“It might be a Scottish name, taken from a story about two men on a train. One man says, ‘What’s that package up there in the baggage rack?’ And the other answers, ‘Oh, that’s a MacGuffin’. The first one asks, ‘What’s a MacGuffin?’ ‘Well,’ the other man says, ‘it’s an apparatus for trapping lions in the Scottish Highlands.’ The first man says, ‘But there are no lions in the Scottish Highlands,’ and the other one answers, ‘Well then, that’s no MacGuffin!’ So you see that a MacGuffin is actually nothing at all.”

Alfred Hitchcock, 1939

Fall '18

Master of Architecture Studio ONE (Spring '19 GPA: 4.0)

UC Berkeley, CA

Advisor: Prof. Nicholas de Monchaux



On the commentary soundtrack to the 2004 DVD release of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, George Lucas describes R2-D2 as “the main driving force of the movie ... what you say in the movie business is the MacGuffin.” In contrast to Hitchcock ’s definition, Lucas maintained that “the audience should care about it almost as much as the dueling heroes and villains on screen.”

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