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Cinema Studies - Research Guide

Locating Films Awards Encyclopedias and Dictionaries
Film Reviews and Criticism Bibliographies Genre, Time Period, Theme
Locating Books Biographical Sources
Browse Call numbers Characters

Locating Films at Penn

The Van Pelt Library houses a growing collection of feature and documentary films. These are not located in a public, browseable area and must be retrieved by staff at the Circulation desk. Other departmental libraries have films as well. For more information on video collections, please see Video & DVD Collections @ the Penn Library

VCat - Penn Library Video Catalog.
Search for films held at the Penn Libraries. Searches can be limited by genre, library location, language, country of production, director, and actor, as well as by format (VHS/DVD) and region (NTSC/PAL). Search results can be sorted by title, year of production, or date added to the collection. The newest videos can be browsed either as a list or as a "wall" of covers (using the "Slideshow" link).

Franklin, Penn Library Catalog.
Films can also be located in Franklin. Films have [videorecording] in the title field and can, hence, be distinguished from books with the same name. A sub-list of popular films by searching under the subject feature films.

Films have subject headings assigned to them. Actors, producers, production companys, etc. will also be noted in the record; keyword searches can retrieve these records.

Film Reviews and Criticism

Film Literature Index. Albany, Filmdex, inc.
(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. The FLI Online contains approximately 700,000 citations to articles, film reviews and book reviews published between 1976-2001. As of now, there are no plans to update this online resource. Also available in print: [Annenberg Library Reference: Z5784.M9 F45], v.1 (1973)-v.13 (1985),v.16 (1988)-v.32 (2004).

EBSCO Megafile.
A combined index of EBSCO's Academic Search Premier and Masterfile Premier. Indexes both scholarly journals and popular periodicals. Strong from 1990s forward, although many titles are indexed back further.

LexisNexis Academic
Choose the "News" tab at the top of the screen. Then from the source menu, leave "book, movie, music, play & video reviews." Click "Source List" for a list of the publications from which reviews are indexed.

New York Times, ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
Full-text searching and images of the NYT from 1851 to 2005.

New York Times Film Reviews, 1851-. New York : New York Times, 1968-
[Annenberg Library Reference: PN1995 .N4]
Provides the full text of reviews. Library has: 1913/1968,1977/1978-1983/1984,1987/1988, 1991/1992-1997/1998,1999/2000.

MLA International Bibliography.
Indexes literary criticism, including film, in journals all over the world.
Coverage starts in 1963.

Readers' Guide Retrospective.
Covers 1900-1982. Most of the reviews during this time had the subject heading motion picture reviews. See "motion picture reviews." Earlier headings include "moving picture plays" and "moving pictures reviews".

Film Review Index. Edited by Patricia King Hanson, Stephen L. Hanson. Phoenix, Ariz. : Oryx Press, 1986-.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Desk: PN1995 .F4597 1986], v.1-2.
[Annenberg Library Reference: PN1995 .F4597 1986], v.1-2.
Vol. 1 covers 1882-1949 and Vol. 2 covers 1950-1985. A very useful print index to film reviews. Covers US and foreign films. Indexes English language reviews.

Rehrauer, George. The Macmillan Film Bibliography. New York : Macmillan, c1982.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: PN1993.5.A1 R34 1982], v. 1-2.
[Annenberg Library Reference: PN1993.5.A1 Z991], v.1-2.
Very useful especially for indexing of book chapters about specific films.

Index to Critical Film Reviews in British and American Film Periodicals. New York: Burt Franklin, 1974.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: PN1993.45 B69 1974], v. 1-3.
[Annenberg Library Reference: Z5784.M9 B64], v. 1. Citations to film reviews.

Batty, Linda. Retrospective Index to Film Periodicals, 1930-1971. New York : R. R. Bowker Co., 1975.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: PN1993.45 B38 1975]
[Annenberg Library Microforms: Z5784.M9 B39]
Indexes fourteen film journals and The Village Voice.

Selected Film Criticism. Metuchen, N.J. : Scarecrow, 1982-84. 6v.
[Storage: PN1995 .S426 1982], vol1-7
Seven volumes arranged by date cover 1896-1960. Volume 6 is devoted to foreign films. Most films have two reprinted reviews.

Internet Movie Database (IMDB)

Movie Review Query Engine
Over ten years old, this site draws from Contains review of over 35,000 titles.

Locating Books in Franklin

Most of the circulating books related cinema studies are located in the Van Pelt Library, while most of the print film journals are at the Annenberg Library. Reference titles are at one or both Van Pelt and Annenberg. Works on photography are generally at the Fine Arts Library.

Franklin lists books, journals titles (but not articles within journals), conference proceedings, and other materials located at all the libraries on campus, excluding the Biddle Law Library.

