The Way Hollywood Tells It: Story and Style in Modern Movies

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Hollywood moviemaking is one of the constants of American life, but how much has it changed since the glory days of the big studios? David Bordwell argues that the principles of visual storytelling created in the studio era are alive and well, even in today’s bloated blockbusters. American filmmakers have created a durable traditionone that we should not be ashamed to call artistic, and one that survives in both mainstream entertainment and niche-marketed indie cinema. Bordwell traces the continuity of this tradition in a wide array of films made since 1960, from romantic comedies like Jerry Maguire and Love Actually to more imposing efforts like A Beautiful Mind. He also draws upon testimony from writers, directors, and editors who are acutely conscious of employing proven principles of plot and visual style. Within the limits of the classical” approach, innovation can flourish. Bordwell examines how imaginative filmmakers have pushed the premises of the system in films such as JFK, Memento, and Magnolia. He discusses generational, technological, and economic factors leading to stability and change in Hollywood cinema and includes close analyses of selected shots and sequences. As it ranges across four decades, examining classics like American Graffiti and The Godfather as well as recent success like The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, this book provides a vivid and engaging interpretation of how Hollywood moviemakers have created a vigorous, resourceful tradition of cinematic storytelling that continues to engage audiences around the world.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 309 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (April 10, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520246225
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520246225
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds

Customer Reviews

Great book, great textbook

10 people found this helpful.
 on November 4, 2006
By Nikica Gilic
David Bordwell is one of the most widely read film scholars around, and not without reason: he writes with ease and ellegance, his insights are often deep and almost always relevant, his starting points are usually essential for better understanding cinematic art. Is he always right?

Very useful for a movie critic or for any film lover

 on November 5, 2014
By Molto Canape
Very useful for a movie critic or for any film lover. Bordwell deserves his reputation as one of the great and most influential film academics of our time.

Movies 101

4 people found this helpful.
 on November 28, 2010
By olingerstories
David Bordwell’s THE WAY HOLLYWOOD TELLS IT deconstructs classical and modern movies by pentrating analysis of both story, editing, and filming. His explanation of Cameron Crowe’s Jerry Maguire and Crowe’s plotting is as good as any review you’re read from Kael or Hunter. Bordwell explores how longer takes have been replaced in the modern scene by shorter, quicker edits in the name of not avoiding audience boredom. The number of movies listed is prodigious. The research involved is staggering. A first-rate book for any movie lover.

Five Stars

 on February 18, 2015
By Chi-sue Yeh

Great book!

One person found this helpful.
 on May 16, 2008
By Lázaro Manuel Silva
I started buying products in Amazon this year and i’m very satisfied with your service. It’s easier and cheaper than our products here in Portugal. I’ll be back soon on amazon!

Excellent study of post-classical Hollywood filmmaking

2 people found this helpful.
 on December 11, 2009
By S. Follows
Excellent study of post-classical Hollywood filmmaking, 11 Dec 2009

Nobody Does it Better!

13 people found this helpful.
 on October 24, 2006
By Tony Williams
Like the author’s other works, this is a highly meticulous and empirical study of the way contemporary Hollywood films function. Paying close attention to selected films by intensive frame analysis, Bordwell calls into question many contemporary “sibboleths” concerning the status of “post-Hollywood” which he reveals as having more connections with its classical counterpart than most critics believe. His attention to fine detail and references to “American Cinematographer” and screenwriting manuals reveal that he has really done his homework. He challenges his contemporaries to do likewise before they engage in problematic “post” judgements whether they be on the realm of postmodernism, post-colonialism, and post- anything which may become academic equivalents of those formerly fashionable platform shoes or flared trousers that often date episodes of the 1970s British cop series THE SWEENEY.

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