Keep the following factors in mind when looking for film reviews:
- When looking for reviews (especially of older films) it is useful to know the premiere date. Sources that can be helpful in determining the date are IMDb (Internet Movie Database) and the All Movie Guide.
- Movie reviews generally are published when a film premieres nationally or opens locally. Additional reviews may be published once a film moves to a streaming service or is available on DVD.
- Reviews of current films are usually easier to find. For older films (prior to 1980) you may need to check a number of sources including those in print.
- Film reviews may be written by entertainment reporters and published in newspapers & magazines, or may be user-generated and uploaded to websites by film viewers. You may want to take in account who is writing the review.
Reviews of contemporary films (1980-forward)
Provides the full text of newspapers from around the country including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Chicago Tribune, 1980-present.
SEARCH TIP: Limit by "document type" to review. Enter the title of the film in quotes.
Movie Review Query Engine (MRQE)
Offers a large index of online film reviews. Abbreviated MRQE and pronounced "marquee." Searchable by movie title, actor, or director.
Provides an extensive collection of reviews of movies, DVDs, music, TV shows, and video games. Assigns each entity a “metascore” which distills multiple critical ratings into a summary number.
Compiles and summarizes movie reviews and other information on films; each film receives a narrative summary of the critics’ consensus opinion, and a “Tomatometer” score summarizing the percentage of favorable ratings from critics and audience reviewers.
Reviews of Older Films
Offers full text access to the archives of a selection of newspapers available on the ProQuest platform: the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette?, and the major African American newspapers of the 20th century, including the Chicago Defender. Coverage varies.
SEARCH TIP: Limit by "document type" to "review", or "display ad" to find movie advertising. Limit by release date. Enter the title of the film in quotes.
Readers' Guide Retrospective: 1890-1982 (EBSCO)
Provides indexing of general interest periodicals from the U.S., 1890-1982.
SEARCH TIP: Add "Motion Picture Reviews" or "Television Program Reviews" to SUBJECT. Enter the title of the film in quotes.
Cinefiles (Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive)
Contains scanned images of reviews, press kits, film festival and repertory theater program notes, newspaper articles, and other ephemera from the collections of the BAMPFA Film Library & Study Center at UC Berkeley.
Media History Digital Library
Offers full-text scans of historic magazines and books on film, broadcasting, and recorded sound. Includes extensive runs of Variety, Billboard, Moving Picture World, and Motion Picture News. Contents are out of copyright or licensed to the database for public use. Project is based at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and includes content from the collections of the Library of Congress, the Margaret Herrick Library, and MoMA.
PRINT RESOURCES FOR RESEARCHING OLDER FILMS
Film Literature Index (print)
Index to print reviews in magazines and journals. Covers 1973-2004.
Old Falvey (Request at Service Desk): PN1993 .F54
Retrospective Index to Film Periodicals, 1930-1971 (print)
Indexes articles in film periodicals published between 1930-1971.
Old Falvey (Request at Service Desk): PN1995 .B38 1975