Skip to main content

Film Studies Research Guide: Dictionaries & Encyclopedias

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

Film Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

What's Here

One generally thinks of dictionaries as books defining language, and encyclopedias as books providing explanations, histories and biographies. But when a subject is more specialized, for all practical purposes they become indistinguishable. A book described as a dictionary may have more extensive biographies and plot summaries than a book described as an encyclopedia. They all provide quick sources of information and explanations.


Examples of Subject Headings for Searching Orbis


Selected Film Dictionaries and Encyclopedias


Cinema studies: the key concepts

Critical dictionary of film and television theory

Dictionary of film terms: the aesthetic companion to film art

Encyclopedia of British film. 

Encyclopedia of early cinema. 

Encyclopedia of ethnic groups in Hollywood. 

Encyclopaedia of Indian cinema.

The film encyclopedia

The film studies dictionary

Filmmaker's dictionary.

Historical dictionary of French cinema. 

Hutchinson pocket dictionary of cinema

The International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers

New York Times Encyclopedia of Film

Schirmer encyclopedia of film. 

Director, Film Study Center