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The Hunger Games Movie Poster.jpg

The feature film adaption was released in March 2012. For the original novel, look here. Adaptations for the remaining novels are also under development, with the third novel possibly being split into two films.

The film is directed by Gary Ross, and stars Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, Liam Hemsworth as Gale, Woody Harrelson as Haymitch, and Donald Sutherland as President Snow.

Tropes used in The Hunger Games include:
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: In the novel, Cato is consistently described as "monstrous"-looking. In the movie, unstable and too-ready-to-kill he may be, but he looks like a conventionally handsome athlete.
  • Adaptation Distillation: In the book, Katniss gets her pin from Madge. Madge wasn't in the movie, so it was a gift from Greasy Sae.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • Since the book is written in first person from Katniss' perspective, the film adds scenes in the control room of the Hunger Games arena and President Snow's garden to give more information about the world where the story takes place.
    • Also, after Rue dies, the film depicts District 11 going into a riot in reaction to her very untimely death.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: In the movie, we never find out the symbolic significance of the mockingjay, nor what the Muttations are made out of (in the book, it appeared to be dead tributes mixed with wolf.) Losing the first person perspective also means we lose Katniss's thoughts and motivations.
  • Advertised Extra: Liam Hemsworth as Gale received a lot of press for having a larger role in the subsequent movies. However in THIS movie, he only speaks in two scenes and is The Voiceless in his other scenes.
  • All There in the Manual: Some people's names are never mentioned, but you can tell who they are supposed to be. Simultaneously Inverted, with some characters in this film being called by names that weren't revealed until the second book.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: The people of the Capitol, especially compared to the drab tones shown in the Districts.
  • Ascended Extra: Seneca Crane, Caesar Flickerman and Claudius Templesmith have a lot more to do, with the movie showing scenes that Katniss is not present for. President Snow also has much more to do than he did in the novel but as the Big Bad of the series, this was necessary.
  • Aside Glance: Haymitch sends Katniss some soup to feed Peeta with. Enclosed is the note, "You call that a kiss?", referring to a kiss on the cheek she gave Peeta earlier. Katniss promptly pulls this trope.
  • As You Know: The sportscaster scenes are this. Information about the Games provided by Katniss' narration in the book is provided by them here, such as Caesar explaining the Tracker Jackers to the audience. Seeing as first-time viewers would be small children, one assumes talking about an engineered species of creatures that's never found in the city is for the benefit of the target audience, namely the Capitol viewers.
  • Beard of Evil: Seneca wears a Weird Beard with immaculately trimmed curlicues that is opulent, silly and sinister all at once.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished:
    • Due to medical treatments, Katniss's swollen Tracker Jacker stings completely vanish in the next scene. The cut she receives on her face all but vanishes in the next scene as well. For all the time she spends sleeping outside and fighting to the death, she still looks great by the end.
    • Averted with Glimmer, who wasn't much of a glimmer anymore after the Tracker Jackers were done with her.
  • Better to Die Than Be Killed: Due to letting two tributes win in the 74th Hunger Games, Seneca is given the option to commit suicide by eating some nightlock berries, while he was tortured and killed in the book. Which, given the context, is an example of Death by Irony.
  • Big Heroic Run: Played straight and subverted. Katniss runs to save Rue when she's caught in the Career's net trap, and then runs to find Peeta later on when she hears the gong signalling a Tribute death (which wasn't him).
  • Black Dude Dies First: Averted. Rue dies midway through the film, and Thresh is the next-to-last to fall.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Averted. While the film does resort to quick-flash editing and shaky cam during the action sequences, you do get to see more blood and gory wounds than you expect in a PG-13 film. The film also makes use of Gory Discretion Shot to limit the carnage.
  • Boring Yet Practical: The trainers stress that learning wilderness survival can give you at least as much an edge of winning as combat. In addition, Haymitch stresses really hard to Katniss that she must not bolt for the weapons at the start, but make for high ground and water right away. Katniss goes halfway by getting a backpack of wilderness survival gear, and that proves all she needs to start with, and through sheer luck, inadvertently gets a knife from Clove.
  • Call Back: Snow explains to Seneca why the Hunger Games needs a champion, and why it isn't simply an annual public execution. Peeta buys this at the end, asking Katniss to kill him so that District 12 will have their champion. Katniss, by now, realizes that she would do far more good as a martyr, and tells Peeta there doesn't need to be a champion at all.
