Film Review Resources

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Getting Started
Locating film reviews starts by noting information about the film being reviewed.
1) First what year was the film released? The date may be located using an online resource such as The Internet Movie Database. The date will help you decide whether to use an online database or a paper index to find your review.
2) What type of movie is it? Is it historical or biographical? Is it a foreign film? Depending on the type of film it is, you may want to use one of the library's subject-specific online database (See **Note below).
3) Do you need information about the director? If so, you may want to check an online biographical resources such as Open Directory Project's Directors List or an online database such as Biography and Genealogy Master Index.
Finding Movie Reviews Using Online Databases
Reviews can be found online or in a journal or magazine at the library, depending on the movie's date of release. Reviews of older movies (30+ years) will probably not be found in online databases. Here are some online databases to check for movie reviews:

Online Databases
Select Academic Universe (some back to 1977)
Once in Academic Universe, select "News" from left menu and follow these steps:
Step 1: select "Arts & Sports"
Step 2: select "Book, Movie, Music & Play Reviews"
Step 3: type in name of movie
Step 4: select "Date" and click "Search"
Select Academic Search Full-text Premier (1988-present)
Best Strategy - type in the term "motion picture review"
or "movie review" and then some key words from
your movie title.
Select MAS Online Plus (1983-present)
Best Strategy - type in the term "motion picture review"
or "movie review" and then some key words from your movie title.
Select MasterFILE Premier (1985-present)
Best Strategy - type in the term "motion picture review"
or "movie review" and then some key words from your movie title.
**Note: Many subject-specific online databases such as PsychInfo, ERIC or America: History and Life also list movie reviews. Use the keywords "motion picture review" or "movie review" with the title of your film when searching. Visit our Research Guides by Subject.

Finding Movie Reviews Using Print Indexes
Some print indexes will not give you the actual movie review but will tell you what journal or magazine to look in for a review. The resources listed below indicate whether or not they contain the actual text of reviews. If text is not included, the index will merely point you to the journal or magazine title in which the review can be found. Follow the directions below to retrieve the review.
1.) Locate one of the print indexes listed below in the Reference Services room.
2.) Find the index volume for the year your movie was released (look at volumes a year or two later as well since the review may have come out a year after the movie was released.)
3.) Search the index by film title. A list of citations will appear telling you in which journals, magazines or newspaper your review is located.
4.) Copy down the name of the journal, magazine or newspaper (it will probably be abbreviated), volume, issue, date and page.
5.) Check the front of the index volume to see what the abbreviation stands for. Copy down the whole name.
6.) Check the library catalog (, the library's catalog, to find out whether or not we subscribe to the periodical you have found.

Printed Indexes
The New York Times Film Reviews
InfoServ PN 1995 N4
Multiple volumes, covering films produced from 1913-1992
Volume 6 serves as an index to Volumes 1-5.
Entries are actual reproductions of film reviews as they appeared in the New York Times.
The New York Times Directory of the Film
InfoServ PN 1995 N39 1971
Covers 1913-1968.
Companion to the multi-volume New York Times Film Reviews.
Variety Film Reviews
InfoServ PN 1995 V34 1983
Covers films made from 1907-1980.
Provides reproductions of reviews that appeared in Variety.
Film Review Index
InfoServ PN 1995 .F45x 1986
Volume 1 - Covers 1882-1949
Volume 2 - Covers 1950-1985
International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers
InfoServ PN1997.8 .I58 1990
Volume One, entitled FILMS, has the reviews.
Foreign films are included.
Magill's Survey of Cinema
   1st Series (English-language films 1927 to 1981)
   InfoServ (Ref) PN 1995 .M34x
   2nd Series (English-language films 1927 to 1981)
   InfoServ (Ref) PN 1995 .M34x
   Foreign Language Films (before 1985)
   InfoServ (Ref) PN 1993.45 .M34 1985

Finding Film Reviews Using Internet Resources
Internet Movie Database -
Gives plot summaries, not reviews. Excellent way to look up information about actors, characters, crewmembers, etc. This includes filmographies and biographical information.

Movie Review Query Engine -
20,000 titles available for searching and over 160,000 reviews.

Mr. Showbiz -
Gives reviews of more recent movies (even the "archive" contains fairly recent films).

Roger Ebert's Movie Reviews -
Review of current and older movies dating back to 1985.  Includes interviews, essays and other information about the movies and the movie industry.

Rotten Tomatoes -
Advanced searching in this database finds movies in a particular genre; or search for words in a title, movies from a particular decade, movies with a particular rating, or search for plot summaries and cast members.