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Encyclopedia > Epic film

The epic film is a film genre typically featuring expensive production values, an emotionally moving music soundtrack, and dramatic themes. The name is derived from the grand themes, stories and characters of epic poetry, and is often used as a shorthand for "sword and sandal" films, although it can also refer to films in other genres. In film theory, genre refers to the primary method of film categorization. ... Film production on location in Newark, New Jersey. ... A drama film is a film that depends mostly on in-depth character development, interaction, and highly emotional themes. ... The epic is a broadly defined genre of narrative poetry, characterized by great length, multiple settings, large numbers of characters, or long span of time involved. ... D. W. Griffith set out to depict the splendor of ancient Babylon in Intolerance. ...

Contents

Genre characteristics

Generally speaking, the term "epic" refers to movies that have a large scope, often set during a time of war or other conflict, and sometimes taking place over a considerable period of time. A historical setting is commonplace, although fantasy or science fiction settings are not unknown. Sometimes the story is based around a quest that the characters are embarked on over the course of the film. A large cast of characters is also common. For other uses, see Fantasy (disambiguation). ... Science fiction is a form of speculative fiction principally dealing with the impact of imagined science and technology, or both, upon society and persons as individuals. ... An ensemble cast is a cast in which the principal performers are assigned roughly equal amounts of importance in a dramatic production. ...


The population reached its zenith in the 1950s and '60s when Hollywood frequently collaborated with foreign film studios (such as Rome's Cinecittà) to use relatively exotic locations in Spain, Morocco, and elsewhere for the production of epic films. This boom period of international co-productions is generally considered to have ended with Cleopatra (1963) and The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964). Although "epic" films continue to be produced to this day, they are typically not made on so grand a scale as films from this period, and usually utilise computer effects shots instead of a genuine cast of thousands. Entrance of the Cinecittà studios Cinecittà (Italian for Cinema City) is a large film studio in Rome, Italy. ... This article is about the 1963 film. ... The Fall of the Roman Empire is a 1964 film starring Sophia Loren, Stephen Boyd, Alec Guinness, James Mason, and Christopher Plummer. ...


The definition of epic has been poached over the years to include films that in general have a large scale or scope of history, time, or events, even when not wandering out to epic adventures. The crime films The Godfather (1972), Once Upon a Time in America (1984), and Casino (1995), for instance, could hardly be considered epics in the same way that the Cinecitta films were, but are sometimes listed as such by critics. Some epic films (espically from the 1950's-1970's) were shot with a wide aspect ratio, for a more immersive and panoramic theatrical experience. The Godfather is a 1972 film adaptation of the novel of the same name, written by Mario Puzo, directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Marlon Brando and Al Pacino. ... Once Upon a Time in America (Italian title Cera una volta in America) (1984) is the last film by director Sergio Leone, and features Robert De Niro and James Woods as Jewish ghetto youths who rise to prominence in New York Citys world of organized crime. ... Casino is a 1995 film directed by Martin Scorsese, based on the book of the same name by Nicholas Pileggi and Larry Shandling. ... The aspect ratio of a two-dimensional shape is the ratio of its longer dimension to its shorter dimension. ...


Many refer to any film that is "long" (over two hours) as an epic, and as such a definition of an epic film (especially among today's films) is a matter of dispute among many. As Roger Ebert put it, in his "Great Movies" article on Lawrence of Arabia:[1] Roger Joseph Ebert (born June 18, 1942) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American film critic. ... Lawrence of Arabia is an award-winning 1962 film based on the life of T. E. Lawrence. ...

"The word epic in recent years has become synonymous with big budget B picture. What you realize watching Lawrence of Arabia is that the word epic refers not to the cost or the elaborate production, but to the size of the ideas and vision. Werner Herzog's 'Aguirre: The Wrath of God' didn't cost as much as the catering in 'Pearl Harbor,' but it is an epic, and 'Pearl Harbor' is not." German film written and directed by Werner Herzog. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

Monty Python and the Holy Grail had the joking tagline, Makes Ben Hur look like an epic. Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a 1975 film written and performed by the comedy group Monty Python (Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin), and directed by Gilliam and Jones. ... A tagline is a variant of a branding slogan typically used in marketing materials and advertising. ... Ben-Hur is a 1959 epic film directed by William Wyler, and is the most popular live-action version of Lew Wallaces novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1880). ...


Epic films were recognized in a montage at the 2006 Academy Awards. The 78th Academy Awards, honoring the best in film for 2005, were held on March 5, 2006 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California. ...


