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.

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)