James H. Thomason Library

Film Studies Subject Guide



Background Information Sources

    Dictionaries & Encyclopedias
    Selected Book Titles (ebook & print)
    Biographical Sources
  Find Books
    eBook Collections
    PASCAL Catalog
    Worldcat / Interlibrary Loan
  Find Journal Articles
    Journal Article Databases
    Key Journals
    Journal Finder
  Web Sites  
    General Sites(film lists, film theory, analysis)
  Get Help

denotes recommended resource

Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, Companions, Guides   back to top

For background information and definitions refer to the following library reference works and online reference collections:


Chambers Film Factfinder  Chambers, 2006. [CREDO Reference database].

Chambers Film Factfinder is a collection of useful and often fascinating information on many aspects of film, from the early days of silent cinema to the twenty-first century. With wide-ranging coverage and an international scope, it has something to interest everyone from casual film fans to dedicated enthusiasts.

  Information is presented in five major sections: People in Film; Film Categories and Genres; Film-Producing Countries; 100 Notable Films; and Film Reference. Carefully researched factual information is combined with a measure of critical analysis, ensuring that each section can entertain as well as inform. Biographies of actors and directors offer suggested career ‘highs’ and ‘lows’; genre and country sections give brief factual histories, alongside lists of key people and films; and the selection of notable films is designed to provoke interest and discussion, rather than representing a ‘best-of’ list. The reference section includes essential facts, figures and definitions, as well as varied and highly readable lists on such subjects as censored films, memorable dance numbers and notorious commercial flops. Throughout the book, ‘fact boxes’ provide intriguing snippets of film trivia, bringing added appeal to the text. [from publisher's decription].

Cinema Studies: The Key Concepts, Routledge, 2002. 
Main Level, Reference: R 791.43 H335C   
Key genres, movements, theories and production terms are explained and analyzed with depth and clarity.


Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, Oxford University Press, 1998.
Main Level, Reference:
R 111.85 En19E [4 vols]
Of specific interest is the entry “Film,” in vol.2, pp.185-206.

The Film Encyclopedia, HarperPerennial, 2001.
Main Level, Reference: R 791.4303 K159F   

The Film Studies Dictionary, Arnold  Press. Oxford University Press, 2001.
Main Level, Reference:
R 791.4303 B61F 

International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers [Gale Virtual Reference Library], St. James Press, 2001. 
Encyclopedic in scope. Electronic edition of four volume set giving thorough coverage of films and filmmakers, including legendary films, actors and actresses, directors, writers and other production artists. Entries include a detailed essay written by an expert; biographies; filmographies; comprehensive credits; major awards; and updated bibliographies, as well as photographs.

Schirmer Encyclopedia of Film, Schirmer Reference, 2007.

Main Level, Reference: R 791.4303 G767S [4 vols]


Historical Dictionary of Film Noir. Andrew Spicer. Scarecrow Press, 2010. [EBSCOhost eBook Collection].

Historical Dictionary of Middle Eastern Cinema. Terri Ginsberg & Chris Lippard. Scarecrow Press, 2010. [EBSCOhost eBook Collection].

Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction Cinema.
M. Keith Booker.  Scarecrow Press, 2010. [EBSCOhost eBook Collection].


Historical Dictionary of Spanish Cinema. Alberto Mira. Scarecrow Press, 2010.

[EBSCOhost eBook Collection].

Movies in American History: An Encyclopedia. Philip C. Dimare. ABC-CLIO. 2011.

[EBSCO eBook Collection].

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. [The Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University]
See entry:  “Philosophy of Film,”  by Thomas Wartenberg.

Women Filmmakers & Their Films.  St. James Press, 1998.  
Main Level, Reference: R 791.43082 W842W 
Biographies in this book are also indexed in Biography Resource Center database .


A History of American Movies: A Film-by-Film Look at the Art, Craft, and Business of Cinema.  Paul Monaco. Scarecrow Press, 2010. [EBSCOhost eBook Collection].

