reels of film by denise jans

Movies with plots about movies

It always surprises me how many movies are based around a certain theme. This time I’m sharing a list of movies with plots about movies. Yes, those films that have a plot around filming another film, or actors. 

Read my other posts about movies:

* Shakespeare inspired movies
* Films based on Jane Austen novels
* Jukebox musical movies
* Sports movies

movies with plots about moves using image by myke simon

Movies about movies list

8 ½. A semi autobiographical film. Guido loses interest in his new film, distracted by people in his life.

A Cock and Bull Story, An attempt to shoot the adaptation of Laurence Sterne’s essentially unfilmable novel, “The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman.”

Adaptation. A screenwriter struggles to write an adaptation of The Orchid Thief.

After the Fox. An Italian criminal mastermind, impersonates a film director, planmomg to grab the loot on a beach where a bogus movie is being filmed.

American Movie. A documentary about an aspiring filmmaker’s attempts to finance his dream project by completing the low-budget horror film he previously abandoned.

And God Spoke. A mockumentary about making a big budget Bible picture. The spoof shows the film set where everything that could possibly go wrong goes wrong.

Barton Fink. A famous New York playwright is persuaded to California to write for movies. Then he discovers the real truths about Hollywood.

Be Kind Rewind. A couple of silly store clerks accidentally erase the footage from all of the tapes in their video rental store. To keep the business they re-shoot every film in the store with their own camera.

Birdman. A washed-up superhero actor tries to revive his career by writing, directing, and starring in a Broadway production.

Boogie Nights. This film charts the change in the porn industry after the 1970s, an idealistic porn producer aspires to move his craft to an art when he discovers a new talent.

Bowfinger. A desperate movie producer fails to get a major star for his bargain basement film, so he decides to shoot the film secretly without him knowing.

Burn Hollywood Burn. A rookie filmmaker is being forced to make a big-budget action movie he knows is horrible, so steals the master reels and tries to make a deal.

Cecile B Demented – an insane independent film director and his wild teenage filmmakers kidnap an A-list Hollywood actress to force her to star in their underground film.

Cinema Paradiso. A movie about the length and breadth of a life spent watching and making movies, being enchanted by movies as a young man, through the works of a director and a reel given him by a projectionist.

Cinema Verite. A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the first US family to be subjects of a reality TV show.

CQ. A young filmmaker in Paris juggles directing a cheesy sci-fi debacle, directing his own personal art film, coping with a failing relationship, and realises he’s infatuated with his film’s star.

Day for Night. A film director struggles to complete his movie while coping with personal and professional crises among the cast and crew.

Ed Wood. Johnny Depp as an independent filmmaker whose unusual style makes perfect sense to him, as he tries to emulate Orson Welle’s success despite a lack of talent.

For your consideration. The buzz of an Oscar nomination excites the cast and crew of the low action indie film Home for Purim

Get Shorty. Criminals who discover making movies is just like their mobster life..

Hail Caesar! The Coen brothers movie films a day in the life of an infamous fixer, to spoof a biblical epic, a production line western, a Busby Berkeley musical and Esther Williams water musical, while the fixer tries to keep the business in order and rescue an abducted star.

Hooper. Filming of an action movie which includes an accomplished stuntman who’s facing the biggest stunt of his career in the film. At the same time he’s told by doctors that one more stunt gone wrong might cause him to be paralysed.

Hollywood Shuffle. Satirical comedy film about the racial stereotypes of African Americans in film and television.

Inglourious Bastards. Melanie uses the story of film to fight back against the Nazis, who killed her family and used European cinema as propaganda throughout the war. 

King Kong. A film crew goes to a tropical island for an exotic location shoot and discovers a colossal ape who takes a shine to their female blonde star, bringing him back to put on show in New York.

La La Land. This marked the return of the big musical movies. La La Land tells the story of ambitious musician and actress trying to get their big break in Hollywood.

Last action hero. With the help of a magic ticket, a young movie fan is transported into the fictional world of his favorite action movie character.

