Master Cuts: The 10 Best Edits in Film History

And their meanings.
By  · Published on July 24th, 2017

And their meanings.

Editing a film is like conducting a symphony: it’s all about timing, arrangement, progression, and harmony. Bad editing makes a film clunky, abrupt, confusing, and in the worst cases nonsensical. Great editing, on the other hand, is just as integral as writing, direction, acting, and cinematography in terms of telling the story of a film.

When it comes to great editing – according to wolfcrow’s Sareesh Sudhakaran, a guy who would know – there are four elements to consider: when the preceding shot ends; when the following shot should begin; the effectiveness of the transition between these shots, be it a cut, a fade, a dissolve or what have you; and how an individual edit fits into the context of the overall movie.

To prove his point, Sudhakaran has selected 10 edits he finds most inspirational, including ones from Scorsese’s Raging Bull (edited by Thelma Schoonmaker), Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream (edited by Jay Rabinowitz), Godard’s Breathless (edited by Cecile Decugis), and Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (edited by Kurosawa as well). For each he explains what makes the edit so masterful, and indeed inspirational.

Whether you know a lot or a little about film editing, this is a fascinating video that will broaden your understanding of this vital but perhaps underacknowledged facet of filmic storytelling.

Novelist, Screenwriter, Video Essayist