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Film Pathfinder

Directories and Annuals
Screen World.   (Ref. PN 1993.3 .D3) Kresge Library has since 1949 with some gaps. Surveys the year's films, including foreign films released in the U.S. Includes cost and credits, Academy Award winners. Biographical section and obituaries in the back.
International Film Guide. Ref. (PN 1993.3 .I544)   KL has since 1966 with some gaps.  Alphabetically arranged by country. Includes information on trends, forthcoming films, awards and addresses of publishers, distributors and organizations.
International Motion Picture Almanac. (Ref. PN 1993.3 .I55)   KL has since 1970 with some gaps. Includes year in review, awards and polls, statistics, obituaries, who's who, corporate histories and much more.

Reviews and Criticism

Magill's Cinema Annual.  (Ref. PN 1993.3 .M34)    KL has since 1982.  Reviews 100 films of the previous year. Reviews are signed and include credits, characters, box office gross, length and so on. Another 200-300 films are listed with credits and short comments. N.B. This title continues Magill's Survey of Cinema  (Ref. PN 1993.45 .M3). There are two English language series encompassing 10 volumes. There is also an 8?volume foreign language series. Each review is about 2?6 pages and includes plot narrative, characters, running time, etc. We also have a Magill's Survey of Cinema (Ref. PN 1995.75 .M33) that covers silent films.

Film Review Annual.  (Ref. PN 1995 .F465)  KL has 1981 - 2002. Consists of reviews drawn from a wide range of newspapers, magazines and scholarly journals and includes the "usual suspects," cost, producers, directors.

New York Times Encyclopedia of Film.  (Ref. PN 1993 .N465 1984)  Covers films back to 1896. There is also an index. Includes photographic reprints of films that appeared in the New York Times.

New York Times Film Reviews.   (Ref. PN 1995 .N4)  Covers 1913-2000.  Also available online—New York Times Historical database. 

Variety's Film Reviews.  (Ref. PN 1993 .V36)  Similar format to the New York Times except that it begins in 1907 and runs until 1980. Volume 16 is a title index.  Also available online in Film & Television Literature Index from 1914 to present. 

Siskel Ebert and Roeper Archived.   Try this web site for online reviews by Gene Siskel, Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper.


Film Encyclopedia.   (Ref. PN 1993.45 .K34 1994)     The subtitle, "The Most Comprehensive Encyclopedia of World Cinema in a Single Volume" says it all. Alphabetically arranged. Lists actors, abbreviations, filmmakers and much more.

Encyclopedia of Hollywood.   (2004 available online; earlier edition, Ref. PN 1993.5 .U6 S494 1990)   Includes film genres, important events, statistics, jargon, job titles and "tens of thousands of facts, figures and fabulous stories." This is a great book, fun to read.

The Oxford Companion to Film.   (Ref. PN 1993.45 .O9; 2nd copy, 3rd floor)     Printed in 1976, this book is getting a bit dated. Covers technical terms, genres, actors and directors.

International Dictionary of Films & Filmmakers.  (Ref. PN 1997.8 .I58 2000)      This is the fourth edition and KL also has the third edition. In four volumes, volume 1 covers Films; Volume 2, Directors; volume 3, Actors and Actresses; volume 4, Writers and Producers. For a one-volume treatment, see World Encyclopedia of the Film  (PN 1998 .A2 C38 1974).

BFI Companion to the Western.   (PN 1995.9 .W4 B45 1991)     This is a fascinating book. For example, two chapters cover a short history of the Western and a cultural and historical dictionary. There are also chapters on a directory of filmmakers, TV westerns and a guide to Western films. Much older and useful for "back-up" information is The Western (Ref. PN 1995.9 .W4 H37 1983; additional copy 3rd floor).

Cinema, A Critical Dictionary: The Major Film Makers.  (Ref. PN 1993.45 .C5 1980a,  2 vols.)  Signed articles by film critics. In addition to filmmakers, there are entries for actors and essays on topics such as "American Film Noir" and "American Screen Writers."

Encyclopedia of European Cinema.  (Ref. PN 1993.5 .E8 V56 1995)    Emphasis is on film figures. Also includes film production and audience figures.

