstructed (all available at are based on this 188+ stage template.

Understanding this template is a priority for story or screenwriters. This is the template you must master if you are to succeed in the craft.

[The terminology is most often metaphoric and applies to all successful stories and screenplays, from The Godfather (1972) to Brokeback Mountain (2006) to Annie Hall (1977) to Lord of the Rings (2003) to Drugstore Cowboy (1989) to Thelma and Louise (1991) to Apocaplyse Now (1979)].



a) Attempts to tap into unconscious expectations the audience has regarding what a story is and how it should be told.

b) Gives the writer more structural elements than simply three or four acts, plot points, mid point and so on.

c) Gives you a tangible process for building and releasing dissonance (establishing and achieving catharses, of which there are usually four).

d) Gives you a universal structural template upon which you can superimpose your situational story. This is why stories such as Alien (1979), Gladiator (2000), Midnight Cowboy (1969), American Beauty (1999), The Graduate (1967) and many others (all deconstructed at the URL below) appear to be different but are all constructed, almost sequence by sequence, in the same way.

and more...

[simply go to or or or for full details]


In every successful Hollywood story, there are a number of challenges to be resolved. It is not uncommon for the Hero to have at least Four Core Challenges (Inner, Outer, Romantic, Greater Antagonism) and each is mapped onto the Hero's Journey and resolved in a very specific order.

In American Beauty (Academy Award Winner Best Film 1999), Lester Burnham's Inner Challenge is to feel good about himself, his Romantic Challenge is Angela, his Outer Challenge is his marriage with Carolyn and the Greater Antagonism is Col. Frank Fitts, US Marine Core.

In Top Gun (1986, receipts of $176,000,000), Maverick's Romantic Challenge is Charlie, his Inner Challenge is his personal and father's story, his Outer Challenge is getting over Goose's death and the Greater Antagonism is becoming Top Gun.

In Titanic (Academy Award Winner Best Film 1997; No. 1 All-Time USA Boxoffice with receipts of over $600,000,000), Rose's Inner Challenge is to overcome her committment to her mother as well as Jack's lower status, her Romantic Challenge is Jack, her Outer Challenge is Cal and the Greater Antagonism is escaping the sinking ship.

The Four Core Challenge categories can be viewed as classes:

In Tootsie (Academy Award Nominee Best Film 1982), Michael's Romantic Challenge is Julie, his Inner Challenge is represented by his penultimate line "I was a better man with you as a woman than I ever was with a woman as a man...I just gotta learn to do it without the dress...", his Outer Challenge is Ron [symbol of male condescension] and the Greater Antagonism is his problem that the network and fans thinks he's really a woman. But within the class of the Inner Challenge is Sandy and within the class of the Romantic Challenge are the attentions of Les and Van Horn.

It is common for secondary characters to have their own (fewer) challenges (these are the core of any subplot) and each is also resolved in a very specific order:

In Gladiator (Academy Award Winner Best Film, 2000), Proximo and Lucilla both have their own demons to overcome.


Go to for more info on the 188+ stage Hero's Journey....