Lights, camera, action.. information sources for film

By Apr.09, 2020

Finding films to watch

Those of you with subscriptions to Netflix, Disney, Sky etc. will have access to a huge number of mainstream films.  However, the Library also provides some excellent sources for films old and new, both mainstream and more alternative.

Box of Broadcasts – This is a treasure trove for film buffs.  It’s a vast collection of programmes broadcast on TV and radio over the past 20 years or more.  Many thousands of films have been aired on TV, and the recordings are available in this database.  This blog describes how to use Box of Broadcasts to find a particular film.

Kanopy – This provides a wonderfully diverse range of films aimed at film scholars and enthusiasts as well as casual viewers.  There is plenty to inspire and interest you in a catalogue of movies that covers independent cinema, world cinema, classic cinema, and much, much more.

MUBI is a streaming service for anyone with a serious interest in film.  It provides an interesting, challenging, eclectic selection of films.  You can sign up for free as a Film School student!

BFI Player – The British Film Institute provides access to a fabulous archive of film and documentaries charting all aspects of daily life in Britain over the past 125 years. There are films about events, places and specific communities making this a great source for examples of interesting, and sometimes even inspirational, work.

Unfortunately the Library isn’t able to provide students with a University subscription to the full BFI service at present, but there is plenty of free content to explore, making it a useful source to explore none-the-less.

Library DVD collection – It may feel a little “old school” but the Library has a huge number of DVDs.  There are DVD collections on the second floor of Clifford Whitworth Library and in the Library at Media City.  Look up the title in Library Search to check whether we have a particular film, or just browse the shelves for something that catches your eye. (Due to the COVID 19 crisis, our Libraries are closed at the moment, so these DVD collections are unavailable)

Keeping up to date

The Library at Media City provides some classic film magazines to browse, including Empire, Film Journal International, Screen International (also available online), and Sight & Sound (also available online) (Due to the COVID 19 crisis, our Libraries are closed at the moment, so print copies of these magazines are unavailable)

Check out IMDb.  It’s not just a source for facts and figures about film.  Its news section covers what’s happening in the world of film.

Remember, newspapers can be an excellent source for news and commentary on particular films, actors, directors and the industry more generally.  Read our blog post describing the Library’s newspaper collections and how to use them.

Of course, there is plenty of film news and commentary freely available on the internet.  Look for interesting blogs, websites or free magazines about film in general, or the genres that interest you. 

Researching film topics

Library Search is the best place to start for journal and magazine articles on all aspects of film, but if you want to search more specialist sources, we have some useful services you can use.  All are accessible via Library Search and by using the links below.

Performing Arts Periodicals Database

Arts & Humanities database

Gale Academic OneFile

Gale General OneFile


ScreenOnline (BFI)

Film making

All the resources listed above are useful to film-makers, but check out our Broadcast and Media resources page for information on scriptwriting, finding sound effects and music for your productions,  as well as information on media technology.