Acme::MetaSyntactic::counting_to_one - The "movies where you count up to one" theme


This list gives the names of some movies where you only need to count up to one or, in some cases, up to zero. More precisely:

If you count the number of gunshots in M*A*S*H (a Korean-war film), you obtain a count of one.

The same thing with The Man Who Never Was (a WWII movie) gives a result of zero.

If you count the number of surviving characters at the end of The Trench, you obtain a count of one.

If you count the number of female characters in Dr Strangelove, you obtain a count of one.

On the other hand, if you count the number of male characters in Huit Femmes (Eight Women), you obtain a count of one.

If you count the number of times you see John Belushi's eyes in The Blues Brothers, you obtain a count of one. If you prefer Dan Acroyd's or Cab Calloway's eyes, you obtain a count of zero.

If you count the number of times the word "Mafia" is pronounced in The Godfather, you obtain a count of zero.

If you count the number of alphabetic characters in Truffaut's Fahrenheit 451, not taking into account the books being burned, you obtain a count of zero.

If you count the number of scenes which include a horse in Monty Python's Holy Grail, you obtain a count of one.

At the end of the same movie, if you count the number of names appearing in the final credits, you obtain a count of zero.

If you count the number of words said during Mel Brooks' Silent Movie, you obtain a count of one.

If you count the number of sexy scenes in Robin Hood (the Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland version), you obtain a count of one.

If you count the number of times Grace Kelly appears naked in The Bridges at Toko-Ri, you obtain a count of one.

If you count the number of times Humphrey Bogart says "Play it again Sam" in Casablanca, despite what the movie buff lore says, you obtain a count of zero.

If you count the number of sequences in Rope, you obtain a count of one.

If you watch Le Fils de Caroline Chérie to have a look at Caroline, you will see her only once.

In most war movies, the delay between the instant you see an explosion and the instant you hear it is zero seconds.

To these movies, we can add several other movies based on Tennessee William's plays, which follow the classical French theater's règle des trois unités: one day, one place, one plot.

And of course, we can add any Buster Keaton film, in which you might count the number of times Buster Keaton smiles, as well as any Marx Brothers film, in which you can count the number of times Harpo speaks.



The gunshot occurs during the football match, to mark the end of the first period of the game.

The Man Who Never Was

This movie is rather a spy movie that takes place during World War II. It presents the deception operation prior to the landing in Sicily, which consisted in releasing the corpse of a so-called "Major Martin", with forged secret documents, so this corpse would land in neutral Spain. The British hoped that the German agents in Spain would have access to the forged documents, believe them genuine and report their findings to Berlin. The movie describes the preparation of the operation and the mission of a German agent in England to check the background of "Major Martin". So, this film contains no gunshot, only one axis character and one corpse.

The Trench

This film describes the Somme Attack on 1st July, 1916, which may have been the most murderous day since the birth of mankind until the bombing of Hamburg in 1943. Therefore you might think that there would be no survivor among the main characters (that is, excluding the poge colonel and the cinema team). Yet, there is one survivor, the soldier who had his jaw smashed by a sniper shot and who was casevac'ed on the eve of the Somme attack.

Dr Strangelove

The female character is Miss "Foreign Affairs", General Turgidson's secretary, who appears also in the centerfold of the Playboy issue Major Kong is reading. See

The Blues Brothers

The scene where we can see Jake's eyes is the scene in the sewer tunnel where Jake is at last face-to-face with his former wife-to-be, played by Carrie Fisher.

Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury's book is about a future where books are banished, lest they'd be tought-provoking. François Truffaut's film is about a future where every single alphabetic character is banished, not only the thought-provoking ones inside the books, but also the utilitary characters such as "exit", "walk"/"don't walk", "in", "out". When a character's personal file is briefly shown, we can only see numbers. This goes to such length that the credits are not written on the screen, but spoken by a narrator. The contributor likes Ray Bradbury's book.

Monty Python's Holy Grail

The scene with a horse is the scene in which a professor is murdered. As for the final credits, there are none.

Silent Movie

The only word spoken during this film is Mime Marceau's answer to Mel Brooks: "No!"

Robin Hood

In this film, a "normal" scene is a scene where Maid Marian wears clothes and headgear covering everything except part of her face, from the forehead to the chin. A "sexy" scene is a scene in which Maid Marian appears with her whole bare head: face, ears, long flowing hear. Yet, from the neck down, she is still fully clothed.

The Bridges at Toko-Ri

This film includes a scene where Brubaker (William Holden), his wife (Grace Kelly) and their two girls take a Japanese bath. But don't hold your breath, the angles of view and the ripples in the water prevent you from seeing more than the Hays Code would permit.


This is a movie with five reels, yet with seemingly only one camera shot. Actually, from time to time, the camera zooms towards a dark object, such as James Stewart's suit or the lid of a wooden trunk. Then, when the camera zooms out, you notice a slightly different rendering of the colors. But it is customary to pretend not noticing that and to wonder how Hitchcock did this feat. The contributor does not agree. This movie is one of the few Hitchcock movies he dislikes.

Le Fils de Caroline Chérie

Actually, Caroline appears only something like 0.05 times, rounded up to one. The entire movie is about her son, living in Spain during the Napoleonic War and looking for his mother. His quest is fulfilled at the very end of the movie and he sees at last her mother exiting from a stagecoach. But you barely see her foot and ankle and the film ends on this picture. By the way, nothing ensures that this foot and this ankle are Martine Carol's (the actress playing Caroline in both other Caroline Chérie movies).


Jean Forget.


  • 2012-11-19 - v1.000

    Published as the last theme submitted before the release of Acme-MetaSyntactic version 0.99, in Acme-MetaSyntactic-Themes version 1.028.

  • 2012-10-21

    Jean selected counting_to_one as the theme name.

  • 2012-09-25

    Updated version submitted by Jean Forget.

  • 2006-07-11

    Submitted by Jean Forget as the movies theme.


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