15 Times Movies And TV Came To Life - Literally

List Rules
Vote up the best combinations of fiction and reality.

We often use television and movies to escape our own lives, but these movies are about entertainment that escapes the confines of their traditional form. In some cases, the on-screen characters literally come to life and step off the screen; other times, characters from the real world are transported into a fictional landscape. This blending of fictional and real worlds is sometimes portrayed as an everyday occurrence, while more often it is the result of a fantastical moment of magic that is never fully explained.

As long as film has been around, the interaction with audience members has been a topic of fascination. There is a famous story of audiences’ first reaction to the cinematic medium, dodging to avoid being hit by a train featured in the 50-second Lumiere Brothers film Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat. Whether true or an urban legend, this story has been repeated throughout film history as an example of cinema’s impact. These movies carry on the tradition of this tale in narrative form.

Which films best combine the worlds of fiction and reality? Vote up your favorite!


  • The world of Who Framed Roger Rabbit imagines cartoon characters as actors who exist off the screen, just like live-action actors but in animated form. Cartoons (often referred to as "toons") are cleverly treated like a discriminated minority in the 1947 Hollywood setting. Although private investigator Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) distrusts toons, believing one was responsible for the demise of his brother, he uncovers a plot to frame popular star Roger Rabbit (voiced by Charles Fleischer) and sets out to help clear his name.

    During his investigation, Eddie travels to Toontown, a cartoon community without humans. Although the film rights were owned by Walt Disney, allowing classic characters like Mickey Mouse and Goofy to make appearances, Steven Spielberg’s production company was involved, and the filmmaker was able to convince other studios (namely Warner Bros.) to lend classic characters to the film.

    184 votes
  • 2
    82 VOTES

    Jack Gable (John Candy) is the lead writer and producer of a popular soap opera called Beyond Our Dreams, but his romantic interest in the high-maintenance actress Laura Claybourne (Emma Samms) puts him at odds with the show’s co-producers (Jerry Orbach and Renée Taylor), who want to kill off her character of Rachel Hedison. After crashing his car, Jack wakes in the hospital from his show and realizes he has somehow entered the fictional world of Beyond Our Dreams.

    Discovering he can write things into existence in the soap opera, Jack does his best to orchestrate a romance between himself and Rachel using a typewriter, before learning the fantasy romantic partner is as selfish as the actress playing her. When Jack's typewriter breaks, however, he finds himself at the mercy of the writer hired by the producers to replace him.

    82 votes
  • 3
    128 VOTES

    High school students and siblings David (Tobey Maguire) and Jennifer (Reese Witherspoon) have little in common, and their disagreement over what to watch on TV results in their remote being broken. Mysteriously, a television repairman (played by TV legend Don Knotts) arrives at their front door and gives them a new remote. When the brother and sister attempt to use it, they are transported into the idyllic TV world of David’s favorite show, Pleasantville, a black-and-white 1950s sitcom about the Parker family. It’s a reality where the basketball players never miss a shot and the firefighters only exist to save cats from trees.

    Inserted into the roles of the show's characters Bud and Mary Sue Parker, David and Jennifer begin to develop relationships within the cast of the show. Not only does the old-fashioned environment have an impact on David and Jennifer, but their presence begins to alter the television world. Exposing the sitcom universe to the complicated reality of human emotions causes items and characters in black and white to suddenly turn to color. Once the town has been transformed, David decides to return home to the real world, but Jennifer makes the decision to stay behind in Pleasantville.

    128 votes
  • 4
    83 VOTES

    Roy Knable (John Ritter) is a plumbing salesman who often neglects his family in favor of watching television, much to the frustration of his wife, Helen (Pam Dawber). After Helen smashes the television during a fight with Roy, a mysterious salesman (Jeffrey Jones) shows up to offer them a satellite dish providing them with a telling 666 channels. The satellite sucks the couple into the television world known as Hellevision, which contains darkly satirical versions of popular shows that all threaten to kill Roy and Helen.

    The couple discovers their demise in Hellevision will result in them being sent to hell, and they must work together to survive a variety of programming including sitcoms, game shows, music videos, and movies in multiple genres. When the couple’s son, Darryl (David Tom), and his older sister, Diane (Heather McComb), see their parents on TV, they are able to provide additional assistance from the living room couch.

    83 votes
  • Last Action Hero follows teenager Danny Madigan (Austin O'Brien), who uses movies to escape the painful realities of the world, including the loss of his father. After being given a golden ticket once owned by magician Harry Houdini and access to an exclusive early screening of the latest film in a popular action franchise starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny is magically transported into the world of the Jack Slater action franchise.

    The film within the film is centered on the exploits of Detective Jack Slater (Schwarzenegger) and plays with the tropes of action films like the ones that made Schwarzenegger a star. The cleverness of this premise is taken a step further when the film’s villain (Charles Dance) escapes to the real world with a plan to terminate Schwarzenegger, with Danny and Slater following to save the movie star’s life.

    114 votes
  • 6
    96 VOTES

    In the animated fairy tale kingdom of Andalasia, a young woman named Giselle (Amy Adams) is engaged to marry a prince before she is thrown down a well by an evil sorceress (Susan Sarandon). Instead of dying, Giselle is transported into the live-action world of New York City, becoming flesh and blood. This optimistic soon-to-be princess must adjust to the realities of the live-action world, especially when she encounters cynical divorce lawyer Robert Philip (Patrick Dempsey) whose views on life oppose Giselle's optimism.

    The animated Prince Edward (James Marsden) also travels from the animated world to save Giselle, who must choose between the two different men. Enchanted serves as a loving parody of the Disney princess model but imagines it blending with the structure of a traditional romantic comedy.

    96 votes