chao chen, research librarianChao Chen, Research Librarian; Home
email:; phone: 617.627.2057.
Tisch Library, Tufts University

Introduction to Film Studies

Research Sources & Tips







Background Information

Reserves and Books

Journal Articles and Popular Press

Writing and Citing Sources


I. Background Information

  How to Read a Film

  Films and Filmmakers

  History of Film


Cinema Studies: the key Concepts. / Susan Hayward. PN1993.45 H36 2006

Dictionary of Film Terms: the Aesthetic Companion to Film Art. / Frank Eugene Beaver. Ref. PN1993.45 .B33 2006


Becoming Film Literate: the Art and Craft of Motion Pictures. PN1994 .L595 2005

Critical Dictionary of Film and Television Theory. edited by Roberta E Pearson and Philip Simpson.

Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings. PN1994 .M364 2004

Film Art: an Introduction. / David Bordwell, Kristin Thompson. PN1995 .B617 2008. 

How to Read a Film: the World of Movies, Media, and Multimedia: Language, History, Theory. PN1994 .M59 2008


Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences: Collections

interviews of Hollywood life, from costume designers to film editors to screenwriters.

Asian film online
an online streaming video collection of more than 1,000 narrative feature films, documentaries, and shorts. The works explore a wide variety of cinematic styles and techniques relevant to the study of film, literature, and the visual and performing arts.

Chambers Film Factfinder
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.

Screen Studies Collection (1893 - current)

A comprehensive survey of current publications related to film scholarship alongside detailed and expansive filmographies. This collection includes the specialist index FIAF International Index to Film Periodicals Database and the detailed and complementary filmographies created by the American Film Institute and the British Film Institute; AFI Catalog and Film Index International.


Film Industry Data

International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers (online)

The New Biographical Dictionary of Film. / David Thomson. Ref. PN1998.2 .T49 2002

UCLA Film & Television Archive


Blockbusters: a Reference Guide to Film Genres. PN1995 .G663 2006

Encyclopedia of Film Themes, Settings, and Series . Oversize: PN1993.5.A1 S555 2002


Filmmakers Library Online (streaming video of award-winning documentaries)


A World History of Film. Oversize: PN1993.5.A1 S555 2002


II. Reserves and Books

  A. Use Library Catalogs for Reserves and Books

  B. Sample Searches:

  (note the search pattern; modify to your own needs)


1. Course Reserves


2. Tufts Libraries Catalog

3. BLC WorldCat (beyond Tufts)


Path of Discovery in the Catalog

1. Find a title/author (assigned readings/Course Reserves);

2. Note the descriptive language of the Catalog record.

3. Use that language in further searches


e.g. Click on subject/author in the record to see further results and related topics.



Avatar [video recording] / Twentieth Century Fox; written and directed by James Cameron; produced by James Cameron, Jon Landau; a Twentieth Century Fox presentation in association with Dune Entertainment and Ingenious Film Partners; director of photography, Mauro Fiore; executive producers, Colin Wilson, Laeta Kalogridis.


Beverly Hills, CA.: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment: Lightstorm Entertainment, c2010.


Human-alien encounters -- Drama.

Extraterrestrial beings -- Drama.


Life on other planets -- Drama.


Pandora (Imaginary place) -- Drama.


Action and adventure films


Science fiction films


Fantasy films

Film Studies and Criticism

1. By Country


motion pictures Iran


2. Regional and Geopolitical


Motion pictures Arab (a region)

Motion pictures -- Developing countries. (geopolitical)

Motion pictures -- Middle East.


3. Filmmaker


Bunuel Luis


4. A Movement


New Wave Films


5. Plots and Themes


motion pictures plots themes


6. Genres


film genres


animated films

biographical films

documentary films

Documentary-style films

fantasy films

film adaptations

film noir

historical films

horror films

road films

and more .

7. Topics


love in motion pictures

Intercultural communication in motion pictures

Emigration and immigration in motion pictures.

Tip: find your movie in the Catalog, and learn the special language for genres/themes.


8. Advanced Keyword search, limiting to books:

On the topic of diaspora/exile and cinema:


Material Type:


Tips: 1. Or and ( ) to search any or all of the words; 2. film* searches film, films, etc.

Movie Reviews, particularly historical reviews

Find collection of reviews by film critics in the Tufts Libraries Catalog:

motion pictures reviews

sample titles:

An index to short and feature film reviews in the Moving picture world: the early years, 1907-1915 / compiled by Annette M. D'Agostino.

Index to critical film reviews in British and American film periodicals, together with: Index to critical reviews of books about film. Compiled and edited by Stephen E. Bowles.

When movies mattered: reviews from a transformative decade / Dave Kehr.

Or, find movie reviews by a particular critic

Ebert, Roger.


On a particular movie or filmmaker in BLC WorldCat (beyond Tufts)

"Kenji Mizoguchi" "motion pictures reviews"


III. Journal Articles and Popular Press

  A. Subject Databases for Journal Articles

  B. Popular Press:

  C. Finding Full Text

1. JSTOR and Project Muse

Two favorite collections of core journals of all disciplines.


Expand your search into more databases and from various perspectives

2. Academic Search Premier  
All subjects; a convenient Quick Start.


3. Film & Television and Mass Media

Limit Your Results

4. FIAF international index to film periodicals plus


5. When use GoogleScholar, set your Library Links to access Tufts full texts.

1. Current:


Book, Movie, Music, Play, And Video Reviews (in LexisNexis)

Factiva (more international coverage)

Alt-PressWatch (1970 -present)

Ethnic NewsWatch (1959-present)


2. Historical


Times Digital Archive  (1785 - 1985)

New York Times Online Archive
(1851 - 3 years before current date)

Art Index Retrospective   (1929- 1982)


Readers' Guide Retrospective (1890-1982)

American Periodicals (1740 - 1940)

British Humanities Index (1962- )
British Periodicals (1680s - 1930s)




     Some of the oldest continuously published magazines in America, including American Spectator, Commentary, Commonweal, Dissent, Harpers Magazine, NACLA, The Nation, The National Review, The New Republic, New York Review, and The New Yorker.

1. Click on the findIt@tufts button button in your search results screen to a window of three sequential options:

a. link to the digital full text when available;

b. link to a Library Catalog search for the print journal;

c. link to ILliad for requesting the article when the above two options are negative.

2. Search for a journal directly here:

a. Tufts Library Catalog (including e-journals)

b. Electronic journals list

c. Use ILliad to request your article, if Tufts does not have your journal.


3. A few core journals:

Performing Arts Journal The Cinema Journal Film and History Film HistoryFilm Quarterly The Velvet Light TrapWide Angle Journal of Film and Video Discourse Camera Obscura Framework the Journal of Cinema and Media The Moving ImageProjection Screen Quarterly Review of Film and Video


IV. Writing and Citing

  Writing Help

  Citing Sources


A Short Guide to Writing about Film by Timothy Corrigan. Ref: PN1995 .C66 2010




Tufts Academic Resources Center -- Writing Tutors


Chicago Style Manual

MLA Style