winifred fordham pathfinder
Introduction Scope LC Subject Headings Dictionaries & Encyclopedias
Guides, Handbooks & Bibliographies Film Reviews, Critics & Annual Review Guides Journals Indexes & Databases

Dictionaries & Encyclopedias

The following sources will provide the reader with an excellent starting point for research in film study. The dictionaries and encyclopedias cited below offer terminology and general information key to the study of film and should prove instrumental in understanding the discourse used in many of the journals provided later.

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Katz, Ephraim. The Film Encyclopedia.  New York : HarperPerennial, c1998.
Davis Reference: PN1993.45 .K34 1998
     Self described as the most comprehensive encyclopedia of world cinema in a single volume. Offers entries on: history of major film industries from its inception to the present day, film-related organizations, and events, as well as inventions, techniques, processes, equipment, and technical terms.  This source also provides biographies of: directors, producers, screenwriters, cinematographers, art directors, stars, and featured players. Everything is presented in alphabetical order, with no index but liberal cross-referencing. True to claim, very wide-ranging and easy to use.

Singleton, Ralph S. Filmmaker's Dictionary.  Beverly Hills, CA : Lone Eagle Pub Co., c1986.
Davis: PN1993.45 .S56 1986
     Intended for both industry professionals and students alike. Alphabetical presentation and liberal cross referencing, a good dictionary for technical filmic discourse.

Thomson, David, A Biographical Dictionary of Film. New York : A.A. Knopf, 1995.
Davis: PN1998.2 .T49 1994
     A self proclaimed personal, opinionated and obsessive biographical dictionary of the cinema. Presented in alphabetical order, including places and dates of birth. Thomson includes bibliographical and cross references that are "appropriate, useful, and stimulating for the film student" but also for anyone, viewer and industry-wide.

The International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers / editor, Christopher Lyon ; assistant editor Susan Doll. Chicago : St.. James Press, 1984-1987.
LOCATION: Davis: PN1997.8 .I58 1984
Volume 1, Films.
     This source is oriented toward a view of "film as art" and concerns itself with providing only entries that they deem accomplish this. Although it is a bit limited in its scope, this source does provide excellent coverage of the films that it does include. It gives a rather thorough rundown of the production staff (including film locations) as well as publications written about the film and presents a critical essay with each entry. All entries are in alphabetical order, with a separate index for all four volumes.
Volume 2, Directors/Filmmakers.
     The second volume is as extensive as the first in its coverage of directors and filmmakers. Also in alphabetical order (this time by person's name), this source includes a brief historical background for each person in addition to their filmographies, publications by and of them along with a critical essay of their body of work. A solid starting block when researching a particular director or filmmaker.

Halliwell, Leslie. Halliwell's Filmgoer's and Video Viewer's Companion [serial]. New York : Harper & Row 1997, 12th ed.
Davis Reference Desk: PN1993.45 .H3
     An indispensable aid for the beginning film student, this source provides a succinct reference to almost every aspect of cinema: biographical information and filmographies of stars, directors, cinematographers, composers and production and costume designers. Brief accounts of major themes, explanation of technical and critical terms as well as a brief history of cinema and a guide to some of the best film books available. Alphabetical order with extra sections in back.

Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., 1994-1998.
Available through UNC-CH's on-line public access catalog,
     This on-line encyclopedia, is an excellent start for the beginning film student who wishes to narrow their scope of research. A keyword search for "Film" or "Motion Picture" will offer an excellent overview article about film, as well as links to numerous related articles in the encyclopedia.