What is the Epilogue and Prologue in a Film_

Written By:

What is the Epilogue and Prologue in a Film?

The narrative of a film is constructed similarly to those of other forms of literature. In fact, many films will have an epilogue and a prologue. Just as you would expect in a book or within some other literary piece of work. While you may have heard of both the epilogue and the prologue of a film, you may wonder, “What is the epilogue and the prologue in a film?” and how are they used?

What is An Epilogue in Film?

The term “Epi” is Greek for “In addition” or “conclusion” and “logos” is Greek for speech. Therefore the term epilogue stands for the concluding speech.

Oftentimes the epilogue is helpful in providing the tying up of any loose ends that may remain otherwise untied or unaccounted for at the end of an otherwise concluded narrative.

The epilogue in film represents the speech that takes place at the end of the story and stands as a final comment on or conclusion to what happened. The epilogue scene comes after the climax takes place. And basically shows us what happens to the characters post-story.

The epilogue may offer some clarity for the overall narrative, allowing the viewer to better understand the resolution or future of those involved in the story.

What is a Prologue in Film?

The term “pro” means before, for instance if you’re being proactive, you’re taking action before something gets worse.

Thus the term “prologue” can be broken down as “pro”. Which means before and “logos” which is the Old Greek term for speech or saying. Therefore a prologue is, in Greek terms, Saying something before.

When it comes to a film, or any other literary work that shares a story, the prologue represents the spoken part that comes before the film. Generally, the prologue is the author’s introduction that comes before the story or narrative takes place.

Epilogue vs. Prologue

So, which is more important, the epilogue or the prologue in a film? The answer is – both, or neither. In fact, the epilogue nor the prologue are required parts of a film. But both can add context and underlying value to the narrative.

The prologue, offering insight into the background of the story or the reasons why the narrative takes place and the epilogue providing the closing statements, if you will, and offering a final conclusion to the story.

No Set Rules

Equally important to understand is that there are no underlying rules stating that you cannot have just one or the other. Thus, you can have an epilogue in your film and not a prologue, or you may opt for a prologue and not an epilogue. Both options are not only acceptable, but perfectly fine.

If you feel that including an epilogue or a prologue will add value that your audience will realize in hearing/seeing the epilogue or the prologue of your film, then add it. But, if you don’t believe that there is going to be value in either, you might opt to omit them from your plans and you’ll be just fine in doing so!