Marc Lapadula
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Marc Lapadula

Fee Range1: $ 4500 - $7500

Recognized authority on the history of film


American LegendsArts/Culture/MusicCreativityEntertainmentFilmHistory




Marc Lapadula

Marc LapadulaRecognized authority on the history of film

Marc Lapadula, playwright and screenwriter, is an award-winning film producer and university lecturer. As Senior Lecturer at Yale University in The Film Studies Program, he has taught screenwriting seminars since 1992.

His stage plays, including StripHer, Not by Name, Two Shakes, Men Like Us, Last Order, The Rains Change, Serial Killer, and In Uniform Thanksgiving, have been produced in New York (off-Broadway), England, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Iowa.

Marc also has had several screenplays commissioned or optioned, including Distant Influence, Night Bloom, At Risk and screen adaptations of Mikhail Bulgakov’s Heart of a Dog and Migueal de Unamuno’s Saint Emmanuel the Good, Martyr.

He produced Angel Passing, starring Hume Cronyn and Teresa Wright, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won, among other awards, the grand prize at WorldFest Houston. He also co-produced the film Mentor, starring Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner) that premiered at The Tribeca Film Festival.

Former students have written highly successful and/or critically-acclaimed scripts for films such as (500) Days of Summer, The Hangover, 30 Minutes Or Less, Olympus Has Fallen, The Break Up, The Spectacular Now, Anamorph, Expendables 3, The Wedding Ringer, The Fault in Our Stars, The Sisterhood of Night, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon and Bride Wars. Marc’s students have also scripted award-winning teleplays for television: Family Guy, Law and Order- SVU, Scrubs, The Agency, Hannibal, Believe, The Last Resort, Benched and other shows.

In addition to Yale University, Marc taught screenwriting, playwriting and film analysis courses at Johns Hopkins, the University of Pennsylvania (where he created and ran both Universities’ screenwriting programs), and Columbia University Graduate Film School, and he led the Screenwriting Series at the Smithsonian Institution. He has been a consultant for film producers and studios, including New Line Films Studio and has been an expert script analyst in major Hollywood lawsuits.

He graduated cum laude with a BA in English from the University of Pennsylvania, studied Irish and English Drama at Oxford University, received his M.A. from Malcolm Bradbury’s Creative Writing Workshop at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, and earned an MFA in playwriting from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.


Films that Changed America

While most works of cinema are produced for mass-entertainment and escapism, a peculiar minority have had a profound impact on our culture. Whether intentionally or not, some movies have brought social issues to light, changed laws, forwarded ideologies both good and bad, and altered the course of American history through their resounding impact on society:



This ambitious movie presentation reflects the multi-faceted narrative of a diverse nation in all its thrilling, tumultuous and triumphant complexity. By utilizing ten major themes in the categories listed below, talented filmmakers from different eras and unique artistic sensibilities form a genuine composite sketch of American Life — framing in sharp relief where we’ve been, where we are now and where we, as a people and a country, might be heading in the future. The musical soundtracks from each film will be showcased since film composers so often play a pivotal, and unheralded, role in making a powerful cinematic experience so memorable.

1. The American Dream – films:
The Godfather Part 2, West Side Story,The New Centurions

2. Social Justice – films:
Crossfire, To Kill A Mockingbird, A Patch of Blue, Do The Right Thing

3. On the Road — films:
Easy Rider, Thelma & Louise, Rain Man

4. Coming of Age – films:
The Graduate, Lady Bird

5. War – films:
Saving Private Ryan

6. Home From War – films:
The Best Years Of Our Lives, The Hurt Locker

7. The Workplace – films:
Stripes, Norma Rae, Working Girl

8. The Outlaw — films:
The Outlaw Josey Wales, The Godfather: Part 1 & Part 2

9. Redemption – film:
The Last Picture Show

10. The Underdog – films:
Hoosiers, Rocky

How to Watch Classic Films

Great film directors all have one thing in common — lofty artistic ambitions. They take on the toughest issues and most provocative themes of their day hoping to eloquently bring them to life on screen. Generally, directors will disguise their artistic intentions, burying something quite profound beneath a story’s glossy surface. This sort of “subtext” and the prospect of unraveling a hidden, encoded message in a film is what drives some movie lovers (and Yale film professors) to attempt to decipher what is really going on below the surface of scenes playing out on screen.

Professor Marc Lapadula, will illustrate some remarkable examples of cinematic mastery. The films selected for this presentation include some of the most memorable moments and performances ever captured on screen. Film clips may include: CASABLANCA; CITIZEN KANE; THE GODFATHER; REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE; DOCTOR STRANGELOVE; PSYCHO; ON THE WATERFRONT; THE LAST PICTURE SHOW; THE KING OF COMEDY; CHINATOWN; NIGHT OF THE HUNTER


The 5 Greatest Films In American Film History

This program looks at several truly outstanding films that not only defined the provocative eras in which they were made but successfully transcended them. Today they still cast a giant, awe-inspiring shadow of influence over every artistic aspect of the film industry. Any director who has ever been privileged enough to stand behind a camera owes these films an immense debt that can never be fully repaid. The works listed below are the movies that all others, on multiple levels, are measured against.