Most film-related books are assigned the subject heading motion pictures or motion picture [noun]. The heading motion pictures covers general works on motion pictures themselves, including motion pictures as an art form, copyrighting, distribution. For work about screenplays, search under motion picture plays; for film directors, look for motion picture producers and directors.

Film criticism covers works on the technique of motion picture reviewing. Works on the criticism of screenplays are entered under Motion picture plays--History and criticism. Works about a specific picture will be under the name of the picture followed by (motion picture).

Works on the technical aspects of making motion pictures and their projection onto a screen are entered under cinematography.

Other subject headings include:

chinatown (motion picture)
academy awards (motion pictures)
film adaptations
film criticism
film critics
film genres
film festivals
film noir
motion picture actors and actresses
motion picture audiences
motion picture industry
motion picture music
motion picture plays
motion picture plays--History and criticism
motion picture producers and directors
motion picture studios
motion picture theaters
motion pictures
motion pictures and children
moving pictures and history
shakespeare, william, 1564-1616--film and video adaptations
silent films
world war, 1939-1945--motion pictures and the war

Browse Film-Related Call Numbers

The following call numbers are useful for browsing:

PN1993-1999 - Film
PN1993 - motion pictures in general, by country
PN1994 - film theory
PN1995 - specific themes, topics or genres
PN1996 - screenwriting
PN1997 - screenplays
PN1998 - biographies of and works about directors, producers,etc.
TR - Photography (including technical aspects of filmmaking)
Z5784 - Bibliographies on film studies


Academy Awards - Site sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, includes a searchable database back to 1927/28.

Gebert, Michael. The encyclopedia of Oscar achievers / edited by Allen Muir.. New Delhi : Dominant Publishers and Distributors, 2003.
[Van Pelt Library Stacks: PN1993.92 .E53 2003 ]

Osborne, Robert A. 80 years of the Oscar : the official history of the Academy Awards. New York : Abbeville Press Publishers, c2008.
[Van Pelt Library Stacks: PN1993.92 .O83 2008]

Bibliographies on Film Studies

Emmons, Mark. Film and television : a guide to the reference literature. Westport, Conn. : Libraries Unlimited, 2006.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: PN1994 .E485 2006]
[Annenberg Library Reference Stacks: PN1994 .E485 2006]

Fisher, Kim N. On the screen : a film, television, and video research guide. Littleton, Colo. : Libraries Unlimited, 1986.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: PN1994 .F465 1986]
[Annenberg Library Reference: PN1994 .F465 1986]

Film Researcher's Handbook: a Guide to Sources in North America, South America, Asia, Australasia and Africa. London ; New York : Routledge, 1996.
[Annenberg Library Reference: PN1994 .F438 1996]
[Van Pelt Library Stacks: PN1994 .F438 1996]

Film Study: an Analytical Bibliography. Rutherford : Fairleigh Dickinson University Press ; London ; Cranbury, NJ : Associated University Presses, 1990.
[Van Pelt Library Stacks: PN1994 .M325 1990], v. 1-4.

Gerlach, John C. comp. The critical index; a bibliography of articles on film in English, 1948-1973, arranged by names and topics. New York, Teachers College Press [1974]
[Van Pelt Library Stacks: PN1993.45 G47 1974]

Biographical Sources - Directors, Producers, Screenwriters, Actors, etc.

America Screenwriters. [Introduction and commentary by] Karl Schanzer & Thomas Lee Wright. New York : Avon Books, c1993.
[Van Pelt Library Stacks: PN1996 .A635 1993]

Contemporary North American film directors : a Wallflower critical guide . [edited by Yoram Allon, Del Cullen, and Hannah Patterson]. 2nd edition. [London ; New York : Wallflower, 2002.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: PN1998.2 .C68 2002]

Fifty contemporary filmmakers. Edited by Yvonne Tasker. London ; New York : Routledge, 2002.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: PN1998.2 .F53 2002]

Fischer, Dennis. Science Fiction Film Directors, 1895-1998. Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland, c2000.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: PN1995.9.S26 F54 2000]

Halliwell, Leslie. Halliwell's Who's Who in the Movies. 15th ed., rev. and updated, 1st HarperResource ed. New York : HarperResource, 2003.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: PN1993.45 .H3 2003]

Harris, Erich Leon. African-American screenwriters now : conversations with Hollywood's Black pack. Los Angeles, Calif. : Silman-James Press, c1996.
[Van Pelt Library Stacks: PN1996 .H34 1996]

Higham, Charles. Hollywood cameramen, sources of light.. Bloomington, Indiana University Press, [1970].
[Van Pelt Library Stacks: TR849.A1 H53]

Hoffmann, Henryk. "A" Western Filmmakers: a Biographical Dictionary of Writers, Directors, Cinematographers, Composers, Actors and Actresses. Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland, c2000.
[Annenberg Library Reference: PN1998.2 .H625 2000]

The Illustrated Who's Who of the Cinema. New York : Macmillan Pub. Co., 1983.
[Storage: PN1998.A2 I48 1983]

International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. Editors, Tom Pendergast, Sara Pendergast. Detroit : St. James Press, 2000. 4th.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: PN1997.8 .I58 2000]

Katz, Ephraim. The Film Encyclopedia. New York, NY : HarperPerennial, c1998.
[Annenberg Library Reference: PN1993.45 .K34 1994]
[Van Pelt Library Reference: PN1993.45 .K34 1979]
Bios of directors, producers, screenwriters, cinematography, art directors, composers, film editors, stars, complete filmographies. Includes birth dates and education.

