Film Review Assignment Sheet
1. Avoiding documentaries, comedies and parodies, choose a relatively
current film pertaining to a historical topic within the cultural area
and timeframe of the course.
2. Inform the class of your choice on the Rules, Polices, and
Assignment Questions Board.
3. View and review. The paper has to be in a formal academic style of at least
1) Citation for the Film – Think of it as a label at the beginning of the essay.
• Done either the MLA Style or University of Chicago/Turabian Style
2) Information – Most of the information for this section can be found on the back of
the video/DVD. Be sure to keep this section short.
• People –Give a little information about the movie including the
director, producer and, at most, three of the top stars.
• Edition – Note any special information about the film such as if it was
part of a series, based on a novel, colorized, or was a special release
edition with DVD extras.
3) The Plot – While there is a great temptation to make this section the largest portion
of the paper, it must remain short.
● Brevity – In no more than one or two good, well-rounded paragraphs,
briefly retell the plot of the film. In short, condense the main
storyline into about 5-10 sentences.
4) Reality – This is the most important part of the essay and should be the longest.
How did the film match up with history? Be specific and cite any sources.
● Were the characters based on real people? If so, were they
● Were there any real events portrayed? If so, how accurate was
● If there were no real characters or events portrayed, are the
characters the sort of people found at the time?
Commented : This is just the entry for the film
you are reviewing. As for the actual Annotated
Bibliography, that goes at the end of the essay as
per normal. Yes, it is odd, but it special to reviews.
(See the “Film Review: Formatting Explained” Post
on the Rules, Policies and Assignment Questions
Commented : Don’t get carried away in this
section. Perhaps just mention a couple of films in
which the director or major stars featured. As for
where they were educated or were born, those
details are completely unnecessary.
Commented : The point of this section of the
paper is to exercise your ability to explain things
concisely in a written format – a useful skill in the
business world. Keep in mind that PR text from
websites sticks out like a sore thumb, as does
“spoiler” free plot outlines from websites. Watch
the movie and concisely explain the plotline in the
Commented : This is the most important part of
the paper. Remember to use only proper sources
such as your textbook or EBSCOHost. Often just
simply looking at the chronology of events provide
plenty of things to talk about. As for arms, armor
and costume, unless they are very egregious, that
might be a bit too technical unless one is a real
expert in such matters. As long as one familiarizes
themselves with the topic of the film, inaccuracies
of accuracies will be very apparent.
Commented : Imdb.com’s “Goofs” section is not an
acceptable source. Websites must be professional
● When and where was the movie set? Were the sets realistic?
● Were the clothing, equipment, and other props shown
● Was the zeitgeist (spirit of the age) depicted well?
5) Evaluation – Remember, even terrible films can be very historically accurate and
vice versa. Examine the film from the standpoint of its artistic merits.
● Film Critic – Be like a real film critic and break the movie down in
an academic fashion.
o Was the acting adequate or inadequate?
o Were there stereotyped roles or well-rounded characters?
o Was the plot clear and paced, or vague and tedious?
6) Conclusion – Sum up the paper with a few last thoughts as to its accuracy, place in
film history, or possible issues of cultural sensitivity.
● Timeframe – If the film was done many years ago, would it have
been done differently today?
● Overall Historical Accuracy – Did the film make the viewer more
aware of history or just add to the confusion?
7) Final Annotated Bibliography – Across the entire paper, the citation style
must be consistent use either MLA or University of Chicago throughout. Also, it is to be
included with the Film Review as part of a single file.
▪ Proper Citation Style: Use either MLA or University of
● Annotation: Please see the following page for examples of
proper bibliographic annotations: LINK
1. Academic Style – When writing the paper do not make use of the
1st or 2nd person point of view. Therefore, “I,” “I think,” and/or
“you” are unacceptable.
2. Citations – As always, the use of wikipedia or similar sites
such as allexperts.com and answers.com are expressly
forbidden and I will expect to see sources other than websites.
Moreover, all research should be from proper sources such as
books and articles from EBSCOHost. In addition, the paper must
have in-text citations like Parenthetical Citations or Footnotes.
3. Complete the Assignment – Always check to make sure that all
parts of the assignment have been completed. Thus, each section
should be represented in the final product. Turning in a movie
review that mostly describes the plot of the film without having
an equal amount of space spent on discussing historical accuracy
will result in an “F.”
4. Single Flowing Essay – The preceding material was intended to
only give a general outline of the paper. The finished product
Commented : This is just an overall assessment of
the artistic quality of the film. Good movie or bad?
Commented : A simple list of websites will not do
– and websites themselves have a citation format.
Let me reiterate, your bibliography must be in a
proper format. Check the links provided in this
Assignment Sheet. They will take you to the
Perdue OWL page which an excellent resource for
learning how to cite your sources properly.
Remember the entry for the film goes at the very
beginning of the essay to serve as a label. As for the
rest of the sources, they go in the Annotated
should not have any sections but should be one essay that flows
from topic to topic seamlessly across its many well-proportioned
5. Proofread – Always proofread an essay carefully; sloppiness
often results in a lower overall grade. Read the paper carefully,
checking for grammar and spelling mistakes as well as awkward
phrasing. Whenever possible, have a friend proofread an essay.
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