The A to Z of French Cinema. DaynaOscherwitz, MaryEllen Higgins.

Scarecrow Press, 2009. [EBSCOhost eBook Collection].

The A to Z of Horror Cinema. Peter Hutchings  Scarecrow Press, 2009. [EBSCOhost eBook Collection]. 

The A to Z of Italian Cinema. Gino Moliterno Scarecrow Press, 2009. [EBSCOhost eBook Collection].

The A to Z of Westerns in Cinema. Paul Varner  Scarecrow Press, 2009. [EBSCOhost eBook Collection].

Contemporary Latin American Cinema : Breaking Into the Global Market. Deborah Shaw, editor.    Rowman & Littlefield, 2007. Upper Level: 791.43098 C767C  

Left of Hollywood: Cinema, Modernism, and the Emergence of U.S. Radical Film Culture. [EBSCOhost eBook Collection].  Chris Robé. University of Texas Press, 2010. 

Street with No Name : A History of the Classic American Film Noir. Andrew Dickos University Press of Kentucky, c2002. Upper Level: 791.43655 D561S  

The Oxford Guide to Film Studies. John Hill and Pamela Church Gibson, editors,
Upper Level:  791.43015 Ox2O

Biographical Sources    

Biography in Context [Thomson/Gale].

Includes biographies from Gale reference books and full-text articles from hundreds of periodicals. Search for people by name, occupation, nationality, birth or death place, OR combine criteria using the advanced search.

International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers [Gale Virtual Reference Library], St. James Press, 2001. 

The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, Knopf, 2003. 
Main Level, Reference:
R 791.430922 T382B 

Women Filmmakers & Their Films, St. James Press, 1998.  
Main Level, Reference: R 791.43082 W842W 
Biographies in this book are also indexed in Biography Resource Center.

Find Books   back to top

THOMCAT - Use the online catalog to locate books in Thomason Library. You can search by author, title, keyword, or subject.


  • Search for a person, as AUTHOR or SUBJECT, with last name, first name.  Use AUTHOR search when searching for works by book authors, film directors (VHS/DVD collection), and musical artists (CD collection).                

Sarris, Andrew [as AUTHOR]

  Fellini, Federico [as AUTHOR]  
  Hitchcock, Alfred [as SUBJECT]  
  Wenders, Wim--Criticism and Interpretation                                  [as SUBJECT, with subheading]  
  • SUBJECT searching requires use of Library of Congress subject headings. The terms below are examples of subject headings related to philosophy and film:

Film Criticism

  Motion pictures -- Evaluation  
  Motion pictures -- Aesthetics  
Motion pictures -- History
  Motion picture industry -- History  
  Motion pictures -- Latin America  

Motion Pictures--Philosophy


Motion Pictures--Moral and Ethical Aspects

  Motion pictures, French  
  Feminism and Motion Pictures  
  Film noir  
  Film noir -- United States -- History and criticism.  [In PASCAL Catalog]  
  Silent films  
  Silent films -- History and criticism  

Subject searching is an effective and precise method of searching the catalog, however, KEYWORD searching has benefits, also.

  • Try a KEYWORD search if you are unsure of the exact title or the correct subject heading to use. Search using two or three of the most significant words from the title or subject you are trying to find. Place phrases in "quotation marks."

  • Connect words with AND, OR, NOT to focus your search.
  • Try truncation at the end of a word stem to retrieve singular, plural, and other variations of the word.  Use an asterisk (*) to truncate from 1 to 5 characters. Use a double asterisk (**) to include word endings with an unlimited number of characters.
KEYWORD Searching Tips


Adding * to the root of a word expands a term up to five letters.

