To Kill A Mockingbird: Seeing the Film through the Lens of Media Literacy

© 2006 Frank Baker

NEW: Lesson Plan Challenges Students to Create TKAM Courtroom Floor Plan

NOTE: this entire teacher guide is now available as an Adobe Acrobat file. Click on each page in the TABLE OF CONTENTS (left) for instructions.

TKAM Video Clips:
TCM      Film Clips on YouTube      Nathan Lane

“Your website on To Kill a Mockingbird is truly one of the best resources I know online or in print for teaching the movie. It provides an appealing format for exploring the elements of filmmaking, adaptation, and critical analysis supported by provocative questions, clear explanations, attractive film stills, and authoritative citations. Anyone interested in learning more about the film or media literacy will find a valuable tool in this handy study guide.”
Bill Costanzo, author,  “Great Films and How to Teach Them” 

“I have used your website to help me set up some ‘film studies’ lessons on To KillA Mockingbird.  Thanks to you, my 8th grade students love the film as much as they love the book -your thoughtful questions and methods for analyzing media have even helped me be a more critical viewer.”
Teacher comment on  English Companion Ning

For some time now, I have been enamored of the film To Kill A Mockingbird. I remember seeing it at the local movie theatre in Columbia South Carolina as a youngster. If memory serves correct, I was 8 years old when it was shown in 1963. And I remember being scared out of my wits during the “attack in the woods” scenes.

I have been working on a teacher guide to help literature teachers better use the film in their classrooms. Teacher guides to the novel are abundant, but I was never able to locate a guide devoted solely to the film, so this is the first attempt to more fully explore this classic via the ‘language of film.‘ Because I am also promoting the use of the film on DVD, a large portion of the guide will be devoted to helping educators become more familiar and comfortable with this new technology.

I invite educators to consider introducing students to both media literacy and the language of film by using the resources produced here. Your feedback is important; let me hear from you. My email address is

Frank Baker, media educator

TKAM: America’s Favorite Novel

                                    TKAM: #16 Hollywood’s Favorite 100 Films

Watch: Harper Lee Documentary

Harper Lee Receives Medal of Freedom

To Kill A Mockingbird
Voted #2 of 100 Most Inspiring Movies

Voted #25
AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Movies

#19 of the 101 Greatest Screenplays

Actors Gregory Peck, left, (Atticus Finch) and Brock Peters, right, (Tom Robinson) in a publicity still from the 1962 film “To Kill A Mockingbird.” The film won three Academy Awards: Best Actor, Best Writing (Screenplay), Best Art/Set Direction (B&W). Ranked 34th on American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Greatest American Films. TKAM is also listed on the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.


Recently released books:
Why To Kill A Mockingbird Matters (2018)

Scout, Atticus, and Boo: A Celebration of
Fifty Years of To Kill A Mockingbird

Horton Foote: America’s Storyteller

Up Close: Harper Lee

Screen Adaptations: Harper Lee’s
To Kill a Mockingbird The Relationship Between Text and Film

Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee

Alan J Pakula His Life & His Films

In Remembrance:
Harper Lee (author)
Rosemary Murphy (actress)
William Windom (actor)
Collin Wilcox (actress)
Horton Foote (screenwriter)
Robert Mulligan (director)
Alice Ghostley (actress)
Henry Bumstead (co-art director)
Brock Peters (actor)
Alexander Golitzen (co-art director)
Gregory Peck (actor)
Alan J. Pakula (producer)
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