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Film Studies Research Guide: Blaxpoitation Reexamined (Film 373: Terri Francis)

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


Blaxpoitation Reexamined

Film 373: Terri Francis



Selected Subject Headings in Orbis


Finding Articles and Reviews in Film Studies


NOTE: The databases give few or no citations before 1973, so you will almost certainly miss significant reviews and possibly articles if you depend only on the online tools. Be sure to look through indexes in print and other resources.


American Film Institute Catalog

Online catalog of every American film from 1893 to 1970. Searchable by keywords; film titles; cast, crew, and character names; subject; genre and more. Most records include extensive plot summaries and comprehensive filmographic information, plus citations to reviews and articles. See also Film Indexes Online.

African Americians in the Movies: A Bibliography

Cinema of the 1960s and 1970s: A Bibliography

These two bibliographies are maintained by the University of California--Berkeley's Media Rresources Center.  The first one has a section specifically on Blaxploitation films, but they both contain valuable references, most or all of which we have at Yale. The links marked "UC Users Only" will sometimes work for Yale users too; if not, try searching for them separately, through one of the databases on this page.

Film and Television Literature Index

FTLI takes over where the Film Literature Index ends (see below). See below for further information.  By going into Advanced Search, one can search search for articles on a particular director (choose PEOPLE the field) or film title (choose the REVIEWS & PRODUCTS field). 

FIAF International Index to Film-TV

Indexes 65-80 international periodicals of "aesthetic or critical value." The paper version has separate volume of subject headings for this index. The online version also includes a number of specialized bibliographies (silents, Latin American cinema), and information about film archives and collections. NOTE: the FIAF database has subject headings for "African Americans in Films" and "Blacks in the Cinema."

Film Index International

Film Index International covers all genres of film, from the first silent movies and art-house classics to recent sci-fi blockbusters. Content is very current and is updated twice yearly. FII offers Quick or Precision Search options for background on over 100,000 films from over 170 countries, including 55,000 personalities, 500,000 periodical articles on film and filmmakers, U.S. and international film award winners, and over 1 million cast and credit references. See also Film Indexes Online.

Film Indexes Online

Film Indexes Online is a portal that allows one to simultaneously search both the American Film Institute Catalog and Film Index International. For descriptions of these databases, please see their entries on this page.

Film Literature Index 1974-2001

The print edition covers film criticism from 1974 to 2004; the online database only covers 1976-2001, and it has been succeeded by FLTI (above). FLI also covers articles on television and video (section two of the print version).  In addition to the usual types of searches, one can search search for articles on a particular person or film title. NOTE: the FLI database has subject headings for "Blacks in Film" and "Blacks in Film Industry."

Film Review Index.

SML Reference Z5784 M9 +F554 (LC)

Two-volume comprehensive index of movie reviews from 1882 through 1985.

The Hollywood Reporter

SML Microform Room, Film S3204 [1934 to 1990]

SML Stacks, PN1993 H65+ (LC) [1988 to present]


International Index to the Performing Arts

IIPA draws its current content from more than 130 international periodicals and also indexes articles and obituaries appearing in The New York Times and The Washington Post. IIPA covers nearly all aspects of the world of performing arts, including film, theater, and opera. Most IIPA records in the current file (1998 forward) contain an abstract.

MLA Bibliography

The MLA Bibliography indexes critical materials on literature, languages, linguistics, and folklore. It also includes film studies. The database provides access to citations from over 4,000 journals and series published worldwide, as well as books, essay collections, working papers, proceedings, dissertations, and bibliographies.

New York Times Film Reviews

SML Reference, PN1995 +N49 

Photographic reprints of film reviews as they appeared in the the New York Times from 1913 to the present. The print edition has two parts. The first is a set of volumes covering 1913-1968, with a single name/title index. From 1969-1998, volumes are annual cumulations of articles. The New York Times and New York Times Historical databases also have film reviews, but they can be much harder to find.


See also: New York Times online through ProQuest, Lexis-Nexis, or Factiva.

