Film review | HISTORY | Dallas County Community College District



The Extra Credit Film Review is your opportunity to earn extra credit by evaluating a feature film or documentary, applying ideas and information from class to popular media.  A good review must be written in a clear, concise narrative that is free of typographical errors, misspellings, and grammatical difficulties. When starting, it is useful to keep in mind that you should “read” the film rather than simply “watch” it. You should plan to be an active participant rather than a passive viewer. This exercise is not for couch potatoes! Be prepared to analyze, interpret, and understand the meaning of the film in addition to being entertained.You will need to use evidence from the film – such as quoting a passage or describing a particular scene. You need to have a strong grasp on what scenes are most important in relationship to the major theme of the film. Those scenes will be described accurately and with adequate detail.Your film review should seek to analyze and interpret rather than merely describe the plot. The review should seek to understand the argument and perspective of the film and how they are conveyed in its narrative and assemblage of characters, images, scenes, interviews, etc. You should evaluate the film’s effectiveness in presenting these elements and note what worked well or what is missing. Why did the director, actress, or cinematographer choose to approach their subject in this particular way? Why is their approach particularly effective (or ineffective)? What is the perspective of the filmmaker? Can you identify an argument or specific story that they are trying to tell?  Good reviews will uncover these perspectives and show how the filmmakers present them and why they are or are not effective. It is also important to pay attention to the historical details of each film. Do they match up with what you’ve learned in this course? Are facts and events being misrepresented or left out? This will help you determine what choices the filmmakers had to make and how they shape the story for the purposes of popular entertainment. Note: historically inaccurate films are not necessarily bad films given that they are trying to entertain as much as educate viewers.

Film Selection

Choosing an appropriate film is the first step towards successfully completing this assignment. The film must be relevant to American History before 1877.  You can not review one of the required documentaries. When you have a film in mind, you should email to get approval/permission before proceeding. This will ensure that you have chosen a suitable film.


Your film review should be 4 pages, double-spaces, size 12 font with 1-inch margins. You need not cite any sources, but be sure to clearly identify which film you are reviewing at the top of the page.

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