The Encyclopedia of Novels into Film.   (Ref. PN 1997.85 .T54 2005)  This is a very interesting book. First, it provides a précis of the novel and then of the film. It attempts to convey how faithful the movie is to the book.

American Screenwriters.   (PN 1998 .A2 A585 1984  & PN 1998 .A2 A586 1986; both also available online through DLB Online database)    These two volumes are from the Dictionary of Literary Biography series although they are hardly dictionaries. Rather, the entries provide encyclopedic treatment of major writers. Up to 8 pages in length, the entries are critically written and include biographies, references and screen credits.

The New Historical Dictionary of the American Film Industry. (Ref. PN 1993.5 U6 S539 1998)   This is not really a dictionary so I have placed it with the encyclopedias. This is not a place to go to find people but rather a dictionary of companies, technical innovations, genres, industry terms and organizations.

Encyclopedia of Film Themes, Settings and Series. (PN 1997.8 .A76 2001)

The Encyclopedia of Westerns. (Ref. PN 1995.9 .W4 F27 2003)

Encyclopedia of the Documentary Film. (Ref. PN 1995.9 .D6 E53 2006)

St. James Women Filmmakers Encyclopedia

St. James Film Directors Encyclopedia

Dictionaries (Jargon)

Dictionary of Film Terms.   (Ref. PN 1993.45 .B43 2006)    Defines technical, critical and film terms with reference to specific films.

Cinema, A Critical Dictionary.   (Ref. PN 1993.45 C5 1980a, 2 volumes)      This is not the place to go to look up "gaffer."  Emphasis is on critical treatment of film figures.

Key Concepts in Cinema Studies.    (PN 1993.45 .H36 1996, 3rd floor)     This "in?depth" glossary provides overviews of genres, film theory and film movements.

The New Historical Dictionary of the American Film Industry. (Ref. PN 1993.5 .U6 S539 1998)

Internet Movie Data Base Movie Terminology  Glossary.  Terms and phrases used in acting, film and movies.

Here are a few more from Yahoo.   

Film Facts

This is a catch-all category that includes books that I did not know where to place.

Film Facts.   (Ref. PN 1993.45 .S75)    This book is quite old (1980) and will be more useful for historical facts than what happened in more recent years. Covers festivals, awards, stars, marketplace, etc.

American Movies Reference Book.   (Ref. PN 1993.5 .U6 M53)     Covers awards, biographical references on producers, directors and players.

The Academy Awards Index.    (Ref. PN 1993.92 .S53 1993)     Lists Academy Awards by category, 1927-1992

The New York Times Guide to the Best 1000 Movies Ever Made.   (Ref. PN 1995 .C343 1999)  Reviews, casts, credits.

The American Film Institute Desk Reference. (Ref. PN 1994 .A599 2002 ) Covers history, films, people and craft.

American Screenwriters (PN 1998 .A2 A585 1984) and American Screenwriters (PN 1998 .A2 A586 1986)  Also available online in DLB Online database. Both volumes provide scholarly biographies of screenwriters.
Indexes and Reviews
Film and Television Literature Index with Full Text. Includes indexing and abstracts for 380 periodicals, selected coverage of 300, plus full text for 120 journals and 100 books. 

Film Literature Index"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.”  The online version covers 1976-2001.  We have the print version from 1973—2004 (Ref. PN 1993 .F647).

Project Muse.  (A collection of 110 full-text journals in the humanities published by Johns Hopkins University Press).  Use the "advanced" feature and you can limit by film journals.

  Full text back files of scholarly journals.  Use the "advanced" feature and you can limit to film journals.

Wilson OmniFile.  Full text articles for a college audience.

Movie Review Query Engine Covers 103,000+ titles.

New York Times Historical.
  1851- last three years

Academic OneFile. 1980-current. Provides peer reviewed and full text articles.


Fantastic Cinema Subject Guide.   (PN 1995.9 .F36 S46 1992)   KL also owns this guide which indexes 2500 horror, science fiction and fantasy films.

Yahoo's Movie and Films - Genres The library also owns a good number of books devoted to a specific genre.


