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Film Research

Finding Film Reviews

clapboard.jpgThis guide will get you started in the area of film research. You can find information about films, directors, actors, themes, film criticism, and film reviews using many of these resources. In order to find a review, it is important to know the year the film was released. For movies released prior to 1970, reviews will be found primarily in print indexes.
The following online databases and print indexes will direct you to reviews.

  1. Books & Videos
  2. Databases
  3. Websites

Call Number Range

Use these call number ranges to browse the General Collection and the Reference Collection.

PN1992 Television (history, theory, individual shows, writing for television)
PN1993 Film Journals
PN1993.5 Film History (general history first, then grouped alphabetically by country)
PN1994-1995 Film theory and appreciation
PN1995.9 Films by special topics (e.g. detective films, film noir, war films, etc.)
PN1996 Screenplay writing
PN1997 Screenplays
PN1998 Directors (biographies and criticism)
PN2000-2900 Actors and Actresses (biographies, studies and criticism)


Review this list to find e-books that contain the search words motion pictures, film, cinema, or movies.

Collections of Film Review References

  • Film Review Annual
    Gives important film reviews in their entirety and lists other publications in which the film was reviewed.
    Ref PN 1995. F465 (1981-2002 )
  • Film Review Index
    Ref PN 1995 .F468 1986
  • Index to Critical Film Reviews
    Arranged by title of film with director and reviewer indexes up to 1975.
    Ref PN 1995 .B69 1975x
  • New York Times Film Reviews
    Includes a full index of personal names, titles, and corporate names.
    Ref PN 1995 .N4 (1913-2000)
  • Variety Film Reviews
    24-volume hardcover reprint of feature film reviews by the weekly entertainment tabloid-size magazine Variety from 1907 to 1996
    Ref PN 1993 .V36 (1907-1996)

Finding Biographical Sources

Finding a Topic

Plot Summaries

Searching for Books by Subject Heading

To identify materials about a particular genre, style, director or other topic, consider the following subject headings:

Film criticism

Film adaptations

Women in motion pictures

Name of the Film

Name of the Director

Motion pictures

Motion pictures history

Motion pictures United States History

Name of an Actor or Actress

Motion picture industry

Motion picture producers and directors

Motion pictures and literature

Books & Videos in Other Libraries

If you'd like to search for books and other materials in other Libraries, try WorldCat or use our Interlibrary Loan service.


Click here to go to databases.

  • Academic OneFile
  • Use Advanced Search to limit your results by Document Type to "Movie Review".

  • Academic Search Premier
  • Use Advanced Search. Enter the film title in the first search box and then select PS Reviews and Products from the drop-down menu to the right.

  • Literature Resource Center
  • Use Works Search. Enter the name of the film and then select "Motion Picture" from the Type of Work list.

  • New York Times (1980 to Present)
  • Click More Search Options to limit your Document Type to "Film Review"

  • New York Times (1851-2004) Proquest Historical Newspapers
  • Click More Search Options to limit your Document Type to "Film Review"

  • Project Muse , JSTOR, and Art and Architecture Complete all would be very useful for critical essays and film criticism

Individual Film Journals/Magazines

Check out these individual film journals to search for critical film reviews and film criticism. If you have suggestions for other film journals to add here, please let us know.

  • Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research (WCFTR)
    "The Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research (WCFTR) is the home of one of the oldest and most extensive collections of print, audio/visual, and graphic materials relating to film, theater, radio and television in the United States." (from the website)

  • Film Literature Index (FLI)
    "The Film Literature Index (FLI) annually indexes 150 film and television periodicals from 30 countries cover-to-cover and 200 other periodicals selectively for articles on film and television. The periodicals range from the scholarly to the popular. More than 2,000 subject headings provide detailed analysis of the articles. " (from the website) Indiana University Digital Library Program

  • Variety - FILM contains reviews and information on new and upcoming films. Also you can find information about the film business, festivals, and statistics.

  • IndieWire
    Locate reviews for new and older films from IndieWire.

  • New York Times Movie Reviews
    Browse or search 28,000 New York Times movie reviews. Included in the free review archive are all films reviewed since 1960, reviews of all Best Picture Academy Award winners, as well as The New York Times guide to the Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made.

  • The Internet Movie Database (IMDb)
    The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) is an online database of information related to movies, television shows, actors, production crew personnel, video games, and most recently, fictional characters featured in visual entertainment media.

  • Filmsite
    Filmsite is a unique website containing interpretive, descriptive review commentary and historical background, and hundreds of colorful, vintage film posters for some of the best Hollywood and American classic films in the last century.

  • MRQE - Movie Review Query Engine, the Movie Review Query Engine, is the Internet’s largest database for movie reviews. Founded in 1993, MRQE (pronounced "marquee"), is a searchable index of all published and available movie reviews, news, interviews, and other material associated to movies.

  • Metacritic
    Movie reviews, TV reviews, game reviews, and music reviews