Best Film Books of 2012

December 27, 2012

Despite those who proclaim the death of the book as well as death of film, it has been a great year for books about movies.

Four of our smartest film critics released thought provoking new books which take a look at the big picture. They are The Big Screen: The Story of the Movies by David Thomson, Do the Movies Have a Future? by David Denby, Film After Film: (Or, What Became of 21st Century Cinema?) by J. Hoberman, and Gods Like Us: On Movie Stardom and Modern Fame by Ty Burr. Each are recommended.

Looking over the other film books released in 2012, it’s striking how many of the best of them — or at least the most compelling and interesting titles — are biographies, memoirs or a hybrid biographical-career study. The movies are about story-telling. And if you have an interest in film, there is something about the life story of an actor or director that makes for good reading — especially if that story is well told or groundbreaking in some way.

Here are a baker’s dozen of the best film books published in 2012, listed alphabetically by author. Admittedly, I love old movies and classic Hollywood — and this list reflects that preference. One could ask, “Are these the best film books of the year?” I think so. The annotated slide show highlights the dozen recommended works listed here.

There are also four additional titles noted at the end which couldn’t be included in a top 12, but are also worth checking out.

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