Film vocabulary

We love watching films (= movies in American English) – either on TV, on DVD, downloaded onto our PCs or at the cinema.

What sort of films do you enjoy? You've got a lot of genres to choose from: westerns (set in the American Wild West) or spaghetti westerns (those filmed in Italy) to action films (fights, car chases etc), adventure, animated(cartoons), or horror (lots of blood or ghostly visits). Perhaps you prefer comedy (or "romcom" – romantic comedy) or dramas. Sometimes these are epics (long, historical dramas) and sometimes these are adaptations (adapted either from a previous film, or from a book or play). What about thrillers (or suspense), or musicals (with song and dance) and science fiction (set in a futuristic world)? Or maybe you prefer the old black and white films, or theclassics.

In a celebrity-obsessed world, actors are as famous as politicians (maybe even more so!) We like to see our favourite actors playing a character – even a minor character – in films, whether these are in lead roles (=main roles), orsupporting roles (not main roles). Every year, the Oscars gives awards to lead actors and supporting actors, but never to the extras (the actors who play people in a crowd, often without a speaking part.) We like reading the film credits, firstly to see who's in the cast (everyone who acted in the film) and if there's a special appearance by a famous actor who's only in the film for a couple of minutes.

Then we like to see who the director or producer is, the screenwriter who wrote the screenplay (the script that the actors speak) and who composed the soundtrack (the music background in the film). We'll read film reviews to find out more about the plot (or storyline) and how good the lightingcinematography (art of shooting the film) orcostumes are. We might even watch a trailer (short extract from the film) to see the special effects.

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