What is the Epilogue in Film? Meaning, Definition & Examples.

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Definition: An epilogue is a brief section after concluding the main story. It provides closure or additional information about the characters or events. Often used to tie up loose ends or offer a glimpse into the characters’ futures, the epilogue adds a final touch to the film’s narrative.

A great epilogue provides resolution, closure, or added depth to the story. It serves as a final reflection or glimpse into the characters’ lives after concluding the film’s main events.

This is the End: The difference between Epilogue, Resolution, and Denouement.

movie ending structure. Resolution - Denouement - Epilogue order explained.

An epilogue, resolution, and denouement are all parts of a story that occur after the climax and help bring the narrative to a close.

While they serve similar purposes, there are slight differences between these terms.

  • The resolution is the final part, where conflicts are resolved, and loose ends are tied up. The resolution follows after the climax.
  • The denouement is the aftermath and the unraveling of the remaining plot elements. The denouement follows after the resolution but before the epilogue.
  • The epilogue is a conclusion that provides closure to the story, often set in the future. The epilogue follows after the denouement.

Example:

In the movie The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), the epilogue shows Frodo leaving Middle-earth, the resolution sees the defeat of Sauron and the crowning of Aragorn, and the denouement reveals the characters’ futures and the restoration of peace.

Epilogue Examples from Movies

Here are a few examples of great epilogues from famous movies:

“The Shawshank Redemption” (1994)

The film concludes with an epilogue that reveals the fate of the main characters, Andy Dufresne and Red. It shows the two reuniting in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, fulfilling their dreams of starting a new life together.

This epilogue provides closure and leaves the audience with a sense of hope and redemption.

“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003)

This epic fantasy film ends with multiple epilogues. It shows the aftermath of the War of the Ring and explores the characters’ paths to healing and rebuilding.

The epilogue also gives insight into the fate of Frodo and his friends, highlighting the emotional toll their journey has taken on them.

“La La Land” (2016)

In this musical romantic drama, the epilogue is a dream sequence. It presents an alternate reality where the main characters, Mia and Sebastian, end up together.

The epilogue offers a bittersweet reflection on the choices made and the paths not taken, leaving the audience with a mix of emotions.

“The Dark Knight Rises” (2012)

This superhero film concludes with an epilogue several years after the main story’s events. It reveals the fate of Bruce Wayne, who is presumed dead but is shown living a peaceful life away from Gotham City.

The epilogue provides closure to the trilogy and hints at the legacy Batman leaves behind.

You might like the Joker’s best quotes from The Dark Knight.

Summing Up

In movies, an epilogue is a final chapter, offering closure and wrapping up loose ends.

It allows audiences to reflect on the characters’ journeys beyond the main narrative, providing a sense of resolution and a glimpse into their futures.

Up Next: Catharsis in Film. Definition and Examples.

Author

  • Jan Sørup

    Jan Sørup is a indie filmmaker, videographer and photographer from Denmark. He owns filmdaft.com and the Danish company Apertura, which produces video content for big companies in Denmark and Scandinavia. Jan has a background in music, has drawn webcomics, and is a former lecturer at the University of Copenhagen.

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