It has become cliche that all of storytelling is just the retelling of a few basic tales. (It was raised in a thread about Hollywood remakes) What are those tales? With a few moments thought I came up with: The fish out of water (mostly comedies, but also dramas): Place character in comically or dangerously unsuitable situation and watch them adapt. The hero's journey (most superhero films and adventures): The evolution and journey of a young hero from callow youth to mature hero. The thwarted romance (most romances, romantic comedies, and buddy pictures): A loves B, but is thwarted by obstacles that must be surmounted. Revenge (Many horror movies, martial arts pics): The hero is wronged and spends the story exacting justice on his oppressors. Redemption (Many high end dramas, Best Picture fodder): The fallen hero having abandoned his ideals or loses greatness, finds them again and is restored to greatness. The journey home (Many children's films): Characters are placed in a distant, foreign, dangerous place and must find their way home. Is there a real list of these plots? What are some others.