McGuffin – Also referred as MacGuffin is a plot device which is used in many of the suspense, thrillers or adventure movies. McGuffin is a plot device which might be any object, place, person or a goal for which the protagonist is ready to give up anything including life. However in the end it turns out to be unimportant to the over all plot. This has been a very old technique described in literature. The director who made this very popular was Sir Alfred Hitchcock and he used it very successful in many of his movies. If you have seen Hitchcock movies you would understand this very well as he was master of this technique and many new directors are still following this.
Some of the recent movies where this technique has been used very well. In Avatar the unobtanium is the McGuffin. The briefcase in Pulp Fiction, the Crystal Skull in Indiana Jones – The Kingdom of Crystal Skull are other examples of McGuffin. Some of the Indian movies recently used this technique very well. In the blockbuster Kahaani, Arnab Bagchi is the McGuffin, in the recent Tamil movie Pizza the mystery house where the hero delivers Pizza is a McGuffin. Its is a very hard technique and needs to be handled well. The success of the script is all about how the audience like the McGuffin in the plot. If they like it the movie becomes a successful one. You might be able to find many movies where you did not like the McGuffin and hence disliked the movie.