Instructor: Ms. L. Halsted
The Research Project: Film
PURPOSE: In preparation for writing an academic paper, students will do
library research on their teacher-approved topic.
Release date is the year a film's made public. When searching for movie
reviews of recently released movies, you might need to look in one
or more years of an index. For example, for a movie released in
September 1998 will have movie reviews appearing for both 1992 and
To find the date of a particular film, consult:
- The International Dictionary of Films and
REF PN1997.8.I7 1997
- Halliwell's Film Guide
REF PN1998.433 2000
- Film Encyclopedia
REF PN1993.45.K34 2001
reviews and film criticism
reviews usually appear shortly before or a few weeks
after the release of a film. They briefly describe the plot, comment
on the script and cinematography and rate the performances of the
actors. Reviews usually appear in general magazines and newspapers
and are aimed, primarily, at helping you decide if you want to see
criticism attempts a more
detailed, scholarly examination of a film as a whole, or a specific
aspect of the film (plot, writing, cinematography, etc.). Most
critiques appear in specialized film journals and in other scholarly
journals in the humanities. Criticisms may appear any time after a
film is released. Although it may include an evaluation, its purpose
is to investigate, interpret, or develop a particular topic. Many
film journals contain both reviews and criticisms.
- New York Times Film Reviews.
Ref. PN 1995.N48 1913-.
Photographic reprints of reviews are presented as they appear in
- Magills Cinema Annual (Ref PN
1993.3 M34) Contains reviews or plot
summaries of films. Includes
full-text reviews of selected films and other information such as
credits, box office gross, memorable lines, and MPAA rating. Each
entry concludes with a bibliography that lists reviews published
in other sources.
Survey of Cinema: English Language Films, First Series
[REF PN1995. M3 v.1-4] This source provides essays
analyzing films from 1927-1980.
Survey of Cinema: English Language Films, Second Series
[REF PN1995.M3 1981 v.1-6]
Covers 751 additional films from
1928-1981 not covered in the first series.
Survey of Cinema: Foreign Language Films
[REF PN1993.45 .M34 1985 v.1-8] Provides reviews of 700 foreign
about movies, directors, actors, or filmmaking
If you find a book about a movie,
a director, a film genre the Library Catalog or SDSU, it is often a
substantial source of critical and factual information that goes
beyond the scope of a movie review or plot synopsis. However,
books most often focus on "classic", award winning films and
directors who are well established and have a considerable
reputation. Very contemporary movies and upcoming directors are
not usually considered.
A useful subject heading in the library catalog
is Motion Pictures.
Browsing the Collection
There are two primary areas in the Library of
Congress Classification system where books on film can be found.
PN 1993-1999 or
|For a print index, like
Film Review Index (Ref Z5784 M9 F513 1986), you need to
look up the title of the film in the alphabetical listing of
titles. A listing might look something like this:
Singin' in the Rain (US Kelly, Gene; Donen, Stanley; 1952)
Commonweal. Apr 11, 1952, v56, p15.
Newsweek. Apr 7, 1952, v39 p100.
Sight and Sound. Jul-Sep 1952, v22, p29.
Time. Apr 21, 1952, v59, p106.