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Discuss the characterization(s) of one or two of the central characters in the film Romeo and Juliet.

The Classic Film Research Essay Assignment

Classic Films are often distinguished or unique works of cinema that have transcended time and trends with indefinable quality. They contain a timeless message for the audience!

Classic films are often universal favorites that hold up after repeated rescreening.

In other words, classics are renowned films of first rank, reference points in film mythology or films that have become a part of American cultural folklore.

I. Essay Topic: Classic Film

Select a classic film to view from the list below. If you cannot find your film online or at your local library, search the web or go to this website – you may be able to locate your film here: . Do not ‘pirate’ a movie from the internet.

After viewing and researching your film, develop a tentative thesis and submit it to the Research Essay Thesis Forum for peer review by two of your classmates and then your professor.

The focus of the thesis will be what you believe to be the film maker’s message, the theme or the LESSON LEARNED you have taken away from the classic film you have selected and viewed. It will be a three-part thesis which covers the following areas for support of your focus: Characterization, Setting and Theme/LESSON Learned.

Once your thesis is peer reviewed by your classmates and approved by your professor, compose a six (6) paragraph, minimum 1,200 word, Research Essay with a minimum 1,200 word Rough Draft which will first be submitted to the Rough Draft Drop Box.

Include at least three credible research sources within your essay as well as a Works Cited section using correctly formatted MLA documentation.

PLEASE NOTE: All sources must be credible scholarly sources.

II. Essay Guidelines for Each of the Six Paragraphs

1st Paragraph: The Introductory Paragraph – Provide a Hook, Bridge, and Thesis for the film.

Remember, this will be a three-part thesis where you state the central focus of the essay and then preview the three areas you will be discussing: Characterization, Setting and Theme.

2nd Paragraph: Body Paragraph, Decade Summary – Provide a brief overview of the popular culture of the decade in which your film was released, with an emphasis on how your film may have been influenced by the events of that decade.

3rd Paragraph: Body Paragraph, Characters/Characterization – Discuss the characterization(s) of one or two of the central characters in the film. How did the director portray these key character roles? Provide specific examples/scenes from the film as you develop this portion of the essay.

4th Paragraph: Body Paragraph, Setting: Discuss the film’s setting. How did this setting enhance the film maker’s message? Was it believable? Provide specific examples/scenes from the film as you develop this portion of the essay.

5th Paragraph: Theme/LESSON LEARNED: What was the message about life/the theme or the LESSON LEARNED conveyed within this Classic Film? How did the filmmaker convey this message to his audience?

6th Paragraph: Conclusion: This is your opportunity to sum up what you have learned and to make your recommendation regarding this film!

The entire essay must be written in 3rd person only.

III. Classic Film List: Select one as the basis for your Essay

1990s: Smoke Signals; Schindler’s List, Driving Miss Daisy Romeo and Juliet; Shawshank Redemption

Classic Film Research Essay Rubric Introductory Paragraph

• The introductory paragraph is fully developed (100+ words), coherent and smoothly leads to a concise and focused thesis.

• The thesis is the last sentence of this paragraph. The introductory remarks or the thesis contains the title of the film (placed in italics).

• The thesis is concise and presents a clear focus on the essay s topic, what you believe to be the film maker’s message – the Lesson Learned – you have taken away from the classic film you have selected and viewed.

• It will be a three-part thesis which covers the following areas for support of this focus: Characterization, Setting and Theme/Lesson Learned.

Four Body Paragraphs

• Although you are addressing three areas/items for consideration, the body of your essay will contain four body paragraphs

• The first body paragraph provides a brief overview of the decade in which the film was made and the influence on the film of that decade.

• The three remaining body paragraphs are unified, coherent and appropriately structured paragraphs containing restricted topic sentences, primary and secondary supports.

• The secondary supports are specific examples and details from the film as well as research from outside sources.

• The essay is a combination of your ideas and smoothly integrated/correctly cited research from the secondary research sources.

• Your instructor will determine whether you will use APA or MLA formatting for this assignment.

• These paragraphs are 200 – 250 words each.

Concluding paragraph

• This paragraph is appropriately structured and makes a recommendation of this film to the audience.

• It also brings closure to the essay (50+ words).

MLA format

• A complete heading is placed in the upper left hand corner, and the title of the essay is centered.

• The essay is double-spaced and each paragraph is indented.

• The smoothly integrated research is from a minimum of 3 sources.

• The sources you cite have appropriate in-text, MLA parenthetical in-text documentation for all direct quotes, summary and paraphrase.

• The Works Cited section is correctly formatted using MLA, citing only the sources used within the essay.


• The essay contains correct sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, spelling and word choice.

• Use third person objective point of view. Avoid first person “I” and/or third person “we”/”us”/”our”.

• Do not use “you

Turnitin Submission

• For full credit, a complete first draft, including correctly cited research and a Works Cited, submitted by the due date to Turnitin with an acceptable 10% match.

• If you chose not to accept and use Turnitin, an Annotated Bibliography of your sources must be submitted along with the essay.

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