American Sniper


  1. Compare and contrast a required film with a nonrequired film. The films should be of similar type or genre. That is compare and contrast a romantic comedy with a romantic comedy, a similar foreign film with an American film, etc. The choice of specific films is up you.
  2. See another film by a director required for the class and compare that film with their required film in light of the “auteur” theory. In essence, analyze the two films by looking for re-occurring themes, motifs and differences.
  1. After viewing the American Cinema program on “The Star,” see any current feature film and analyze how the star system influenced the casting, story, theme and promotion of this film. This is a deceptively difficult question to answer incisively and well. Think carefully.
  2. Carefully analyze a film seen at any film festival or the Pacific Film Archive this semester.* Include a synopsis of what the film was trying to say, an analysis of whether or not it was successful and why. Use concrete examples from the film and be specific. Make sure you identify and analyze major underlying themes.

Sample paper

American Sniper

American Sniper is a biopic war drama film written by Jason Hall and directed by Clint Eastwood. The movie was released in 2014 and became a sensational owing to its biographical basis. American Sniper is based on the autobiography of an Iraq War veteran, Chris Kyle, due to his outstanding marksmanship during the war. In the film, Kyle is ready to take sacrifices in order to protect his comrades. Although his outstanding marksmanship saves dozens of U.S. navy seals’ lives, he becomes a primary target of Iraq’s insurgents. The film also revolves around family life issues as experienced by Chris Kyle. The war takes a psychological toll on Kyle and others. This film attempts to show viewers the physical and mental cost of war, and its impact to the family of those involves.

The American Sniper movie is an attempt to convey the actual experiences of war that Navy SEALs go through. In doing this, the movie hopes to instill patriotism in all Americans, and to gain appreciation of what the SEALs go through to protect the country. As the story unfolds, Kyle and a group of other soldiers are on their first mission where he spots a woman and a child who act suspicious. Soon, Kyle realizes that the child is carrying a grenade, and he is forced to make an extremely tough decision – to shoot the boy dead. Kyle is also forced to shoot the woman just as she is about to hurl a grenade to the marines. Clearly, these are some of the events he had never anticipated. From the scene, it is clear that being in the army calls for true sacrifice.

The film brings to the viewer’s attention the psychological toll war brings to the Navy SEALs and their families. This is first seen at the scene where Kyle jets back to Iraq and coincidentally meets his brother Jeff who appears to be psychologically torn by the war. Kyle greets him with excitement but Jeff curtly replies, “Fuck this country.” Taya, Kyle’s wife is also greatly impacted by the war. She delivers a baby boy and calls Kyle to give him the good news. Kyle’s convoy is suddenly attacked by insurgents and he unknowingly drops his mobile while still connected. Taya is horrified as she can hear the sound of gunfire, but she is unsure of the fate of Kyle. The movie shows the struggles that families of Navy SEALs go through. Taya tries in vain to beseech Kyle not to go back to the war but he feels compelled and says it is his duty. Taya even threatens to quit the marriage. The movie shows the need to take responsibility and to do the right things all the time. Kyle was dedicated to his work, and loved his family back at home.

This movie was successful in telling to the world the horrors of war to Navy SEALs and their families. The script follows the lives of Navy SEALs as they are sent on deadly missions. Death looms everywhere, and it is clear that the Navy SEALs are truly patriotic to risk their lives for their country. The film gives a clear depiction of the psychological toll war takes on the Navy SEALS. When Kyle returns from Iraq, Taya is amazed to see him keenly watching the TV, but then realizes it is turned off. This shows disconnection from reality and conflicting feelings that Navy SEALs goes through after exposure to war.

In conclusion, American Sniper was a great biopic war drama film that depicts the lives of Navy SEALs and the sacrifices they have to make for the country.  Those involved in the war go through psychological trauma due to the experiences they go through. Lastly, war takes a heavy toll on their families and relationships.

Work Cited

American Sniper.  Clint Eastwood. Perf. Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper, and Peter Morgan.  Village Roadshow Pictures, 2014. Film.