Film Studies

Course guides
Criticism & reviews
Books & dictionaries
Archive collections

Start here

Primary subject databases
Database Description
Film and Media Studies @ EBSCOhost Selected EBSCOhost databases for Film and Media Studies. View Full Description

Main databases

Secondary subject databases
Database Description
AFI Catalog Full-text filmographic information and plot summaries. View Full Description
Canadian Business & Current Affairs Database Provides access to Canadian journals, magazines and news resources on all topics. View Full Description
Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive Primary sources concerning the history of the film and entertainment industries. View Full Description
Film Studies @ ProQuest Selected ProQuest databases for Film Studies. View Full Description
MLA International Bibliography (via EBSCOhost) Comprehensive index for modern languages and literatures providing citations to articles, books, book chapters and dissertations. View Full Description

Also useful

Tertiary subject databases
Database Description
Film literature index Citations to articles on international film, television, and video films. View Full Description
Film Scripts Online Full-text scripts of significant feature films. View Full Description
Google Scholar Searches for articles and web resources from academic publishers and universities. View Full Description
JSTOR Current and back issues of journals in arts and sciences. View Full Description
Wilson databases (all) Search the three H. W. Wilson databases we subscribe to on the EBSCOhost platform. View Full Description

Course guides

Course guides organized by course number and course title
Course # Title
FS Student Research Guide for Film Studies
FS360 World Cinemas

Finding criticism

Finding reviews

  1. Find the release date of your film using IMDB or the American Film Institute Catalog
  2. choose a database, from the list below, that includes your date

Main online resources for reviews

Film and Media Studies @ EBSCOhost
For reviews, limit search to Document Type: "Entertainment Review." Includes full-text reviews from Variety, back to 1920.
Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive 1880-2000
For reviews, limit search to Document Type: "Review."
Canadian Periodical Index (CPI.Q) 1988 to present
Reviews Canadian and other films. Select Document Type: “Movie review.“ For reviews back to 1948, see "Movie reviews" in the print volumes of Canadian Periodical Index.
American Film Institute Catalog 1893 to present
Search for the film title, note the release date, and see the source citations at the end of the film record.
New York Times 1851 to three years ago
Search for reviews, profiles, advertisements, and movie listings. For reviews, limit search to month and year of release.
Movie Review Query Engine
Freely available database. Select “Critic reviews.“ Includes New York Times, Chicago Sun-Times (Ebert).

Main print resources for reviews

Film Review Index volumes 1-2.
Volume one covers 1882 to 1949; volume two covers 1950 to 1985. Print location: Z 5784 M9F513
Selected Film Criticism.
Includes full text from sources such as Photoplay and The Film Spectator. Print location: PN 1995 S426

Reviews vs Criticism

Criteria Film Reviews Film Criticism
Reviews vs. Criticism
Audience general public scholars and students
  • journalists or general public
  • articles may be unsigned
  • affiliation not usually given
  • academics and film scholars
  • affiliation usually given
Accountability may be reviewed by an editor usually peer reviewed or refereed
  • gives the opinion of the writer
  • usually short and focused on a single film
  • often includes recommendations
  • compares the film with others by the director, within the genre, etc.
  • puts the film into a larger context: historical, social, political, theoretical
Documentation may have no references to other sources, and no bibliographies or footnotes always contains references to other sources, given in a bibliography or footnotes
Publications magazines, newspapers academic journals, books
When published when film is released months or years after release
Examples Crowther, Bosley. "Screen: Sordid View of French Life: Breathless' in Debut." New York Times 8 February 1961. ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times. Web. 12 Sept. 2012. Hayes, Kevin. "The Newspaper and the Novel in À bout de souffle." Studies in French Cinema 1.3 (2001): 249-251. Film and Television Literature Index. Web. 12 Sept. 2012.

Selected Dictionaries: Definitions

Books: Omni (library catalogue)

Use Omni to find books.

a) Identify books by searching these selected Subject Headings

  • Documentary films
  • Experimental films
  • Feature films
  • Feminism and motion pictures
  • Feminist motion pictures
  • Film adaptations
  • Film criticism
  • Film genres
  • Film noir
  • Motion picture industry
  • Motion picture music
  • Motion pictures
  • Motion pictures, Canada
  • Motion pictures, history
  • Motion pictures, political aspects
  • Motion pictures, production and direction
  • Motion pictures, reviews
  • Motion pictures, social aspects
  • Silent films
  • Silent film music
  • Video recording

b) Or look for specific names or titles:

  • Hitchcock, Alfred
  • Hamlet (Motion picture)

Useful starting point:

Film and Television: A Guide to the Reference Literature, by Mark Emmons. Print Location: PN 1994.E47

Other Resources

American Film Scripts
Full text scripts of significant feature films.
California Digital Newspaper Collection
Selection of California newspapers from 1846 to the present.
The Pacific Film Archive's film document image database. Includes reviews, program notes, newspaper articles, etc. for selected films.
Directory of International Film and Video Festivals
Descriptions of collections including some film clips.
Early Modernity on Film
Bibliography of articles and books.
Includes articles and annotated links to film sound resources.
Focus on Film
From the U.K.'s National Archives. Includes clips from historical films.
Internet Archive
Includes digitizations of old film magazines such as Moving Picture World and Photoplay.
Margaret Herrick Library Digital Collections
Includes correspondence, photographs, periodicals and sheet music.
Media History Digital Library
Classic media periodicals, including trade papers and fan magazines, in the public domain. Search using Lantern
Moving Image Archive
Selected, digitized titles from the Prelinger Archives: a collection of "ephemeral" (advertising, educational, industrial, and amateur) films.
Moving Image Source: Criticism and Theory
Pulls together quality sources for film and television.
National Film Preservation Foundation (U.S.)
Lists preserved films and their locations, along with selected film clips.
News archives online
Includes full text of New York Times, London Times, Globe and Mail, etc.
ULCA Library Digital Collections
Includes material for film history.