Going to the Movies
A Personal Journey Through Four Decades of Modern Film
By Syd Field
(Delta, Paperback, 9780440508496, 336pp.)
Publication Date: October 9, 2001
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Featuring insights ... analysis ... great films and filmmakers from “the most-sought-after screenwriting teacher in the world” (The Hollywood Reporter).
A life in film. An extraordinary career. An unforgettable story — from noted lecturer, teacher, and bestselling author Syd Field.
What makes a great movie great? ... An actor legendary? ... A screenplay extraordinary or just ordinary?
Syd Field has spent a lifetime seeking answers to these questions. His bestselling books on the art and craft of screenwriting have become the film industry’s gold standard.
Now Syd Field tells his own remarkable story, sharing the insight and experience gleaned from an extraordinary career. Using classic movies from the past and present — from Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane to Andy and Larry Wachowski’s The Matrix — Field provides a guided tour of the basic elements common to all great films.
Learn what makes La Grande Illusion a groundbreaking, timeless classic ... how Casablanca teaches one of the most important elements of creating memorable characters for the screen ... why Pulp Fiction might be one of the most influential films of our time.
Discover the legendary filmmakers, films, and stars who shaped Field’s understanding of the medium.... Meet Jean Renoir, the great French director who steered his young Berkeley protégé away from medicine into film.... Watch a dazzling young Francis Ford Coppola as he directs his thesis film at UCLA.... Spend an amazing summer with Sam Peckinpah as he shares the screenwriting techniques behind his classic western The Wild Bunch.
Rich in anecdote and insight, Going to the Movies will both entertain and inform, deepening every moviegoer’s appreciation of the magic behind the silver screen.
Syd Field is the internationally acclaimed screenwriter, producer, teacher, lecturer, and author of the bestselling books Screenplay, Selling a Screenplay, The Screenwriter’s Workbook, Four Screenplays, and The Screenwriter’s Problem Solver. Published in 1982, Screenplay has been translated into seventeen languages and is used in more than 350 colleges and universities across the country. At present he is creative consultant to the governments of Mexico, Argentina, Austria, and Brazil, and has been a script consultant for Roland Jaffe’s film production company, 20th Century Fox, the Disney Studios, and Tri-Star Pictures. He lives in Beverly Hills, California.
“Although cloaked in modesty, his illuminating, consistently entertaining memoir displays enough wit, intelligence and empathy to inspire a host of great films.”
— Publishers Weekly
“I based Like Water for Chocolate on what I learned in Syd’s books. Before, I always felt structure imprisoned me, but what I learned was structure really freed me to focus on the story.”
— Laura Esquivel, Like Water for Chocolate
“If I were writing screenplays ... I would carry Syd Field around in my back pocket wherever I went.”
— Steven Bochco, writer/producer/director, NYPD Blue
Also by Syd Field
The Screenwriter’s Workbook
Selling a Screenplay
The Screenwriter’s Problem Solver
Available from Dell