The Genius of Alfred Hitchcock

For many scholars and movie critics, Alfred Hitchcock continues to be regarded as one of the most influential and significant filmmakers in the history of world cinema. Cultivating a career that spanned six decades, he found himself anointed the undisputed “Master of Suspense” with a slew of films that quite literally glued audience members to the edge of their seats. But beneath the shocking surface images lurked a mesmerizing and richly-layered psycho-sexual subtext that involved the sophisticated intertwining of several cryptic layers revealing a much more sophisticated artistic ambition than he’s been given credit for— an ambition that one must attempt to exhume and unravel in order to shed the proper light on what this grand master of the cinema was so eloquently and powerfully expressing in all his films. By no small miracle, Hitchcock managed to make highly personal movies within a studio system. These films forever challenged and subverted audience expectations by inviting them to crave situations they would later be made to feel guilty to have witnessed. This lecture will look at the man and his films as we try to ascertain his actual place on the coveted list of genuinely towering film talents. Various clips from THE 39 STEPS, NOTORIOUS, SHADOW OF A DOUBT, REAR WINDOW, PSYCHO, THE BIRDS and others will be screened.


The Reel World: 5 True Stories of World War II

Seventy years on, the global cataclysm known as World War II, as well as its withering aftermath, continues to capture the attention and imaginations of filmmakers around the world. From classical directors like Alfred Hitchcock (Saboteur) to more modern, technically stunning visual stylists such as Steven Spielberg, this devastating conflict between nations still inspires captivating stories on the Big Screen, exploring the “how” and “why” of such an unfathomable event. We will view clips of several films that portray historical figures and real-life incidents that profoundly impacted and devastated lives, including The Pianist (Polanski); Patton (Schaffner); Saving Private Ryan (Spielberg); Julia (Zinnemann); The Bridge at Remagen (Guillermin).

Great Comic Moments in the Movies

Viewing hilarious clips from nearly every decade of the Sound Era, we will quickly discover that film humor can elicit laughs from audiences regardless of their age or cultural background. From highbrow “Masterworks of Cinema” to some lower moments of excruciating comedy, we will explore the unadulterated (and oftentimes adulterated) humor generated from the idiosyncratic minds of uproarious filmmakers like Woody Allen, Stanley Kubrick, Mel Brooks, Mike Nichols, Harold Ramis and others.

Outlaws in Film

Some may well assert that America was founded by a “bunch of outlaws.” In fact, the notion of the outlaw roaming across vast stretches of the American countryside with the authorities in hot pursuit has captivated our country’s collective imagination since its very founding. What is it about these social deviants that we find so compelling? Is it their belligerent refusal to willingly submit to the oppressive mores of our society? Is it their frivolous, “casting caution to the wind” freedom? Often that freedom seems even more tantalizingly attractive because it is so short-lived. Whether as hardened individuals, infatuated couples or daring gangs, their doomed, ephemeral blazes of glory have been captured on the silver screen by some of our most ambitious and unflinching directors. This lecture strives to redefine the outlaw by offering a vast composite of various desperate, highly destructive and self-destructive individuals all qualifying to be labeled as those who have recklessly chosen to live and die outside the law.



Four Fabulous Films From the Fifties

In addition to the significant distraction and allure of Television in the 1950s, the intrusion of the House Un-American Activities Committee and its concomitant blacklist decimated the ranks of talented actors, producers, screenwriters and directors and threatened to drain Hollywood’s once seemingly depthless talent pool. With this in mind, how did the decade of the 1950s still manage to produce some of the most outstanding and controversial cinematic achievements in the history of film? The web of limitations imposed forced filmmakers to become much more sophisticated in the articulation and dissemination of their jaundiced view of society, compelling them to disguise their true artistic intentions behind a mask of commercial thrills. All these films smuggled something astonishingly daring into the rich fabric of their sub-textually complex narratives.

The Genius of Stanley Kubrick.

Perhaps the greatest filmmaker of his or any era, Stanley Kubrick has been awarded this honor based on only a dozen films in a career that spanned five decades. What is it about the peculiar, nightmarish worlds he created that audiences and critics to this day continue to find so controversial and compelling? Kubrick once remarked: “It if can be written or thought, it can be filmed.” His ambitious masterpiece, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, revolutionized the way contemporary filmmakers would ever again “think” about their medium by superannuating past technical advances and inspiring a new generation of cinema artists to facilitate even bolder innovation via his visionary lead. But Stanley Kubrick’s indelible cinematic contributions are much more than those of a supremely sophisticated visual/ technical stylist. Rich in powerful subtext, his films, no matter what their genre, force viewers to confront many startling and under-examined aspects of the deeply-flawed society we all tenuously inhabit. This lecture is for all “creative viewers” who, through trenchant analysis, wish to more fully decipher and unravel the cryptic and highly-rewarding cinematic universe of Stanley Kubrick. Excerpts from his greatest films will be screened and discussed. They will include: PATHS OF GLORY, LOLITA, DOCTOR STRANGELOVE, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, BARRY LYNDON, THE SHINING and FULL METAL JACKET.