Schuster, Mel. Motion Picture Performers; a Bibliography of Magazine and Periodical Articles, 1900-1969. Metuchen, N.J., Scarecrow Press, 1973.
[Van Pelt Library Stacks: Z5784.M9 S34]
[Van Pelt Library Stacks: Z5784.M9 S35 Suppl.1] supp 1970-1974.

The St. James Film Directors Encyclopedia. Detroit : Visible Ink Press, c1998.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: PN1998.2 .S68 1998]

Thomson, David. The New Biographical Dictionary of Film. Paperback, revised and expanded, 2004. New York : Alfred A. Knopf, c2004.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: PN1998.2 .T49 2004]

Voices of Film Experience: 1894 to the Present. Edited by Jay Leyda. New York : Macmillan, c1977.
[Van Pelt Library Stacks: PN1998.A2 V66]
[Van Pelt Library Stacks: PN1998.A2 V63], 1984 reprint,with new intro.

Women filmmakers & their films. with introductory essays by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster, Katrien Jacobs ; editor, Amy L. Unterburger. Detroit : St. James Press, c1998.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: PN1998.2 .W66 1998]
[Annenberg Library Reference: PN1998.2 .W66 1998]

Who was who on Screen. New York : Bowker, 1977. 2nd edition.
[Storage: PN1998.A2 T73 1977]

Who's who of Victorian cinema : a worldwide survey. Edited by Stephen Herbert and Luke McKernan. London : British Film Institute, 1996.
[Storage: PN1998.2 .W47 1996]
[Annenberg Library Reference: PN1998.2 .W47 1996]


Lieberman, Susan. Memorable Film Characters: an Index to Roles and Performers, 1915-1983. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1984.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: PN1995.9.C36 L5 1984]
[Storage: PN1995.9.C36 L5 1984]

Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

Beaver, Frank Eugene. Dictionary of film terms : the aesthetic companion to film art. New York : Peter Lang, c2006.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: PN1993.45 .B33 2006]

Kamp, David. Film snob*s dictionary : an essential lexicon of filmological knowledge. 1st ed. New York : Broadway Books, c2006.
[Van Pelt Library Stacks: PN1993.45 .K25 2006]

Cinema Year by Year 1894-2003. London ; New York : Dorling Kindersley, 2003.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: PN1993.5.A1 C5636 2003 ]
Year by year survey of the hit films of each year.

The Oxford Companion to Film. edited by Liz-Anne Bawden. New York : Oxford University Press, 1976.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: PN1993.45 .O9] Year by year description of the hit movies of each year.

Critical dictionary of film and television theory. Edited by Roberta E. Pearson and Philip Simpson. London ; New York : Routledge, 2001
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: PN1993.45 .C75 2001]
[Annenberg Library Reference: PN1993.45 .C75 2001]

Blandford, Steven. The Film Studies Dictionary. London : Arnold ; New York : Co-published in the United States of America by Oxford University Press, 2001.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: PN1993.45 .B49 2001]
[Annenberg Library Reference: PN1993.45 .B49 2001]

Nash, Jay Robert. The Motion Picture Guide. Chicago : Cinebooks, 1985-1987.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: PN1995 .N346 1985], v. 1-12.
[Storage: PN1995 .N346 1985], v. 1-12.

Cawkwell, Tim. The World Encyclopedia of Film. [London] Studio Vista [c1972]
[Van Pelt Library: PN1993.45 .C3 ]
[Annenberg Library Reference: PN 1998.A C38 1972b], pub varies.

Genre, Time Period, Theme

Armstrong, Richard B. Encyclopedia of Film Themes, Settings and Series. Rev. ed. Jefferson, N.C. ; London : McFarland, 2000.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: PN1997.8 .A76 2001]
[Annenberg Library Reference: PN1997.8 .A76 2001]

Lspez, Daniel. Films by Genre: 775 Categories, Styles, Trends, and Movements Defined, with a Filmography for Each. Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., 1993.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: PN1998 .L63 1993]
[Annenberg Library Reference: PN1998 .L63 1993]

McCaffrey, Donald W. Guide to the Silent Years of American Cinema. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1999.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: PN1995.75 .M33 1999]

Hillstrom, Kevin. The Vietnam Experience: a Concise Encyclopedia of American Literature, Songs, and Films. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1998.
[Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks: DS557.73 .H55 1998]