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1902 poster of Gaumont's sound film exhibition.

Film, movie, or motion picture, is a series of still images on a strip of plastic which, when run through a projector and shown on a screen, creates the illusion of moving images.


Quotes are arranged alphabetically by author

A - D[edit]

  • The mass is a matrix from which all traditional behavior toward works of art issues today in a new form. Quantity has been transmuted into quality. The greatly increased mass of participants has produced a change in the mode of participation.
    • Walter Benjamin, “The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction,” Illuminations (1968), p. 239.
  • At the outbreak of war in 1939, the power of the feature film, as a means of communication and persuasion rather than just a vehicle for entertainment, was already well established. One of the earliest programmes of study into the effects of the moving image upon the mind had been carried out by the Payne Fund between 1929 and 1932. The experiments that it carried out concentrated on such issues as the extent to which children learnt from film and how well they retained what they learnt; the possibility that exposure to film affected attitudes; and how moral standards might be affected by what was viewed. The findings of these studies showed that the human mind could be shaped and moulded by persons in positions of influence; and, in this context, the film maker was in an almost unique position of influence.
  • The Government controlled the film stock supply at this time and all film scripts for films to be made in the UK had to be submitted to the Ministry of Information. If a film was not approved then no film stock would be supplied.
    In 1939 the BBFC still operated under the broad guiding principles of former President TP O’Connor’s list of ‘grounds for deletion’ which were first published in 1916. These essentially barred:
    * References to controversial politics
    * Relations of capital and labour
    * Scenes tending to disparage public characters and institutions
    * Realistic horrors of warfare
    * Scenes and incidents calculated to afford information to the enemy
    * Incidents having a tendency to disparage our Allies
    * Scenes holding up the King’s uniform to contempt or ridicule
    * The exploitation of tragic incidents of the war
    The aim of all these constraints was to try and ensure that the kinds of films that came out during this period dealt with war in ways that were unlikely to be particularly upsetting or challenging for audiences.
  • A film is a petrified fountain of thought.
  • I'm going to leave you with this machine, pay attention, she's going to ask you a bunch of questions.
    • From an unfinished documentary titled How to buy Mountain dew in the mid of the midwest (1921) min 57
  • I can no longer think what I want to think. My thoughts have been replaced by moving images.
  • … a pastime for helots, a diversion for uneducated, wretched, worn-out creatures who are consumed by their worries, … a spectacle which requires no concentration and presupposes no intelligence,… which kindles no light in the heart and awakens no hope other than the ridiculous one of someday becoming a ‘star’ in Los Angeles.
    • Georges Duhamel, describing cinema, Scènes de la vie future (1930), p. 58.

E - H[edit]

  • American capitalism finds its sharpest and most expressive reflection in the American cinema.
    • Sergei Eisenstein (1957) Film form [and]: The film sense; two complete and unabridged works. p. 196.
  • I always say a screenplay is the big plain pizza, the one with tomatoes and cheese. And then the director comes and says, “You know, it needs some mushrooms.” And you go, “Put mushrooms on it.” And then the costume designer throws peppers on it, and – and pretty soon, you have a pizza with everything on it. And sometimes it’s the greatest pizza of your life and sometimes you think, “Well, that was a mistake. We should have left it with only the mushrooms.”
  • American motion pictures are written by the half-educated for the half-witted.
    • St. John Ervine Ney York Mirror(June 6, 1963).
  • Cinema is an old whore, like circus and variety, who knows how to give many kinds of pleasure.
  • The public has lost the habit of movie-going because the cinema no longer possesses the charm, the hypnotic charisma, the authority it once commanded. The image it once held for us all, that of a dream we dreamt with our eyes open, has disappeared. Is it still possible that one thousand people might group together in the dark and experience the dream that a single individual has directed?
  • A good opening and a good ending make for a good film provide they come close together.
  • Nooo! Leave that to George Lucas, he' s really mastered the CGI acting. That scares me! I hate it! Everybody is so pleased and excited by it. Animation is animation. Animation is great. But it's when you're now taking what should be films full of people, living thinking, breathing, flawed creatures and you're controlling every moment of that, it's just death to me. It's death to cinema, I can't watch those Star Wars films, they're dead things.
  • [Steven Spielberg's films] are comforting, they always give you answers and I don't think they're very clever answers. … The success of most Hollywood films these days is down to fact that they're comforting. They tie things up in nice little bows and give you answers, even if the answers are stupid, you go home and you don't have to think about it. … The great filmmakers make you go home and think about it.
  • The cinema is not an art which films life: the cinema is something between art and life. Unlike painting and literature, the cinema both gives to life and takes from it, and I try to render this concept in my films. Literature and painting both exist as art from the very start; the cinema doesn’t.
  • Photography is truth. The cinema is truth twenty-four times per second.
    • Jean-Luc Godard, Le Petit Soldat (film) (direction and screenplay, 1960)
    • [variation] Cinema is truth at twenty-four frames a second.
  • A wide screen just makes a bad film twice as bad.
  • If you want to be a storyteller, be an author, be a novelist, be a writer, don't be a film director. Cinema is not the greatest medium for telling stories. It is too specific, leaves so little room for the imagination to take wing other than in the strict directions indicated by the director. Read "he entered the room" and imagine a thousand scenarios. See "he entered the room" in cinema-as-we-know-it, and you are going to be limited to one scenario only.
    • Peter Greenaway, "105 Years of Illustrated Text" in the Zoetrope All-Story, Vol. 5 No. 1.
  • If you want to do a film, steal a camera, steal raw stock, sneak into a lab and do it!
  • Film is not the art of scholars, but illiterates.
  • As you see [filmmaking] makes me into a clown. And that happens to everyone – just look at Orson Welles or look at even people like Truffaut. They have become clowns.

