A scene is a dramatic part of a story, at a specific time and place, between specific characters. The term is used in both filmmaking and theatre, with some distinctions between the two.


In drama, a scene is a unit of action, often a subdivision of an act.

French scene

A "French scene" is a scene in which the beginning and end are marked by a change in the presence of characters onstage, rather than by the lights going up or down or the set being changed.George, Kathleen (1994) ''Playwriting: The First Workshop'', Focal Press, , p. 154

Obligatory scene

From the French ''scène à faire'', an obligatory scene is a scene (usually highly charged with emotion) which is anticipated by the audience and provided by an obliging playwright. An example is '' Hamlet'' 3.4, when Hamlet confronts his mother.


filmmaking Filmmaking (film production) is the process by which a motion picture is produced. Filmmaking involves a number of complex and discrete stages, starting with an initial story, idea, or commission. It then continues through screenwriting, casti ...
and video production, a scene is generally thought of as a section of a motion picture in a single
location In geography, location or place are used to denote a region (point, line, or area) on Earth's surface or elsewhere. The term ''location'' generally implies a higher degree of certainty than ''place'', the latter often indicating an entity with an ...
and continuous time made up of a series of shots, which are each a set of contiguous frames from individual cameras from varying angles. A scene is a part of a film, as well as an act, a sequence (longer or shorter than a scene), and a setting (usually shorter than a scene). While the terms refer to a set sequence and continuity of observation, resulting from the handling of the camera or by the editor, the term "scene" refers to the continuity of the observed action: an association of time, place, or characters. The term may refer to the division of the film from the screenplay, from the finished film, or it may only occur in the mind of the spectator who is trying to close on a logic of action. For example, parts of an action film at the same location, that play at different times can also consist of several scenes. Likewise, there can be parallel action scenes at different locations usually in separate scenes, except that they would be connected by media such as telephone, video, etc. Due to the ability to
edit Edit may refer to: Concepts * an action that is part of an editing process (including of images, video, and film) * a particular version that is the result of editing, especially of film (for example, fan edit), or music (for example, rad ...
recorded visual works, a movie scene is much shorter than a
stage play A play is a work of drama, usually consisting mostly of dialogue between characters and intended for theatrical performance rather than just reading. The writer of a play is called a playwright. Plays are performed at a variety of levels, fro ...
scene Scene (from Greek σκηνή ''skēnḗ'') may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Music *Scene (subculture), a youth subculture from the early 2000s characterized by a distinct music and style. Groups and performers * The Scene who reco ...
. Because of their frequent appearance in films, some types of scenes have acquired names, such as love scene, sex scene, nude scene, dream scene, action scene, car chase scene, crash scene, emotional scene,
fight scene Stage combat, fight craft or fight choreography is a specialised technique in theatre designed to create the illusion of physical combat without causing harm to the performers. It is employed in live stage plays as well as operatic and ballet ...
, tragedy scene, or
post-credits scene A post-credits scene (commonly referred to as a stinger or credit cookie) or mid-credits scene is a short clip that appears after all or some of the closing credits have rolled and sometimes after a production logo of a film, TV series, or video g ...
. There is usually an opening scene and a closing scene. In contrast, the traditional movie script is divided into acts, but those categories are less frequently used in the digital technology. The scene is important for the unity of the action of the film, while a stage drama is typically divided into acts. The division of a movie into scenes is usually done in the script. Some action scenes need to be planned very carefully.

See also

Fiction Fiction is any creative work, chiefly any narrative work, portraying character (arts), individuals, events, or setting (narrative), places that are imagination, imaginary, or in ways that are imaginary. Fictional portrayals are thus inconsistent ...
Long take In filmmaking, a long take (also called a continuous take or continuous shot) is a Shot (filmmaking), shot with a duration much longer than the conventional editing pace either of the film itself or of films in general. Significant camera movement ...
Plot (narrative) In a literary work, film, or other narrative, the plot is the sequence of events in which each event affects the next one through the principle of cause-and-effect. The causal events of a plot can be thought of as a series of events linked by th ...
* Scene and sequel * Theatrical scenery


{{film-term-stub Plot (narrative) Narratology