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Subject Guides > Media Arts & Design

Film Studies

This guide supports the Digital Video & Cinema program within SMAD, the interdisciplinary minor in Film Studies, and general interest in film topics. This guide focuses on the study of film while the companion guide, Digital Video, focuses on production. Learn more about SMAD's Digital Video & Cinema concentration.



Reference Information

Quick Facts about Film

Discover the encyclopedias, dictionaries and directories that will provide facts about film.

Film Biography

Research actors, actresses, directors, cinematographers, and more. 

Quick Grid: Film Summaries, Reviews & Criticism

Use this guide to quickly look in the most common sources summaries, reviews and/or criticism.




JMU Libraries has many books about film and television studies, all found within JMU Library Catalog. To get you started, here are a few possible subject headings to search in LEO and the shelf areas to browse.


Search in LEO

Browse by Call Numbers

Carrier PN 1992

Motion Pictures

Motion Picture Authorship (Screenwriting)

Motion Pictures History

Motion Pictures Production and Direction

Carrier PN 1993  to PN 1999
Carrier PN 2287




Journal and Magazine Articles

Film Studies Resources with Articles (from journals)

Search a database to find articles on specific topics.

Periodical Locator Film Browse

Browse a list of journals, newspapers and magazines about film. Click through to tables of contents for most of them.


Film Reviews & Criticism

Quick Grid: Film Summaries, Reviews & Criticism

Use this guide to quickly look in the most common sources summaries, reviews and/or criticism.

Film Reviews

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

Film Criticism

Criticism analyzes a film in detail, discussing themes, cinematography, similar films, direction, acting, and more. Criticism is typically published in books or in scholarly journals.



Primary Sources: Films

One of the most important primary sources for film studies is the actual film that you are studying.


Finding Videos at JMU

JMU Libraries has a large number of films on DVD, video and online. Use this guide, within the Research Databases & Resources area of our website, to identify what we have.

Madison Mediagraphies: Feature Films

Media Resources takes the hard work out of finding films by genre with Madison Mediagraphies. Choose a genre (animated, comedy, detective, film noir, horror, musical, silent, war, western and more) and then see a list of films within JMU Library Catalog.

African American Film Directors

Selective list of films in JMU Libraries by African American directors.

Vendor Catalogs and Film Guides

Search or browse for film titles, usually with summaries, that exist anywhere so you can recommend for JMU or purchase for yourself.



Primary Sources: Screenplays

Finding Screenplays in JMU Library Catalog

JMU Libraries has a number of classic and popular film screenplays in the collection. To find screenplays in LEO, search for individual film titles.  You can also see a list of most, but not all, by searching for motion picture plays or shooting script.


Title search:  shawshank redemption

Subject search:  motion picture plays

Word search:  shooting script

Browsing the Shelves for Screenplays

Screenplays are in Carrier Library at call number PN 1997 (2nd floor Carrier Library).

American Film Scripts Online (Alexander Street Press)American Film Scripts Online Graphic

Read entire scripts online. Full text database of approximately 1,000 film scripts, 1903 to date, digitized and thoroughly indexed.  Search for individual characters or scenes.  These screenplays are also included in LEO, but with fewer search options for identifying ones of interest.  



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This page last reviewed by Jennifer Keach on 09/06/2011
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Last updated: Wednesday, August 29, 2012

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