Understanding Movies, 11th Edition

Rating: 
Amazon Price: $104.40 (as of January 17, 2018 3:20 AM – Details). Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the Amazon site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Helps readers understand how the many languages of film work together to create meaning. Louis Giannetti organizes Understanding Movies around the key elements of filmmaking, including cintematography, Mise en Scène, movement, editing, sound, acting, drama, casting, story, screenwriting, ideology, and theory. He synthesizes every element through a complete case study: Citizen Kane. This book's ideas are illuminated with hundreds of high-quality still photos, more than 70 in full color, taken from movies such as The Matrix, Almost Famous, jackass the movie, Chicago, Lord of the Rings, Mystic River, and Traffic. New in this edition: a full section on contemporary special effects and computer generated imagery (CGI); up-to-the-minute information on new developments in film technology; more coverage of recent films and filmmakers; more ethnic diversity (including new material on the Islamic cinema); and more lavish use of color and high-quality paper. An updated Companion Website contains animations, video clips from interviews with movie professionals, and Research Navigator access to New York Times film reviews. For everyone who wants to understand the artistry and meaning of the movies.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 11th edition (February 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0132336995
  • ISBN-13: 978-0132336994
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds

Customer Reviews

I enjoyed reading it

3 people found this helpful.
 on July 15, 2015
By Michael Halverson
I used this book for a Film Appreciation class I was taking. I thought the material was straight forward and enjoyable reading. I have a general interest in film (which is why I took the class) and the terminology and movie back story have been interesting. The publisher has a decent amount of online study material and practice quizzes for each chapter that made the online Blackboard quizzes/tests fairly easy if you read the book. The only reason I didn’t give it five stars because the author (editor?) regularly split sentences between two pages and sometimes several graphics broke things up even more to the point that I had to go back and re-read the beginning to remember what was being said. The end of chapters also gave the readers a slew of questions they should ask themselves that were fairly pointless as they were written. I can understand a bulleted list but 10-20 questions in paragraph format does nothing for me.

… use this book at my community college but it’s nice to see that other students use this book in …

One person found this helpful.
 on May 27, 2015
By Nathan C. Ha
They use this book at my community college but it’s nice to see that other students use this book in film school. They required the 13th but I ended up getting the 12th because it was 100$ cheaper used and the reviews said it’s just a few paragraph difference. Was happy with the book and shipping. As there is a general down play on community colleges it’s nice to see this is a book other film students used.

Excellent textbook for the serious film student

4 people found this helpful.
 on April 22, 2014
By V. Edwards
This textbook was required reading for my college course, “Understanding Movies”. It’s an excellent, comprehensive survey of the many elements that combine to make up a movie and how to understand them all. It helped me develop a critical eye for story, movement, style, acting, sound, color, lighting, and composition. A wonderful source book for anyone who seriously wants to understand how cinema works as a communicative art form. Well written, sophisticated, challenging and thought-provoking, with great examples from a broad spectrum of movies. One of my all-time favorite textbooks.

Movies Galore

3 people found this helpful.
 on March 17, 2014
By Mark
This is an awesome book — and that’s saying something seeing as it’s a text book. The pages are colorful and covered in great and interesting examples of movies that vary between all genres. I have learned so much reading this book and it hasn’t been a dull experience. Everything you read is immediately applied and you will begin to notice that you analyze the movies you are watching according to what Giannetti has taught you.

The text for anyone who really wants to understand movies

4 people found this helpful.
 on January 9, 2012
By Amazon Customer
I used an earlier version of this book when I took film class in college, and I am happy to see that it has kept its high scholastic standards. This is the perfect introduction to everything that is involved with making a film from writing, acting, and cinematography. It acquaints you with all the important industry terms and gives a voluminous amount of pictures to illustrate whatever concept is being discussed. The book itself is quite pricey, hence my less than perfect review of it. Because it is considered a “textbook,” they publishers feel they can charge way too much for the book. So if price is an issue, get an earlier edition. There is very little change from one edition to the next, like most textbooks, but there is a significant amount of difference between several years, so don’t go back too far. Otherwise, this is a top rate book.

Great for film history classes or film theory classes

One person found this helpful.
 on February 20, 2015
By Rudy
Great for film history classes or film theory classes. Goes in-depth to the nuts and bolts of filmmaking, it talks about lighting, sound, mis en scene and much more. A con about this book is primarily due to the authors opinionated writing, and how he talks about certain scenes with only one viewpoint. Again, great book for basic and advanced classes.

but I actually really liked it a lot and I’m keeping it instead of …

 on August 21, 2014
By Autumn
So I only bought this because it was required for my film analysis class, but I actually really liked it a lot and I’m keeping it instead of selling it back. There are lots of pictures and interesting information on actors and movies from all the way back to the 1930s to now. Since reading this, I watch movies differently. I know what techniques are and why the director used them, successfully or unsuccessfully, which is fun. So if you are a movie nerd or going into film, this is a great book.

THE Authority

 on July 22, 2014
By Ron O
If you love the movies and really want to know all that is behind the magic, Giannetti is the authority. I took film courses in college in the 70s and early 80s and had the first edition of this book. Even the first edition was great in its time, and these later editions are even better. I can’t believe this guy has stuck with this mission for so long. It’s a life-long passion, I guess.

Rented for Class, Kept it for Me

One person found this helpful.
 on April 20, 2015
By Janette Gonzalez
Needed it for my cinema class but ended up keeping it. It’s got a lovely fistful of information and pictures! I read it in my free time because I love it that much. I received it in a great condition too.

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