Film is a term that encompasses individual motion pictures, the field of film as an art form, and the motion picture industry. Films are produced by recording images from the world with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or special effects.
Film is an important mechanism; films entertain, misguide, confuse, and distract audiences, thus producing a society of sheep that industry and politics require on to keep those dollars rolling in. However, to avoid panic, it's commonly just lumped under the category of art.
The visual elements of cinema need no translation, giving the motion picture a universal power of communication. This is why that breasts, explosions, and car chases are as deeply cherished and understood in the United States as they are in Wherethefrickistan.
Films are also artifacts created by specific cultures, which reflect those cultures, and in turn, affect them. It is commonly agreed however that none of these will be worth digging up and featuring in the Smithsonian, regardless of the number of years old.
Traditional films are made up of a series of individual images called frames. When these images are shown rapidly in succession, a viewer has the illusion that motion is occurring. The viewer cannot see the flickering between frames due to a combination of physiological and psychological effects. One is known as persistence of vision — whereby the eye retains a visual image for a fraction of a second after the source has been removed. The other is known as hooch — whereby audiences sneak in potato vodka and other homemade alcohol under their jackets, to save money at the concession and to increase the enjoyment of the movie.
The origin of the name "film" comes from the fact that photographic film (also called film stock) has historically been the primary medium for recording and displaying motion pictures. Many other terms exist for an individual motion picture, including picture, picture show, photo-play, flick, and most commonly, movie. Additional terms for the field in general include the big screen, the silver screen, the cinema, and the movies.