Living in Oblivion. An indie film-maker tries to make a low-budget movie. The catering crew acts out, he is running out of money and time, and his lead actors don’t seem to get along

Man Bites Dog. A film crew follows a thief and heartless killer as he goes about his daily routine. Problems start when the film crew lose their objectivity and start to help him..

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. High school student Greg films his progress towards doing something selfless for a terminal cancer sufferer he’s befriended.

Movie Movie. Movie genres of the 1930s (boxing films, World War I aviation dramas, and backstage Broadway musicals) are satirised

My Week With Marilyn. A documentary of the tense interaction between Lawrence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe during the production of The Prince and the Showgirl.

Nobody Walks. A family’s relaxed dynamic is tested after they take in a young artist so she can complete her art film.

One Cut of the Dead. Real zombies attack a director and a film crew who are shooting a low budget zombie film

Once Upon a Time In Hollywood. In 1969 Los Angeles, a TV star and his longtime stunt make their way around an industry that’s changing.

Saving Mr Banks. Author P.L. Travers reflects on childhood after Walt Disney encourages her to meet so he can adapt her Mary Poppins books for the big screen.

Scream. A teenage girl is terrorized by a killer, who targets the girl and her friends by using horror films as part of a deadly game.

Shadow of the Vampire. In exchange for starring as Count Orlock, the director promises the actor he can eat the lead actress when shooting is complete.

Singing in the rain. Film celebrates Hollywood as the industry moves from silent movies to musicals. The silent film star falling for a chorus girl.

SOB. A movie producer tries to salvage his career after a big flop, by revamping his film as an erotic production, where its family-friendly star takes her top off.

Sons of Rambow – two children get together to make Son Of Rambow for a filmmaking competition.

State and Main – about the filming of The Old Mill, when the crew arrive in the Vermont town, they realise the location no longer exists. The residents want to give up their values and get involved with the glitz of Hollywood.

Sullivan’s Travels – the story of a director whose social conscience dislikes his former success in making mainstream comedies. He decides to experience being homeless to make his next more realistic movie.

Sunset Boulevard – a screenwriter develops a dangerous relationship with a film star on the way down, who’s determined to make a triumphant return.

reels of film by denise jans

The Artist – silent movie where the big ego’d film star develops a relationship with a dancer.

The Bad and the Beautiful –  via the flashbacks of an alienated actress, director and writer, the film charts the career of an ambitious and obsessive wannabe mogul who wants to clear his disgraced father’s name through a movie..

The Big Picture. A film school graduate thinks his career is set after his short film wins an award. But he learns that Hollywood isn’t that simple.

The Blair Witch Project. Three film students disappear in a Maryland forest after going to film a documentary on the local Blair Witch legend. They only leave their footage behind.

The Deal. A producer has a script based on Disraeli, and ends up filming in Cape Town with a black action star. Will he finish the movie?

The Hard Way. An action movie star researching a role tags along with a hardboiled New York City policeman. Needless to say the cop finds him irritating.

The Independent. A B-movie director seeks out the film rights to the life story of a serial killer who wants his biography film to be a musical. With the intention to ake his comeback.

The Player. A Hollywood studio executive is sent death threats by a writer whose script he rejected. He needs to work out who’s the culprit.

The Purple Rose of Cairo – a movie character walks out of the film and into real life.

The Stunt Man. A fugitive stumbles onto a movie set just when they need a new stunt man. He takes the job to hide and falls for the leading lady.

Their Finest. A former secretary turned scriptwriter for propaganda films joins the cast and crew of a major production, while the Blitz rages around them.

Tropic Thunder. A group of actors shooting a big-budget war movie are forced to become the soldiers they are acting.

What Just Happened. Two weeks in the life of a fading Hollywood producer who’s struggling to get his new movie made.

Zack and Miri make a porno. Lifelong friends try to make a movie to make money, and end up falling in love.

You can find out more about these films at

Are any of these movies with plots about movies on your to watch lists, or your favourite movies lists?

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  1. There are so many movies with plots about movies. Thank you for sharing this list!


    1. I always find that’s the case with these. You might think of one, but then there’s loads. Although I’m terrible at remembering movie plots of films I’ve seen!

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