Film is a medium that engages its audience primarily as spectators. Obviously images are very powerful. Consider the mathematics. If one picture is worth a thousand words, then a two–hour movie with twenty–four frames/second would be the "equivalent" of a book of 24 x 60 x 120 x 1000 = 172,800,000 words!
More seriously, the image is senior to the word in that the referencing of the former, in most cases (philosophy, perhaps, and related cerebral studies excepted) is more immediate, more primal and as politicians and advertisers have always known more influential.
And consider the environment of the movie theater itself: larger–than–life images; a darkened, magical room; often the proximity of a "significant other" who is sharing the experience. An influential place, indeed, particularly for planting mental seeds, and especially to a young woman seeds that could bear fruit years later. As Haskell observes:
It is fashionable to claim to have misspent one's adolescence in a movie theater, in escape from the horrors of dating–and–mating rituals, studies, and other impositions of an insensitive society... Many of the divisive forces whose consequences we are only now [in 1973] beginning to feel took hold behind that impassive facade.
And if the environment of the movie theater was not sufficient in itself to impress the impressionable, there was the added "effectivity of the cultural imperialism of Hollywood"
– the full power of the dream machine to change our lives. When Clark Gable takes off his shirt revealing a naked chest, sales of men's undershirts plummet. When Sean Connery drives the little–known Aston Martin DB– 5 in Goldfinger, sales of that exotic British sports car take off. Like my students, we believe what we see, and we believe it is important.