Essays About Cinema: Top 5 Examples and 10 Prompts

Are you writing an essay on cinema? Check out our round-up of great examples of essays about cinema and creative prompts to stir up your thoughts on this art form.

Cinema is primarily referred to as films. With the power to transport people to different worlds and cultures, cinema can be an evocative medium to tell stories, shape beliefs, and seed new ideas. Cinema can also refer to the production process of films or even film theaters.

If you’re writing an essay about cinema, our inspiring essay examples and prompts below can help you find the best way to express your thoughts on this art form:  

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Best 5 Essay Examples

1. French Cinema Is More Than Just Entertainment by Jonathan Romney

“In France, cinema is taken seriously, traditionally considered an art rather than merely a form of entertainment or an industrial product. In that spirit, and in the name of ‘cultural exception,’ the French state has long supported home-grown cinema as both art and business.”

The culture of creating and consuming cinema is at the heart of French culture. The essay gives an overview of how the French give premium to cinema as a tool for economic and cultural progress, inspiring other countries to learn from the French in maintaining and elevating the global prestige of their film industry.

2. “Nope” Is One Of The Greatest Movies About Moviemaking by Richard Brody

“‘Nope’ is one of the great movies about moviemaking, about the moral and spiritual implications of cinematic representation itself—especially the representation of people at the center of American society who are treated as its outsiders.”

The essay summarizes “Nope,” a sci-fi horror released in 2022. It closely inspects its action, technology play, and dramatic point-of-view shots while carefully avoiding spoilers. But beyond the cinematic technicalities, the movie also captures Black Americans’ experience of exploitation in the movie’s set period. 

3. The Wolf Of Wall Street And The New Cinema Of Excesses by Izzy Black

“These films opt to imaginatively present the psychology of ideology rather than funnel in a more deceptive ideology through moralizing. The hope, then, perhaps, that indulging in the sin that we might better come to terms with the animal of capitalism and learn something of value from it. Which is to say, there is a moral end to at all.” 

This essay zooms into various movies of excess in recent times and compares them against those in the ‘60s when the style in the cinema first rose. She finds that current films of excess do not punish their undiscerning heroes in the end. While this has been interpreted as glorifying the excess, Black sees this as our way to learn.

Check out these essays about heroes and essays about college.

4. How Spirited Away Changed Animation Forever by Kat Moon

“Spirited Away shattered preconceived notions about the art form and also proved that, as a film created in Japanese with elements of Japanese folklore central to its core, it could resonate deeply with audiences around the world.”

Spirited Away is a hand-drawn animation that not only put Japanese cinema on the map but also changed the animation landscape forever. The film bent norms that allowed it to break beyond its target demographics and redefine animation’s aesthetic impact. The Times essay looks back on the film’s historic journey toward sweeping nominations and awards on a global stage long dominated by Western cinema. 

5. From Script To Screen: What Role For Intellectual Property? By Cathy Jewell

“[IP rights] help producers attract the funds needed to get a film project off the ground; enable directors, screenwriters and actors, as well as the many artists and technicians who work behind the scenes, to earn a living; and spur the technological innovations that push the boundaries of creativity and make the seemingly impossible, possible.”

Protecting intellectual property rights in cinema has a significant but often overlooked role in helping make or break the success of a film. In this essay, the author identifies the film-making stages where contracts on intellectual property terms are created and offers best practices to preserve ownership over creative works throughout the film-making process.

10 Exciting Writing Prompts

See below our writing prompts to encourage great ideas for your essay:

1. The History Of Cinema

In this essay, you can write about the beginnings of cinema or pick a certain period in the evolution of film. Then, look into the defining styles that made them have an indelible mark in cinema history. But to create more than just an informational essay, try to incorporate your reflections by comparing the experience of watching movies today to your chosen cinema period.

2. Analysis Of My Favorite Movie

Pick your favorite movie and analyze its theme and main ideas. First, provide a one-paragraph summary. Then, pick out the best scenes and symbolisms that you think poignantly relayed the movie’s theme and message. To inspire your critical thinking and analysis of movies, you may turn to the essays of renowned film critics such as André Bazin and Roger Ebert

3. The Impact Of Cinema On Life

Talk about the advantages and disadvantages of cinema. You can cite research and real-life events that show the benefits and risks of consuming or producing certain types of films. For example, cinematic works such as documentaries on the environment can inspire action to protect Mother Nature. Meanwhile, film violence can be dangerous, especially when exposed to children without parental guidance.

4. The Technological Evolution Of Cinema

Walk down memory lane of the 100 years of cinema and reflect on each defining era. Like any field, the transformation of cinema is also inextricably linked to the emergence of groundbreaking innovations, such as the kinetoscope that paved the way for short silent movies and the technicolor process that allowed the transition from black and white to colored films. Finally, you can add the future innovations anticipated to revolutionize cinema. 

5. Cinema And Piracy

Content piracy is the illegal streaming, uploading, and selling of copyrighted content. First, research on what technologies are propelling piracy and what are piracy’s implications to the film industry, the larger creative community, and the economy. Then, cite existing anti-piracy efforts of your government and several film organizations such as the Motion Picture Association. Finally, offer your take on piracy, whether you are for or against it, and explain. 

6. How To Make A Short Film

Essays About Cinema: How to make a short film
Gather essential tips from interviews with directors of award-winning short films, especially on budgeting, given the limited resource of short film projects

A short film is a great work and a starting point for budding and aspiring movie directors to venture into cinema. First, plot the critical stages a film director will undertake to produce a short film, such as writing the plot, choosing a cast, marketing the film, and so on. Then, gather essential tips from interviews with directors of award-winning short films, especially on budgeting, given the limited resource of short film projects. 

7. Movies Vs. Film Vs. Cinema

Beyond their linguistic differences, could the terms movie, film, and cinema have differences as jargon in the film-making world? Elaborate on the differences between these three terms and what movie experts think. For example, Martin Scorsese doesn’t consider the film franchise Avengers as cinema. Explain what such differentiation means. 

8. Movie Theaters During The Pandemic

Theaters were among the first and worst hit during the outbreak of COVID-19 as they were forced to shut down. In your essay, dig deeper into the challenges that followed their closure, such as movie consumers’ exodus to streaming services that threatened to end cinemas. Then, write about new strategies movie theater operators had to take to survive the pandemic. Finally, write an outlook on the possible fate of movie theaters by using research studies and personally weighing the pros and cons of watching movies at home.

9. Film Festivals

Film Festivals greatly support the film industry, expand national wealth, and strengthen cultural pride. For this prompt, write about how film festivals encouraged the rise of specific genres and enabled the discovery of unique films and a fresh set of filmmakers to usher in a new trend in cinema.

10. The Effect Of Music On Mood

First, elaborate on how music can intensify the mood in movies. Then, use case examples of how music, especially distinct ones, can bring greater value to a film. For example, superhero and fantasy movies’ intro music allows more excellent recall. 

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If you’re still stuck, check out our general resource of essay writing topics.