The Iconic Stairs in Movies

To convey feelings to audiences through a scene, every shot in movies is meticulously designed to completely construct the story and world that is reasonable enough to its audiences. Therefore, what you can see in the movie are meticulously mapped out and every object appeared with its aim which is to win your agreement, to agree with the emotions, and agree with the logic. 

People sometimes only focus on the practical function of staircases. But in movies, a stair is an expression with aesthetics and narrative.  

1. Inception >>>Penrose Steps

-    "In a dream, you can cheat architecture into impossible shapes that lets you create closed loops, like the Penrose steps, the infinite staircase."
-    "Paradox."

In the movie Inception, being paradox, making the impossibilities possible is one of the most appealing plots. This stair literally makes you feel that you are actually in the dream.

What is Penrose Stairs?

This impossible phenomenon is based on the idea “of a staircase in which the stairs make four 90-degree turns as they ascend or descend yet form a continuous loop, so that a person could climb them forever and never get any higher.


This is a paradox as they said in the movie. Just imagine,
you can walk up or down on it without an end, but you always get back to the original position again and again! is it possible? impossible! It is actually a visual scheme. This loop can’t be real in the three-dimension world that we are lining in. It is a 2D effect that misleads us. 

However, it is impressive, isn’t it? 

2. Harry Potter >>> The Grand Staircase

*The Grand Staircase was a massive stairway in Hogwarts Castle, the structure was mainly used to access each floor of the castle, including the dungeons. Rowena Ravenclaw was the Hogwarts founder who invented the concept of moving stairs. 

"There were a hundred and forty-two staircases at Hogwarts: wide, sweeping ones; narrow, rickety ones; some that led somewhere different on a Friday; some with a vanishing step halfway up that you had to remember to jump."


It leaves me loads of imagination the first time when I saw the scene in the movie. Stairs can move automatically and look intelligent! It is another evidence of the mysterious Hogwarts.

Harry Potter creates a magical world for the fans, and it also provides a future plan of staircases. Moving stairs lead people to random places, which is definitely an excellent installation art in the modern account. Nowadays, there are some people who try to copy the idea of moving stairs, but they still confined in appearance. Maybe, one day, Grand Stairs no longer live in the movie only.  

3. Joker >>> Dancing in the stair 

Stairs appear frequently in the movie, which implies the changes in Arthur. When he struggles up in the stair, the dim light and the heaviness of his steps create a reflection of him, a normal person who endeavors to live in a filthy reality.
The staircase is the metaphor of Arthur’s pressure and pain when he limps forward to reach the happy end whereas it is an endless walk. 

Similar scenes showed many times. The most iconic and key scene is regarded to be the dance in the stair when Arthur finally embraces his dark side and tragedy completely. Walking down the stair with bitter happiness, Arthur makes his path to become the Joker and this is his indulgence to darkness and giving up the hopeless reality.  

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