Movie Structure Breakdown: Wreck-it-Ralph

Format: Movie

Released: 2012

Directed by: Rich Moore

Written By: Phil Johnston and Jennifer Lee

Run Time: 93 minutes

Character: Wreck-it-Ralph


A character in an Imperfect Situation faces Oppressive Opposition as he pursues an Initial Goal. But when there is a Disturbance to his routine, he faces a Dilemma regarding his situation, and must assume a New Role.

Wreck-it-Ralph, a video game villain who’s grown tired of being the bad guy (the imperfect situation), is looked down upon and mistreated by the other video game characters (oppressive opposition) as he tries to come to terms with his lot in life (initial goal). But when the residents of his game throw a thirty-year anniversary party without him (the disturbance), he’s challenged to prove he’s more than just a bad guy by winning a medal (the dilemma) from another game (the new role).

The Imperfect Situation: After thirty years of being the bad guy in his game who everyone hates, Ralph has become disgruntled. He doesn’t fit in with anyone in his game. He doesn’t get along with the bad guys of other games. He has no friends.

Initial Goal: Ralph wants to come to terms with his place in the video game world.

Action Toward Initial Goal: Ralph attends a Bad-Anon meeting for the first time on the wake of his game’s 30 year anniversary.

After 30 years, you’d think they’d move on to world domination.

Oppressive Opposition: Ralph is harassed by the surge protector at Game Central station. Other characters at the station are fearful of him. The Nicelanders throw an anniversary party without him.

Turning Point Catalyst – The Disturbance: When the Nicelanders throw an anniversary party without inviting him, Ralph goes up to the penthouse where the party is being held. When Felix convinces everyone to let him come in for a piece of cake, he gets into an argument with one of the Nicelanders, Gene, and inadvertently smashes the cake and wrecks the party. Gene tells Ralph he is incapable of doing anything good and will always be a bad guy.

Turning Point One – The Dilemma: Start Time: 14 of 93 minutes (15%) After Ralph tells Gene he will win a medal and leaves the party, he heads to the local watering hole, Tappers. There, he meets a soldier from Hero’s Duty who tells him in his game you win a medal for climbing a building and fighting bugs. When the soldier knocks himself unconscious while fleeing a bug, Ralph decides to don the soldier’s uniform and go into Hero Duty to win a medal.

The New Role: Ralph becomes a game jumper.

Act Run Time: 16 of 93 minutes (17.2%)


The character Learns the Rules of an Unfamiliar Situation and faces Incidental Opposition in pursuit of a Transitional Goal. But when he receives a Reality Check, he makes a Commitment to his New Role.

Act Start Time: 16 of 93 minutes (17.2%)

Ralph sneaks into Hero’s Duty (the unfamiliar situation) and is nearly killed by cybugs (incidental opposition) as he tries to win a medal (transitional goal). But when he accidentally activates a cybug egg and takes an escape pod out of Hero’s Duty into Sugar Rush (the reality check), Vanellope steals his medal and he vows to get it back (the commitment).

The Unfamiliar Situation: Ralph goes into Hero’s Duty to get a medal and discovers that the game is a lot more dangerous than he initially concluded.

Transitional Goal: Win a medal in Hero’s Duty.

Incidental Opposition: When the game begins, Ralph is attacked by vicious cybugs who want to kill everyone. Afterward, he’s berated by Gunnery Sergeant Calhoun.

Because you are a disgusting fat body!

When he climbs up the tower and sneaks into the medal room, he inadvertently awakens a cybug egg and does battle with it.

Turning Point Catalyst – The Reality Check: After failing to get the medal through playing Hero’s Duty, Ralph instead steals it, only to activate a cybug egg and accidentally take an escape pod out of the game into Sugar Rush. The little girl whose game of Hero Duty Ralph ruined plays Fix-it-Felix. Seeing Ralph is gone, the arcade owner puts Ralph’s game out of order.

Turning Point Two – The Commitment: Start Time: 27 of 93 minutes (29%) Ralph crash lands into Sugar Rush. Vanellope steals Ralph’s medal and he vows to get it back from her. Felix and Calhoun go into Sugar Rush to find Ralph and the cybug he brought in with him, even though they both know if they die outside of their game they won’t regenerate.

Act Run Time: 17 of 93 minutes (18.2%)


The character stumbles into the Central Conflict and faces Intentional Opposition in pursuit of a False Goal. But when there is a grave Turn of events, he has a Moment of Truth.

Act Start Time: 33 of 93 minutes (35.5%)

Ralph squares off with King Candy (the central conflict) who wants to kick Ralph out of Sugar Rush (intentional opposition) before he can get his medal back his medal back from Vanellope (the false goal). But when the king captures Ralph, tells him his medal has been turned to code and orders him booted from the game (the turn), Ralph escapes, saves Vanellope from being bullied by the other racers and agrees to help her win the race to get his medal back (the moment of truth).

The Central Conflict: Ralph vs. King Candy/Turbo.

Footage from the presidential inauguration.

