Film Studies For Dummies
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Make sense of the world of cinema

Want to pull back the curtain on film? This hands-on, friendly guide unravels the complexities of film and helps you put cinema into a cultural context. You'll get an easy-to-follow introduction to different film genres and styles, learn about the history of cinema, get to know who makes up a filmmaking team, explore global cinema from Hollywood to Bollywood and much more.

Film Studies For Dummies will open your mind to how the film industry works and help you to discover the impact of film on popular culture. You'll get easy-to-read information on analyzing and critiquing film from a range of theoretical, historical and critical perspectives, and learn how people communicate ideas in film. You'll also be able to shine a light on how stories are developed in movies, understand how a storyline is related to broader issues in society and become a well-versed and insightful film student.

  • Covers the narrative, artistic, cultural, economic and political implications of cinema
  • Provides conceptual frameworks for understanding a film's relationship to reality
  • Explores how people tell stories and communicate ideas in film
  • Helps you excel as a student of film

Whether you're planning to study film, a humanities student with a forthcoming module on film or a film enthusiast wondering if this might be the future for you, Film Studies For Dummies has you covered.


James Cateridge is Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at Oxford Brookes University. He researches and teaches British cinema, film policy and the international film industry. James has also worked with the Arts Council of England and as a film journalist for the London Film Festival.


Introduction 1

Part I: Getting Started with Film Studies 5

Chapter 1: Becoming a Fantastic Film Student 7

Chapter 2: Putting Words and Pictures into Motion: The Film-Making Team 25

Chapter 3: Watching the Stars Come Out: Film Stars, and Why We Love Them 47

Chapter 4: Building Movie Stories 67

Part II: Taking All Types: Genres, Modes and Style 89

Chapter 5: Distinguishing Films by Type: Genres and Style 91

Chapter 6: Getting Animated about Animation 123

Chapter 7: Leading from the Front: Avant-Garde Film 141

Chapter 8: Getting Real: The Truth about Documentary 157

Part III: Travelling a World of Wonders: Global Cinema 177

Chapter 9: Bringing Hollywood into Focus 179

Chapter 10: Enjoying the British Invasion: From Brit-Grit to Frock Flicks 201

Chapter 11: Admiring European Films: Culture and Commerce 221

Chapter 12: Mixing Monsters, Musicals and Melodrama: World Cinema 241

Part IV: Bringing In the Big Ideas: Theories and Beyond 261

Chapter 13: Theorising about Film: How Movies Work 263

Chapter 14: Praising Great Directors: Auteur Theory 283

Chapter 15: Exploring New Approaches to Film Theory – and Beyond 307

Chapter 16: Outliving Celluloid: Cinema in the 21st Century 325

Part V: The Part of Tens 343

Chapter 17: Ten Film Writers You Need to Read 345

Chapter 18: Ten Must-Watch Movies 353

Chapter 19: Ten Film-Makers You Need to Know Better 363

Chapter 20: Ten Tips for Becoming a Film Student 371

Index 379