  • Cat Fight: Katniss and Clove, though it's not played for titillation.
  • Chekhov's Classroom: Haymitch tells Peeta not to start a fire as it's a good way to get killed. Later in the film a girl does just that and you can guess the outcome.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The mockingjay pin and nightlock berries.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • Katniss' hunting skills (via Gale's remark that she "practically lives in the forest") and familiarity with surviving in the wild.
    • Katniss is told early on in training that the Careers can be very arrogant. It comes back to bite them when Clove decides to torture Katniss instead of killing her, which leads to Thresh overhearing and killing her. Foxface is also accused of arrogance after eating nightlock berries she stole from Peeta, in spite of the fact that she was learning plant identification.
    • Peeta's camouflage skills and strength.
    • Rue stealing a knife from one of the competitors and hiding in the rafters while they fight during training comes back later in the game.
    • Early on in the game, Katniss sees a girl get killed after lighting a fire in the forest (which led the Careers to her position). She later uses the same tactic to draw the Careers away from their supplies.
    • Cato showcases his ability to swiftly break necks after one of his partners fails to protect the food supply. At the climax he threatens to use it again on Peeta.
    • Katniss shoots an apple out of a roasted pig's mouth. She later shoots a sack of apples to set off the alliance's mines.
  • Cool Train: The maglev that takes Katniss and Peeta from District 12 to Capitol. Unlike modern-day maglevs, this one hovers high above the tracks and appears to be flying on its own. It's also equipped with all the amenities for the tributes and their retinue.

 Effie Trinket: 200 miles an hour and you can't feel a thing.

  • Cue the Sun: As soon as Cato dies, this was invoked.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: After outfighting Katniss, Clove gets completely overpowered and killed by Thresh.
  • Dawson Casting:
    • At first, the film's creators considered casting an actual teen in the lead role (among others, Saoirse Ronan, Chloe Moretz, and Hailee Steinfeld were considered for Katniss' part). They finally settled with 21-year old Jennifer Lawrence to play 16-year old Katniss. Liam Hemsworth (Gale, 18) was 21 during filming, while Josh Hutcherson (Peeta, 16) was 19. Leven Rambin (Glimmer, 18) was 21 at the time.
    • Isabelle Furhman, who plays Career Tribute Clove, was 14 when they filmed. Peeta mentions that Careers are always 18 when they volunteer. That means that although Fuhrman is six years younger than Lawrence, she was playing someone two years older. Also averted by Jacqueline Emerson (Foxface) and Amandla Stenberg (Rue), aged 16 and 12 during production.
  • Death by Irony: Foxface is one of the most literal cases. Foxface's strategy in the game is stealing food from other competitors to survive. She is frequently credited for being very clever for this. That very skill is what leads to her death when she unknowingly steals poison berries from Peeta. The irony? Had Peeta tried to intentionally leave them as a trap, she probably wouldn't have eaten them.
  • Demoted to Extra: Greasy Sae, Buttercup and Katniss' prep team. In addition, while the District 4 tributes weren't even important enough to get names in the book, the entire District gets demoted from being a Career District.
  • The Ditz: Glimmer - for a Career, anyway.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The excuse for the Games - punishing everyone ad infinitum for something that happened in the distant past - is reminiscent of the doctrine of Original Sin.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Just like in the books, Haymitch is pretty drunk when he first meets the latest set of kids he'll have to prepare to fight to the death. Unlike in the books, it's not a formal agreement he makes with Katniss and Peeta that keeps him out of the bar. The film makes a clear point of displaying how he sobers up only after it becomes clear to him that Katniss and Peeta have a legitimate chance of surviving the games.
  • Dyeing for Your Art:
    • Katniss and Gale are brunettes played by blondes while Peeta is a blond played by a brunet.
    • Many of the Capitol extras actually allowed their hair to be dyed those crazy colors for the movies. That is dedication.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The ending isn't even necessarily that happy; Katniss and Peeta survive the Games together and are going back to their district, but they now have a mortal enemy in President Snow.
    • Bittersweet Ending: Katniss not only survives the Games but succeeds in saving Peeta as well. On the other hand, every other Tribute died, and Katniss has made an enemy in President Snow, a situation which forces her to maintain the appearance of her relationship with Peeta in spite of her own conflicted feelings.
