Course resource help for Film

Search the Library

Quick access


Need help? Contact your librarian

Please get in touch if you have any queries about:

  • finding information and resources for assignments
  • finding online resources
  • referencing your sources

Saffron Shore



Citing your sources (also called referencing) is an essential part of your academic work and is explained fully on our library referencing webpage.

The Library also has a printed guide to citing your references using the Harvard (Author-Date) system (Word and PDF versions available).

Cite Them Right Online shows you how to reference a wide range of sources (books, journal articles, web sites) using exactly the same Harvard style used at Brookes.

Endnote is a tool for storing and organising your references, and it will also work with Word or Pages to create a fully formatted bibliography from your reference library. 

Film reviews: a guide to where to find them

The aim of this guide is to help you locate printed and electronic sources which contain film reviews or critical analyses of films. You are welcome to contact your Academic Liaison Librarian if you want more help.

Tracing film reviews in newspapers

Many UK newspapers carry film reviews.

Full-text newspaper articles, including film reviews, can be accessed through these two databases:

  1. LexisLibrary To search the database for film reviews, click on News in the red menu bar on the initial screen. At the news search screen you can use the Select Sources drop-down menu to search all UK newspapers or just broadsheets, for example. You can search for a specific film and/or director and add the word 'review'. Note that sometimes the database does not specifically use the term review, so this search will not necessarily pick up everything. If you know the year of a film's release, this should help to focus your results. When you have run your search, a useful tip is to select Expanded List from the View options which enables you to see where your search terms appear in context.
  2. Factiva is an international news database providing an archive of 10,000 sources from 152 countries in 22 languages. To search the database for film reviews:
  • Type the film title and/or director in the 'Free Text' search box.
  • Click on 'Subject', then type reviews in the 'Find a Subject' box. In the list of sub-headings, click on the headings 'Movies' and 'Reviews' to select them. Make sure that these headings are linked by 'and', rather than 'or'.
  • You can narrow down your search in various ways. If you know the year of a film's release, use the 'Date' option to focus your search.

Using databases to find film reviews in journals

You may also want to find film reviews which have been published in journals. The Library subscribes to various printed and online journals that will carry reviews and features on films.

Printed journals available at Headington Library include:

  • Sight and Sound is a key journal for film articles and reviews, published monthly by the BFI. The printed journal is available in the Headington Library shelved at J 791.43/S ( Vol.36-,1967-. Also Vol.1-49, 1932-1980 available on microfilm). You can use various databases to trace reviews and articles that have been published in Sight and Sound - see below for details of how to do this.
  • Times Literary Supplement is published weekly and includes some film reviews and features. Issues for the last ten years are available in the Headington Library shelved at J 028/T

The best way to trace film reviews or articles which have been published in print or electronic journals, is to use a database . Below are some tips on searching for film reviews in some key databases. For further sources, look at the complete list of Databases for Film above :

Performing Arts Periodicals Database includes references and full-text articles from many key film journals. Full-text articles are available from sources such as Film Comment; Film Criticism and Sight and Sound (selective coverage). To search the database for film reviews:
  • Type in the title of the film and/or the director in the search box(es).
  • Scroll down the screen to select 'Film Review' from the list next to 'Document Type'.
Academic Search Complete and Art Full Text both cover several full-text film journals, including Films in Review and Film Comment. To find film reviews:
  • Type in the title of the film and/or the director in the search box(es)
  • In the bottom half of the screen you have options to 'limit your results'. Scroll down to the box labelled 'Document type' and browse through the list of options available. Select 'Entertainment review'
Communication & Mass Media Complete is on the same site as Academic Search Complete and Art Full Text. It also provides full-text articles from a number of key film journals such as the Quarterly Review of Film & Video. There is no limit option allowing you to restrict your search to just film reviews on this database, but you can use 'review' as a keyword in addition to the film title.