The Greatest Romantic Moments in Movies

Great moments in cinema etch themselves indelibly in our collective memories, enriching our lives through an intimate invitation to examine our deepest and most heartfelt sentiments and feelings. Love is the most powerful emotion ever to be expressed on the silver screen. Whether consciously or unconsciously, filmgoers desire to have their own lives mirror the passionate encounters of the movie characters they idolize. The cinema has the unique power to usher audiences into a magical realm where “true romance” blooms in unforgettable moments, influenced by the cultural fashion and political climate of the era in which such moments are depicted. Clips from outstanding movies like Gone With The Wind, Casablanca, Sullivan’s Travels, On The Waterfront, From Here To Eternity, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, Harold And Maude, Blade Runner, The Remains Of The Day, The Princess Bride and Punch-Drunk Love will be screened to illustrate timeless expressions of love and desire in all its mesmerizing and multi-dimensional facets. Excerpts from lyric love poems will be interwoven and recited throughout the presentation.

The Jewish Experience in American Cinema

Produced shortly after World War II, and extremely controversial for their time, films like CROSSFIRE and GENTLEMAN’S AGREEMENT startled audiences by provocatively portraying the plight of Jewish individuals dealing with the complex challenges of assimilating into mainstream American life. Tackling social issues like anti-semitism from different artistic perspectives, highly capable film directors embedded poignant themes of the Jewish American Experience into movies that general audiences enthusiastically embraced. This presentation will look at classic as well as contemporary films charting this complex range of social and psychological experience. Issues of integration, discrimination, social justice, the plight of the underdog and the uniquely-hilarious articulation of Jewish Humor will also be explored. Several dramatic as well as comic clips will be screened from films by Alan Crosland (THE JAZZ SINGER), Edward Dymtryk (CROSSFIRE and THE YOUNG LIONS), Elia Kazan (GENTLEMAN’S AGREEMENT) Roman Polanski (CHINATOWN and THE PIANIST), Fred Zinnemann (JULIA), Sidney Lumet (THE VERDICT), Mel Brooks (THE PRODUCERS and BLAZING SADDLES), Woody Allen (ANNIE HALL and HANNAH AND HER SISTERS), Mike Nichols (THE GRADUATE and THE BIRDCAGE) to name only a few.

What Makes Great Movies Great?

Great film directors all have one thing in common — lofty artistic ambitions. They choose to take on the toughest issues and most provocative themes of their day hoping to eloquently bring them to life on screen. They regard the movie screen the same way great artists gaze upon their canvases. Every inch of the frame offers a crucial opportunity to leave audiences spellbound by their handiwork. The most challenging directors disguise their bold artistic intentions behind the mask of easily accessible genre forms, oftentimes burying something quite profound beneath a story’s glossy surface. This sort of “subtext” and the prospect of unraveling a hidden, encoded message in a film is what drives some movie lovers (and Yale film professors) to attempt to decipher what is really going on beneath the scenes playing out before our eyes. There is always something much more mesmerizing to be uncovered in a great film once it’s been brought out into the light. This presentation will illustrate some remarkable examples of cinematic mastery through technical innovation and complex thematic construction. The films selected for this presentation accomplish their missions by eliciting some of the most memorable (and timeless) moments and performances ever captured on celluloid. Clips from the films YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE, SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS, TOUCH OF EVIL, SOME LIKE IT HOT, THE BIRDCAGE, CHINATOWN, BLOW UP, BLADE RUNNER, THE GODFATHER and others will be screened.


Great Courtroom Dramas:  The Best Legal Movies and the Stories Behind Them

Hollywood loves lawyers. And Hollywood loves judges, jurors, surprise witnesses, smoking guns and falsely accused heroes, as well. Perhaps one of the reasons courtroom dramas are so reliable is that they follow a time-honored protocol. Whether they’re plaintiffs or defendants, we’re on the side of a plucky upstart who needs the help of a determined legal hand to fight injustice.

Usually, it’s not just the characters being put on trial, either. It’s the establishment, the system, the country, the past, and the future. No wonder there are so many memorable  courtroom dramas. Yale film professor Marc Lapadula will be discussing and analyzing a broad lineup of the best and most compelling movie entries in this genre.

Movies will include: Judgment At Nuremberg, Witness For The Prosecution, Inherit the Wind, 12 Angry Men, Anatomy of a Murder, To Kill A Mockingbird, And Justice For All, The Verdict, The Accused, My Cousin Vinny, Philadelphia, Erin Brockovich and A Few Good Men.


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