  • Environmental Symbolism: The sun sets almost instantly in the forest as the Muttations attack, and immediately rises after Cato dies, reinforcing the fact that it's the endgame. The Gamemakers control literally everything inside the Arena.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Driven home more in the film than the book, where we can see the Gamemakers controlling everything, up to making burning trees fall on command.
  • Evil Gloating: Clove taunts Katniss about Rue's death instead of just killing her... and unfortunately, Rue's compatriot was listening.
  • Extreme Graphical Representation: The gamemaker control room, to a ludicrous degree.
  • Fade to White: As Rue dies.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Katniss destroys Careers' supplies from much closer than she did in the book, and is quite visible in the composition of shots focusing on Cato as he Turns Red.
  • Fake American: Aussie Liam Hemsworth uses an American accent to play Gale. Panem is supposed to be located in North America.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: No guns for either the candidates or law enforcement, probably to prevent Katniss from simply wasting every opposing force and ending the story in ten minutes.
  • Foreshadowing: During the train scene, Haymitch tells Peeta that lighting fires in the arena is dangerous. When one of the tributes tries that, it makes it easy for the careers to find and kill her.
  • Game Breaker: In-Universe. The horde of supplies (including weapons, food and general items) the Careers were guarding would presumably have kept them well-fed and armed for quite some time. Katniss uses this to her advantage and destroys the stockpile, giving them a serious disadvantage.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Foxface and Prim. Gale also recalls Katniss as a child with two braids instead of the one she wears now.
  • Glass Cannon: Katniss is deadly with a bow but when it comes to close combat she very quickly gets into trouble.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Zig-Zagged throughout: most violent shots are shown, but this is noticeably played straight towards the very end of the film. Cato's eviscerated body nearly comes into view, but the camera cuts away before we can see anything.
  • Guys Smash Girls Shoot: Katniss is a skilled archer, while Peeta is a wrestler whose main skill is physical strength. The rest of the Tributes fall into this as well.
  • Hangover Sensitivity: When Katniss and Peeta meet Haymitch for the first time, he's more interested in continuing his drinking than giving advice, to the point of going back to his room.
  • Held Gaze: Katniss and Peeta do this frequently between themselves as a means of subtly creating romantic tension before anything truly happens between the two in the games.
  • Heel Realization: Cato realizes before his death that he spent his entire life being bred to be a pawn in the Capitol's scheme and even if he wins he is just a source of entertainment.
  • Heroic BSOD: Katniss after Rue's death.
  • Hope Spot: In-universe; Snow explains to Seneca why giving the Districts "a little hope" is a more effective means of control than simply rounding up 24 children every year and executing them. Too MUCH hope, however, is dangerous.
  • Hotter and Sexier:
    • In the book, the yellow dress that Katniss wears at her final interview was supposed to be girlish and understated with a high, modest cut. In the movie, while not designed to overtly flaunt sex appeal, the dress's design is more mature than what's described in the book.
    • Inverted with Glimmer's dress. In the book, she's described as wearing a translucent golden dress. However, in the movie, she girlishly bounces out on stage in a puffy white dress.
  • How Dare You Die on Me!: Katniss has a rather distressed reaction when she thought Peeta consumed the nightlock berries.

 Katniss: Damn you Peeta, damn you!

  • Huge Girl Tiny Guy: Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss) is only a half inch taller than 5'7 Josh Hutcherson (Peeta) but on screen the height difference looks more pronounced especially when they stand next to each other after first being announced as tributes. Hutcherson's height is regularly disputed, with some sources giving him as 5'5".
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die]]: Katniss' sadness over Rue's death leads her to go to great lengths to protect Peeta.
  • Impairment Shot: Almost every time Katniss is injured during the games.
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes: Averted; Effie and everyone in the Capitol wear clothes and make-up that are hilariously hideous to us, but are accepted as hallmarks of the high culture and fashion of the Capitol that simply never make it out to the districts.
  • Infant Immortality: Obvious considering the subject matter, but made more apparent in the film: a number of the dead tributes are very clearly not even old enough to be in high school and get the same bloody deaths as everyone else.
  • I Will Protect Her: Katniss to Prim. Then, to Rue. Finally to Peeta.