Internet Sites

The following sites include film reviews:

  • The BBC Film site has features and reviews on a wide range of topics. It includes links to:
  • The Film Programme (BBC Radio 4) which provides features and interviews.
  • The Arts programme Front Row (BBC Radio 4) which also offers film reviews.
  • Empire Online web site for the British monthly film magazine including an archive of their reviews.
  • Films in Review has been published for some sixty years. Formerly a print journal it is now only available online. The web site includes a review section and the FIR Archive which provides articles from past issues, including contributions by famous filmmakers. Note that this journal is also available via the database Academic Search Complete
  • Guardian Film is part of The Guardian newspaper's web site and film-related articles, interviews and reviews.
  • Images - a Journal of Film and Popular Culture is an online journal providing film reviews and articles.
  • Kamera is a UK-based website providing features and reviews on arthouse, independent and world cinema.
  • Movie Gazette is a UK-based site which contains reviews of recent screen and DVD releases. Although the majority of films covered are from Hollywood, the site also provides coverage of British, European and Asian film releases.
  • Scope is a free online journal of film studies from the staff and students of the University of Nottingham. It features articles, book and film reviews plus conference reports.
  • Screenonline produced by the bfi is dedicated to the history of film and television in Britain. It provides access to a range of resources including still images, analyses, biographies, posters, press books, student guides and pointers to resources for further study. Staff and students of Oxford Brookes can also access video clips and recorded interviews from the collections of the bfi National Film and Television Archive. Note that these clips can only be accessed from Brookes PCs - there is no off-campus access to these features.
  • The Sight and Sound web site has a searchable database of all the published reviews, synopses and credits published in the journal since December 1999. Select 'Archive' from the links on the left of the page. Note that only a selection of their features and reviews are published online.
  • Variety - the web version of the American film industry journal offers news bulletins and reviews, although older articles are only available to subscribers.


The Library has various books like the series BFI Film Classics and BFI Modern Classics which provide critical surveys of specific film titles. To find a book on a specific film search by keyword or title on LibrarySearch.  

BFI Film Classics are also available through Film Scripts Online. Once logged in to the database you can search or browse Critical Assessments.

Finding journal articles for Film

1. I need to find journal articles on my topic. Where do I start?

Databases can help you to trace journal articles in your subject area. They may also cover other publications as well such as books, book chapters, reports, theses, newspapers, web sites. So, if you know your topic and need to find out what's been written on it, try searching one of the Databases for Film (see above).

This guide will give you tips on how to search these databases effectively.

NB If you want to find a specific journal article and have all the details (journal title, volume number, pages numbers etc.), see below for section 7 How do I get the full-text articles?

2. Why can't I just use Google?

Anybody can create their own web page and make it available on the web .There is a vast amount of information there - billions of documents - but the tricky thing can be retrieving good quality web sites, rather than those that contain trivia and misinformation. Google will help you search the Internet, but you are likely to find thousands of results and they may not be substantial enough to use for your academic research. When using the Internet for your studies, you need to be selective in the sites you choose and evaluate them just as you would printed sources.

A search on Google may also give you details of journal articles which you can't access in full-text. In this case, use the Journal titles tab on LibrarySearch to see if we have the journal you need.

3. Why should I use journal articles?

Journals are a good place to find information which is:

  • up to date
  • scholarly/academic
  • written by specialists in the subject
  • provides an insight into current thinking, debate and research in the area
  • covers a topic in depth, e.g. a case study
  • may not be covered in books or other publications

4. How do I know which database to use?

See the Databases accordion above for a list of relevant databases which the Library subscribes to.

5. How do access these databases? Can I search them from home?

The Databases for Film are web databases available to Brookes staff and students from on and off campus. Click on the underlined link of the title to connect to the database. Log in when prompted with your Brookes username and password.

6. How do I search these databases?

One database may look different from another, but there are usually some common features which can help you in your search. There is often the choice of a simple search or advanced search (which will give you more search options). Most databases have their own help pages.

Planning your search beforehand will make it easier to construct your search. Think about your topic. You will not be able to search electronic resources using full sentences, so you’ll need to break your topic down into specific keywords or phrases. Start by brainstorming your topic and breaking it down into search terms:

  • make a list of relevant keywords
  • think of broader/narrower/related terms for these
  • try synonyms/alternative terms - a thesaurus might help with this. (Some databases have their own thesaurus).

