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Understanding Movies

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  425 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Updated in a new 12th edition, this book is organized around the elements of film and provides readers valuable insight into how movies communicate and convey meaning to their audiences.
This book engages readers in the fascinating language of film and helps further their appreciation and understanding of why and how movie watchers respond as they do to different films. Fr
Paperback, 12th, 546 pages
Published January 21st 2010 by Allyn & Bacon (first published January 1st 1972)
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Jun 19, 2012 Joecolelife rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Joecolelife by:
I used an earlier version of this book when I took film class in college, and I am happy to see that it has kept its high scholastic standards. This is the perfect introduction to everything that is involved with making a film from writing, acting, and cinematography. It acquaints you with all the important industry terms and gives a voluminous amount of pictures to illustrate whatever concept is being discussed. The book itself is quite pricey, hence my less than perfect review of it. Anyway, t ...more
William Redd
This was the first textbook I ever had for a film class. Intro to Film, I believe. And, since it's been a while, I decided to go back and read it from start to finish (instead of piecemeal like you normally do with college textbooks). It was a nice overall view of the art of movie making.

The book is divided into sections, each one building on the last and focusing on one specific feature of movies. The sections are Photography, Mise en Scene, Movement, Editing, Sound, Acting, Drama, Story, Writi
Louis Giannetti gives a really accessible introduction to watching and (surprise) understanding movies. It's very easy to read - with lots of pictures for those of us who only want books with pictures. The straight-forward, clear text goes a long way; he knows he needs to keep things kinda simple, but is considerate enough not to water things down and insult our intelligence. It lays a good foundation to build upon with future, perhaps more specific and/or advanced books on film studies.
Fabio Jones
One of the Best writers Ever
Read this for a college class called visual cultures. The book blew my mind open to what goes into designing movies! I have never watched a movie the same way again! It has increased my ability to appreciate master movie craftsmen. Use this as a solid foundation. It was also nice that it used classic and popular movies to provide examples of the material. Images speak a thousand words so the images from well-known movies support the teaching.
Ambitious in scope, insuuuuuuuufferable in tone.
Brandon T.
Dec 26, 2012 Brandon T. rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Movie buffs
"Understanding Movies" is full of colorful pictures that illustrate the main elements of film, such as photography, editing, sound and narration.

The photographs dominate the pages at times. The in-text citations are not always near the pages (or chapters) that have the photographs they are referencing. It can be a little frustrating to flip back and forth to match them.

Otherwise the book is insightful and easy to read.
I really enjoyed this book. It had a lot of good information. I marked it down one star because I am disappointed with the key terms boxes in each chapter- they were confusing to me as a reader and weren't laid out well. I also would have appreciated key terms being bolded so I could quickly find them. This is common practice with textbooks. However, I enjoyed the book and my corresponding class!
What an awesome way to increase knowledge and enjoyment of movies. This textbook discusses the ideas and rationale behind the art, settings, characters, stories, dramatizations, and more of movies. I consider this book capable of improving both perception of and thought about movies as they are being watched, while increasing the long term relevance of the movies themes and memorable moments.
Heidi Angell
I guess that I really should have learned more from this book, because I disagreed with a lot of the points that the author makes. Maybe that says more about me than the book itself! We had to buy this book for a film class I took, but the teacher never really used it. Maybe that says more about the book than my review!
Good textbook with a lot of good information in it. The text explains everything very well, and goes into detail where it needs to. I liked that it defined most of the terms in the text so you didn't have to go and do a lot of outside research to figure out what the authors were saying, and the examples are excellent as well.
The most widely used text for film classes in America. I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Giannetti in person when he came to speak to our film class. This book is easy to understand while being extremely informative and offering many examples of each concept.
...designed to help students analyze movies with precision and technical sophistication. Its focus is on formalism--how the forms of the film (e.g., camera work, editing, photography, etc.) create meaning in a film. The Seventh Edition updates each...
This text was very interesting and enjoyable. In fact, I am keeping this textbook because it is fun to read. Even if you are not taking a class and are interested in film I recommend taking a look at this text.
I had a much earlier edition of this, in college in the early '80s. It was a good guide to the basic techniques and strategies of filmmaking and conveyance of message. Technical, but not written in jargon.
For neophytes, like me, this book is an invaluable source of knowledge. Whether you are a film student or not this is a very good aid to better understand the art of film-making
Good primer on the fundamentals of...understanding movies. 3 stars because it is a text book and reads very much like one so it's not really a fun read even if it is informative.
captain america
wish i could find the slimmer succinct 1st edition i first read in high school.
Alborz Taheri
درس گفتارهایی از سینما - از تصویر تا تئوری های سینمایی - کتاب خوبی است از این نظر که دیدِ مختصر اما مفیدی نسبت به مقوله فرم در سینما می دهد .
A good film studies textbook, useful to study if you want to appreciate and understand movies in greater depth, or are studying a course.
I had to read parts of this book for class. It was information and had lots of pictures so less boring stuff to read.
Winey Mommy
Great starter to those wanting to learn the aesthetics of film making. Must keep for referencing.
Good book to know some basic knowledge about films best for new people
A good resource for anyone really interested in movies.
An okay overview of film techniques/issues.
Anna (Shell)
Anna (Shell) marked it as to-read
Oct 05, 2015
Amir Mohebbi
Amir Mohebbi marked it as to-read
Oct 05, 2015
Nathan Byrd
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Louis D. Giannetti is a Professor Emeritus of English and Film at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He has taught courses in film, literature, writing, drama, and humanities. He has published many articles, both popular and scholarly, on political subjects, literature, and drama. In addition to being a professional film critic for several years, he has written about movies for such sch ...more
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