Telling Good from Bad in Movies and Television

Why do cowboys wear white or black hats?  Learn to read clues from plot, character, setting, and conventions of film to become a more discerning viewer. Most stories in books and movies focus on characters and how they behave in specific situations. Teens practice character analysis skills by paying attention to what the characters do and say, what others say about them, and what the movie maker tells the audience about them. In this activity, teens focus on basic character analysis to look for clues left by the filmmakers to help the audience identify the good and the bad characters. In the process, they learn more about how story tellers and movie makers use characterization to make books and movies interesting and engaging. Although the GLE's emphasize listening, viewing effectively is also included in this lesson as students become better prepared to be critical viewers.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
GLE 0701.1.1
Demonstrate control of Standard English through grammar usage, and mechanics (punctuation, capitalization, and spelling).
GLE 0801.2.1
Demonstrate critical listening skills essential for comprehension, evaluation, problem solving, and task completion.
GLE 0801.2.5
Understand strategies for expressing ideas clearly and effectively in a variety of oral contexts.
GLE 0801.7.2
Examine the relationship between the visual (e.g., media images, painting, film, graphic arts) and the verbal in media.
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 

Helpful Hints

What You Need:

  • A movie, such as Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, or television show to watch
  • Paper and pen or pencil
  • Character Clue Sheet
  • Vader Unmasked: The Sounds and Psychology of Evil (optional)