Stephen Prince


Professor,                                                Honorary Professor

Dept. of Theatre and Cinema         Dept. of Media, Cognition,

Virginia Tech                                        and Communication

Blacksburg, VA 24061                      University of Copenhagen

540-231-6014                                       Denmark


Prince publishes two books in 2012 —

Digital Visual Effects in Cinema: The Seduction of Reality (Rutgers UP) is a comprehensive analysis of digital imaging in contemporary cinema and on the ways filmmakers use visual effects in popular film.


Movies and Meaning: An Introduction to Film, Sixth Edition (Allyn & Bacon), is now in full color, with a new chapter on visual effects and new material throughout.


Firestorm: American Film in the Age of Terrorism is was named an Outstanding Academic Book of 2010 by Choice

Choice calls it “essential” and “the definitive survey of post-9/11 film” and adds that it is “impressively thorough,” “intelligently written” and “beautifully organized.”


Stephen Prince is a Professor of cinema at Virginia Tech and an Honorary Professor of film and media at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.  His research and publications focus on digital visual effects, on violence in motion pictures, on Japanese director Akira Kurosawa and Japanese cinema, on the American film industry, on American film during the 1980s, and on political cinema.  The author of numerous essays and book chapters, his work has appeared in Film Quarterly, Cinema Journal, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.


He is a former president of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, the world’s largest organization of film scholars, academics, students and professionals.


His audio commentaries have appeared on the DVDs of films by directors Akira Kurosawa and Sam Peckinpah. 


To date, Prince has published fifteen books. (Full list of pubs)


Firestorm: American Film in the Age of  Terrorism, looks at portrayals on film and television of the 9/11 attacks and the events that followed, including the Iraq War.  It is the first comprehensive look at the contemporary age of terrorism as portrayed in film.  The coverage examines portraits of 9/11 and its aftermath as found in Hollywood and independent film, documentaries, and made-for-television films and series.  The book will be published in the spring by Columbia University Press.

American Cinema of the 1980s: Themes and Variations (Rutgers University Press, 2007) examines American film during this key period when the industry reinvented itself for the age of video.

Movies and Meaning: An Introduction to Film (Allyn and Bacon, 2012) is just been published in its sixth, full-color edition.  This  textbook for introductory film classes examines cinema as an art, as a business, and covers topics in film criticism and film theory. Movies and Meaning is a widely praised introductory text.

Classical Film Violence: Designing and Regulating Brutality in Hollywood Cinema, 1930-1968 (Rutgers, 2003) examines movie violence during the classical Hollywood era, how filmmakers designed it and how censors regulated it.  This is the first book to examine the relationship between the aesthetics and censorship of film violence during the Hollywood studio era.


The Horror Film (Rutgers, 2004) is an anthology of essays that examine the history of the horror film and the psychological reasons for its persistent appeal.


The Warrior's Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa (Princeton, 1999, Chinese-language edition 1995), analyzes the films of this world-famous Japanese director, whose works (Seven Samurai, Rashomon, Yojimbo, Ran) have been a major influence on filmmakers throughout the world and especially on American directors, such as Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. Originally published in 1991, the book has been revised and expanded so that it now covers Kurosawa's entire career and assesses his place in cinema history.

A New Pot of Gold: Hollywood Under the Electronic Rainbow (Scribner's, 2000) is a comprehensive history of American film in the 1980s, covering the business, art, technology and social politics of filmmaking in that decade, when VCRs, cable television and global communications empires changed the nature of Hollywood.

Screening Violence (Rutgers University Press, 2000) examines the history, aesthetics and effects of movie violence with reference to current controversies over graphic ultraviolence.

Savage Cinema: Sam Peckinpah and the Rise of Ultraviolent Movies (University of Texas Press, 1998) examines the turn toward graphic violence in modern cinema and in the work of Sam Peckinpah, the director most identified with screen violence and whose films include The Wild Bunch and Straw Dogs.

Peckinpah's most famous film is The Wild Bunch, and Prince's Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch (Cambridge University Press, 1999) provides a close look at this classic Western.

Visions of Empire: Political Imagery in Contemporary American Film (Praeger, 1992) examines social themes in 1980s filmmaking, ranging from Rambo and Top Gun to Platoon, Robocop, and Total Recall.