Alfred Hitchcock coined the term "MacGuffin" to describe something that's very important to everyone in the movie, but of no particular importance to the audience. In other words, it's a thing that simply keeps the plot in motion. The contents of the glowing briefcase in Pulp Fiction is a perfect example. We don't need to know what's in there to understand many of the characters want it badly enough to kill for it. Other movies go the exact opposite route by making the important object a person. Taking this approach ups the suspense, as it's a character the viewer gets to know and comes to care about.
The following films all utilized that idea well. They're from different genres and have different tones, but each of them is about tracking one very important person. All of the VIPs are in possession of something vital, whether a physical object, a special ability, or specific knowledge inside their heads. In most cases, they've got a protector, too - someone who assists in keeping them safe from harm. For these individuals, the peril is real.
Which movie about a valuable target packs the biggest punch? Vote up your picks.