Variety and Daily Variety 

SML Microform Room, Film S2206 [1905 to most recent microfilm reel; current issues in the Periodical Reading Room, Section X-9]  

Online sources:

  • Academic OneFile: Variety (Jan. 1997 to present) and Daily Variety (Nov. 2000 to present)
  • International Index to the Performing Arts Full Text: Variety (Aug. 2000 to present)
  • LexisNexis Academic Universe: Variety (Jul. 1993 to present) and Daily Variety (Apr. 1992 to present); or search both.
  • Factiva: Mar. 2004 to present (must search manually)

Note: Academic OneFile and IIPA have PDFs of the paper edition.  LexisNexis Academic and Factiva provide text only and do not include photos or charts.  Variety's own site at requires a paid subscription for its full resources.

Variety Film Reviews, 1907-1980.

LSF PN1995 +V34 1983

This 18-volume set reprints and indexes reviews from Variety. See also the Index to Motion Pictures Reviewed by Variety, 1907-1980 (above). Online full-text coverage of Variety (from 1993) and Daily Variety (from 1992) is available through the links listed under Variety, above.



African American Newspaper, Magazine, and Archival Resources


African American Newspapers, 1827-1998

African American Newspapers, 1827-1998 provides online access to approximately 270 U.S. newspapers chronicling a century and a half of the African American experience.

African-American newspapers and periodicals: a national bibliography.

SML Starr Main Reference Room, Z6944 N39 A37X 1998 (LC)+


Black newspapers index [1977-2007].

LSF, AI3 I45 (LC)


The Crisis

The online archive covers all issues from April 1911 through 2011.

Ebony Magazine

The online archive covers all issues from November 1959 through 2008.

Guide to Negro periodical literature

Index to periodical articles by and about Negroes

Index to periodical articles by and about Blacks

Index to Black periodicals

SML Starr Main Reference Room or LSF, AI3 I563

These indexes (with title changes) cover 1941 through 2004, with some skips.

International Index to Black Periodicals

IIBP draws its current content from international scholarly and popular periodicals in Black Studies and contains full-text coverage of core Black Studies periodicals.

Jet Magazine Archives

The online archive covers November 1951 through 2008.

Los Angeles Sentinel (1934-2005)


Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (New York Public Library)

The Schomburg Center's Moving Image and Recorded Sound Division documents the experiences of peoples of African descent, as they have been captured via audiovisual technology. The MIRS Division also directs and manages the Center's Oral History/Video Documentation Program, which records the life stories and viewpoints of persons representing a wide range of disciplines and experiences for the historical record.

US Newspapers on Microform in the Yale Libraries

You can enter "African American newspaper" in the Notes field if you're particularly interested in finding reviews in these papers. If you enter a year or years in the Date fields, the database will retrieve specifically the newspapers that cover those years.



Other Research Resources for African American Studies


Black Film Research Online

BFRO defines Black film culture broadly to include the works of Black filmmakers from across the African Diaspora; the production, distribution, and exhibition of films by, for and about Blacks; issues of Black spectatorship and reception; and images of Black people in film from the invention of the medium in the late 19th century to the present. The site, produced and maintained by the University of Chicago, is consistently updated to offer a comprehensive and annotated guide to the many Internet, academic, collector, and general-interest and featuring material on Black cinema.

Black Studies Center

The Black Studies Center brings together essential historical and current material for researching the past, present and future of African-Americans, the wider African Diaspora, and Africa itself. It includes the International Index to Black Periodicals (including some journals in full text), the Black Literature Index (citations for fiction, poetry and literary review, 1827-1940), and online versions of the Chicago Defender and Daily Defender newspapers

Dolomite Blaxploitation Database

A very basic database listing 176 films, searchable by title, release date, stars, director, and keyword.

Oxford African American Studies Center database

OAASC is a major source of information and scholarly essays on African American history and culture.



Librarian for Literature in English, Comparative Literature, and Linguistics