James Madison University
Libraries & Educational Technologies


Media Arts & Design > Film Studies

Film Reviews

Reviews are written to offer recommendations as to whether to see a film or not.  Some can be quite scholarly, but many are quite brief.  They typically appear in popular magazines and newspapers.

Interested in longer, more scholarly analysis of films?  See the Film Criticism Guide.

To find news, reviews, and criticism, search for the title of the film followed by (film) and put it all in quotes. [ex: "king kong (film)"]...
Coverage: 1887 - present
To find film reviews and criticism, search for the film title and the words motion picture reviews.  [ex: citizen kane and motion picture reviews]   This link searches OmniFile Full Text Mega, Readers' Guide Retro, and Humanities & Social Sciences Retro (all formerly on the HW Wilson platform).
Coverage: 1890 - Present
The Internet movie database covers more than 115,000 movies and contains over 1,750,000 filmography...
Coverage: 1890 - present
To find film reviews, search for the film title and limit your search to the year that the film was released plus the following year. The same reviews are also reprinted in New York Times Film Reviews for 1913 to date (on Reference shelves after the regular call numbers end)...
Coverage: Sept 18,1851 - about 3 years ago
This source is especially good for hard-to-find titles and hard-to-find details.  Limit your search to just the Film Index International portion to find articles about specific films.
Coverage: 1893 - present
FIAF is a bibliographical index offering in-depth coverage of the world's foremost academic and popular film journals.
Coverage: 1972 - Present
Provides brief reviews of movies that are available on DVD or tape.
Indexes film and television articles and reviews in scholarly and popular periodicals published between 1976-2001.
Coverage: 1976 - 2001
Quick way to find reviews. Gives important film reviews in their entirety and lists other publications in which the film was reviewed. We currently receive this title, but new volumes run a few years behind the current year.
Coverage: 1981 - Present
Carrier Library - Stack 2a

Additional Review Resources

The following books also provide reviews. These are ideal if you are collecting as many reviews as you can find on a film or would like to read reviews of many different films from one perspective (i.e. Pauline Kael or Roger Ebert).

Cinema, the Magic Vehicle (Carrier Ref PN1995 .G25)

Full-length plot summaries and reviews of the “films which any one seriously interested in the cinema would consider worth seeing.”  Includes films up to 1975.  

Dictionary of Films by Georges Sadoul.  (Carrier Ref PN1993.45 .S3213)

This collection of brief reviews of films was originally published in France.  Good for hard-to-find titles.  


5001 Nights at the Movies (Carrier Ref PN1995 .K19 1991)

Brief reviews written by reviewer Pauline Kael.  

Guide to Critical Reviews (Carrier Ref PN2266 .S24 1984)

A listing of critical reviews of feature length motion pictures. Covers films produced 1927 to 1980.  


The New Film Index (Carrier Ref PN1994 .M29 1975)

Indexes articles published between 1930 and 1970 in American film journals and popular magazines.  Attempts comprehensive coverage of films, people, and film study topics.  

The New York Times Directory of the Film (Carrier Ref PN1995 .N39)

Includes reprints of New York Times reviews from the “best” films, 1924 to 1970.  The strength of this title is in the Personal Name Index, not available in the larger New York Times Film Reviews or the online, fulltext New York Times Historical.  


Retrospective Index to Film Periodicals 1930-1971 (Carrier PN1993.4 .B39 1975)

Cites reviews in English language periodicals devoted to the serious study of film.  

Roger Ebert’s Video Companion (Carrier Ref PN1995 .E318 1996)

Full-length reviews of Ebert’s favorites and least favorites.  Includes films released up to 1996.  

Selected Film Criticism (Carrier Ref PN1995 S426 1982)

Contemporary reviews reprinted in their entirety. Includes films from the United States, 1896 to 1960, and from other countries, 1930 to 1950.   

Time Out Film Guide (Carrier Ref PN1998 .T46 2000)

Brief reviews reprinted from London’s Time Out magazine.  Includes lesser-known films as well as blockbusters released up to 2000.  

VideoHound’s Independent Film Guide (Carrier Ref PN1998 .S84 1999)

Brief reviews of films outside of the big Hollywood studios.  Includes ratings and an intriguing category index (“dedicated teachers,” “disorganized crime,” “divorce,” “doctors & nurses,” “dedicated teachers”).



James Madison University Libraries & Educational Technologies