I'm looking for a list a films that contain "POV" Audio. What I mean by that is not where the camera enters POV, but where we enter a characters head-space acoustically. I stumbled across this idea I think maybe in a yahoo sound design group but am not sure. I am trying to formulate a solid idea/topic for a term paper. The direction I am going is how the design of the audio pov has changed throughout time, and then somehow link it to my film theory and criticism class.

The immediate films that come to mind are Saving Private Ryan, Children of men, but I am looking for some things outside of my normal viewing habits and something preferably much older. To find the "first" would be great, but that is a pretty subjective title I believe.

Just throwing out the cast net to try and grab some thoughts to help the idea along. My professor has multiple paper topics involving cinematography, directing, production design, etc but never has anything related to sound, so I have chosen the infamous come up with your own topic and discuss with the professor.


  • Nice question! I'm going to come up with some films later, when work dies down. For the meantime, also consider how all the departments work together to create the POV. Sound can be amazing for creating someone's headspace, but if it's not supported by the way it's shot or cut, it's nowhere near as effective. Commented Sep 16, 2011 at 17:58
  • @Roger Good tip with the multiple departments creating to effect. May be possible for me to make this relevant to the class after all Commented Sep 16, 2011 at 20:42
  • I know this is a crappy movie but its the first thing that got in my head.."Doom" lol theirs a pov fps shooter style scene. Commented Sep 19, 2011 at 7:38
  • @Roger Ive been reading Chion's Audio-Vision book and your comment on how the departments work together is having even greater impact than I previously thought. Commented Nov 16, 2011 at 18:34

16 Answers 16


Enter the Void (2009)

  • Jaws (Speilberg does this very well in many of his films)
  • The Pianist (the audience actually goes temporarily deaf in one ear)
  • Memento (other Nolan films)
  • The Graduate (we hear Ben's POV from time to time)
  • Vertigo (Hitchcock clued in to using sound quite earlier in his career)
  • One Upon a Time in the West
  • Black Swan (really all of Aronofsky's films)
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Any David Lynch film

The dialogue in "Bad Boy Bobby" was recorded with microphones sewn in the wig worn by Nicholas Hope. Director Rolf de Heer has used the similar binaural methods in his other films such as "Dance Me To My Song".. even using a foam head attached to the camera. A friend of mine has been experimenting a lot with binaural recording. He is building his own mics and artificial heads complete with artificial ears. Have a look at http://www.urlme.net/blog/?p=1709#more-1709 to see a sample of what he is up to.


Just went to see Jane Eyre last night and it reminded me of this post. There's a small (30 second?) section at the beginning when Jane is fainting/has fainted and audio is used to help represent this (especially apparent on dialogue).

You should definitely check this scene out!




Just watched a bizarre film called Mr Nobody that has a lot of POV and study of the self type stuff - the story is a bit of hard work but interesting sound design throughout :)


Babel does this with the deaf girl


'The Diving Bell and the Butterfly' is POV for about the first half hour..! Quite incredible


  • that's a great film, and an excellent example. Commented May 7, 2013 at 11:49

Killing Them Softly has an amazing soundtrack overall, and some fantastic POV scenes.


I did my Masters project on POV sound. Let me know if you fancy having a read if you think it'll be any use.

  • I could definitely fancy a good read about pov sound. If you have a pdf or something of it, shoot it over to my university email. [email protected] Commented Sep 16, 2011 at 23:13
  • im realy intrested!!!! pls send me too [email protected] thx
    – bohitomi
    Commented Sep 17, 2011 at 6:48
  • In Prague at the mo, but will send once i get back home in a week if still interested.
    – Andy Lewis
    Commented Sep 18, 2011 at 8:04

A great movie for POV audio is "Being John Malkovich."


Not a film, but look up the UK Channel4 Comedy 'Peep Show'. The whole show is in First Person / POV, with a lot of internal dialogue etc.

There've been 7 Series' so far, so there's plenty of material. It's available for streaming online here on the Channel4 website, but I'm not sure if it's regionality locked, so you might not be able to watch it, depending on your location.


Awesome suggestions guys, I really appreciate it. Trying to find some way to tie it into the class is the problem now, I'm thinking to see if the "pov style" could be twisted around with the auteur theory and if the style has more tendency to follow director, sound designer, or support of story. In all honesty I know generally no matter what, it is to support the story, but I'm just stretching for connections to this theory class.


This is interesting to me. Not literally inside characters heads, as some have suggested, but framing a character as the lead by placing the mic on their character and recording everyone from this source.

Practically is it viable? I understand that sound quality drops exponentially as you get further from the mic, but would there be a way to work it, because cinematically it's a very interesting technique.

  • I think it may be a viable thing if your intended audience will be using headphones that way the binaural effect transfers to the viewers. Using this technique in a movie theatre may just not properly transfer to the audience and may end up just making it hard to understand the dialogue. Commented Sep 23, 2011 at 16:52

Elephant- Gus Van Sant :)


I've done a couple of post on DS about this subject. Just put up one yesterday, and covered a few other films in a two part article: part 1, part 2


Apocalypse Now Gangs Of Wasseypur (2012) (Indian Film) The opening dream sequence in Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries (1957) Enter the Void

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