Movies and Meaning (6e) : 9780205211029

Movies and Meaning (6e)

Prince & Prince
Published by
Pearson Higher Ed USA
Out of stock
Title type

This comprehensive introduction to film text focuses on three topics: how movies express meanings, how viewers understand those meanings, and how cinema functions globally as both an art and a business.


Using clear, accessible, and jargon-free writing, this is the only introductory film text to examine the elements of film style and the viewer's contribution to the cinema experience. How do viewers interpret the effects filmmakers create? How do filmmakers anticipate, and build on, the likely ways viewers will react to certain kinds of stories and audio-visual designs? The text examines both how filmmakers create images and sounds and the mechanisms and processes by which viewers make sense of images and stories on screen. This approach helps students understand not only the basic concepts but also how their own reactions and opinions impact the overall film experience.

Table of contents



1. Film Structure.

Elements of Film Structure.

Structure and the Camera.

Structural Design and Creative Choice.

The Camera and Human Perception: Cinema's Dual Capability.


2. Cinematography.

Collaboration and Previsualization.

The Essentials of Cinematography.

Cinematography and the Digital Domain.

Visual Style and Design Quotations.


3. Production Design.

What the Production Designer Does.

Basic Tools of Production Design.

The Design Concept.

Production Design and Special Effects.


4. Acting.

Acting in Film and Theater.

Categories of Film Performers.

Method and Technical Approaches to Performing.

The Performer as an Element of Visual Design.

Performance, Emotion, and the Viewer’s Response.


5. Editing: Making the Cut.

What Is Editing?

Linear and Nonlinear Systems.

Functions of Editing.

The Principles of Continuity Editing.

Alternatives to Continuity Editing.


6. Principles of Sound Design.

Sound in Contemporary Film.

Evolution of Film Sound.

Types of Sound.

Sound Design.


7. The Nature of Narrative in Film.

Story and Script.

The Turn to Narrative in Early Film History.

Elements of Narrative.

The Classical Hollywood Narrative.

The Viewer's Contribution to Narrative.

Film Genres.


8. Visual Effects

A Composited Medium


The Hollywood Era

The Digital Era

Narrative and Spectacle


9. Modes of Screen Reality.



Fantasy and the Fantastic.

Cinematic Self-Reflexivity.



10. At the Crossroads of Art and Business.

From Large Screens to Small.

The Art of Film Era.

The Global Dominance of Hollywood.

Independent Film.

International Influence of Hollywood Style.


11. Film Theory and Criticism

Realist Models.

Auteurist Models.

Psychoanalytic Models.

Ideological Models.

Feminist Models.

Women in Film

Cognitive Models.





New to this edition
  • A new chapter on Visual Effects and their use throughout cinema history, from early cinema to the Hollywood Era to the current digital era (Ch. 8, pp. 271-307)
  • Updates film examples and case studies throughout the text to explain terms and concepts by using examples film students know, along with more examples of international films and classic films. (ex. p. 14)
  • Spotlight discussions on key filmmakers, such as Sergei Eisenstein and Dorothy Arzner, along with the traditions of the French New Wave and Italian neo-realist filmmaking. (ex. pp. 6-7; pp. 313-315)
  • Provides a more universal examination of Cinema in Multiple Contexts by redistributing this information throughout the entire text as opposed to limiting it to one chapter (Ch. 10).
  • Expanded coverage on film theory, with a greater focus on psychoanalytic and feminist approaches. (ex. pp. 467-468)
  • New coverage on film design using films such as Pan’s Labyrinth and Schindler’s List as examples. (ex. pp. 94-95)

Features & benefits
  • Includes case studies of prominent films– Lord of the Rings, Memento, A Beautiful Mind, Natural Born Killers, A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, Charlie's Angels, Saving Private Ryan, The Silence of the Lambs, The Matrix, Rear Window, The Graduate, Weekend, Last Tango in Paris and others—to provide in-depth coverage of the art and technology of filmmaking.
  • Thoroughly examines the contemporary film industry, the major studios, and the interplay between business and aesthetics to show students how various elements interact and influence films.
  • Explores how digital production methods are affecting and altering the areas of cinematography, editing, and acting to provide up-to-date coverage of contemporary filmmaking.
  • Discusses the market for independent films, offering a more comprehensive view of the film industry.
  • Offers expanded coverage of film genres including science fiction, the war film, and film noir.
Student supplements