Film School: How to Steal from Movies

Bande à part (1964) / Pulp Fiction (1994) Bande à part (1964) / Pulp Fiction (1994)

Some ways directors “borrow” from, or add to the conversation about, other films.

While the saying “Lesser artists borrow; great artists steal” is long-debated in its origins, it’s certainly been applied to, and even invoked by, acclaimed directors such as Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino and many more. What lessons can we as film-makers take from other movies – in both what we take and the way we use it?


Editor Jacob T. Swinney offers a side-by-side comparison of moments in the work of director Quentin Tarantino, and the films to which they pay homage (via IndieWire):

Recommended: more on reading Tarantino through the lens of postmodernism (via The Cinema Cartography)

Add to the Conversation

Two films can be in conversation with eachother,” says Thomas Flight, when one film isn’t “merely mimicking” another, but when it “takes another artist’s work and uses it to create… something new, has a different conclusion or experience for the viewer, or adds to the conversation”:

Further Viewing

It’s rare that we get the opportunity to compare and contrast two film versions of the same story, which were made within two years of eachother – and the lessons we get to learn from that comparison are pretty unique:

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