I - L[edit]

  • The culture is unchallenged as the standard setter, and the child’s sense of right and wrong and his priorities in life are shaped primarily by what he learns from the television, the movie screen and the CD player.
    • Joe Lieberman, In a lecture at the University of Notre Dame, Awake! magazine, April 8, 2000; Are Morals Worse Than Before?
  • The words "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," which I saw on an Italian movie poster, are perhaps the briefest statement imaginable of the basic appeal of movies. This appeal is what attracts us, and ultimately what makes us despair when we begin to understand how seldom movies are more than this.
  • A film is - or should be - more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what’s behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later.
    • Stanley Kubrick, Kagan, Norman (1989), The Cinema of Stanley Kubrick, New York: Continuum Books.
  • They’re outraged not because of any personal prejudice. They’re outraged because they hate to see any change made on a series and characters they had gotten familiar with. In Spider-Man, when they got a new actor, that bothered them, even though it was a white actor. I don’t think it had to do with racial prejudice as much as they don’t like things changed.

M - P[edit]

  • A motion picture must be true to life. If a picture portrays a false emotion it trains people seeing it to react abnormally.
  • The talkies are the only art that would attract Leonardo da Vinci were he alive to-day. This art is a baby giant, as clumsy as all babies are...we don't know what the baby will be doing and saying when it grows up. But we are sure it will make its mark in the world.
  • Sound and talking undoubtedly increase the entertainment value of a picture. There is a distinct conflict, however, between a pictorial and sound elements, which cannot be entirely avoided until third dimensional pictures are made.
  • Not even the church is so powerfully equipped to serve the public psychologically as is the motion picture company.
    • William Moulton Marston as quoted in Henry W. Levy's, "Professor to Cure Scenarios with Wrong Emotional Content: Dabbled in Movies While at Harvard; Now Sought By Hollywood with Offer of Favorable Contract", New York University News January 1929; The Secret History of Wonder Woman (2014) by Jill Lepore, p. 137.
  • If I write a crappy comic book, it doesn't cost the budget of an emergent Third World nation. When you've got these kinds of sums involved in creating another two hours of entertainment for Western teenagers, I feel it crosses the line from being merely distasteful to being wrong. To paint comic books as childish and illiterate is lazy. A lot of comic books are very literate — unlike most films.
  • Hollywood, television and film is not my prime area of interest. Because I would never have any control, working in those areas. It’s nice to get the money from a Hollywood project, but whatever they do with it, it would be their piece of work, and not mine.
  • Originally I was content to just simply accept the money, that was offered when people had adapted my comic books into films. Eventually I decided to refuse to accept any of the money for the films, and to ask if my name could be taken off of them, so that I no longer had to endure the embarrassment of seeing my work travested in this manner. The first film that they made of my work was "From Hell" Which was an adaptation of my "Jack the Ripper" narrative … In which they replaced my gruff Dorset police constable with Johhny Depp's Absinthe-swigging dandy. The next film to be made from one of my books was the regrettable "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen"… Where the only resemblance it had to my book was a similar title. The most recent film that they have made of mine is apparently this new "V for Vendetta" movie which was probably the final straw between me and Hollywood. They were written to be impossible to reproduce in terms of cinema, and so why not leave them simply as a comic in the way that they were intended to be. And if you are going to make them into films, please try to make them into better ones, than the ones I have been cursed with thus far.
    • Alan Moore from the BBC2 show The Culture Show (9 March 2006) (separate quotes shown; edited together for the segment of the show)
  • Photography because of its causal relationship to the world seems to give us the truth or something close to the truth. I am skeptical about this for many reasons. But even if photography doesn't give us truth on a silver-platter, it can make it harder for us to deny reality. It puts a leash on fantasy, confabulation and self-deception. It provides constraints, borders. It circumscribes our ability to lie — to ourselves and to others.
  • There is only one thing that can kill the movies, and that is education.

Q - T[edit]

  • Well, Jack Warner may have been celebrated for calling writers "Schmucks with Underwoods," but 20 years earlier, Irving Thalberg … said that "The most important person in the motion picture process is the writer, and we must do everything in our power to prevent them from ever realizing that."
  • Watching violence in movies or in TV programs stimulates the spectators to imitate what they see much more than if seen live or on TV news. In movies, violence is filmed with perfect illumination, spectacular scenery, and in slow motion, making it even romantic. However, in the news, the public has a much better perception of how horrible violence can be, and it is used with objectives that do not exist in the movies.
  • I honestly don't understand the big fuss made over nudity and sex in films. It's silly. On TV, the children can watch people murdering each other, which is a very unnatural thing, but they can't watch two people in the very natural process of making love. Now, really, that doesn't make any sense, does it?
    • Sharon Tate Sharon Tate and the Manson Murders (2000) by Greg King
  • A film is a boat which is always on the point of sinking - it always tends to break up as you go along and drag you under with it.

V - Z[edit]

  • A film is a ribbon of dreams. The camera is much more than a recording apparatus; it is a medium via which messages reach us from another world that is not ours and that brings us to the heart of a great secret. Here magic begins.
  • Orson Welles [citation needed]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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