Film reviews are usually brief recommendations on the entertainment, cultural, or artistic value of a film. They typically include a plot summary and a few key points about outstanding features of the film.
For scholarly or theoretical analysis of films, directors, genres, etc., please see Books on Film Topics and Articles and Databases for Film. For more information on the differences between popular and scholarly publications, please see Research Roadmap.
ON THE WEB
Use your favorite search engine to find film reviews, or check these recommended sites:
- Film Literature Index - Extends online access back in time; covers reviews published 1976 through 2001 in popular and some scholarly sources; search by keyword, production title, or personal or corporate name. Language filter is available.
- Rotten Tomatoes - Includes the famous “tomatometer” to summarize opinions; covers films from all time periods
- MetaCritic Tries to provide a spectrum of opinion; covers mostly commercial release films from the 1990s to present; use Advanced Search
- Movie Review Query Engine Provides an extensive selection of reviews for films from all time periods, including foreign films released in the US
IN THE LIBRARY
Use the HSU Library Catalog to find collections of movie reviews by searching for
motion pictures reviews
in Subject (use the drop down menu).
Electronic Subscription Sources - These sources, under Articles & Databases on the Library homepage, are available to anyone in the library or on campus, and from off campus locations to Humboldt State University faculty, staff, and currently enrolled students only.
Here are recommended sources and tips for finding film reviews in them:
- Academic Search (1984- ) - Search for the title of the film, or keywords from it, in All Fields, and the term motion pictures reviews in Subject.
- LexisNexis Academic (1970s- dates covered vary; for many publications, coverage begins in the 1990s) - Search for the film title in quotation marks and “movie reviews.” (Include the “and”) Adjust the dates for the search if needed. Use the Sources tab at the top left of the page to select and search individual review sources such as the New Yorker or the Los Angeles Times.
NOTE: LexisNexis Academic has indexing for many newspapers and magazines. Some of these have their own print indexes. For reviews before LexisNexis Academic coverage starts, use, for example, the New York Times Index, which goes back to 1851. Look in the Reference Collection in abstr AI 21 to find the New York Times Index and other newspaper indexes such as the Christian Science Monitor Index, the Los Angeles Times Index, or the San Francisco Chronicle Index.
- OmniFile Full Text Mega (1982- ) - Search for the title of your film, or keywords from it, and the word review as keywords.
For reviews before 1982, use Humanities Index, 1974-2002 and 1907-1974 under other titles, (abstr AI 3 R492) or Reader's Guide, 1900-Sept 2002 (abstr AI 3 R48). These are some of the print precursors of Omnifile, located in the Reference Collection.
Reference sources also list film reviews; some include reprints. Here are recommended items in our Reference Collection:
- Film Review Annual, 1981-2001 (ref PN 1995 F465)
- Film Review Index (ref PN 1995 F467 v.1-2)
- Film Criticism: An Index to Critics' Anthologies (ref PN 1995 H4)
- Motion Picture Guide (ref PN 1995 N 346 1985 v.1-12)
- Motion Picture Guide Annual, 1986-1998 (ref PN 1995 N 3461)
- Variety Film Reviews, 1907-1990 (ref PN 1995 V34 1983 v.1-21)