Top 10 Films To Analyse For Film Class

Film analysis, just like literary criticism, emphasises many aspects of a movie.

Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock preparing a shot

Film analysis is a study area that students who would wish to become actors, actresses, movie directors, screenwriters and producers must take seriously. For example, before graduating with a degree in any of the above disciplines, it is important that a student looks into how culture is portrayed, what elements define a mise-en-scene, the structure of narration and semiotics, etc.

We will look at each of these in a short while, and give you a run-through of the top 10 good movies to analyze. But, first things first…

Important elements in film discourse

Film analysis should not just be about rhetorical aspects of production but also a discourse that evaluates the use of phrases, images and audiovisuals. Thus, students undertaking a film essay analysis should think about what makes a scene complete, in which case, you may want to take a look at film analysis essay examples and learn more about lighting, camera angles, setting and colors.  

Nevertheless, putting yourself in a director’s shoes should bring to the fore more aspects of a production such as roles of a character, symbols and dialogue. It is because it wouldn’t be possible to package and shoot a great movie without factoring in how each scene unfolds and how the role of each character makes it complete.

Types of analysis

Now, before presenting a list of the best film analysis movies that students in college and universities can start reviewing straightway, let’s begin by exploring different approaches one can take.  It is imperative to note that all these can apply to one movie. Moreover, with a good formal example, you should be able to figure out how to begin a write-up.

Semiotic analysis

A semiotic analysis emphasizes meanings in symbols and signs, in which case, a student writing a film analysis essay should look into metaphors, symbolism and analogs.

Think about how signs may reveal the character of someone, and in particular, how a producer uses them to build a complete actor or actress. It could be some magic hat or socks, or any object.

Contextual analysis

Contextual analysis is all about culture, setting and time. Here, you’ve got to think about how a production represents a culture, political happenings and director’s mindset.

Narrative structural analysis

Narrative structural analysis is another approach which takes on issues like themes in a film, structure of a plot and characters and the things that motivate them.  A structure, for example, includes rising action and falling and climax, usually breaking down a movie into three main parts.


Last but not least, the mise-en-scene analysis is another approach that a student should consider when looking for a film essay analysis sample. It usually denotes the main difference between a film and literature. Think about elements of composition such as audiovisuals, camera angles, special effects, camera angles (low, medium and high), color, frames, customs, light and props.  

In a nutshell, you will note that mise-en-scene emphasizes elements that are unique to film production. For example, you may want to ask an important question such as, “Why a particular song is used in a particular scene or how does lighting make a setting complete?”

Top ten movies for film analysis essay

Assuming you have already looked at examples, the following movies befit a film class:

1.    Metropolis (1927)

Metropolis is an expressionist movie that is worth analysis. Whether you are a budding film student or about to graduate, representation of a dystopian world in the product is a good starting point.

2.    Rome Open City (1945)

Rome Open city paints a picture of realism in the aftermath of the Second World War. It came about as a new high in film production, particularly on matters of authenticity.

3.    Spring in a Small Town (1948)

It is a 1948 masterpiece that still remains a top choice among film students to date. Once voted as the best production in China, there is no better angle from which to analysis representation of adultery in movies.

4.    Paris Nous Appartient (1961)

Directed by Jacques Rivette, this film not only offers a clear vision of someone who was obsessed with cinematic production, but also captures the post-Cold War paranoia.

5.    Sleep Furiously (2007)

There are many things at play in the movie Sleep Furiously. The director paints a picture of a community in Wales who is obsessed with farming which makes it a remarkable piece for a film analysis class.

6.    The Headless Woman (2008)

Watching The Headless Woman gives you a sense of new filming strategy on the international stage. From trends to character presentation, it is another piece that paints a picture of paranoia, this time, after a car accident.

7.    Dogtooth (2009)

In the age of social media, relationships between parents have continued to grow soar with every passing day. Dogtooth, a 2009 film helps you delve into the life of Greek family, and the ingenuity with which it is packaged cuts for a relevant film study and analysis.

8.    By The Time It Gets Dark (2016)

In this product, symbolism is a key production element. Get down to analyzing a surprising entanglement-politics, cinema and human memory.

9.    Peeping Tom (1960)

Peeping Tom is a 1960 production that is still relevant to film students today. It is a classic film that paints a picture of brutality, especially against women, among other things.

10. London (1994)

Directed by Patrick Keiller, this film gives you a thrilling trip around London, albeit, by an unknown narrator. It is ideal for imaginative students who want to learn more about culture and places.

In summary, formal analysis film can take any approach, and every student is free to choose whichever movie he or she wants to study. And now with the internet, EdTech gadgets, YouTube, finding a suitable genre shouldn’t be a problem. You can also learn from example analysis if it is your first time writing an essay of this nature.

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