N.B. These are the most common rules for building up a database search, but use on-screen help facilities to check if they apply to your chosen database.

Combining terms

  • Use and to combine terms and narrow your search, e.g. children and television, - this will find all references containing both terms.
  • Use or to search for alternative terms and broaden your search, e.g. car or automobile, - this will find references containing either or both terms.
  • Use not to exclude a term, e.g. computers not software, will find all references containing the term “computers” but which do not contain the term “software”.

Phrase searching

If you are searching for a particular phrase, put the phrase in inverted commas, e.g.“market research” will find all references where market research is written as a phrase.

Advanced searching

  • Use the truncation symbol * added to the root of a word to search for alternative endings, e.g. manage* will not only find manage, but also manager, management, managerial etc.
  • Use the ? symbol to replace a character in a word e.g. sociali?ationn will find references that contain both socialization and socialisation.
  • Use of brackets to combine different connectors, e.g. children and (television or videos) will find references that contain the terms children and television; children and videos; children and television and videos.

7. How do I get the full-text articles?

Full-text articles are available from many databases. Other databases provide abstracts (summaries), a link will appear below a reference if we have access through other electronic resources. .

Alternatively you can check LibrarySearch to see whether we have the item you want, use the Journal titles tab to look for journals.

If the journal is not in stock, you can request a copy of the article through the Interlibrary Loans service. Articles usually arrive within 3 working days.

8. Where can I get further help?

You are welcome to contact the Academic Liaison Librarian for Film 

Literature searching for your Film dissertation

Finding information for a major project such as a dissertation is known as Literature searching.

1. I need to start researching for my dissertation. Where do I begin?

Spend some time planning your research first:

  • Start by thinking about your topic and considering what you want to cover and what you want to exclude.
  • You will not be able to simply type your dissertation title into a database, so you'll need break your topic down into particular aspects or concepts.
  • Think of alternative terms for these concepts.
  • Make a list of all the search terms that best describe your topic. This list can be your starting point for database, Internet and other kinds of searching.
  • More help is available on our page about how to search catalogues and databases.

2. How do I find sources on my topic?

The next stage is to think about what would be the most appropriate resources to use to help you answer your research question. These could include books, journals, newspapers, theses, DVDs, official publications, Internet resources. Consider whether you need specific kinds of information e.g. statistics, very up-to-date research, historical documents etc. The following guides may help you:

3. How do I cite my sources and do a bibliography?

It is vital to cite your sources - so that you acknowledge writers whose works you've used and so that your readers can follow up these sources. Failure to do so could be regarded as plagiarism. Our page on referencing and plagiarism has tips on how to avoid this and also provides a link to PLATO - an online tutorial on understanding and avoiding plagiarism.

For guidance on how to reference your sources in the Harvard style, check our Library guide Citing your references using the Harvard (author-date) system (Word document) or use Cite Them Right Online.

You may also want to use EndNote. This service allows you to collect, store and manage your own collection of references and create bibliographies in your written work.

4. What do I do if the Library doesn't have all the sources I need?

When doing research for an in-depth project such as your dissertation you are likely to come across references to publications which are not held at Oxford Brookes University Library. These items can often be obtained for you via the Interlibrary Loans service or you may be able to use other libraries including the Bodleian.

Accessing the Bodleian

As a dissertation-level student, you will be able to access the Bodleian Library of Oxford University for reference. You can obtain an application form for the Bodleian Library from the Headington Library Help Zone. Take this form to your supervisor first and then bring it to the Library for your Academic Liaison Librarian.

Library Catalogues

SOLO: the Oxford Libraries' Catalogue includes the stock of the Bodleian Library.

Library Hub Discover: contains catalogue records contributed by 110 major UK and Irish institutions, including the UK's National Libraries, many university libraries and specialist research libraries.

5. Where can I get more help?

You are welcome to make an appointment with the Academic Liaison Librarian for Film to discuss your dissertation research in more detail.