Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Cinema Studies

An overview of the resources available for researchers in the field of Cinema Studies.

What Are Film Archives?

Film archives collect, restore, investigate and conserve audiovisual content like films, documentaries, television programs and newsreel footage.

An archivist surveying an unprocessed collection of materials that are shelved on a set of cases.

An archivist surveying an unprocessed collection of materials. Surveying is commonly done to determine priorities for preservation and/or conservation of materials before an archivist begins arrangement and description. Used with the permission of the archivist pictured, Cyndi Shein. An Archivist surveying an unprocessed collection of materials. Surveying is commonly done to determine priorities for preservation and/or conservation of materials before an archivist begins arrangement and description. 

Image credit.

Major Film & Television Archives in New York

Repositories

The repositories below house collections that are publicly cataloged or listed.

World Wide Archival Collections

Documentary Films

Use Docuseek2 to locate documentary films.

Freely Available Online Video Collections

Cinema Pressbooks

Features Cinema Pressbooks from the original studio collections.

Studio Archives

Studio Archives can be difficult to locate.  Here is list of locations that may be of use.

The following is a working list of known locations with significant print archival holdings documenting specific studios, including those collections not held in publicly accessible institutions. However, the papers of individuals (actors, directors, producers, screenwriters, costumers, etc.) connected with specific studios may also be available in other locations throughout the country, and are not listed here. Suggestions and information leads for this list are encouraged!

  • CBS: UCLA holds music-related manuscripts, books, printed music, sound recordings and business papers relating to CBS productions from 1955-1983. Finding aid is available.
  • Disney:  Disney maintains an extensive in-house archive, but it is not open to the public. UCLA owns some publicity ephemera from 1938-1980s.
  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM): There is no fully centralized or comprehensive archive available for MGM, and unfortunately some of the studio's archival records were likely discarded. For instance, all of its musical material, including orchestra arrangements and parts, were discarded in the late 1960s. However some content is available such as art, legal productions and wardrobe departments as well as scripts, architectural set plans, the studio's in-house research library collection at the Los Angeles Public Library.
  • Paramount: The most extensive institutional holdings from Paramount are housed at the Margaret Herrick Library, including production records, scripts, press sheets, and contract summaries. The studio also has an in-house archive not open to the public, including many musical scores.
  • Republic Pictures: Some archival materials available at USC Performing Arts Collection.  You can also browse USC's Special Collections.
  • RKO: The RKO studio collection (1922-1956) is housed at UCLA Performing Arts Special Collections, including scores, daily production reports, story submission cards, payroll cards, scripts, and story synopses. Some specific collection information is available via a finding aid.
  • Sony: Sony also owns Columbia and Tristar. The studio has an in-house archive, and is not open to the public. UCLA houses some Columbia scripts.
  • 20th Century Fox: Some archives are still located at the studio and are not open to the public, including many stills. The in-house working Fox Research Library is still open and may be available to serious researchers who call in advance; however, it does not collect the archives of the studio, instead serving the research needs of Fox employees. Some Fox production material (including scripts) is available at  UCLA and  USC Performing Arts Collection.  You can also browse USC's Special Collections, though restrictions apply for access to certain contents.
  • United Artists: Some UA archival records are located at the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research, including corporate ledgers.
  • Universal: The most extensive archives are located at the studio and in other remote locations, but are not open to the public. Some material is available at:
  • Warner Bros.: Most Warner Bros. archives are held at USC Performing Arts Collection.  You can also browse USC's Special Collections, covering studio inception to 1968. Also includes the William Schaefer ledger, which covers film grosses from 1921-1967. Some materials (mostly scripts) are held at the University of Wisconsin, and UCLA; UCLA Special Collections houses some Warner Bros. silent film music scores.

Art of the Title Sequence