Several years ago, I invented the Killogator logline formula. It’s been incredibly popular, because, well, it works. But people who’re trying to use the formula often ask me for logline examples to help them generate loglines for their own stories.
Luckily, I also write book, movie and game reviews and they all include a logline, so I have dozens of logline examples ready and waiting.
Here they all are.
Movie Logline Examples
Here’s a load of movie logline examples, all generated using the Killogator Formula, and presented in alphabetical order:
A young American joins a deniable group of government assassins in the hope of revenge against the terrorists who murdered his fiancé. His first mission is to prevent one of his predecessors from building a nuclear weapon.
When the CIA ask a pilot to fly clandestine missions in South America for them, he soon realises it’s an ideal cover for smuggling drugs into the USA. He has to play the CIA, drug cartels, law enforcement and even the White House off against each other to keep his operation running.
During the 1979 Iranian revolution, a CIA officer plans to help six American diplomats escape the country disguised as a Canadian film crew, but with the Revolutionary Guards closing in and no support from his superiors, he must move fast to avoid being caught and executed.
MI6 send their best troubleshooter to Berlin to retrieve a watch full of vital information, and the defector who produced it. Betrayed by a mole in MI6, the agent must outmaneuver the rival intelligence services competing for the watch, to save the defector and discover who the traitor is.
Bridge of Spies
At the height of the Cold War, a Soviet spy and an American spyplane pilot are captured. An American lawyer has to use all his negotiating skills to navigate between the bitter enemies and broker a spy-swap deal.
When woman’s husband is murdered, she discovers that he was a rogue agent who stole a fortune from the CIA. With her life in danger and both the CIA and her husband’s double-crossed accomplices on her tail, she has to find the money and decide whether she can trust the mysterious man who’s helping her.
When an MI5 agent who is obsessed with stopping a terror plot that he can’t convince his superiors is real flies to Egypt to interrogate the British man he believes to be organising it, he must decide how far he will go to prevent the attack.
When a mild-mannered company man gets embroiled in futuristic mega-corporations’ cyber-espionage wars, he must decide whether to trust his instincts about the only woman who might be able to save him
The Final Countdown
A modern aircraft carrier arrives near Pearl Harbor in 1941 and discovers the Japanese ready to attack. The time-travellers must decide whether to change history by destroying the Japanese fleet.
When a teenage assassin’s mission goes wrong, she is pursued across Europe by a ruthless CIA agent and must come to terms with the secrets of her childhood in order to survive.
In 2018, a US astronaut is captured on the moon by Nazis who’ve been living there since 1945. He’s forced to help them with their plans to conquer the Earth. As the invasion begins, he tries to prevent the Nazi’s super-weapon from destroying the world.
Kingsman: The Secret Service’
When a billionaire businessman plots to ‘cull’ the human race, a trainee in a secretive independent intelligence agency has a chance to prove himself a better agent than the more privileged candidates.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith
When man and wife assassins discover they are working for rival agencies they have to decide whether to put love ahead of business.
North By Northwest
When an innocent advertising executive is framed for murder by foreign spies, he must evade the authorities for long enough to uncover the spies’ plot, and save the enigmatic woman who is mixed up with them.
The self-destructive daughter of a convicted traitor is asked by the American agent she loves to seduce a Nazi in South America. When the Nazi asks her to marry him, she has to decide how far she will deceive him in order to discover his plans.
When a CIA agent is accused by a defector of being a Russian deep cover infiltrator who’s part of a plot to assassinate the President of Russia and cause a nuclear war, she must decide where her loyalties lie as she takes her revenge on the powerful forces from her past that have set her up.
After a hard-drive containing agent names is stolen by an ex-MI6 agent with a vendetta on M, Bond must face demons from his past and present to try and save M.
When Bond’s past comes back to haunt him, he has to choose between revenge on his secretive nemesis and potential happiness with the daughter of an old adversary, whilst trying to prevent a threat to world freedom.
Spies Like Us
US intelligence promote two incompetents, give them perfunctory training and send them to draw attention away from real spies. But when the real spies are killed, the hapless dupes must carry out the mission for real.
The Spy Who Loved Me
When British and Soviet submarines are stolen, Bond and his female Soviet counterpart must work together to prevent a megalomaniac and his indestructible henchman using the submarines’ nuclear missiles to provoke world war three.
