Skip to main content

Film Studies Research Guide: International Cinema

A guide to conducting research in Film Studies at Yale University, including key resources and crucial search strategies.

Cinema Around the World

What's Here

Research on movies from or in particular countries and regions is a little tricky. This page explains the search strategies and gives examples of resources.

Finding Books in Orbis

The Key Thing to Know: The trick to finding books on film internationally is that there is a difference between films from a country, and films shown in that country.  To cover your bases, you should always search both.

Here are some selected subject headings for searching Orbis:

  • Motion pictures--[name of country or region]
    • EXAMPLE: Motion pictures--France: Works on motion pictures shown in France or produced by French film companies
  • Motion pictures, [adjective for country or region]
    • EXAMPLE: Motion pictures, French: Works on motion pictures produced by French film companies and shown outside of France. The subheading Motion pictures, French--Germany would lead to books on how French films were received in Germany.
  • Feature films--[name of country or region]
  • Foreign films (on films produced by foreign film companies generally)

Note: The geographical term may be a country or region. For instance, there's a subject heading Motion pictures--Africa.


Note: Movies from England are under the heading Motion pictures--Great Britain.


See also:


Statistical Information on Foreign Films


See also Annuals & Directories

From the Crawford Collection, Yale University Library Manuscripts and Archives.


The Cinemagoing and related documents provide information and analysis about the cinema industry worldwide of the sort intended for the motion picture industry -- the studios, exhibitors, major banks and financial institutions, suppliers to the industry and so forth. Most of the reports cover specific regions; a few cover global or technological developments. Most of the reports are from 2002-2004.

Focus: world film market trends.

An online annual in PDF format published by the European Audiovisual Observatory.

Global film: exhibition and distribution. Adam Thomas, Simon Dyson and Chris Groner. 5th ed. London: Informa Media Group, 2003.

SML Reference, PN1993.5.A1 G585 2003+

International motion picture almanac. New York: Quigley Publications.

SML Reference, PN1993.3 I58 (most recent vol; older vols. in stacks)


Lumiere provides data on admissions to films released in European cinemas since 1996. It is searchable by film title, director, production year (from 1913 to one year ago), exhibition year (from 1996 to one year ago), and production or co-production country

Statistical yearbook : cinema, television, video, and new media in Europe. European Audiovisual Observatory.

SML Reference, HE8700.9.E8 S72 (most recent vol; older vols. in  stacks)

World Wide Box Office

Data in US dollars on gross box office receipts. Can limit by date of release, so you can search for the total movie theater receipts to date for a movie released in (say) 1952.

Worldwide film facts. London: Baskerville Communications Corporation, 2000.

SML Reference, PN1994 .W67 2000+

Selected Reference and Web Resources

There are far more reference sources than the list below can provide; please contact me if you need assistance.




Bloomsbury foreign film guide. New ed. Ronald Bergan. London: Bloomsbury, 1992.

SML Reference, PN1993.45 B38 1992 (LC)

FOCAL International

The Federation of Commercial Audiovisual Libraries International represents commercial film/audiovisual, stills and sound libraries as well as interested individuals such as facility houses, professional film researchers and producers working in the industry.

A Guide to World Cinema: Covering 7,200 Films of 1950-84 Including Capsule Reviews and Stills From the Programmes of the National Film Theatre, London. Ed. Elkan Allan.(London: Whittet Books in Association with the British Film Institute, 1985)

SML Reference PN1995 +G84 1985 (LC)

The Holt Foreign Film Guide. Ronald Bergan. New York: H. Holt, 1989.

SML Reference PN1993.45 B46 1989 (LC)

Origin Index (University of North Carolina)

The search form includes a dropdown list of the national origin of films in the UNC Media Resources Center Collection. Quite extensive.

Wiley-Blackwell companions to national cinemas

An entire series on film around the world, including China, Eastern Europe, and Spain.  Some volumes are available as ebooks.

The Women's companion to international film. Edited by Annette Kuhn with Susannah Radstone. London: Virago, 1990.

SML Stacks, PN1993.5 A1 W65 1990 (LC)


British Isles, Canada, Australia and New Zealand


The British Film Catalogue. 3rd ed. Denis Gifford. London; Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2001.

Bass PN1998 G54 2001 (LC)

British film directors: a critical guide. Robert Shail. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, c2007.

SML Reference, PN1998.2 S475 2007 (LC)

The companion to British and Irish cinema. John Caughie, with Kevin Rockett. London: Cassell: British Film Institute, 1996.

SML Stacks, PN1993.5 G7 C37X 1996 (LC)

Directors in British and Irish film: a reference companion. Ed. Robert Murphy. London: BFI, 2006.

SML Stacks, PN1998.A2 D575 2006 (LC)

Encyclopedia of British film. Ed. Brian McFarlane. London: Methuen, 2005.

SML Reference, PN1993.5.G7 M43 2005 (LC)

Guide to British cinema. Geoff Mayer. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2003.