Adding **
retrieves truncated terms of any length:

film** = film, films, filmmaker, filmmakers, filmmaking

     film**= all terms listed above plus: filmmakers, filmmaking

Use AND between words to narrow your search:
film AND philosophy

Use OR between words to expand your search

film*.OR cinema* OR motion picture*

When combining "AND" terms with "OR" terms, group "OR" words with parentheses (referred to as nesting)

(film*. OR .cinema* OR motion picture*) AND criticism

Use these tips for keyword searches in ThomCat, other catalogs, and journal article databases
eBook Collections    

EBSCO eBook Collections 

[Includes combined contents of EBSCO eBook Collection and EBSCO eBook Academic Collection]

Over 100,000 full-text ebooks covering a variety of disciplines.


PASCAL Catalog (with PASCAL Delivers)    

PASCALCAT -If you need materials not available at Thomason Library, try your search here to find books in other academic libraries in SC. Through PASCAL Delivers, you can order books online for delivery within 3-4 working days. This service for current PC students, faculty, and staff is a project of PASCAL- Partnership Among SC Academic Libraries.

   Borrowers will be notified by e-mail when requested items arrive at Thomason Library.

    Click here for searching and ordering tips.

WorldCat & Interlibrary Loan    

WorldCat –- A catalog of books and materials at libraries worldwide. Try searching here to find ALL books available on a topic. Materials available at Thomason Library are highlighted and others can be borrowed through ILL or searched in PASCALCAT.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) -- ILL is available to PC students, faculty and staff in order to share resources between libraries. Check link for instructions. Use ILL if you need a journal article not available in PC's collections, if you need a book not availabe at PC or via PASCAL, etc.

Find Journal Articles   back to top

The following journal databases are available to PC students, faculty, and staff from on- and off-campus locations.  Search using terms dealing with your topic.


Academic Search Complete [EBSCOhost] 
Scholarly, multi-disciplinary full-text database, with more than 8,500 full-text periodicals, including more than 7,300 peer-reviewed journals.

Gale Biography in Context [Thomson/Gale]
Biographical information on individuals from reference books and other sources, including magazines and journals.

Arts & Sciences Collections I, II, & III contain an archive of over 350 full-text journals which are searchable through JSTOR or accessible through Journal Finder, which provides full-text articles in Thomason Library's electronic databases. The collections include journals in art, architecture, economics, film, folklore, history, performing arts, political science, religion, sociology, humanities, mathematics, and statistics. 
Project MUSE Basic Undergraduate Collection  
Current and recent volumes of 112 core journals in the humanities and social sciences.


Key Journals   back to top

BioScope : South Asian Screen Studies
An early and popular form of film projector, "bioscope", was widely used to refer to the cinema in twentieth century South Asia. By focusing on the word's component parts, we highlight the expanding spectrum of forms involved in thinking about the relationship of life to visual and sound technologies. From the orbit of film, television and video, we invite research into a wide historical and contemporary canvas, from precinematic forms of assembly, through to contemporary computer practices, game cultures, multimedia telephony, ambient television, surveillance cameras, and the wide range of materials assembled on the internet. Our interests also extend to new media arts and contemporary screen-based art installations. [publisher's description].

British Journal of Aesthetics  "Appearing quarterly - in January, April, July, and October - [British Journal of Aesthetics] publishes lively and thoughtful articles on a broad range of topics from the nature of aesthetic judgement and the principles of art criticism to foundational issues concerning the visual arts, literature, music, dance, film, and architecture." (publisher's description)

An academic journal that examines film from a variety of viewpoints, with each issue focused on a central theme. Publishes scholarly articles on film theory, plus interviews with filmmakers, film reviews, book reviews, and reports from international film festivals.

Note: No full-text access at PC.

Cinema Journal
Sponsored by the Society for Cinema and Media Studies and represents recent scholarship by SCMS members. Its members include university faculty, graduate students, archivists, filmmakers, and others devoted to the study of the moving image from the U.S. and 39 other countries.  The journal publishes essays on a wide variety of subjects from diverse methodological perspectives.

Film Comment 
Published bi-monthly by the Film Society of Lincoln Center,  Provides scholarly criticism, profiles of directors and actors,  news, and reviews.