The Wild Geese
An aging mercenary is hired to rescue an African politician from execution. When the operation goes wrong, his commando group has to fight its way to the border in order to escape.
Zero Dark Thirty
After 9/11, a CIA analyst spends years tracking Osama bin Laden down and must negotiate terrorist bombs, moral dilemmas and sceptical superiors to find the terrorist leader’s hiding place and persuade the government to attack it.
TV Series Logline Examples
Televison series can easily use the same logline formula as movies, as these logline examples for TV shows illustrate.
In 1980s Germany, the East eGerman secret police send a young soldier from the East to the West as a spy. When the spy’s masters misinterpret the strategy papers he steals as a plan for an imminent western attack on East Germany, he tries to prevent the Cold War turning hot.
In London, a gay man discovers his MI6-operative lover dead. He suspects a cover up, but with the conspirators seemingly all-powerful he has to sacrifice everything to discover the truth.
In 1970s London, a KGB defector warns MI5 of a Soviet plot to destabilise Britain. With MI5 infiltrated by a KGB agent, the service’s operatives must decide who they can trust, discover who is betraying them and somehow stop the plot.
In 1976, an elderly and paranoid spy recalls how she was sent to the USA before World War Two as an agent-provocateur and how the betrayal that has haunted her ever since needs revenge in the present.
Spies of Warsaw
As the Second World War approaches, a French spy in Poland discovers German battle-plans, and has to fight off Nazi and Soviet assassins as he tries to alert both countries to the danger.
Novel Logline Examples
Loglines aren’t just for movies and television as these logline examples based on novels I’ve reviewed show:
Alternative History Novel Logline Examples
My alternative history novel reviews all include logline examples:
The Afrika Reich
In a world where Nazi Germany has subjugated most of Africa, a British mercenary is asked to assassinate one of Africa’s German overlords. When the mission goes wrong he has to try to escape against impossible odds.
Bring the Jubilee
In a world where the Confederate States won the US Civil War, and the USA is an impoverished backwater, a historian uses a brilliant but unstable mathematician’s time-machine to go back to the Battle of Gettysburg and witness the turning point of the war.
The Coming Race
While exploring a deep mineshaft, a traveller accidentally finds his way into a subterranean city inhabited by an ancient civilisation. Realising the threat that this advanced race poses to humanity he tries to escape and warn the human race of the danger.
In a world where Nazi Germany won the Second World War, a German policeman investigates a conspiracy involving the deaths of high-ranking Nazis and must decide how much he is prepared to sacrifice in order to discover the darkest secrets of the victorious Third Reich.
The Guns of the South
During the American Civil War, white-supremacist time travellers supply the Confederate Army with modern assault rifles. But progress and justice are not so easily stifled as the time travellers expect.
The Hive Construct
In a future city where a civil war is raging, a fugitive hacker must try to stop a computer virus from destroying the city and its inhabitants.
King Solomon’s Mines
In Victorian Africa, an ageing hunter guides an expedition to discover the fabled source of the biblical King’s wealth. Confronted by the brutal king and immortal witch who guard the treasure he has to use all his cunning to survive.
The Madagaskar Plan
In an Africa controlled by Nazi Germany, an ex-British agent discovers his Jewish lover is imprisoned on Madagascar. With the island rebelling, his archenemy pursuing him, and their children missing, he must fight insurmountable odds to rescue her.
A Victorian professor and his adopted son travel to Africa in search of a lost civilisation. Finding it ruled by a near-immortal woman of extraordinary beauty, power and cruelty, they are helpless to resist her plans to marry the son and rule the British Empire.
The Sound of His Horn
A British naval officer is somehow transported a hundred years into the future to a world where the Nazis won World War Two. Trapped in a game reserve with other humans and hunted by the Reich Master Forester, he tries to escape back to his own world.
In a Britain occupied by Nazi Germany, a British detective investigates the murder of a nuclear physicist. He must unravel the complex plots of his German superiors and the British resistance, in order to survive and transfer the secret of the atom bomb to Britain’s last hope: the USA.
Spy Thriller Novel Logline Examples
My spy thriller novel reviews all include logline examples too:
During World War One, British Intelligence recruit a famous writer and send him to run a spy ring in Switzerland. The farcical nature of his missions, and the tragic fate of many of the spies, leave him disillusioned with espionage.
In nineteen-twenties Britain, a demobilised soldier advertises for ‘excitement’. Contacted by a young woman who suspects a foreign agent is blackmailing her father, he discovers a plot to instigate Bolshevik-style revolution and attempts to thwart it.