SML Reference, PN1993.5.G7 M327 2003 (LC)

The Oxford companion to Australian film. Edited by Brian McFarlane, Geoff Mayer, Ina Bertrand. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

SML Reference, PN1993.5 A8 O93 1999 (LC)

The researcher’s guide : film, television, radio and related documentation collections in the UK. 7th ed. Ed.Sergio Angelini. London: British Universities Film & Video Council, 2006.

SML Reference, PN1993.4 .R47 2006 (LC)


Western Europe

The BFI companion to German cinema.
Edited by Thomas Elsaesser, with Michael Wedel. London: BFI Pub., 1999.

SML Stacks, PN1993.5 G3 B44X 1999 (LC)

Bibliothèque du Film (BiFi) [defunct as of 31 Dec. 2013 but URL leads to links to other French sources of interest]

The primary European center for documentary resources on cinema.


Information of the history of German-language films. In German.

The companion to French cinema. Ginette Vincendeau. London: Cassell: British Film Institute, 1996.

Bass Stacks, PN1993.5 F7 V56X 1996 (LC)

The companion to Italian cinema. Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, with James Hay and Gianni Volpi. London: Cassell: British Film Institute, 1996.

SML Stacks, PN1993.5 I88 N685X 1996 (LC)

DEFA Films Available in the United States

The DEFA Film Library at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst keeps a file of films produced in the German Democratic Republic's studios that are available from North American film and video distributors.

Dictionnaire du cinéma français. (Paris: Larousse, 1987)

SML Stacks, PN1993.45 D533 1987 (LC)

Directory of Eastern European Film-Makers and Films 1945-91. Comp. Grzegorz Balski. Trowbridge: Flicks Books; Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1992.

SML Reference, PN1998.2 +D55X 1992 (LC)

Directory of Spanish and Portuguese film-makers and films. Rafael de España. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1994.

SML Reference, PN1993.5 S7 E83X 1994 (LC)

Encyclopedia of European cinema. Edited by Ginette Vincendeau. London: Cassell, British Film Institute, 1995.

SML Reference, PN1993.5 E8 +V56X 1995 (LC)


A database of digital resources of Europe's museums, libraries, archives and audio-visual collections. It include many resources on film, including film clips. It's only searchable by keyword -- there's no browsing option, so just enter your search term (e.g., "Fellini"). There also aren't any subject headings, so searches for "film," "cinema" and "movies" all bring up resources.

EU Audiovisual Policy


European Audiovisual Observatory

Made up of 35 member states and the European Community, is an organization which promotes transparency in the European audiovisual sector and provides information services for audiovisual experts. See also Lumiere, explained above

Le Film Français

Festivals, interviews, news, film synopses, and other resources on French films.

Information about roughly 38,000 German films since 1895, including synopses, reviews, photos or posters. The site also lists 105,000 names relevant for German film, and 550 biographies. In German and English.

Forum des images

A French film site for film screenings in Paris. Covers world cinema, not just French.


Movie resource center for France. Website in French only. Provides cinema and movie showings information by province, reviews, festival information, interviews, and many other resources.

German Films

Website for the German information and advisory center for the promotion of German films worldwide. Includes links to journals and statistics.

German Studies Web: Theater, Film & Performing Arts

Maintained by the Association of College and Research Libraries.

Germany Online - Film

Maintained by the Goethe Institute.

Guía del cine español. Carlos Aguilar. Madrid : Cátedra, 2007.

SML Reference, PN1993.5 S7 A585 2007 (LC)

Historical dictionary of French cinema. Dayna Oscherwitz, MaryEllen Higgins.Lanham, Md. : Scarecrow Press, 2007.

SML Reference, PPN1993.5.F7 O83X 2007

Historical dictionary of Italian cinema. Gino Moliterno.Lanham, Md. : Scarecrow Press, 2008.

SML Reference, PPN1993.5.I88 M56X 2008

L'Institut Jean Vigo

A center for research in the history of cinema and animation.

Italian Cinema OnLine

Website in Italian and some English. Provides information on Italian movie distributors and studios, film festivals, and film archives.

Italian Studies Web: Cinema

Maintained by the Association of College and Research Libraries.

MEDIA Salles

Initiative of the EU Media Programme with the support of the Italian Government promoting European cinema and its circulation at the theatrical level. Includes a European Cinema On-line Database, Yearbook, Journal, Cinema Research Library, and more.

A new guide to Italian cinema. Carlo Celli and Marga Cottino-Jones. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

Bass Stacks, PN1993.5.I88 C45X 2007 and Online


Promotes French films throughout the world.


Russia and Eastern Europe

The BFI companion to Eastern European and Russian cinema. Edited by Richard Taylor... [et al.]. London: British Film Institute, 2000.

SML Stacks, PN1993.5 E82 B45 2000 (LC)

Czech Film Web Ring


Handbook of Soviet and East European Films and Filmmakers. Ed. Thomas J. Slater. New York: Greenwood, 1992.

SML Stacks, PN1993.5 R9 H28X 1992 (LC)

Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet cinema. Ed. Peter Rollberg. Lanham, Md. : Scarecrow Press, 2009.

