What’s Your Favorite Story within a Story in Film?

While recently rewatching the Harry Potter films, I was reminded of one of my favorite techniques used on occasion in movies and TV shows. In The Deathly Hallows part 1, the movie breaks from live action for a few minutes as we learn the story of the 3 brothers, which is eerily and beautifully animated like this:

I absolutely love when this story-within-a-story technique is used on film, especially when the animation technique is different.

I’m currently watching The Legend of Korra season 2 on Netflix, and the same method was employed several times (no spoilers, but one instance involves a flashback and the other involves a movie). It’s brilliant.

I know I’ve seen this in other movies and TV shows, but I can’t think of any examples. Can you? Occasionally I’ve seen TV shows have an animated episode (like when Community used claymation for a Christmas special), but I think I prefer when it’s just a short interlude.

5 thoughts on “What’s Your Favorite Story within a Story in Film?”

  1. Though not quite in line with what you describe there is a scene in the Minions animated film where, Scarlet tells a bedtime story which utilises a different animation style.

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  2. The horrendous Star Wars Holiday Special that aired only once is immediately forgettable but it did offer an animated short story in the middle of the special which was actually the introduction of the bounty hunter Boba Fett.

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  3. Kung-Fu Panda intro is as awesome as it gets.
    Of course, the mini-story at the beginning of Up is just perfect.
    And outside of animation, I love the Sicilian story of True Romance and the police made up story of Reservoir Dogs. Now that I think of it, I also love the watch story on Pulp Fiction. Maybe Tarantino has a thing for stories within stories.

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