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History of Film: Books

This guide provides references to selected print and online materials about the history of film.

Using the Library Catalog

Library catalogs use specific subject headings to group related books together.  Film and adaptation are too large topics and can be defined in multiple ways. 

Think of ways to narrow it down either by title, director, genre, etc.  Ask for assistance from your teacher or the librarian. 

Here are some examples to consider:

  • Melodrama in Motion Pictures (Provides a discussion of a particular genre as film treatment)
  • Hitchcock, Alfred, 1899- (When searching for a person as author, remember to note the last name, first name)
  • Film Genres--United States (Provides information on a national or cultural treatment of film)
  • Horror Films--History and Criticism (Provides analysis of a genre)
  • Western Films--United States--Encyclopedias (Provides general information on a genre with a geographic focus)


How to Search

To locate books which review or critique movies, perform an Any Word Anywhere Keyword search in Our Library Catalog using any of these phrases:

  • Motion Pictures Reviews
  • Motion Picture Criticism
  • Motion Picture History
  • Motion Picture Themes
  • Motion Picture Plots

To find materials about a specific movie, perform an Any Word Anywhere Keyword search by title; however, in most cases there will not be an entry for the title of a specific movie.

Books in Stacks (Circulating Collection)

There are many sources in the circulating stacks applicable to specific genres.  A large portion of the materials will be located in the call number range of PN 1993-1998, located on the first floor of the Library. 

Some noted works include:

The American Film Industy: A Historical Dictionary. PN 1993.5 S539 1986

Black Images in American films, 1896-1954 : The Interplay Between Civil Rights and Film Culture. PN1995.9.N4 N4

Cinema: A Critical Dictionary. PN 1993.45C51986

International Film Guide/Variety International Film Guide(1965-1981) PN1993.3 .I544

Interpreting Films : Studies in the Historical Reception of American Cinema. PN1995 .S67351992

Film and television after 9/11. PN1993.5.U6 F477 2004

Film Genre 2000: New Critical Essays. RESERVE DESK PN 1995 .F45787 2000

Film Genre: Theory and CriticismRESERVE DESK PN 1995 F458

Film Genre Reader. RESERVE DESK PN1995 .F4579198

Halliwell's Film Guide.  PN 1993.45.H27 

Horror in the Cinema.  RESERVE DESK PN 1995.9.H6 B811979

Kemp’s International Film & Television Year book. PN1998.A1 K39

Magill’s Survey of Cinema--English Language Films, First SeriesPN1993.45 .M3

Movie Monsters. RESERVE DESK PN 1995.9 H6G5

Refiguring American Film Genres: History and TheoryPN1993.5.U6 R443 1998

Showdown, Confronting Modern America in the Western Film. RESERVE DESK PN 1995.9.W4 L381980

They Went ThatAway: Redefining Film Genres: A National Society of Film Critics Video Guide.  RESERVE DESK PN 1995.T425 1994

War Film. RESERVE DESK PN 1995.9.W3B8