The influence that the cinema exerts on the minds of those who visit it is at once beneficial and harmful.
Today, there is a cinema in almost every town. The cinema provides so much entertainment that few people fail to visit it. One of the reasons for the popularity of the cinema is that it entertains all types or people, young and old, literate and illiterate. Because it is so popular, it must exercise some influence on those whom it attracts.
The films shown in the cinema are often very instructive and informative. Almost every film shows something about the activities and customs of the people in other lands. By seeing such films, one learns a lot about human activities. One also gains a better understanding of people of the world.
Further, some films show the battles that were fought in the past. They also sometimes show very vividly how man has struggled through the centuries to remove discomfort from his life. In this way, some films have given many people an insight into the past. Even illiterate people have benefited from such films. What they cannot acquire from books owing to their inability to read, they can acquire from films. School students, too, often benefit from a visit to the cinema. What they see and hear in the cinema makes a better impression on their minds than only the spoken words of their teachers. For example, a teacher of history can hardly describe a battle scene to his students as vividly as a film does. For all these reasons, the cinema is often regarded as an important means of spreading knowledge.
It must be admitted, however, that some films have exerted an evil influence on many people. Films which show the activities of criminals have encouraged many youths to commit acts of crime. Other films, too, such as those dealing with sex and other natural weaknesses of man, have corrupted the morals of many people. As a result, the governments of many countries have been compelled to interfere in the display and production of certain films. Yet, the cinema continues to retain its popularity.