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Best Film History Books Reviewed & Ranked

Until you’ve consumed all of the best Film History books, can you even claim to be a true fan?

Looseleaf for Film History: An Introduction (2018)

 Best Film History Books Reviewed & RankedWritten by two of the leading scholars in film studies, Film History: An Introduction 4e 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. Concepts and events are illustrated with frame enlargements taken from the original sources, giving students more realistic points of reference.
Author(s): Kristin Thompson, David Bordwell

A Short History of Film, Third Edition (2018)

 Best Film History Books Reviewed & RankedWith more than 250 images, new information on international cinema—especially Polish, Chinese, Russian, Canadian, and Iranian filmmakers—an expanded section on African-American filmmakers, updated discussions of new works by major American directors, and a new section on the rise of comic book movies and computer generated special effects, this is the most up to date resource for film history cou…
Author(s): Wheeler Winston Dixon, Gwendolyn Audrey Foster

American Film: A History (2007)

 Best Film History Books Reviewed & RankedWritten by a top scholar in the field, American Film: A History gives students a thorough understanding of the fascinating intersection of artistry and economics in Hollywood cinema from the beginning of film history to the present. A beautiful book and a brisk read, American Film is the most enjoyable and interesting overview of the history of American filmmaking available.
Author(s): Jon Lewis

A History of Film (7th Edition) (2009)

 Best Film History Books Reviewed & RankedThis book highlights the contributions of major film-producing countries, significant filmmakers, and their films within social, artistic, economic, and technological contexts. This Seventh Edition incorporates major revisions designed to improve the book’s focus and update its coverage.
Author(s): Virginia Wright Wexman

American Film: A History (Second Edition) (2019)

 Best Film History Books Reviewed & RankedA closer look at the captivating history of American cinema Written in an engaging narrative style, this text provides a thorough overview of the fascinating intersection of economics, culture, artistry, and technology that has defined American film from its beginnings.
Author(s): Jon Lewis

Film Studies: An Introduction (Film and Culture Series) (2009)

 Best Film History Books Reviewed & RankedEd Sikov builds a step-by-step curriculum for the appreciation of all types of narrative cinema, detailing the essential elements of film form and systematically training the spectator to be an active reader and critic. Sikov primes the eye and mind in the special techniques of film analysis. His description of mise-en-scene helps readers grasp the significance of montage, which in turn reveals the importance of a director’s use of camera movement.
Author(s): Ed Sikov

Flashback: A Brief Film History (6th Edition) (2009)

 Best Film History Books Reviewed & RankedConsolidating major figures and film movements into their decade of greatest influence or prestige, this “no-nonsense” book offers a generously illustrated, concise, and very readable history of fiction movies with an emphasis on American cinema.
Author(s): Louis Giannetti, Scott Eyman

A New History of Documentary Film: Second Edition (2012)

 Best Film History Books Reviewed & RankedA New History of Documentary Film, Second Edition offers a much-needed resource, considering the very rapid changes taking place within documentary media.
Author(s): Betsy A. McLane

A History of Narrative Film (Fifth Edition) (2016)

 Best Film History Books Reviewed & RankedA trusted reference, a popular teaching text, and a well-written history is now bolder, briefer, and better than ever. Sophisticated in its analytical content, current in its coverage, and informed throughout by fascinating historical and cultural contexts, A History of Narrative Film is one of the most respected and widely read texts in film studies.
Author(s): David A. Cook

Film History: An Introduction (2002)

 Best Film History Books Reviewed & RankedWritten by two leading film scholars, Film History: An Introduction is a comprehensive survey of film-from the backlots of Hollywood, across the United States, and around the world. As in the authors’ bestselling Film Art, concepts and events are illustrated with actual frame enlargements, giving students more realistic points of reference than competing books that use publicity stills.
Author(s): Kristin Thompson, David Bordwell

History and Film (2010)

 Best Film History Books Reviewed & RankedThe ability to view recorded moving pictures has had a major impact on human culture since the development of the necessary technologies over a century ago.
Author(s): Maarten Pereboom

A History of Film Music (2008)

 Best Film History Books Reviewed & RankedThis book provides a comprehensive and lively introduction to the major trends in film scoring from the silent era to the present day, focussing not only on dominant Hollywood practices but also offering an international perspective by including case studies of the national cinemas of the UK, France, India, Italy, Japan and the early Soviet Union.
Author(s): Mervyn Cooke

Documentary: A History of the Non-Fiction Film (1993)

 Best Film History Books Reviewed & RankedNow brought completely up to date, the new edition of this classic work on documentary films and filmmaking surveys the history of the genre from 1895 to the present day. With the myriad social upheavals over the past decade, documentaries have enjoyed an international renaissance; here Barnouw considers the medium in the light of an entirely new political and social climate.
Author(s): Erik Barnouw

The Art of Watching Films, 7th Edition (2008)

 Best Film History Books Reviewed & RankedThis introduction to film appreciation uses contemporary and popular American movies to help students develop critical skills in the analysis and evaluation of film.
Author(s): Joseph M. Boggs, Dennis W. Petrie

Best Film History Books Reviewed & Ranked

We highly recommend you to buy all paper or e-books in a legal way, for example, on Amazon. But sometimes it might be a need to dig deeper beyond the shiny book cover. Before making a purchase, you can visit resources like Library Genesis and download some film history books mentioned below at your own risk. Once again, we do not host any illegal or copyrighted files, but simply give our visitors a choice and hope they will make a wise decision.

American Slavery on Film

Author(s): Caron Knauer
ID: 3646897, Publisher: Greenwood Press, Year: 2023, Size: 9 Mb, Format: pdf

Filming History from Below: Microhistorical Documentaries (Nonfictions)

Author(s): Efrén Cuevas
ID: 3153602, Publisher: WallFlower Press, Year: 2022, Size: 19 Mb, Format: epub

Bodily Engagements with Film, Images, and Technology: Somavision

Author(s): Max Ryynanen
ID: 3249702, Publisher: Routledge, Year: 2022, Size: 2 Mb, Format: pdf

Please note that this booklist is not absolute. Some books are absolutely record-breakers according to The Wall Street Journal, others are drafted by unknown authors. On top of that, you can always find additional tutorials and courses on Coursera, Udemy or edX, for example. Are there any other relevant links you could recommend? Leave a comment if you have any feedback on the list.

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