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A List Of Interesting Film Essay Topics To Consider

Even if your film teacher provides some guidance for you on the assignment topic, you’ll likely end up having to refine the topic in order to make it specific enough. Most film essay topics fall into the categories of ‘why’ and ‘how’ essays, or analytical essays, in which you’ll need to refer to evidence from the film or the historical or social context in which the film was made in order to support your argument.

Use these film essay topics as a jumping off point for choosing your own:

  1. In Gone With the Wind, was Scarlet O’Hara in control of her own destiny, or was she at the mercy of the other characters in the film?
  2. Does Apocalypse Now accurately portray troop life during the Vietnam War?
  3. How do theme of right and wrong play out in Doctor Zhivago?
  4. Give an example of an actor’s personal history influencing their acting of a role.
  5. How did McCarthyism influence the films that came out of Hollywood during the era of its influence?
  6. How did the Great Depression influence the films that came out of Hollywood during it?
  7. What legacy did Abbot and Costello leave in humor in the American film industry?
  8. Compare the prevailing subject matter of American films in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.
  9. Compare and contrast Crash and Do the Right Thing in its portrayal of racism in America?
  10. What are the major philosophical themes portrayed in The Matrix?
  11. Give an example of a film franchise where the sequel was more successful than the original?
  12. How has the relationship between the publishing industry and film industry changed in the past three decades?
  13. What are the major barriers to women film directors in the American film industry?
  14. Explain the role of suspense in Hitchcock films? What factors earned him the title of the master of suspense?
  15. Compare and contrast American Gangster and Scarface?
  16. Explore third world film as a vehicle for revolution.
  17. Does the Wolf of Wall Street portray the American dream?
  18. How did films create myth or lead to public misconceptions about the Vietnam war?
  19. How did films created throughout the Cold War portray the USSR and communism? How did this change over the decades of the Cold War?
  20. How has film served to break down barriers in society?