Film History: An Introduction 3 9780073386133 Written by two of the leading scholars in film studies, Film History: An Introduction is a comprehensive, global survey of the medium that covers the development of every genre in film, from drama and comedy to documentary and experimental. As with the authors' bestselling Film Art: An Introduction (now in its eighth edition), concepts and events are illustrated with frame enlargements taken from the original sources, giving students more realistic points of reference than competing books that rely on publicity stills. The third edition of Film History is thoroughly updated and includes the first comprehensive overviews of the impact of globalization and digital technology on the cinema. Any serious film scholar--professor, undergraduate, or graduate student--will want to read and keep Film History. Visit the author's blog at
Film History: An Introduction

Film History: An Introduction

3rd Edition
By Kristin Thompson and David Bordwell
ISBN10: 0073386138
ISBN13: 9780073386133
Copyright: 2010

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ISBN10: 0073386138 | ISBN13: 9780073386133



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Program Details


Introduction: Film History and How It Is Done

Why Do We Care About Old Movies?

What do Film Historians Do?

Our Approach to Film History

History as Story

Part One: Early Cinema

1 The Invention and Early Years of the Cinema, 1880s-1904

The Invention of the Cinema

Early Filmmaking and Exhibition

2 The International Expansion of the Cinema, 1905-1912

Film Production in Europe

The Struggle for the Expanding American Film Industry

The Problem of Narrative Clarity

3 National Cinemas, Hollywood Classicism and World War I, 1913-1919

The American Takeover of World Markets

The Rise of National Cinemas

The Classical Hollywood Cinema

Small Producing Countries

Part Two: The Late Silent Era, 1919-1929

4 France in the 1920s

The French Film Industry after World War I

Major Postwar Genres

The French Impressionist Movement

The End of French Impressionism

5 Germany in the 1920s

The German Situation after World War I

Genres and Styles of German Postwar Cinema

Major Changes in the Mid- to Late 1920s

The End of the Expressionist Movement

New Objectivity

Export and Classical Style

6 Soviet Cinema in the 1920s

The Hardships of War Communism, 1918-1920

Recovery under the New Economic Policy, 1921-1924

Increased State Control and the Montage Movement, 1925-1930

Other Soviet Films

The Five-Year Plan and the End of the Montage Movement

7 The Late Silent Era in Hollywood, 1920-1928

Theater Chains and the Structure of the Industry

The Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America

Studio Filmmaking

Films for African-American Audiences

The Animated Part of the Program

8 International Trends of the 1920s

"Film Europe"

The "International Style"

Film Experiments Outside the Mainstream Industry

Documentary Features Gain Prominence

Commercial Filmmaking Internationally

Part Three: The Development of Sound Cinema, 1926-1945

9 The Introduction of Sound

Sound in the United States

Germany Challenges Hollywood

The USSR Pursues Its Own Path to Sound

The International Adoption of Sound

10 The Hollywood Studio System, 1930-1945

The New Structure of the Film Industry

Exhibition Practice in the 1930s

Continued Innovation in Hollywood

Major Directors

Genre Innovations and Transformations

Animation and the Studio System

11 Other Studio Systems

Quota Quickies and Wartime Pressures: The British Studios

Innovation within an Industry: The Studio System of Japan

India: An Industry Built on Music

China: Filmmaking Caught between Left and Right

12 Cinema and the State: The USSR, Germany, and Italy, 1930-1945

The Soviet Union: Socialist Realism and World War II

The German Cinema under the Nazis

Italy: Propaganda versus Entertainment

13 France: Poetic Realism, the Popular Front and the Occupation, 1930-1945

The Industry and Filmmaking during the 1930s

Poetic Realism

Brief Interlude: The Popular Front

Filmmaking in Occupied and Vichy France

14 Leftist, Documentary, and Experimental Cinema, 1930-1945

The Spread of Political Cinema

Government- and Corporate-sponsored Documentaries

Wartime Documentaries

The International Experimental Cinema

Part Four: The Postwar Era, 1946-1960s

15 American Cinema in the Postwar Era, 1946-1960


The Decline of the Hollywood Studio System

The New Power of the Individual Film

The Rise of the Independents

Classical Hollywood Filmmaking: A Continuing Tradition

Major Directors: Several Generations

16 Postwar European Cinema: Neorealism and its Context, 1945-1959

The Postwar Context

Film Industries and Film Culture

Italy: Neorealism and After

A Spanish Neorealism?

