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Film Art: An Introduction

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  1,135 ratings  ·  42 reviews

Film is an art form with a language and an aesthetic all its own. Since 1979, David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson's Film Art has been the best-selling and widely respected introduction to the analysis of cinema.

Taking a skills-centered approach supported by a wide range of examples from various periods and countries, the authors strive to help students develop a core set

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Paperback, 544 pages
Published November 25th 2009 by McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages (first published 1979)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,618)
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Achie
Film Art was my first book on film studies. I was not yet an avid film students by then, but this book captured my interest so deep as then it made me impatiently waiting for my future film-study classes.

It's not a manual book of film techniques. Yet it does encompass that issues from an artsy point of view. This book discusses elements of films (e.g., shots, lighting, color, mood, tone, narrative, plots, acts, genres, hollywood era, and many more), precisely on how they constitue the overall l
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Jay Amari
Anyone with an interest in film or who likes to watch movies with an understanding of the processes that involve filmmaking, will get something from this excellent edition of a text book that has become the staple of film studies in a formal educational setting. Film Art: An Introduction (Eighth Edition) by David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson is an excellent updating of a great film resource text.

I was first introduced to first edition of the text way back in the late 1970s when it was smaller
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Montana
Mar 14, 2013 Montana rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Film Students
Recommended to Montana by: Film Studies Teacher
This book may be a text book but its really easy to read and I learned a lot from doing so. I am an arts student at university and this semester we are studying video art, this was the first book on our reading list and I almost read it cover to cover! I found it incredibly helpful to understand the basics on film art and how video is made. It was also a fantastic resource to look back on when I completed my assignments. If you are studying video or would like to gain a basic understanding for t ...more
Qt
Yes, it's a textbook, but it was actually fun to read :-) Lots of illustrations too, and it enhanced my appreciation of movies :-)
Catherine Woodman
I have been reading this book out loud to my freshman in college, who as a result of the introductory course in film analysis that this book is the reading for has decided that film study is not for him--but I have to say that there is a lot to be learned from this book, and one of the great things about it is that it gives specific examples of various film techniques from movies that you can watch, and then read the explanation. The book includes examples from over 200 movies, so watching them ...more
Henry Sturcke
Good overview, well-written. Analysis of films, many of them well-known to anyone interested in film, but also with a few "Haven't seen this, but now I'd like to check it out". Ample illustrations. For those who want to go more in-depth, there are references to blog entries. It's a textbook, not literature, but for what it is, it's very good.
Eric
My Mom's old Film Studies textbook from when she was in college at Brown... some parts were pretty basic, but others pointed out things I couldn't believe I hadn't noticed before, now that I've been made aware of them.
Alisha
This textbook on film art isn't as comprehensive as some, but it is as the title suggests: an introduction.

It discusses elements of films such as shots, lighting, color, mood, tone, narrative, plots, acts, genres, hollywood era, etc.

It provides many colour images to assist with learning, and it is set out in clearly structured format which makes it very easy to read.

It has been useful in my studies.
Alan
My favorite film intro book, use it for the Film History & Appreciation class. For something deeper, look to Bruce Kawin's book. But for a beautifully-written text to get students to understand the artistic and historic aspects of the art form, you couldn't ask for much more than Film Art, written by the cutest film historian couple out there, Bordwell & Thompson. Bordwell's blog as damned good too.
Christina
Actually fairly interesring for a textbook. If you're a film student, this book will teach you a lot of the basic techniques and terminology to get you started. It doesn't teach you how to do things. Just concepts but it's still a good jumping off point. As far as textbooks go, I don't think you'll find one more interesting than one completely dedicated to movies.
Esther
Mar 24, 2009 Esther rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: film-lovers, animators, film-makers
Shelves: art, informational
I had to read this book when I attended Image and Media Technology at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht, and it taught me a lot about films, how they are made, what imaging can portray, etcetera. If you are a film lover and you feel you would like to get some background on it instead of just popping in a dvd, this is really something you should read!
Zaneta Padilla
For being a textbook, I really enjoyed reading this (minus the chapter on abstract and documentaries). It gave thorough analysis of movies with a thorough description of techniques used. It was incredibly informational, as any textbook should be, but was very visual with the wordage and read like a movie.
Jessica
Used this book for my film history course and loved it, although the Film History: An Introduction one was better. This one was still amazing, and I love reading in it. Will keep it just because it's really fun, even though I don't need it for the course anymore I can't part with it. Really interesting read.
Tiffany
good for students who need linear text to understand history and the cannon of film history
easy for teacher to organize their class when students are so inclined to even fall asleep on Citizen Kane... but hey, it's made 1941 and they prolly can make more captivating classics in 10 years
Victoria
It can be long winded, and even dry at times, but a important book to have for anyone studying film.
It's not a book you can sit down and read for fun for it is more of textbook.


A book I will be keeping and referring back to throughout my film career.
CJ Fusco
The quintessential "intro to Film" textbook.
Kathryn
Jun 03, 2008 Kathryn rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: students of introductory film studies
The book is very information dense. It is packed with references to films that should be well known to good students of film studies. Unfortunately, it is so packed with references and information that reading often becomes tedious.
Marley
gorgeous textbook, great design, and the co-authors are married and great to work with. The authors have a blog here: http://www.davidbordwell.net/blog/ lots of interesting film stuff.
I want to watch Buck Toothed Women now.
André Vridstoft
Bordwell is a talented writer. Wether or not you agree with his theories, he is an interesting an important figure in film theory. I don't agree with all his obsevrations, but he does argue well for his theories.
alonso ruvalcaba
no sé ni para qué le pongo "terminado" si es de esos libros que, eso sí sé, que se van a quedar en el buró toda la vida –doblados, manchados de vino, anotados, dudados, sobreescritos.

increíble.
Ryan Chapman
Apr 30, 2007 Ryan Chapman rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 101 Students
Shelves: nonfiction
A formalist, narrow-minded approach to cinema. Bordwell and Thompson actually believe in structuralism, which would be cute and nostalgic if they weren't taken so seriously by the academy.
Jona
The best textbook on film form for the beginning or aspiring filmmaker. If someone wants to understand the basics of film language, this is the first book to read.
Jacob
Required reading for my Intro to Screen Analysis class. Extremely informative and a useful starting point for anyone looking to pursue a career in film.
Mario Medina
I had to read this book for a Film Criticism course. I found it very easy to read, and an engaging introduction to film.
Jw
Best introduction to Film Studies. Expensive since it's a textbook, but worth it.
Carolyne Borel
Great and informative textbook for film students.... and anyone else! Highly recommend!
Jason
Sep 25, 2008 Jason rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anybody Anywhere
Recommended to Jason by: Professor
Everything you ever need to know about anything to do with film production is right here
Kasper
This is where to start if you want to be more than a casual moviegoer.
Maddy
I really shouldn't hold the fact that it is a textbook against it but-
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