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Researching Film Topics

Film Reviews | Biographical Sources | Finding a topic | Subjects | Internet Sources


How to Find Film Reviews, Articles and Essays

In order to find a review, it is important to know the year the film was released. The following online databases and print indexes will direct you to reviews.

  • Expanded Academic Index
    Covers 1980 to the present. Using the keyword option, type the film name and "movie reviews". [Example: Psycho and movie reviews]
  • Academic Search Premier
    Covers 1984 to the present. Type the film name and "motion pictures reviews".
  • Periodical Abstracts
    Covers 1987 to the present. Type the film name and "review".
  • WilsonSelectPlus
    Covers 1994 to the present. Type the film name and "motion picture reviews".
  • Essay & General Literature Index
    Covers 1985 to present. Used for identifying essays in books length collections.
    Print Index covers 1900 to present.
  • New York Times Historical
    Covers 1851 to present.
  • Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature (Located on the Index Shelves)
    Covers 1900 to present. Film reviews in the print index are found under the heading "Motion picture reviews".
  • Art Index. (Located on the Index Shelves)
    Covers 1929 to present. Look for reviews under the heading "Motion picture reviews".

Collections of Film Review References

  • Film Review Annual
    Ref PN 1995. F465 (1981- )
  • Film Review Index
    Ref PN 1995 .F468 1986
  • Index to Critical Film Reviews
    Ref PN 1995 .B69 1975x
  • New York Times Film Reviews
    Ref PN 1995 .N4 (1913-2000)
  • Variety Film Reviews
    Ref PN 1993 .V36 (1907-1996)

How to find Biographical Sources

  • American Screenwriters
    Ref PN451 .D5 v.26 1984
  • American Screenwriters: Second Series
    Ref PN451 .D5 v.44 1986
  • A Biographical Dictionary of Film
    Ref PN 1998.2 T 49 1994
  • The St. James Film Directors Encylopedia
    Ref PN 1998.2 S68 1998
  • The St. James Women Filmmakers Encyclopedia
    Ref PN1998.2. S683 1999

Finding a Topic

  • Chronicle of the Cinema
    Ref PN 1993.5 U6 C47 1997
  • Complete Film Dictionary
    Ref PN 1993.45 .K66 1997
  • The Encyclopedia of Novels into Films
    Ref PN 1997.85 T54 1998
  • The Film Encyclopedia
    Ref PN 1993.45 K34 1998
  • Filmmaker's Dictionary
    Ref PN 1993.45 S56 2000
  • International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers
    Ref PN 1997.8 I 58 2000

Plot Summaries

  • Halliwell's Film & Video Guide
    Ref PN 1993.45 H 27 [updated annually]
  • Magill's Survey of Cinema: First Series
    Ref PN 1993.45 M3
  • Magill's Survey of Cinema: Second Series
    Ref PN 1993. 45 .M32
  • Magill's Cinema Annual
    Ref PN 1993.3 M34 [1982-present]
  • The Motion Picture Guide & Annual Supplement
    Ref PN 1995. N346

Subjects to Search in Library Catalogs


Film criticism

Film adaptations

Women in motion pictures

Name of the Film

Name of the Director

Motion pictures

Motion pictures and history

Motion pictures United States History

Name of an Actor or Actress

Motion picture industry

Motion picture producers and directors

Motion pictures and literature

Internet Sources about Films

  • www.imdb.com Most comprehensive movie database. Good starting point for basic facts about a movie such as date released and director.
  • www.filmsite.org Lists the greatest 100 English language films.
  • www.mrqe.com Movie review query engine.
  • www.metacritic.com Gives at least 30 reviews for each film indexed. When possible, links them to the
    full-text of the review.
  • Cinebooks Database Cast, credit and reviews for more than 35,000 films. Database is searchable by name, genre, and country of origin.
  • www.lii.org Librarian's Index to the Internet also has a list of web sites for film reviews. Do a search for motion pictures reviews.

Christine Kickels
Updated April 2003
Assistant Professor and Librarian
(630) 942-2313

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