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Film Studies

Directions on how to find film reviews, including contemporary reviews of historical films.

Getting Started

Whether you're curious to explore others' perspectives on your favorite movies, or you've been assigned to find contemporary reviews on historical films for a class assignment, there are a variety of online and print resources that can help. 

The first question to ask is, "When was this film released?"  New films or those that have been released in the last decade or two will likely be easy to find via critics' webpages and film review metasites (see the below for suggestions). 

Contemporary reviews -- those which were written when the movie was first released -- of historical films can be trickier to find, for several reasons. 

  • First, the advent of blogging and digital publishing led to a dramatic increase in the number of reviews written.  This trend began in the late 1990s, and continues to this day -- there are simply many more reviews published today than there were in decades past. 
  • Second, historical reviews which originated in print do not always make the jump to digital publication.  There are a few exceptions to this, but you will likely need to track down physical (or microfilm) copies of publications to perform a thorough study of historical film reviews. 

Regardless of the age of your film, two resources that are likely to produce contemporary reviews are:

See the boxes below for resources that will help you dive deeper into finding reviews.

Reviewers and Review Metasites

Historic Reviews in Databases

Historic Reviews in Print