  • Jittercam: Used quite a lot. Probably to be as violent as they can without an R rating, as it's hard to see anything gruesome with the camera moving around so quickly. The camera becomes "queasy cam" outside of the Capitol or during the games, and "normal cam" within the Capitol or when the focus is on it. A nice touch to show how formal the Capitol appears to be to the general population.
  • Jump Scare: When the muttation leaps out at Peeta.
  • Knife Nut: Clove.
  • Large Ham: Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman, and Elizabeth Banks as Effie. Justified, as they are playing flamboyant characters.
  • Leave Behind a Pistol: Or nightlock berries for Seneca.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Peacekeepers wear pristine-white helmets and armour. Capitol, the heart of the decadent Panem, is an imposing Shining City. Even the rooms in the participant's rooms have bright white crystalline lights.
  • Limited Wardrobe: The Tributes, by necessity, wear their uniforms for the entirety of the game. Seneca Crane wears the same weird vest the whole time.
  • Love At First Sight: Peeta says this about Katniss during his appearance on Flickerman's show as part of a gambit to increase his popularity for both of them and gain more sponsors. Whether or not he actually means it is the real question.
  • Make Up Is Evil: The residents of the capital tend toward heavy make-up.
  • Meaningful Name: "Panem" means "bread," which is a reference to the Roman phrase "bread and circuses," which are the ways that a tyranny can keep its population under control. People from the capital have Roman names, another reference to the trope. Katniss is named after a plant that is also called "arrowhead," referring to her weapon of choice. Rue means "regret," referring to Kat's regret over her death. Peeta the baker's name sounds like "pita," a type of bread.
  • Mercy Kill: In the film, Cato actually screams "Please!" to be mercy killed by Katniss. And his ordeal didn't last 20 hours, unlike the book.
  • Monster Sob Story: Cato gets one in before their death.
  • Mushroom Samba: When Katniss is stung by the poisonous Tracker Jackers. This is admittedly Lighter and Softer than the book's presentation of the events.
  • Mood Dissonance: The Reaping - with no music, the tension from the names being called, the horror of hearing Prim's name being called and Effie Trinkett practically bouncing with excitement.
  • Neck Snap
  • Nice Hat: There would be a lot of these in the Capitol, but they are deliberately pushed into Impossibly Tacky Clothes territory instead.
  • No Escape but Down: When Katniss uses the Tracker Jackers to draw off the Careers, she ends up falling out of the tree while trying to rapidly climb down it.
  • Obstacle Exposition: When Seneca and the game controllers decide on what obstacles to use to deter contestants or bring them together (the forest fire, the Muttations).
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Just like the novel, you never really get to see Thresh in action. Pretty weird too, considering he was hyped as one of the stronger competitors. Onscreen, however, he kills Clove in just one move, and she's absolutely terrified of him.
  • Oh Crap: When Prim is chosen, there's a brief shot of the horrified Katniss making a face that can only be described as D:.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Isabelle Fuhrmann made a serious impression as Knife Nut Clove.
    • Thresh too, in the scene when he kills Clove.
    • Foxface sneaking into the Career's camp to steal food. Based on the reactions to these three characters you'd think they actually had more screen time.
    • Donald Sutherland's Throw It In scenes in which he explains President Snow's political philosophy.
    • Gale since he only speaks in two scenes.
  • One-Woman Wail: During the opening scenes, ethereal vocalizations play as we see an impoverished District 12. Fans of the Halo franchise will find the tune suspiciously similar.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Elizabeth Banks has some noticeable slips as Effie. It's harder to tell but Liam Hemsworth's Australian also comes out.
  • Out, Damned Spot!: After Rue's death, Katniss attempts to scratch off the scabs she suffered during the forest fire escape in a manic state, along with Rue's blood. Trope applies because Katniss had just killed Marvel.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: 5'5" Josh Hutcherson as the very strong Peeta. Also, the even smaller Isabelle Fuhrman as Clove.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation:
    • For the most part, the movie stays very true to the book, leading to a run time of of two hours and twenty-two minutes, but to keep it from being longer some things had to be cut, most notably the character of Madge. Katniss' search for water and Cato's death scene were also significantly shortened and Peeta gets to keep his leg.
