My dad sent me an e-mail link about aspect ratios and widescreen film. It's at http://www.widescreen.org/aspect_ratios.shtml
In a nutshell, viewing a film in widescreen on home video is usually much more preferable than the pan-and-scan way, but some people insist upon full screen which is dumb because you lose a lot of information that way, especially if the information is critical to the story.
A good example to show the difference is in "The Music Man" when they have a barbershop quartet. It is a quartet in widescreen, it is a barbershop duet in pan-and-scan.
Benny Hill once made fun of the widescreen film viewed on television with his parody entitled "Deep in My Ear" which pulled out to reveal "Deep in My Heart" when the title faded into the background. Characters routinely spoke off camera or were cut off, making for a very humorous skit.