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Cinema Studies: Film & Television Scripts

This selective guide to the literature of cinema is intended as a starting place for researchers, pointing to tools for finding books, scholarly articles, reviews, and collection-related information.

Featured Database American Film Scripts Online

American Film Scripts Online contains 1,009 scripts by 1,062 writers together with detailed, fielded information on the scenes, characters and people related to the scripts. In addition, the database includes facsimilie images for more than 500 of these screenplays. Most of the scripts have never been published before, and nowhere else are they available online.

Purchasing Scripts

Search BobCat

Below are some hints on using the Bobst Catalog to find titles:

  1. If you are looking for a specific title and get too many hits, also search by the name of the screenwriter or author (NOT the director). This often helps narrow down hits quickly.
  2. To browse screenplays, try a more general "Subject List" search for the term Motion picture plays.
  3. However, keep in mind that many published scripts (especially for television) have no subject heading at all, and will only have the words "script," "scripts," or "screenplay" in the title. You can, however, do a subject seach for the name of a film or program, and this will sometimes produce a title that includes the script. Subject headings for film and film studies material vary; however, most materials can be found by using the term "motion pictures" or “television” in subject or keyword searches. You might also try these keywords in your searches:
    Motion pictures or televison adaptations, criticism, reviews
    Motion pictures or television directors, actors and actresses
    Motion pictures or television genres (can also search under film noir, film or television dramas, comedies, or musicals, etc.)

Finding Scripts in Periodicals and Anthologies

Sometimes, scripts are not published separately as a stand alone book. However, some screenwriting magazines or anthologies do publish scripts in their entirety. One way to access scripts in these, other than browsing, is to search in a database or print resource that indexes screenplays.