  Cinema Journal Cover Image

Film Criticism 
A refereed, scholarly journal that publishes original research in film theory. Articles examine and deconstruct films from a variety of critical, political, and aesthetic viewpoints. Unusual aspects of films and symbolism are discussed in great detail. Occasionally, the body of work by a specific filmmaker is analyzed. Special features include book and film reviews. Academic and professional interests.

Founded in November 1996, Film-Philosophy is an international academic journal dedicated to philosophically reviewing film studies, philosophical aesthetics, and world cinema. The journal is published three times per year and is fully peer-reviewed. Also includes an online discussion salon.

Film Quarterly

published since 1958, provides readers with insightful analyses of film, the film industry, and international cinemas. More than a glimpse behind the scenes, Film Quarterly offers serious film lovers in-depth articles, reviews, and interviews that examine all aspects of film history, film theory, and the impact of film, video, and television on culture and society.

Journal of Popular Film and Television

An academic journal that examines commercial film and television. Discussions include genres, television networks, series television, studios and directors. Also features articles on social and culture backgrounds of films and programs.



The Journal of Religion and Film Edited by Paul Allen Williams, Department of Philosophy and Religion, University of Nebraska at Omaha (Indexed in MLA and ATLA)  “JR & F will consider not only films that explicitly highlight traditional religious images and themes. Although there will be analysis of films that consider such religious themes as sacred space, sacred times, savior-figures, images of god(s), and battles between good and evil, there also will be investigation of notions and assumptions that underlie everyday, ‘secular,’ human talk and action."

Journal of Visual Culture

... publishes work from a range of methodological positions, on various historical moments and across diverse geographical locations. It is the leading interdisciplinary forum for visual culture studies scholars in film, media and television studies; art, design, fashion and architecture history; cultural studies and critical theory; philosophy and aesthetics; and across the social sciences [publisher's description].

Literature Film Quarterly
An academic publication covering the adaptation of literary and dramatic works into film. Also covers film genre, theory, and criticism, and features interviews with screenwriters and directors.


Sight and Sound 
Library has print issues for 1994 to present.



Journal Finder provides access to

PC's electronic and print journals, magazines, and newspapers

in one convenient location.


   Search Journal Finder to determine if PC has full text for the journal, magazine

or newspaper article you need. Library databases are connected by Journal Finder

and lead you to full-text when available.

Search or Browse

Journal Finder

by Title, Full Text Online, Subject, or by Database name

Citation example:

Voss, Christiane. “Film Experience and the Formation of Illusion: The Spectator as ‘Surrogate Body’ for the Cinema," v.50, no.4 (Summer 2011).

  1. Note the date of the journal issue you need before following Journal Finder link.
  2. Default search is Journals by Title in Full Text. Type or paste the title of the journal or magazine into the empty box (example: Film Quarterly).
  3. You may need to select your title from a results list by clicking on the title you seek.
  4. Results for your title include up to three categories: Full Text Resources in your library (in print), Full Text Resources Online, and Indexing Only (not full text).
  5. Note the "dates available" in a Full Text category. Click on a database that covers the date you need.
  6. Choose, year and issue OR volume and issue, then look through the contents of that issue for the article you need. Articles are usually listed in page number order and are available in HTML or PDF format.

Journal Finder record for Cinema Journal

Note dates of full-text availability for each database.

When browsing or searching, you can read articles from any journal that is available in the

Full-text resources online group of results. Choose a database location in this group based on the dates available and the time frame in which you are interested.


Film & Film Theory

Page by Karl J. Skutski [Duquesne University]. Collection of links to websites.


Yale Film Analysis Guide

The Film Analysis Guide was developed to meet the needs of faculty and students at Yale who are interested in becoming familiar with the vocabulary of film studies and the techniques of cinema. The user can either read the complete document or search out a particular topic of interest. -- Related links within the Guide are provided as appropriate, as are links to film clips illustrating the topic or term in question. [from web site]


Get Help   back to top
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