Biblical epics

The evolution of Jesus films is rooted in the religious or Biblical "epic;" a popular genre in the 1950's usually accompanied by towering budgets and names such as Charlton Heston, Robert Taylor, Deborah Kerr, or Yul Brynner. Examples include: The Ten Commandments and Ben-Hur. This article contains a trivia section. ... There are many people known as Bob Taylor or Robert Taylor, including: Robert Taylor (developer) (born 1972-present), Owner of FlashExtensions. ... Deborah Kerr, CBE (September 30, 1921 – October 16, 2007) was a Golden Globe Award-winning Scottish actress who was also awarded an honorary Academy Award and BAFTA recognition. ... Yul Brynner (July 11, 1920[1] – October 10, 1985) was a Russian-born Broadway and Academy Award-winning Hollywood actor. ... The Ten Commandments is a 1956 motion picture dramatizing the Biblical story of Moses, an Egyptian prince-turned deliverer of the Hebrew slaves. ... Ben-Hur is a 1959 epic film directed by William Wyler, and is the most popular live-action version of Lew Wallaces novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1880). ...


The ensuing decade brought the first attempt by a major studio to produce a religious epic in which the Christ Event was its singular focus. MGM released King of Kings in 1961, inspired by a Cecil B. DeMille film of the same title from 1927. King of Kings is a 1961 American motion picture epic made by Samuel Bronston Productions and distributed by MGM. It is a retelling the story of Jesus from his birth to his crucifixion and Resurrection. ... Cecil Blount DeMille (August 12, 1881 – January 21, 1959) was one of the most successful filmmakers during the first half of the 20th century. ...


Four years later, The Greatest Story Ever Told, directed by George Stevens, was completed for $25 million. Swedish actor Max Von Sydow’s portrayal of Christ was lambasted for being emotionally removed and humorless. The same could be said for Jesus of Nazareth, a 1977 made-for-television mini-series. The film received mostly favorable reviews on the part of the evangelical community. This article is about the film. ... Picture of Robert Powell playing Jesus of Nazareth. ...


A more recent example would be the 2004 Mel Gibson film The Passion of the Christ. Year 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Mel Columcille Gerard Gibson (born January 3, 1956) is an American-Australian actor, Academy Award winning director and producer. ... This article is about the film. ...


People associated with epics

Some of the most famous directors of epics include David Lean, Sergio Leone, William Wyler, Akira Kurosawa, Steven Spielberg, Cecil B. DeMille, George Lucas, Ridley Scott, Peter Jackson, and D.W. Griffith, Michael Bay, all of whom essentially made careers out of films that could be considered epics. Sir David Lean, KBE (March 25, 1908 – April 16, 1991) was an English film director and producer, best remembered for big-screen epics such as Lawrence of Arabia, The Bridge on the River Kwai, and Doctor Zhivago . ... Sergio Leone (January 3, 1929 – April 30, 1989) was an Italian film director. ... William Wyler (July 1, 1902 – July 27, 1981) was a prolific, Oscar-winning motion picture director. ... Kurosawa redirects here. ... Steven Spielberg (born December 18, 1946)[1] is an American film director and producer. ... Cecil Blount DeMille (August 12, 1881 – January 21, 1959) was one of the most successful filmmakers during the first half of the 20th century. ... George Walton Lucas, Jr. ... Sir Ridley Scott (born November 30, 1937 in South Shields, South Tyneside) is a British film director and producer. ... For other persons named Peter Jackson, see Peter Jackson (disambiguation). ... David Lewelyn Wark Griffith (January 22, 1875 - July 23, 1948) was an American film director (commonly known as D. W. Griffith) probably best known for his film The Birth of a Nation. ... Michael Benjamin Bay (born February 17, 1965) is an American film director and producer. ...


References

  1. ^ Roger Ebert (September 2, 2001). Lawrence of Arabia (1962). Great Movies. suntimes.com. Archived from the original on 2005-09-04. Retrieved on 2007-06-18.

Roger Joseph Ebert (born June 18, 1942) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American film critic. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 247th day of the year (248th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 169th day of the year (170th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
Epic Films (2914 words)
Epics, costume dramas, historical dramas, war film epics, medieval romps, or 'period pictures' are tales that often cover a large expanse of time set against a vast, panoramic backdrop.
Biopic (biographical) films are often less lavish versions of the epic film.
Epics are often called costume dramas, since they emphasize the trappings of a period setting: historical pageantry, costuming and wardrobes, locale, spectacle, decor and a sweeping visual style.
Epic film Information (660 words)
Although "epic" films continue to be produced to this day, they are typically not done on so grand a scale as films from this period.
Many mistakenly refer to any film that is "long" (over two hours) as an epic, and as such a definition of an epic film (especially among today's films) is a matter of dispute among many.
Epic films were recognized in a montage at the 2006 Academy Awards.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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