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Film/Television Studies

This web site provides guidance and links to research tools in the areas of film and television studies. Most tools are openly accessible however, unless indicated, database use is restricted to current American University students, faculty, and staff.

Internet Sites


Free Film-related Databases

All Movie Guide Film Finder
This database is very similar to the Internet Movie Database (described below). It is an excellent source for historical data about feature films. Two very handy features of their movie databases are the inclusion of four-star rating system and also when a film is to be shown on television in the coming month, it is noted with an icon linked to the air date and channel. The site also includes an interface for searching for people involved with production on a given movie including actors, directors, writer, costume designer, etc. Editor's choice

British Board of Film Classification Database
This interesting site not only gives a film's British classification but also its running time, distributor, director, and cast information. There are also notes included describing whether there had been cuts made and "decision commentary".

DocuSeek Film and Video Finder
DocuSeek is a search site for independent documentary, social issue, and educational videos available in the U.S. and Canada. DocuSeek allows you to simultaneously search eight leading film distributors' complete collections of over 3,200 titles of  high quality documentary and instructional videos.

Educational Media Reviews Online
Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO) is a database of video, DVD, audio CD and CD-ROM reviews of materials from major educational and documentary distributors and independent filmmakers. The reviews are written by librarians and teaching faculty in institutions across the United States and Canada. The reviews are aimed at an educational audience, primarily academic librarians. There are some reviews of K-12 titles in the database, but they are not the main focus. Reviews are included in OCLC's database

Facets Multi-Media
Facets Multi-Media's mission is to preserve, present and distribute independent, world and classic film, and to educate adults and children in the art and legacy of film. Their website is loaded with all kinds of goodies including director top ten lists, films news, a blog, and information about film appreciation classes they host. They also have an enormous video catalog that’s handy for identifying whether a motion picture is in release or no longer available.

Film Literature Index Online
The online version of the print reference serial Film Literature Index, this database contains citations of articles from 150 film and television periodicals and 200 other periodicals - ranging from the scholarly to the popular. The FLI Online contains approximately 700,000 citations to articles, film reviews and book reviews published 1976-2001. This is a static resource that will not be updated. The subscription database Film and Television Literature Index (available via is a continuation of this database and covers 1988-present.
This site contains a movie review database with titles beginning in 1998 in addition to many other features about the motion picture industry such as film festivals, awards, box office data, film clips, and viewing recommendations.

Great Directors – A Critical Database
A database of critical essays by film scholars on over 200 internationally-recognized film directors.  Each essay is accompanied by a filmography, a bibliography, and a list of web resources. 

Internet Movie Database
This is a master source for conducting film research. It contains production data, awards, user reviews, plot summaries, and whether it is commercially available onvideo or DVD. The database can be searched for titles, personal names, plots, quotes, and character names. Here are some numbers: over 200,000 films and tv shows cited, information on over 400,000 actors and actresses and 40,000 directors. Editor's choice
Metacritic compiles reviews from respected critics and publications for film, video/dvd, books, music, television and games. Their unique Metascores show the crtical consensus at a glance by taking a weighted average of critic grades.

Movie Review Index
A database of links to over 250,000 online reviews from over 280 websites. A sample search on "Gangs of New York" yielded 137 individual reviews, though the vast majority are from little known sources such as Ross Anthony's Hollywood Report Card and DVD Talk.

Movie Review Query Engine
This is the best free movie review database currently available. It contains over 140,000 articles of over 20,000 titles. The articles span the history of cinema, for instance, a search on "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" (1920) yielded 13 articles. Editor's choice

MPAA Ratings Database
Keyword search this database from the Motion Picture Association of America. Database contains titles since 1968.

Rotten Tomatoes
Over 7 million readers each month use Rotten Tomatoes globally as a dependable, objective resource for coverage of movies and DVDs. With more than 250,000 titles and 850,000 review links in its database, Rotten Tomatoes offers a fun and informative way to discover the critical reaction on movies neatly summarized via the Tomatometer.

They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They
This is an amazing website by and for film buffs. Among the best features are a thorough guide to film directors and a crazy giant list of “The 1000 Greatest Films” that the editors compile by crunching rankings by “1,825 critics, filmmakers, reviewers, scholars and other likely film types.”


Film-related Authority and Portal Sites - Entertainment is also an authority site that uses a variety of contributor experts to compile annotated lists of links. Other catagories include - Anime, Classic movies, Documentaries, Hollywood movies, Horror and Suspensel movies, Kids movies and TV, and World / Independent film.

Academic Info - Film Studies Gateway
This is another authority site, notable because it is aimed more specifically at academic users. Some of the links are annotated.
“Learning space dedicated to the art and analyses of film sound design.” This site includes many full-text articles and a trove of useful information on the film sound industry. Editor’s choice

Guide to Cinematic Terms

Open Directory Project: Arts: Movies
The Open Directory Project is very similar to the format used by the Yahoo site, there are brief annotations but the site will include links to all sites submitted to them without discrimination. For the searcher who is looking for an exhaustive listing of film-related websites, the Open Directory project is the best, almost twice as many links as Yahoo. The site's search engine can be limited to searching within the Movies section. Editor's choice

Public Moving Image Archives and Research Centers
A master list of links to moving image collections worldwide.

The is an outstanding academic site developed and maintained by the University of Alabama - Telecommunication and Film department. The mission of the site is to facilitate the serious study of film and television, unlike the majority of film websites that are targeted primarily to fans rather than scholars. Among its many interesting features are a page of course syllabi from film classes worldwide, film program descriptions, open teaching position listings, film textbook reviews, and much more. It is a treasure trove of information and could easily draw one into hours of browsing. Editor's choice

Yahoo - Entertainment - Movies and Film
This section of the Yahoo Portal contains about 10,000 links to movie-related websites divided into about 40 categories. Yahoo editors categorize the links and include very brief annotations but make no attempt to evaluate the sites listed. The site's search engine can be limited to searching within the Movies and Film section.


Video Distribution

Amazon provides the largest catalog of commercially-available videos on earth which includes used copies sold by third-party vendors , videos in non-US formats, and placeholder records of films that have yet to be released.  It also includes the usual features that Amazon users are familiar with such as production and release data and  user ratings. Amazon is also a good source for finding soundtracks and movie posters. Editor's choice

DVD Beaver is an excellent source for keeping up with new DVD releases and their quest is to find the best digital versions available regardless of region coding. Their focus is almost entirely on theatrically-released feature films.   Editor's choice

DVD Savant is anonther outstanding source for keeping up with new DVD releases with a focus on film connoiseur fare. Their focus is on recent DVD and Blu-Ray releases of older classics.   Editor's choice

Movies Unlimited  is a vendor of over 40,000 film and television programs on video and DVD. If you are trying to find whether a feature film or old TV show is on video, this is a very good place to start. Editor's choice

The University of California at Berkeley maintains an extensive, searchable database of film distributors. These are sources for both theatrical and documentary films on a variety of subjects. Some of these vendors offer a wide selection and some focus on a specific field. Browsing their collections may be helpful if you are interested in incorporating film into your course.

Resources are also available in Media Services to assist faculty in the identification and location of videos. Chris Lewis ( 202-885-3257) is AU's media librarian and he can suggest suitable titles for particular subject needs.


Current Area Screenings

Find out what's playing this week. There are always a wide variety of films showing in the Washington area, from multiplexes to arthouse theatres to the national museums. Two up to date sources are the Washington City Paper (film/TV) and Fandango.


Additional Film-related Sites

Cross-Cultural Film Guide: Films from Africa, Asia and Latin America at The American University (1992)