Essays About Films: Top 5 Examples and 10 Prompts

Get ready to binge-watch some of the best films of all time and write essays about films with our essay examples and prompts. 

Films are an exciting part of the entertainment industry. From romance to science fiction, there is a film genre for everyone. Films are a welcome escape from reality, providing a few hours of immersive entertainment that anyone can enjoy. Not only are films masterful works of art, but they are also great sources of employment for many. As a work of intellectual property, films can promote job creation and drive economic growth while advancing a country’s cultural esteem. With such a vast library of films available to us, many topics of discussion are available for your next essay.

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5 Intriguing Film Essays

1. Scream Therapy: The Mental Health Benefits of Horror Movies by Michael Varrati

“Galvanized by the genre’s ability to promote empathy and face down the ineffable monsters of our daily lives, Barkan’s exploration of how others use horror to heal and grow speaks to the wider impact of our engagement with these movies that are so often dismissed as having little moral value.”

Initially criticized for enabling sadistic tendencies, horror films are now proven to provide a relieving experience and psychological ease to their audience. Numerous theories about the mental health benefits of watching horror films have emerged. But beyond these profound reasons, horror films could be a great source of thrilling fun.

2. Reel Truth: Is Film School Worth It? by Jon Gann

 “These programs are great at selling the dream of filmmaking, but rarely the realities of the business, so students graduate with few real-world skills, connections, or storytelling ability. Unable to get a job out of school, newly minted “filmmakers” go back into the system for a higher graduate degree… The cycle is self-perpetuating, and rarely benefits anyone, except the institution’s bottom line.”

One has to weigh several personal and external factors in determining whether a full degree would be worth the leap and their pockets. Directors spill the beans on their thoughts and experiences with film school to help the lost find their way. 

3. Why Parasite’s Success Is Forcing A Reckoning In Japan’s Film Industry by Eric Margolis

“Japanese cinema was trending on Japanese Twitter right after the Oscars, with cinephiles and film directors alike airing grievances about a film industry that is deeply flawed despite ample talent and a global appetite for Japanese goods.”

The Japanese lamented their lackluster film industry and waning cultural influence worldwide as the first Korean film took home the Oscars. Reminiscing its golden years of film in the mid-20th century, Japan is stricken with nostalgia. But for the industry to see a renaissance, Japan has to end exploitative labor conditions for creators and censorship.

4. Streaming Services Want to Fill the Family Movie Void by Nicole Sperling

“The decline today is due to a combination of factors: a hangover from the pandemic, efforts by studios like Disney and Paramount to bolster their own streaming services with fresh content and the risks of greenlighting family films that aren’t based on well-known intellectual property.”

The latest trend in the race to rule film streaming compensates for the lack of family movies in theaters. Giant video-on-demand platforms have started rolling their production and investments into the genre plans for animation and even expensive live-action.

5. Church, Critics Say New Movie on Marcos Family Distorts Philippine History by Camille Elemia

“The film… has amplified existing online narratives that portray the elder Marcos’ presidency as the “golden era” of the Philippines rather than as the darkest chapter of the Southeast Asian country’s recent history, as critics allege.”

A film in the Philippines draws crowds and criticisms for revising facts in one of the country’s most painful periods. But, overall, the movie paints a positive image of the dictator’s family, whose two-decade reign was marked by murders and an economic crisis that was among the worst to hit the country.

10 Engaging Writing Prompts on Essays About Films

1. The Best Film that Influenced Me

Essays About Films: The best film that influenced me
In this essay, talk about the film that etched an indelible mark on you

Beyond being a source of entertainment, films have the power to shape how we lead our lives and view the world. In this essay, talk about the film that etched an indelible mark on you. First, provide a summary and specify what drew you to the story or its storytelling. Next, narrate the scenes that moved you the most. Finally, explain how you relate to this film and if you would have wanted a similar or different ending to your story and personal life. 

2. The Evolution of Animated Films

Animated films used to be a treat mainly for children. But now, their allure cuts across generations. For your essay, look into the history of animated films. Find out which countries are the biggest influencers in animated films and how they have fostered these intellectual properties to thrive in global markets. Research how the global direction of animation is heading, both in theatrical releases and streaming, and what animation fans can expect in the next few months.

3. Women in Modern Films

Have the roles of women progressed in modern films? Or do they remain to be damsels in distress saved by a prince? Watch recent popular films, explain how they depict women, and answer these questions in your essay. Take note of apparent stereotypes and the depth of their character. Compare how they differ from the most popular films in the 90s. You can also compare original films and remakes and focus on the changes in women characters.  

4. Creating Short Films

Creating short films
For this essay, brief the readers through the stages of short film production — writing the script, choosing the cast, production, marketing, and so on

Short films are great starting points for budding directors. They could require much less financing than those in theater releases and still deliver satisfactory quality content. For this essay, brief the readers through the stages of short film production — writing the script, choosing the cast, production, marketing, and so on. To go the extra mile in your essay, interview award-winning short filmmakers to gain tips on how they best optimize their limited budget and still bag an award.  

5. Diversity in Films

Has the film industry promoted diversity and inclusivity in its cast selection? Explore recent diverse films and analyze whether they have captured the true meaning of diversity. One example is when people from underrepresented backgrounds take on the leading roles, not just the story’s sidekicks. You can also build on this research by the Center for Scholars and Storytellers to show the revenue challenges non-diverse films face at the box office.

6. Film Critique of My Favorite Film

Watch your favorite film and write a critique by expressing opinions on various aspects of the film. For example, you can have comments on the plot, execution, effects, cinematography, actors, and dialogue. Take time to relay your observations and analysis, as these will be the foundations that will determine the strength or weakness of your comments. 

7. How COVID-19 Changed the Film Industry

As it has impacted many of us, COVID-19 accelerated how we watch films. Explore the exodus to streaming during the pandemic and how theater operators cope with this shift. In addition, you can look into how the competition among content producers has shifted and intensified. 

8. Promoting Independent Films 

Independent films can be a hidden treasure, but it could be difficult to sell them, given how niche their concepts can be. So, find out the best strategies that have worked wonders for now successful independent filmmakers. Specifically, learn how they marketed their content online and in film festivals. Then, find out what forms of support the government is extending to high-caliber independent filmmakers and what could be done to help them thrive.

9. Importance of Marketing Strategies in Films’ Success

The biggest mistake made by filmmakers and producers is not marketing their films when marketing is the best way to reach a bigger audience and gain profits to make more films. This essay should provide readers with the best practices filmmakers can adopt when marketing a film. For example, directors, producers, and actors should aggressively attend events for promotion. Developing viral movie campaigns also provide a big boost to exposure. 

10. How to Combat Film Piracy

As more films are released digitally, filmmakers must better protect their intellectual property. First, write about the needed measures before the film release, such as adopting a digital rights management strategy. Next, lay down what production companies need to do to deter piracy activities immediately. Some good responses include working closely with enforcement authorities.

Don’t forget to proofread your essay with Grammarly, the best grammar checker. 

For more related topic ideas, you can also check our guide for writing essays about cinema.

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  • Yna Lim is a communications specialist currently focused on policy advocacy. In her eight years of writing, she has been exposed to a variety of topics, including cryptocurrency, web hosting, agriculture, marketing, intellectual property, data privacy and international trade. A former journalist in one of the top business papers in the Philippines, Yna is currently pursuing her master's degree in economics and business.