Resources by format
A movie review is an article that is published in a newspaper, magazine, or scholarly work that describes and evaluates a movie. Reviews are typically written by journalists giving their opinion of the movie. Some reviews include score (4 out of 5 stars) or recommendations (thumbs up). Since reviews are printed in many different kinds of publications, you may need to search several sources.
A movie criticism is written by a scholar or expert in film studies to discuss the movie within a historical, social, political, or theoretical context. It differs from the opinion or recommendation that a movie review provides in terms of length, content and focus. Criticisms can be found in cinema studies journals as well as discipline-specific sources, depending on the plot or themes of the movie.
Reviews and criticisms are produced after the release of a movie, whether that is its initial release to theatres, or a release in a home video format. Knowing the initial release date(s) will help refine your search. Also note that nationwide release of movies only started in the 1980s; earlier films were released on different dates in different parts of the country. So a movie reviewed in New York City of Los Angeles may not have been reviewed for months or years later in smaller cities. The Internet Movie Database is an excellent source for release dates. Finally, movies can be remade, so you will want to be sure you are finding reviews or criticisms for the correct film; knowing the director or major stars will help refine your search results.
Many sources will only give a citation for the review or criticism. Use that citation to track down the complete text of the article.
Movie review and critique databases
General interest databases
Reviews and criticisms can be found in general interest databases. Note the date range covered by each database and select ones that cover the time after the release of your movie. Search the title of the movie (as a phrase when possible) and include the director's last name if more than one film by that title exists.
Since most databases cover only more recent years, finding reviews for older movies may require using a print index. Check the catalog record for each index to see if it covers the dates required. Use the volume corresponding to the year of publication for your book and the year or two after.. (Several of these indexes have been moved to off-campus storage; you'll have to request for them to be brought back to Newman to use them.)
Freely available movie review websites
A large number of websites provide access to movie reviews, either the full text of the review, or at least a citation you can use to track down the full text.
- Internet Movie Database
- The premiere site for information on all aspects of movies. Look for the external reviews under the Awards & Reviews category. Reviews include articles from prominent sources like Variety as well as blogs and commercial websites, so evaluate the information presented accordingly.
- Movie Review Query Engine
- Includes a searchable database of reviews from over 75,000 movies. Includes reviews from print sources like Variety and The New York Times, popular entertainment magazines, blogs and commercial websites.
- CineFiles from Berkeley's PFA Library
- a database of reviews, press kits, festival and showcase program notes, newspaper articles, and other documents from the PFA Library's collection. The collection contains documents from a broad range of sources covering world cinema, past and present. CineFiles currently includes materials on the films of over 175 directors whose works have been featured in PFA's exhibition program. Materials on additional directors' works are added regularly. The database also contains retrospective indexing of film titles beginning with "A" and of files describing Soviet silent films from PFA's collection. Brief authority records, including title, director, country, and year, are also currently available for over 25,000 films. When retrospective indexing is complete, the CineFiles database will hold over 200,000 documents. New titles and document images are added daily. Documents are indexed and retrievable from numerous access points. Full citations are available for all documents, and page images are available for documents with copyright clearance.
- Roger Ebert's movie reviews
- Roger Ebert's reviews, as published in the Chicago Sun Times. 1967-present, plus classic "Great Movies."
- Last Updated: Nov 10, 2023 1:35 PM
- URL: https://guides.lib.vt.edu/find/byformat
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