Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Truman Show (1998)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Truman Show (1998)

In director Peter Weir's existentialist, biting, prophetic, thought-provoking social satire about reality TV, consumerism in a dystopia, loss of privacy and media surveillance:

  • the premise of the story was that a person - a good-natured insurance adjuster named Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) - could be adopted by a TV network and filmed for his entire life 24 hours a day without his knowledge over a period of 30 years: ("An entire human life recorded on an intricate network of hidden cameras, and broadcast live and unedited, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to an audience around the globe")
  • the massive town-film set called Seahaven Island was ("enclosed in the largest studio ever of only two man-made structures visible from space")
  • megalomaniac, charismatic, beret-wearing, 'world's greatest televisionary' network owner Christof (Oscar-nominated Ed Harris) delivered an opening speech to the camera in the Lunar Room studio (hidden in the movie set's moon) about the world being bored by fake "phony emotions," while expounding the virtues of TV's The Truman Show and its "nothing fake about Truman" star: "We've become bored with watching actors give us phony emotions. We're tired of pyrotechnics and special effects. While the world he inhabits is, in some respects, counterfeit, there's nothing fake about Truman himself. No scripts, no cue cards. It isn't always Shakespeare, but it's genuine. It's a life...We find many viewers leave him on all night for comfort"
  • the fake opening credits for the show itself (Truman Burbank as himself, created by Christof, Hannah Gill as Meryl, etc.)
  • Truman's happy catchphrase: "Good morning...Oh, and in case I don't see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!"
  • the magical moment when Truman began to realize the world revolved around his actions - stopping traffic with a wave of his hand
  • the sheltered, reality-TV show star Truman Burbank began to suspect that his life was being contained or manipulated, but was unaware of the controlling machinations of Christof; Truman made a vain attempt to escape from his world via sailboat (Santa Maria), but Christof summoned a torrential storm to try to prevent it
  • fugitive Truman, nearly drowning and capsizing, cried out: "Is that the best you can do? You're gonna have to kill me." He ultimately reached the literal edge of the fabricated, enclosed set of his make-believe world (bounded by canvas) when the bow of his schooner-sailboat pierced the dome's painted and clouded blue sky; he touched and then pounded on the wall, and ascended stairs
  • on an amplified sound system, in an allegorical scene, Christof spoke to Truman with a "voice of God" speech, identifying himself: "I am the creator of a television show that gives hope and joy and inspiration to millions." He claimed that Truman, the show's "star," was "real - that's what made you so good to watch."
  • in a triumphant moment, Truman rejected Christof's plea to remain in the artificial world (where he had "nothing to fear" - "You belong here with me") rather than venturing into the real world (with "the same lies, the same deceit")
  • in the conclusion, Truman's beatific smile at the camera, sarcastic utterance of his cheerful catchphrase: "In case I don't see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!" and a deep farewell bow before exiting from the massive set through the stage door to freedom (to the sounds of Philip Glass' stirring "The Opening from Mishima") and a new existence

Christof: "You belong here with me"

Truman's Beatific Smile

Bowing Before Exiting the Set
  • after TV's Truman Show ceased transmission, two chubby, pizza-eating security guards conversed together about changing the channel (- "What else is on?" - "Yeah, let's see what else is on?" - "Where's the TV Guide?")

Christof (Ed Harris): The World is Bored by "Phony Emotions"

Truman Filmed 24 Hours a Day - Camera Hidden in Bathroom Mirror

Truman's Catchphrase

Truman's Realization That He Was the Center of His World - Stopping Traffic

Attempt to Escape Via Sailboat

End of Fabricated Set (and Truman's World)

Ascending Stairs Leading to an Exit Door


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