In 1950s France, a British spy tries to bankrupt a corrupt Soviet agent at the card table. When the plan succeeds at terrible cost, he must decide between love and duty.
The Convictions of John Delahunt
In Victorian Dublin, a student is drawn into spying for the British. Penniless and desperate due to a disastrous marriage, he starts carrying out murders, framing other people and collecting the reward money. Exposed, convicted and sentenced to die, his final desire is to tell his side of the story.
The Day of the Jackal
In 1960s France, die-hard imperialists hire a professional assassin to kill President de Gaulle. When the French discover the plot, the assassin must stay one step ahead of a brilliant French detective in order to complete his mission and change history.
The Eagle Has Landed
During World War Two, a unit of German paratroopers and an Irish revolutionary infiltrate England to try to kidnap Churchill. When their cover story is blown they have to try to complete their mission against impossible odds.
Eye of the Needle
During World War Two, a ruthless German spy in Britain learns the secrets of D-Day and must escape back to Germany to change the course of the war. But when he is shipwrecked on a small Scottish island he meets a woman who might just be a match for him.
When the Russians develop an almost unstoppable fighter plane, British intelligence infiltrate an American pilot into the Soviet Union in a desperate attempt to steal the aircraft. The pilot must evade the KGB and the Soviet air force, and also deal with his personal demons, as he tries to escape with the aircraft.
From Russia With Love
The Soviets plan to discredit the British Secret Service by luring James Bond to Istanbul and then killing him in a compromising position with a beautiful defector. Bond must use all his skills to avoid the trap, save the girl and turn the tables on his attackers.
The Great Impersonation
In 1913, a German spy assumes a dead Englishman’s identity and infiltrates British society as a sleeper agent, but when he falls in love with the Englishman’s wife and his Hungarian ex-lover recognises him, he must decide how to deal with the two women who may wreck his plans.
The Gun Seller
In 1990s London, an ex-soldier stumbles on a conspiracy, funded by a billionaire arms dealer, to stage a terrorist attack. Blackmailed into taking part in the plot, he has to decide what he is prepared to risk to thwart it.
The Hunt For Red October
When a revolutionary new soviet submarine tries to defect to the USA, the Russians chase it across the Atlantic with everything they have. A CIA analyst who suspects the submarine captain’s true motives has to try to come up with a plan to guide the rogue submarine to safety.
Ice Station Zebra
When contact is lost with a British base in the Arctic, a US submarine takes a British spy to investigate. He must deal with sabotage, the harsh Arctic climate and murderous Soviet agents in order to discover the truth.
The IPCRESS File
When a British agent investigating the kidnapping of top scientists is himself kidnapped he has to try to resist brainwashing in order to escape and discover who is behind the plot.
The Man Who Was Thursday
In Edwardian London, a poet infiltrates the anarchist underground. Elected to the post of Thursday on the anarchist council, masterminded by the monstrous Sunday, the poet tries to prevent an anarchist assassination in Paris. But when the plot takes a surreal turn, he is left unsure who to trust and even what is real.
Ministry of Fear
In World War Two London, a widower stumbles into a spy conspiracy, and is framed for murder. After he gets amnesia in an explosion, he has to try to regain his memory and discover what the conspirators’ plan is.
The Night of Wenceslas
In 1950s Britain, a young man is forced into acting as a courier of secret information from communist Czechoslovakia. In Prague he discovers he has been double-crossed, and tries to escape to the British embassy, pursued by the Czech secret police.
When a journalist starts to suspect that the multi-millionaire who’s courting her is also a terrorist mastermind, she turns freelance spy, braving real spies, sharks and scuba diving in a quest to discover what he’s really up to.
One Lonely Night
A private eye intervenes to save a young woman from being killed by a hitman, but she commits suicide. The private eye investigates the hitman’s communist and Soviet connections, driven by a need to satiate his own lust for violence and murder.
Our Man in Havana
In 1950’s Cuba, a vacuum cleaner salesman, needing money to fund his daughter’s extravagant lifestyle, sells fake intelligence to MI6, drawing Soviet attention. When they decide to eliminate him he invents a convoluted plot to try and save himself and his daughter.
A marketing consultant who lost her father in the 9/11 attacks tries to discover who is behind cryptic video clips discovered on the internet. But someone is trying to stop her following the trail to its source, and she has to decide who she can trust if she wants to track down the enigmatic filmmaker.