Stars and Stripes on Screen: A Comprehensive Guide to Portrayals of American Military on Film. (Ref. PN 1995.9 .A72 S85 2005)

"You Dirty Rat" (Gangster & Detective Films)

The Great Gangster Pictures (PN 1995.9 .G3 P36) provides filmography and short critical essays about the films. See also, A Guide to American Crime Films of the Forties and Fifties (Ref. PN 1995.9 .D4 L35 1995).  The BFI Companion to Crime (Ref. 1995 .D4 B58 1997) provides short summaries of movies (by title) and actors.

Science Fiction

I believe that our best book is The Great Science Fiction Pictures (Ref. PN 1995.9 .S26 P37) which gives extensive plot summaries and filmography. Science Fiction, Horror & Fantasy Film & Television Credits (Ref. PN 1995.9 .S26 L46 1983) is a 2-volume work listing actors, directors, producers, writers, films and TV. A supplement updates to 1993.


The A-Z of Horror Films (PN 1995.9 .H6 M3245 1997) is the most recent and the most interesting because of its pictures.  Information limited to filmography. Horror and Science Fiction Films (Ref. PN 1995.9 .H6 W5) and its supplements are "checklists" of this genre from the beginning of film to 1994. Information is brief, mostly filmography, and sometimes a short plot. Universal Horrors: The Studio's Classic Films, 1931-1946 (PN 1995.9 .H6 B7 1990) provides extensive coverage on a limited number of films. Finally, Classic Movie Monsters (Ref. PN 1995.9 .H6 G57) examines monster films by genre: wolf men, phantoms and mummies.


Not that anyone would be interested, but we also have books on sex in films right here in Kresge Library! The leading contender is Sexuality in World Cinema (Ref. PN 1995.9 .S45 L56 1983). It is arranged by subject--sort of. Can you guess what "Step to the Rear" deals with? There is also an interesting glossary of sexual terms, some of which even I never heard of.


Another popular genre is the Western. I listed two titles under Encyclopedias, but should also include Western Films (Ref. PN 1995.9 .W4 G3 1982). Noteworthy about this book are chapters on The Western (history) and the Western as a Genre. Other chapters include directors, writers, silents, actors and so on.


Encyclopedia of American Spy Films. (PN 1995.9 .S68 L36 1990)  Note the word "American."  You won't find "The Spy Who Came In from the Cold" here. For that you will have to consult The Great Spy Pictures (PN 1998 .P26).

Internet Sources

Yahoo's Movies and Film. This is a meta-site and as such it is very comprehensive. There is some "light weight" stuff here--trivia, humor-- but don't overlook genres and theory and criticism.

World Wide Web Virtual Library: Film History Index. This is another meta site. Here are some of the sites:

  • Reference: Libraries, Bibliographies, Databases, E-Teaching, Journals, Lists
  • Chronological: Before cinema, Early cinema, Silent Cinema, Sound cinema, Postwar cinema
  • Geographical: Europe, North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa, Other
  • Institutions: Institutes, Archives, Museums, Societies

Voice of the Shuttle This is a large collection of film sites on various topics like history, theory, contemporary film.

Internet Public Library's Movies. This site is a collection of 114 resources.

Academic Info Film Studies. This site lists indexes and general directories. Let me call your attention to Film Research on the Internet and Cinema: How Hollywood Movies are Made.

Online Research: Film. Besides sites on Academy Awards, Golden Globes, pay attention to the Internet Movie Database, which locates over 13,000 movies for reviews, cast, crew etc. There is also a link to Roger Ebert's reviews and much more.

Internet Movie Database. Good for quick facts on a film. Nothing scholarly.

BUBL Link Film Studies. This is an alphabetical arrangement of film resources. Link not working

Filmsound.org. Covers all aspects of film sound.

Masters of Cinema. Covers the work of major world directors.

All Movie Guide This site has some unique features such as identifying people who appear in the same film; films based on the work of a specific author.

Who's Who of Victorian Cinema Provides information on terminology, chronology, organizations, etc. Said to be authoritative.


Library Contact
Picture: Dan Ring

Dan Ring
Reference Librarian


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