    • While the book is about how the middle-class or lower middle-class shouldn't have apathy towards the poor (via the Avox sub-plot) and how wrong it is for the higher-class to outright take advantage of the lower class, the movie only takes time for the latter aesop.
  • President Evil: Guess who.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Tributes from Districts 1 and 2 tend to come off this way due to their Districts' practice of training children specifically in order to volunteer for the Hunger Games. As a result, "Career" Tributes are also far more likely to win than Tributes from other Districts, although Haymitch describes their arrogance as a flaw that can lead to their defeat.
  • Sacrificial Lamb/Lion: Several tributes are seen being threatened/killed both on-screen and off, such as the curly-haired teenager who hides in the Cornucopia before getting sliced by Cato when he tries to escape. Rue and Foxface could also be a case of this.
  • The Scream: Katniss, after she fails to protect Rue.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Played with. Katniss tries to get as far away from the action as she can at the beginning, only for a Gamemaster-initiated forest fire to drive her back to the centre of the arena after she unintentionally gets too close to the boundaries.
  • Shining City: The Capitol. This is, however, a case of Light Is Not Good (see above).
  • Ship Tease: Glimmer and Cato are seen cuddling while they sleep.
  • Shout-Out/To Shakespeare: The "Star crossed lovers" and the use of the Romeo and Juliet theme as the Mockingjay signal.
  • Show Within a Show: The Hunger Games themselves.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Katniss to Peeta, when he got sick. But you do not get points for guessing this.
  • Slave to PR: In-universe. Tributes must do several things during training and the actual game (impress the judges, achieve a high training score, make a good impression on Flickerman's show) in order to receive sponsorships and items to assist them. Katniss decides to play with the rules (via her training stunt where she shoots the apple out of a roast pig) and gets the highest Tribute ranking (11 out of 12) and more assistance during the game.
  • Technology Porn: The room where the overseers "modify" the game has some incredible animation.
  • Tempting Fate: Katniss tells Prim she won't be picked for the Hunger Games due to the fact she only has one ticket...suffice to say we know what happens next.
  • The Spartan Way: Implied with District 2.
  • The Film of the Book
  • Throw It In: The extra scenes with President Snow and Seneca Crane are apparently the product of a lengthy letter Sutherland wrote to the director on his interpretation of the charactre of Snow after he read the original screenplay. Ross liked them so much that he wrote two scenes of character exposition exploring the themes of Sutherland's letter and added them to the script for the first movie.
  • Trail of Bread Crumbs: Katniss tracks a blood trail leading out to the riverbank, and discovers a camouflaged (and injured) Peeta.
  • Training Montage
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Katniss, safely hidden in a tree, watches first hand a Tribute learn a cardinal rule about stealth in hostile territory the hard way: under no circumstances do you make a camp fire - you'll be too easy for the enemy to spot.
    • Clove giving a Hannibal Lecture to Katniss about her group having killed Rue rather than just killing her. Ends up badly for her when Thresh overhears.
  • Too Clever by Half: Foxface dies because, lacking the know-how to forage food from the forest for herself, she relies on stealth to observe and steal from other Tributes - meaning that she doesn't recognize nightlock berries and, assuming them to be safe because Peeta collected them, inadvertently poisons herself with them.
  • Villainous Breakdown: A minor one from the heavily-wounded Cato, who snaps at the Capitol audience for seeing his impending death as entertainment and lapses into the realization that all he knows how to do is kill people. Then he snaps out of it and decides he can take Peeta with him.
  • The Voiceless: Foxface maybe says a word or two (during her interview with Caesar but this is out of focus so it's hard to tell)
  • Waistcoat of Style: Seneca Crane.
  • Weird Beard: Seneca Crane again. It's already become somewhat of a meme. Now with its own tumblr blogs!
  • Xanatos Gambit: Katniss and Peeta, the last survivors, are told the rule that allowed them to win together has been revoked, so one has to kill the other. Katniss decides to have both herself and Peeta eat the nightlock berries, denying them their champion and giving District 12 two martyrs instead. Doing so forces to Seneca to either let them both win or let there be no champion and stoke further civil unrest - forcing him to become the final casualty of the Games.
  • You Have Failed Me: Snow to Seneca. for allowing Peeta and Katniss to get the better of him and force him to spare them both. Cato also does this to the District 3 boy standing guard by the food after Katniss sets off the mines and destroys all the food.