The Quiller Memorandum
In 1960s Berlin, a British agent is assigned to investigate a neo-Nazi organisation. He meets a mysterious woman and plays a cat and mouse game with his opponents as he seeks to locate their base, and their leader.
In a quiet English town, an old lady resists the questioning of MI5 whilst trying not to alienate her barrister son. She must hold out until the end of the week to avoid a betrayal she cannot contemplate.
The Riddle of the Sands
When an amateur British sailor on a yachting holiday in the Baltic stumbles upon a German invasion plan masterminded by a renegade Englishman, he must choose between warning his country and his love for the traitor’s daughter.
After failing in an attempt to assassinate Hitler, an upper-class English hunter is tortured and left for dead, but escapes back to England where he tries to ‘go to ground’ in the countryside. The enemy catch up with him and he has to use all his hunting skills to survive.
Six Days of the Condor
In 1970s Washington DC, a CIA analyst comes back from lunch to discover everyone in his office has been murdered by mystery assailants. Unable to trust anyone within the CIA, he goes on the run and must try to avoid being eliminated before he can unravel the conspiracy behind the attack.
In a dystopian future, an assassin with no emotions is asked to locate a missing woman. When his emotions start returning, he has to decide whether to carry out his orders to kill the woman or break with his employers and protect her… and the secret she has uncovered.
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold
At the height of the Cold War, a burnt-out British spy is asked to pretend to defect in order to frame an enemy spymaster, but he falls in love with a naive Communist and begins to suspect he is a pawn in a cynical double-cross.
A chorus line dancer and a business man begin an affair on the Orient Express, but when the Yugoslavian secret police arrest the dancer, the businessman has to decide what he is prepared to sacrifice to save her.
The Thirty Nine Steps
Just before the First World War, a Scottish adventurer finds a dead man in his flat, murdered by a German spy ring. The prime suspect for the murder, he goes on the run, and must evade capture, clear his name and save his country.
Where Eagles Dare
During World War Two a team of British spies attempt to rescue an American general from an impregnable castle in the German Alps but, when they discover there are double agents in the group, the team must discover who the traitors are and then escape against enormous odds.
Comic Logline Examples
These logline examples show how the Killogator formula applies to comics too.
After an encounter with an artefact growing out of the Brooklyn Bridge, a civil engineer becomes able to control machines with his mind. After using his powers to prevent the 9/11 attacks, he becomes mayor of New York City and investigates mysterious, insanity-inducing glyphs.
The Life Eaters
When the Nazis use necromancy to raise the Norse gods and save the Third Reich, they unleash a force that will consume the entire human race. Decades later, with Asian, South American and African gods also summoned by human sacrifice, the remnants of the Abrahamic and secular nations, refusing necromancy, take a desperate last gamble to save humanity.
Ministry of Space
After Britain seizes Germany’s advanced rocket technology and scientists in 1945, the British ‘Ministry of Space’ develops space technology, seeking to colonise the Moon and Mars for the British Empire.
In a world where costumed vigilantes are illegal, a group of former ‘superheroes’ investigates a conspiracy that appears to be aimed at killing them all.
When a modern day Japanese warship finds itself in the year 1942, just before the Battle of Midway the crew must decide whether or not to change the course of history by destroying the American fleet.
Game Logline Examples
These logline examples show how the Killogator formula applies to non-traditional media.
When a series of bomb attacks threaten a country, an investigator must try to prove who’s responsible, so the authorities can arrest the perpetrators and prevent further attacks.
In a cyberpunk future, a private espionage agency is destroyed by the mega-corporations. Its leader escapes with the agency’s artificial intelligence and has seventy-two hours to find it a new host network and so turn the tables on her attackers.
Wolfenstein: The New Order
When a war hero awakens from a 14-year coma to discover the Nazis won World War II he joins what’s left of the resistance in the hope of saving the world, and the woman he loves.
Now it’s your turn
So, there we are: dozens of logline examples to help you get the idea. Now read my tips about using the Killogator logline formula and try practicing applying the formula to some of your own favourite stories.
When you come to write the logline for your own story, remember, they can be tricky, and a lot of people struggle with them. So don’t worry – if you persevere you’ll discover one that really sells your story.
If you’d like to discuss your logline, the Killogator logline formula or the logline examples, please email me. Otherwise, please feel free to share this article using the buttons below.