American drama movie To Kill a Mockingbird

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To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird, a well-known American drama film, was directed by Robert Mulligan in 1962. Horton Foote's script was created from an adaptation of Harper Lee's beloved 1960 award-winning book of the same name. In the movie, Scout, a young girl, is seen to have a strong bond with her father, Atticus Finch, and brother, Jem. It depicts her growing up in a segregated, racist village during the Great Depression, where people judge outsiders like Boo Radley and other strong characters using fake, materialistic ideas and qualities ("To Kill a Mockingbird Full Movie"). The title To Kill a Mockingbird is a metaphor much emphasized by two outsider characters in the film.

Main Mockingbird Characters

One is the male African-American, Tom Robinson, who has been annihilated and disempowered by deeply a racist white male society and Boo Radley who is a reclusive neighbor whose danger to the Southern society is frequently discussed. The two are the main "mockingbirds" of the film's title. Unfortunately, they fail to mock the society's role for them and due to this, they feel the effects of living on the margins whereby Robinson dies, and Boo returns to the protection of a desolate, isolated existence. In this particular movie, I am much more interested in Atticus, a lawyer, due to his sympathy and ability to defend the Robinson from the beginning up to the end of injustice done to him whereby he was accused of rape. The title can also be set up by a link between Scout and his father, Atticus. Probably, nobody knows what he grows up to be, but considering the manner in which Miss Caroline handles her at the missionary tea, there is a high possibility that she will become a lawyer. Possibly, To Kill a Mockingbird illustrates how a child who witnesses injustice and violence in the society can grow up to change it.


When it comes to analyzing the kinds of sound present in the film, all these three categories sound effects, music, and dialogue continue to the storyline of the movie enhancing the audience connect to it. Music is used in the film to set its tone. The type of music used mostly is piano music, which is very melodic and soft thus setting an eerie tone. There are few musical symbols employed like the church bells that could be heard throughout the town showing the small town atmosphere. The manner that every individual used the bells to tell the time indicates how residents of Maycomb live a simple life. For example, when Scout and Jem knew it was five o'clock, they went to meet their father. The second musical symbol is brought about by the crickets and locusts heard in the middle of the night. They indicate the simplicity of the town again. The storyline of the movie occurs in a small town of Maycomb in Georgia; thus, one can place the characters' dialogue to be that of the southern accent. Nonetheless, the dialogue shifts with the characters together with their status. For instance, Atticus who is a famous lawyer defends Tom who is accused of raping a white girl. Atticus believes that everyone should always try to show some sympathy towards others displaying wisdom and understanding. Through the film, his dialogue and accent are much more refined. On the contrary, his children's accent is youthful and unpolished. Tom's manner of speaking is a bit of a cultural way (Ebonics) thus portraying his status and lack of education in the white society. Other sound effects present in the movie include walla, which refers to unintelligible noise heard in the background. In this film, this particular sound effect is utilized in the courthouse scenes to augment the dramatic tension for the audience. Eerie music used in the film is associated with Boo in the beginning and with the man accusing Tom. It is also used again when Scout and Jem are in the woods while walking home after playing; however, in this scenario, it is high pitched but at the same time quiet.


In scene running 1:40-1:41, the children head home through the woods at night with Scout dressed as a ham and are attacked by Bob Ewell. Music is a critical element; however, the shots carried out by the cinematographer in the scene that is worrying ("To Kill A Mockingbird Full Movie"). The scenes are quickly cut; hence, increasing the pace. Some shots also last a few seconds not giving one's brain a chance to understand what is happening to Scout, Jem, and the assailant, Bob as well as the individual fighting the attacker who later turns out to be Bob Radley. After the climatic trial, while Scout is dressed as her harm on her way to the school, Jem is attacked; however, Scout could not see everything. Likewise, the audience is forced to see the whole scenario through Scouts point of view. The shots montage confuses the moment and tries to put emphasis on the difficulty of understanding reality when the whole picture is not lucid.


In this film, the mise-en-scene is broadly represented through lighting. Most parts of the movie utilize soft, low-key lighting. Black and white mode of filming is also used by the creator bringing in a lot of gray tones in it. The director and cinematographer use this kind of lighting to create an emotional feeling throughout this movie. The audience can feel the sadness, prejudice, happiness, dignity, and pride. In the films' cinematography, Mulligan uses a lot of full shots to show the body of the full character in action making the viewers able to see everything. He also employed reaction shots to depict people's emotions, for example, Atticus. He also utilized a lot of eye-level camera angles to show that the audience is indeed at equal with the characters and no one is worse or better. Nonetheless, he did employ some high angles, especially when looking Atticus, to make him look powerful and strong as well as to make Scout young and innocent. The cinematographer also used the pan to show Jem and Scout walking down the street past Radleys' place and zoom when going past reaction shots.

Works Cited

Barsham, R., & Monahan, D. Looking at Movies. W. W. Norton & Company.2015.

"To Kill a Mockingbird Full Movie." Youtube, 2017,

April 06, 2023
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