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Film Studies: Reference Works

film, films, cinema

Why Reference Works?

Reference works are an excellent first stop in your research and are incredibly useful for the following:

  • Getting an overview of a topic
  • Getting topic ideas for a paper topic or narrowing your topic
  • Brainstorming keywords for searching and learning the vocabulary used by authors in that area
  • Learning the key works on a given topic
  • Discovering the key authors on a given topic

Reference works are a good starting off point, but should not be cited in your research as they are not considered primary or secondary sources. The only exception is when reference works contain primary and secondary sources (like collections of documents and essays).

Online Encyclopedias & Reference Resources

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Reviews & Criticism

Magill's Survey of Cinema--Silent Films / 3 vols.
PN1995.75 .M33 1982 | 2nd floor
Articles on individual silent films produced 1902-1936.

Magill's Survey of Cinema--English language films / first.series, 4 vols.
PN1993.45 .M3 | 2nd floor

Magill's Survey of Cinema--English language films / second series, 6 vols.
PN1993.45 .M32 | 2nd floor

Magill's Survey of Cinema, Foreign language films / 8 vols.
PN1993.45 .M34 1985 | 2nd floor
Broad overview of films, with emphasis on major genres, directors and performers. Entries for individual films include release date, credits, principal characters & cast, with an essay which includes plot summary and critical comment. Indexed by titles, directors, screenwriters, etc. Chronological list of titles at the end of each series.

New York Times Film Reviews / (1913-1998).
PN1993 .N4 | Off-Site Collection - Make Request: Library Use Only.
Full texts of reviews appearing in the NYT Film Reviews. Chronologically arranged with index.

Variety Film Reviews / 24 vols. (1907-1996).
PN1995 .V34 | 4th floor
Full texts of reviews appearing in Variety. Chronologically arranged with index.

Variety television reviews / (1923-1988) 15 vols.
PN1992.3 .U5 V36 | 2nd floor
Texts of reviews appearing in Variety

Variety and Daily variety television reviews / (1989/90-present)
PN1992.3 .U5 V36 | 2nd floor
Supplements the preceding entry. Chronologically arranged texts of reviews appearing either in Variety (New York) or in Daily Variety (Hollywood).

Film review index 1882-1985 / edited by Patricia King Hanson, 2 vols.
Z5784 .M9 F513 1986 | 5th floor
Bibliography of reviews, history and criticism of major films. Indexed by directors, date produced and country of origin.