Rick Altman, Ph.D.

Emeritus Professor

Rick Altman teaches courses on film sound, film genres, and narrative theory. In recent years he has taught courses on silent film sound and exhibition, Hollywood's conversion to sound, genre theory, the musical, the films of Rouben Mamoulian, and narrative theory.

Having recently completed a long-term project entitled A Theory of Narrative, published by Columbia UP in 2008, Altman is currently working on a book that will trace the development of standardized sound practices during Hollywood's studio years. He continues to perform his Living Nickelodeon program in venues around the world (in 2009-10 at the Eastman School, Notre Dame, the Buffalo International Film Festival, a German tour, and NYU).

Courses Taught
  • Spring 2008: 48:277 Studies in Sound and Image: Silent Film Exhibition 
  • Fall 2009: 48:273 Advanced Film Theory: Genre Theory
  • Spring 2009: 48:275 Advanced Film History: Sound Between the Wars
Selected Publications
  • Film/Genre (1999). Winner of the Society for Cinema Studies Katherine S. Kovacs prize for the best film book published in 1999.
  • Silent Film Sound (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004). Kraszna-Krausz Prize runner-up for best 2004-2006 book on photography, film, or media; Society of Theatre Librarians Prize for best book published in 2004 on recorded performance; Limina Prize for best film book published in 2004. Voted one of the top five film studies books of the last decade, in Screening the Past poll.
  • A Theory of Narrative (New York: Columbia University Press, 2008).
Research areas
  • Film Sound
  • Hollywood Genres
  • The Musical
  • Film Theory
  • Narrative Theory
Ph.D., Yale University