Impact of Film and Television: 1950’s to Present Essay

Impact of Film and Television: 1950’s to Present Essay

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Impact of Film and Television: 1950’s to Present


Today, Film and Television are among the most internationally supported commodities. Financially, their contributions are enormous: both industries are responsible for the circulation of billions of dollars each year. Since their respective explosions into the new media markets during the mid-twentieth century, film and television have produced consistently growing numbers of viewers and critics alike. Sparking debate over the nature of their viewing, film and television are now being questioned in social, political, and moral arenas for their potential impact on an audience. Critics claim that watching films or television is a passive activity in which the viewer becomes subconsciously absorbed, and creates a reliance or "addiction" to the media. Advocates, however, argue that viewing such programs is an active process in which audience members are able to choose to what they are exposed, and interpret messages based on their individual needs and background. Perhaps both views are too extreme. Film and television from the 1950s to present, as will be explored in this essay, are extremely useful media, often underestimated within the label of "entertainment"; unfortunately, they may be partially responsible for current socio-cultural problems, too.

A few of the benefits of these media are obvious. It is generally agreed that film and television create a psychological escape and state of relaxation for the viewer, and that as communications devices they deliver important information within a moment’s notice.

The most widespread argument in support of film and television, however, is their power as a tool of education and awareness. As they deliver varying global perspecti...


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...Deal. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2001.

Grenier, Richard. Capturing the Culture: Film, Art and Politics. Washington: Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication on Data, 1991.

Orwell, George. Nineteen Eighty-Four. Toronto: Penguin Books, 1949.

Barnouw, Erik. Tube Of Plenty: The Evolution of American Television. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.

Greenfield, Patricia Marks. Mind and Media: The Effects of Television, Video Games, and Computers. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1984.

Postman, Neil. Technopoly: The Surrender Of Culture To Technology. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992.

Williams, Raymond. Television: Technology and Cultural Form. New York: Schocken Books, 1975.

Supplementary Resources:

Crowther, Jonathan, ed. Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.

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