Introduction to Film Studies

Course Description


Single-semester course. Students in this course will watch, analyze, and write about classic films in many genres. Film will be approached as both art and entertainment, addressing such questions as:

  • How does a film use different elements to tell its story (e.g., editing, acting, plot)?
  • How does a film shape the viewer’s understanding of the world or reflect the understanding of the filmmakers?
  • How did various techniques of filmmaking develop, and why?
  • How do you write a critique or review of a film?

Please note: The materials covered in this class contain content that some families may consider objectionable, including: violence, nudity, sexual content, and drug use. Parents are advised to consult the IMDb Parent Guide or another content-warning resource before enrolling their student.

Example Syllabus (Download the PDF)

Course texts:

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Required Viewing:

  • Modern Times, dir. Charlie Chaplin, 1936
  • Psycho, dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 1960
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey, dir. Stanley Kubrick, 1968
  • Citizen Kane, dir. Orson Welles, 1941
  • On the Waterfront, dir. Elia Kazan, 1954
  • Wizard of Oz, dir. Victor Fleming, 1939
  • Jaws, dir. Steven Spielberg, 1975
  • The Lion King, dirs. Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, 1994
  • You’ve Got Mail, dir. Nora Ephron, 1998
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, dir. Sergio Leone, 1967
  • The Godfather: Part II, dir. Francis Ford Coppola, 1974
  • Wall-E, dir. Andrew Stanton, 2008
  • The Avengers, dir. Joss Whedon, 2012
  • Groundhog Day, dir. Harold Ramis, 1993
  • Casablanca, dir. Michael Curtiz, 1942

Class meets once per week for 50-55 minutes.

Class cap: 20 students.

Designed for grades 10-12.

Students in grades 9-12 may be awarded .5 Fine Arts or Elective credit upon completion of this course.