Film Analysis Paper: Part of becoming a historian is understanding the difference between actual history and how filmmakers portray history. For this assignment you will write a paper about a movie of your choice. The paper should be roughly 2 pages long and typed in a 12 point font and double spaced. Below is a list of possible films you could watch, but if you would like to watch and write on a film not on this list please email the instructor for permission. Besides reading the text book for information, you are required to find at least two other sources, either web or print based, with information on the subject of your movie as well as read at least two reviews of the film found online. The paper is worth 50 points. Your paper should begin with a paragraph describing the plot of the movie and then should include answers to all of the following questions:
1) What story is the director trying to tell, or what lesson is the director trying to teach, and how effective does he or she tell and/or teach it? Why do you think they chose this historical piece to tell their story? What evidence do you find either in the film or in other resources to back up your interpretation?
2) What are some of the most important moments depicted in the film that develop the director’s story, and are there any scenes that stand out in your mind as detrimental to achieving this, and why? Do these moments seem based on fact or do they feel like they are the interpretation of the director?
3) After doing some research, does other evidence support or contradict the point of view presented in the film? Would you say the storyline and the representations of the main characters feel accurate, or are they too different to call the movie accurate? How could this have been fixed?
4) What is at least one thing that you learned about this era from watching this movie that you didn’t know before and what is one question the movie raises that you think you would like to learn more about?
5) Finally, would you recommend this to a friend who said they were interested in learning more about the real history of this time period, and why or why not? What would you tell them was the movie’s greatest strength, and what is the movie’s biggest flaw? You should include information from parts 1 through 4 in your explanation.
Your paper will be graded as followed:
3 points: 2 resources, either web or print, used to understand the history behind the movie (you must cite these at the end of the paper, using your prefered citation method.)
2 points: 2 reviews of the film found online and also cited at the end of your paper
(type in the movie name and “movie review” into google or go to rottentomatoes.com)
5 points: brief paragraph describing the movie including an underlined topic sentence
5 points: professionalism – few spelling errors, follows directions, readable, etc.
15 points: content – did you answer each question thoughtfully and fully.
Possible Movies for the Film Paper
The Ten Commandments
Prince of Egypt (animated)
Joseph – King of Dreams (animated)
The 300 Spartans
Helen of Troy
Hercules (Disney, The Rock, or any other)
Clash of the Titans (either version)
Jason and the Argonauts
300: Rise of an Empire
Alexander the Great
Greatest Story Ever Told
Passion of the Christ
The Fall of the Roman Empire
Monty Python’s Life of Brian
Demetrius and the Gladiators
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
Exodus: Gods and Kings