Symbolism is an underlying and often distinct theme that pervades a work of writing. It is usually buried very subtly under the main narrative of a story or conversation in order to reinforce the main themes and add a certain layer of depth that would be missing otherwise. It is something that has always been regarded more as a term for an aspect featured in literature rather than in film. This may be true but it doesn’t stop many filmmakers from employing the use of symbolism in their movies in very subtle ways.
After all, many films are adapted from books every year no matter how loose the adaptations may be. The influence of literature on filmmakers has lead to a crossing of the two mediums that can either be amazing, like Rosemary’s Baby or The Exorcist, or awful like I, Robot or The Stand. For this article I wanted to mix films that have supplemented the symbolism from their source material and others that are original cinematic works. I felt that this would be the best way to show how original films can still carry traits that are influenced by literature.
One thing to consider before you read on is some of these may be well known by cinephiles, which I took into consideration when writing, so you will find familiar topics if you are a cinephile. I tried to make the list a combination of subtle hints of symbolism that casual filmgoers never noticed, while also adding entries that seasoned film lovers, like myself, would find interesting.
With that being said, I now present to you 11 classic movies with amazing symbolism that you never noticed…
This article was first posted on June 17, 2013