SML Reference, PPN1998.2 .R578X 2009 (LC)

Mosfilm Cinema

Numerous Russian films available (legally!) for viewing online, from Battleship Potemkin to Solyaris and beyond.  English subtitles are available for at least some of the films.

Russian Movie Database

Searchable database of information about Russian movies.

Russian State Documentary Film & Photo Archive at Krasnogorsk

Extensive archive collection documenting the history of Russian filmmaking. Also includes a near complete collection of newsreels from 1919 - 1985.


East Asia

Chinese Movie Database

The Chinese Movie Database is a WWW database for Chinese movies. It covers Chinese movies made in mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and other countries/regions, from the first Chinese movie made in 1905 to the ones currently shown in theatres.

A critical handbook of Japanese film directors : from the silent era to the present day. Alexander Jacoby. Berkeley, Calif. : Stone Bridge Press, c2008.

SML Reference, PN1998.2 .J29X 2008 (LC)

Encyclopedia of Chinese film. Yingjin Zhang and Zhiwei Xiao. London; New York: Routledge, 1998.

Bass and SML Stacks, PN1993.5 C4 Z53X 1998 (LC), and Online

Hong Kong Movie Database

Searchable database of information about movies produced in Hong Kong.‚Äč

Japanese cinema: the essential handbook: featuring Japanese cult cinema since 1955. Thomas Weisser and Yuko Mihara Weisser. Edition: 4th rev. & updated ed. Miami: Vital Books, 1998.

SML Reference, PN1993.5 J3 W46 1998 (LC)

Japanese Reference Materials for Studying Japanese Cinema at Yale University


Kinema Club

Kinema Club is an informal group of scholars studying Japanese cinema and other moving image media.

Midnight Eye

"The Latest and Best in Japanese Cinema." Film reviews, interviews, articles, book reviews, links and other resources.

Research guide to Japanese film studies. Abe´ Mark Nornes and Aaron Gerow. Ann Arbor: Center for Japanese Studies, The University of Michigan, 2009

Bass and SML Reference, PN1993.5.J3 N67X 2009

South Asia

Bollywood Movie Database

Collection of over 5000 Bollywood movies with complete filmographies, actor and actress profiles, studio addresses, Bollywood casting center and songs.

Encyclopaedia of Indian cinema. New rev. ed. Ashish Rajadhyaksha and Paul Willemen. London: British Film Institute; New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1999.

SML Reference, PN1993.5 I8 +R277X 1999 (LC)

Encyclopedia of Hindi cinema. Edited by Gulzar, Govind Nihalani, and Saibal Chatterjee. New Delhi; Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica 2003.

SML Reference, PN1993.5.I4 E53X 2003 (LC)


Africa and the Middle East


Dictionary of African filmmakers. Roy Armes. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008.

SML Reference, PN1998.2 .A758X 2008

Dictionary of North African film makers. Roy Armes. Bilingual ed. English/French. Paris: Editions ATM, 1996.

LSF, PN1993.5 A35 A76 1996 (LC)

Dictionnaire du cinéma africain. Paris: Karthala: Ministère de la coopération et du développement, 1991-

SML Reference, PN1993.5 A35 D53X 1991 (LC)

Companion encyclopedia of Middle Eastern and North African film. Edited by Oliver Leaman. London; New York: Routledge, 2001.

SML Reference, PN1993.5 A65 C66X 2001 (LC)

Historical dictionary of Middle Eastern cinema. Edited by Terri Ginsberg and Chris Lippard. Lanham, Md. : Scarecrow Press, 2010.

SML Reference, PN1993.5.M53 G56X 2010


Latin America

El Amante

An Argentinian magazine of film criticism with reviews, essays and interviews.

Cinema Brazil

Part of the cultural project Cinema Brazil na Internet, authorized by Brazilian Ministry for Culture. Includes a database of Brazilian films, and links to related sites. Accessible in Portuguese, English and French.

A Guide to Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino made film and video. Edited by Karen Ranucci and Julie Feldman. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 1998.

SML Reference, PN1995.9 L37 +G85X 1998 (LC)

A Guide to Latin American and Spanish Film

Research guide created and maintained by Yale University Library's Librarian for Latin American Studies. Includes tabs on finding books at Yale, finding articles, finding films, finding reviews, addditional online resources, and writing & citation management.

Mexican Film Resource Page

Page of information and links to information on Mexican cinema and related areas. Includes links to general and organizational sites, online periodicals, production and distribution companies, tv networks, research sites, and people, films and genres.

Quièes Quièen el Teatro y el Cine Españe Hispanoamericano. Centro de Investigaciones Literarias Españe Hispanoamericanas, S. A. Barcelona: C.I.L.E.H., 1990 2v.

SML Reference, PN2787 +Q5 1990 (LC)

Foreign Film Distributors

Foreign films on the web. Site contains classic titles and new releases. Reviews and plot summaries are reviewed by a user community. Also has an active message board.

Kino Lorber: The Best in World Cinema

A distribution company specializing in classics and foreign language art films.

Movies Unlimited


Director, Film Study Center