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Best Books on Film and Cinema

Whether you’re looking for a book on the history of film or a breakdown of how the best scripts work, you’re bound to find something in this list to pique your interest.

You might also be interested in my lists of best film podcasts, Apple+ TV comedies and Sky comedies.

Here are the five best books on film and cinema I’ve read.

The Big Screen – David Thomson

David Thomson is one of the Godfathers of film critiquing (the other being Roger Ebert, of course); there aren’t many movies he hasn’t seen I’m guessing from the number of films he references in The Big Screen.

The Big Screen details the history of cinema, from the creation of moving pictures to cinema-going as a past-time and it’s impact on society. Foreign cinema plays a huge part in telling this story too.

Life Moves Pretty Fast: The lessons we learned from eighties movies (and why we don’t learn them from movies any more) – Hadley Freeman

Has a movie ever impacted or changed your life? Maybe on a subconscious level?

From relationships to race, these movies from her childhood, Hadley Freeman discusses the films that changed the way she views the world.

Life Moves Pretty Fast made me laugh out loud multiple times and it’s definitely the funniest film book I’ve read.

>>> Where to find London’s best cheap and secondhand bookshops <<<

Easy Riders Raging Bulls – Peter Biskind

Freeman reminisces about the 80’s movies which played a part in her adolescence. It’s a hilarious, laugh out loud adventure as she learns about growing up, being female and how the world works.

Peter Biskind looks at the careers of the revolutionary film directors who changed the future of movies. It’s fascinating to learn about their upbringing, how they began their career and how their art launched them into the history books.

Through the directors career, you’ll also learn how Hollywood was created and the key actors, producers, scriptwriters and film studios behind its growth. Not to mention the crazy Hollywood lifestyle that went with it.

Directors featured include Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Robert Altman, William Friedkin…

If William Goldman sounds familiar, he wrote the legendary Princess Bride.

Which Lie Did I Tell You? – William Goldman

In Which Lie Did I Tell You, he recalls funny stories from his time in the movie industry, what scriptwriting is really like and how movies are made.

Goldman shares his favourite screenplays and moments and why they’re great. There’s also a chance to critic an unreleased movie script of his.

Into the Woods – John Yorke

Did you know all movies follow a structure of three acts?

Into the Woods shows everything from Macbeth to E.T follows this rule.

Through the three act rule, Yorke breaks down character changes, plot structures and how they make us care about the characters.

Next, read my list of best movie podcasts!

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