False Goal: Ralph wants to take his medal back from Vanellope.

Intentional Opposition: King Candy tells Ralph he can’t have his medal back and to leave the game immediately. When Ralph escapes, King Candy sends his goons to stop him.

Turning Point Catalyst – The Turn: King Candy captures Ralph and informs him that his medal has been turned into code and can’t be retrieved until someone wins the race.

Turning Point Three – The Moment of Truth: Start Time: 40 of 93 minutes (43%) – Ralph sees Vanellope being accosted by the other Sugar Rush racers and intervenes. Vanellope convinces him to help her break into the cart factory to get a cart so she can win the race and he can get his medal back.

Felix and Calhoun track down the shuttle Ralph took into Sugar Rush and he tells Calhoun the story of Turbo. After they escape the Nesquik sand, it is revealed to the audience that the cybug Ralph brought into the game is still alive.

Act Run Time: 15 of 93 minutes (16%)


The character implements a Doomed Plan and faces Self-Inflicted Opposition in pursuit of a Penultimate Goal. But when an unthinkable Lowpoint occurs, he pulls himself together and discovers a Newfound Resolve.

Act Start Time: 48 of 93 minutes (51.6%)

Ralph helps Vanellope acquire a cart and learn to drive (the doomed plan) and incurs the wrath of King Candy (self-inflicted opposition) while attempting to help her win the race to get his medal back (penultimate goal). But when King Candy convinces Ralph that Vanellope is banned from racing for her own good, and Ralph smashes her cart to prevent her from entering the race (the lowpoint), he returns to his own game, sees Vanellope’s face on the side of the Sugar Rush console, and races back to her game to find out the truth (the newfound resolve)

The Doomed Plan: Ralph attempts to help Vanellope win the race by assisting with building a cart and teaching her how to drive.

Remember, pedestrians are worth extra points.

Penultimate Goal: Help Vanellope win the race to get his medal back.

Self-Inflicted Opposition: When the king realizes Ralph is helping Vanellope, he vows to stop him.

Turning Point Catalyst – The Lowpoint: King Candy finds Ralph while Vanellope is inside and convinces him that she is barred from racing for her own benefit. This convinces Ralph to stop Vanellope from racing by smashing her cart. Afterwards she tells him that he really is a bad guy. Way to go, Ralph.

Turning Point Four – The Newfound Resolve: 69 of 93 minutes (74.2%) – Ralph returns to his own game dejected, only to realize that everyone has deserted. There he sees Vanellope’s face on the side of Sugar Rush and realizes there are sinister plots afoot at the Circle K. Ralph races back to Sugar Rush, find’s the king’s right hand piece of candy, Sour Bill, and salivaboards the truth about the king out of him. Meanwhile, Calhoun discovers the cybug nursery and realizes Sugar Rush is doomed.

Act Run Time: 25 of 93 minutes (26.8%)


The character tries a Longshot and faces Ultimate Opposition while trying to accomplish the Ultimate Goal. But just when it seems All is Lost, he makes a Final Push against the forces of antagonism and either succeeds or fails.

Act Start Time: 73 of 93 minutes (78.4%)

Ralph must solicit the aid of Felix to help Vanellope enter the race (the longshot) to defeat King Candy and the other racers (ultimate opposition) and win the race to reset Sugar Rush (the ultimate goal). But when the cybugs overrun Sugar Rush before she can cross the finish line and Vanellope can’t evacuate the game (all is lost), Ralph attempts to use Diet Cola mountain as a beacon to destroy the cybugs and must do battle with cybug King Candy (the final push)

The Longshot: Ralph must convince Felix to help the novice racer, Vanellope, win the race and defeat King Candy.

Ultimate Goal: Defeat King Candy/Turbo and the cybugs.

And he’d gone to such great lengths to hide his jaundice from the world.

Ultimate Opposition: Vanellope and Ralph face off with King Candy and the attack of the Cybugs.

Turning Point Catalyst – All is Lost: The Cybugs overrun Sugar Rush and destroy the finish line before Vanellope can cross.

Evil, yet delicious.

Everyone tries to evacuate the game, but Ralph can’t get Vanellope out because she is a glitch.

Turning Point Five – The Final Push: Start Time: 83 of 93 minutes (89.2%) – Ralph gets the idea to use Diet Cola mountain as a beacon to destroy the cybugs, but is confronted by Turbo/King Candy Cybug and must fight him to set off the beacon.

Act Run Time: 14 of 93 minutes (15%)


Having accomplished (or failed to have accomplished) the Ultimate Goal, the character is shown living in a New Situation.

Act Start Time: 87 of 93 minutes (93.5%)

Ralph is a hero to Vanellope, and no longer disgruntled about his role as a bad guy in his game.

The New Situation: Ralph and Vanellope are friends. The Nicelanders are now nice to Ralph and he moves out of the dump into his own little house.

I could literally kill you with my pinky.

Act Run Time: 14 of 93 minutes (15%)

To learn more about six act structure, purchase your copy of “Actions and Goals: The Story Structure Secret” today!

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