Study Guide

Ghostbusters Hero's Journey

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Hero's Journey

Ever notice that every blockbuster movie has the same fundamental pieces? A hero, a journey, some conflicts to muck it all up, a reward, and the hero returning home and everybody applauding his or her swag? Yeah, scholar Joseph Campbell noticed first—in 1949. He wrote The Hero with a Thousand Faces, in which he outlined the 17 stages of a mythological hero's journey.

About half a century later, Christopher Vogler condensed those stages down to 12 in an attempt to show Hollywood how every story ever written should—and, uh, does—follow Campbell's pattern. We're working with those 12 stages, so take a look. (P.S. Want more? We have an entire Online Course devoted to the hero's journey.)

Ordinary World

Peter, Ray, and Egon are out of work college professors with an obsession with the paranormal.

Call To Adventure

Pete comes up with the idea that they start their own Ghostbusting service.

Refusal Of The Call

Ray has some practical concerns, like where they'll get the cash from.

Meeting The Mentor

Peter coaxes Ray into mortgaging his house to raise the dough.

Crossing The Threshold

And they're off! The Ghostbusters buy a HQ, a car, and make a commercial.

Tests, Allies, Enemies

They make new friends like Dana Barrett and Janine the secretary, and face lots of ghostly enemies… though their worst enemy so far turns out to be EPA Agent Walter Peck.

Approach To The Inmost Cave

As Dana and Louis are possessed, the Ghostbusters detect that a huge psychokinetic event is on the horizon.


Peck turns off the containment unit causing a massive explosion and releasing all the ghosts the guys have caught.

Reward (Seizing The Sword)

After a night in jail, the Ghostbusters convince the mayor to let them go defeat Gozer.

The Road Back

The boys parade across the city with a police escort.


In the final showdown, the guys escape certain death and zap Gozer back into its own dimension.

Return With The Elixir

The Ghostbusters return to the streets of NYC, where they're loved by the adoring crowds.

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