Film analysis

Write a minimum 4 to 5 page paper (+1 page Works Cited). Double-spaced. 12pt font. Standard margins. Your review must be of a film mentioned in our class notes. The review must cover a film in the time-periods/genres we have discussed so far this semester – so a movie from 1949 or before. Analyze a film according to the criteria below. Be sure to support your points with examples and quotes, both from the film itself and outside sources. At least 2 sources must be non-internet (your text book, other books, film magazines, your notes, other films, etc.)
Cite all of your sources appropriately with a “Works Cited” page including the film you are reviewing.

Attach your paper in .doc format to this assignment (in this window in Blackboard). Do NOT copy and paste your paper into the window below.


Note: All of these are not possible in each paper, so pick a few and go in-depth. Remember, this first film review must be on a film from the year 1949 or earlier.
Impact or Effect: State an observation, and then discuss what impact it had, why it was done, and why it matters. Simply noting a point does not explain it.
Message or Intent: Deduce the central and most important content in the film. Look below the surface, and reference points that support your theories (but do not re-tell the plot).
Directing: How was the message of the film conveyed? Pay attention to acting, pacing of scenes, editing, shots that seemed to be more expressive than others, etc.
Mise en scene: French term for the composition of a shot or sequence and the deeper meaning that can be read from it.


Simply what images convey to the audience. For instance, a flag symbolizes a country, or a cross symbolizes Christ, etc. Do not just point out symbols, explain why they are important.
Writing: Was the script “good”? Why? Note plot progression and dialogue.
Historic Value: What is the film’s importance in the history of filmmaking? Were there ground-breaking production techniques, directing, subjects?

Era: Was the film influenced by the times in which it was made? How? This does not reference the film’s setting, but the social or cultural impact of the time (such as 1960’s anti-establishment, etc.)
Acting, Entertainment Value, Impact on You: These are probably the least important aspects of film analysis (from an academic viewpoint), but may be included marginally. Be sure to back up your thoughts with relevant examples.

Texts: Flashback: A Brief History of Film by Giannetti & Eyman

Last Updated on February 10, 2019