17 Postwar European Cinema: France, Scandinavia, and Britain, 1945-1959

French Cinema of the Postwar Decade

Scandinavian Revival

England: Quality and Comedy

18 Postwar Cinema Beyond the West, 1945-1959

General Tendencies


Postwar Cinema in the Soviet Sphere of Influence

People's Republic of China


Latin America

19 Art Cinema and the Idea of Authorship

The Rise and Spread of the Auteur Theory

Authorship and the Growth of the Art Cinema

Luis Buñuel (1900-1983)

Ingmar Bergman (1918- )

Akira Kurosawa (1910-1998)

Federico Fellini (1920-1993)

Michelangelo Antonioni (1912- )

Robert Bresson (1907-1999)

Jacques Tati (1908-1982)

Satyajit Ray (1921-1992)

20 New Waves and Young Cinema, 1958-1967

The Industries' New Needs

Formal and Stylistic Trends

France: New Wave and New Cinema

Italy: Young Cinema and Spaghetti Westerns

Great Britain: "Kitchen Sink" Cinema

Young German Film

New Cinema in the USSR and Eastern Europe

The Japanese New Wave

Brazil: Cinema Nôvo

21 Documentary and Experimental Cinema in the Postwar Era, 1945-Mid-1960s

Toward the Personal Documentary

Direct Cinema

Experimental and Avant-garde Cinema

Part Five: The Contemporary Cinema Since the 1960s

22 Hollywood's Fall and Rise, 1960-1980

1960s: The Film Industry in Recession

The New Hollywood: Late 1960s-Late 1970s

Opportunities for Independents

23 Politically Critical Cinema of the 1960s and 1970s

Political Filmmaking in the Third World

Political Filmmaking in the First and Second Worlds

24 Documentary and Experimental Film Since the Late 1960s

Documentary Cinema

From Structuralism to Pluralism in Avant-garde Cinema

25 New Cinemas and New Developments: Europe and the USSR Since the 1970s

Western Europe

Eastern Europe and the USSR

26 A Developing World: Continental and Subcontinental Cinemas since 1970 New Cinemas, New Audiences

African Cinema

Filmmaking in the Middle East

South America and Mexico: Interrupted Reforms and Partnerships with Hollywood Brazil

India: Mass Output and Art Cinema

27 Cinema Rising: Pacific Asia and Oceania since 1970

Australia and New Zealand


Mainland China

New Cinemas in East Asia

Part Six: Cinema in the Age of New Media

28 American Cinema and the Entertainment Economy: The 1980s and After

Hollywood, Cable Television, and Home Video

Concentration and Consolidation in the Film Industry

Artistic Trends

A New Age of Independent Cinema

29 Toward a Global Film Culture


Regional Alliances and the New International Film

Diasporic Cinema

The Festival Circuit

Video Piracy: An Alternative Distribution System

Fan Subcultures: Appropriating the Movies

30 Digital Technology and the Cinema

Digital Tools for Filmmaking

Distribution and Exhibition

New Media, Film, and Digital Convergence

About the Author

Kristin Thompson

Kristin Thompson is an Honorary Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  She holds a master’s degree in film from the University of Iowa and a doctorate in film from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  She has published Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible: A Neoformalist Analysis (Princeton University Press, 1981), Exporting Entertainment: America in the World Film Market 1907-1934 (British Film Institute, 1985), Breaking the Glass Armor: Neoformalist Film Analysis (Princeton University Press, 1988), Wooster Proposes, Jeeves Disposes, or, Le Mot Juste(James H. Heineman, 1992), Storytelling in the New Hollywood: Understanding Classical Narrative Technique (Harvard University Press, 1999), Storytelling in Film and Television (Harvard University Press, 2003), Herr Lubitsch Goes to Hollywood: German and American Film after World War I (Amsterdam University Press, 2005), and The Frodo Franchise: The Lord of the Rings and Modern Hollywood (University of California Press, 2007).  She blogs with David at  She maintains her own blog, "The Frodo Franchise," at  In her spare time she studies Egyptology.

David Bordwell

David Bordwell is Jacques Ledoux Professor Emeritus of Film Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He  holds a master's degree and a doctorate in film from the University of Iowa.  His books include The Films of Carl Theodor Dreyer (University of California Press, 1981), Narration in the Fiction Film (University of Wisconsin Press, 1985), Ozu and the Poetics of Cinema (Princeton University Press, 1988), Making Meaning: Inference and Rhetoric in the Interpretation of Cinema (Harvard University Press, 1989), The Cinema of Eisenstein (Harvard University Press, 1993), On the History of Film Style (Harvard University Press, 1997), Planet Hong Kong: Popular Cinema and the Art of Entertainment (Harvard University Press, 2000), Figures Traced in Light: On Cinematic Staging (University of California Press, 2005), The Way Hollywood Tells It: Story and Style in Modern Movies (University of California Press, 2006), and The Poetics of Cinema (Routledge, 2008).  He has won a University Distinguished Teaching Award and was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Copenhagen.  His we site is