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Cinema Studies: Key Resources

Resources for researching film



Movie poster for Hot Stuff starring Alice White. Flapper with short blond bob dancing. Red musical notes.

Hollywood, Censorship, and the Motion Picture Production Code 1927-1968

Motion Picture Association of America Production Code Administration collection, selected from the holdings of the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, California.

This is a collection of documents, organized by film title, that offer a glimpse of the censorship efforts associated with the development and implementation of the Motion Picture Production Code.

The Code was a set of restrictive guidelines written by a Hollywood trade journal editor and a Jesuit writer.

This oversight was accepted by the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, (later the MPAA, the Motion Picture Association of America) due to fears that a more severe government censorship would result if the industry did nothing to quell the growing complaints of immorality in films.

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Hollywood was under pressure to move away from content that could be seen by religious leaders and some of the public as salacious and sinful.

Image of poster for the 1929 film, Hot Stuff, courtesy of the Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences


OneSearch searches multiple resources at once. It's most useful for precise, controlled searches.

Use Advanced Search and limit by format.

To find an article listed in a bibliography, enter title of article in top row search box. You may need to also add the last name of the author in the second box.

To find book chapters discussing a writer or an artistic work, enter the name of the writer or the work in the search box and check the box Book Chapter in the "Show Content Type" limiter.

To find book reviews, enter the title of the book in the search box and check the box Book Review in the "Show Content Type" limiter.


Movie Theater marquee at night with red, white, pink, blue and green neon crest design and the word Fremont in large white letters. Phantom of the Opera and Dr. Strangelove are the films advertised.
Photo: Fremont Movie Theater by Hey Paul, 2004, via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).


Want to watch a DVD or stream a film?

To search for a specific film:
Use CBBcat drop down options: Title & Video/DVD/Streaming

Or do a Keyword search & explore subject headings or genres by clicking on those links in item records.

Want to identify films about particular subjects?
In Screen Studies Collection Advanced Search, use “Look up Subject Headings” to explore possibilities (e.g. war).

Want to get reliable information about a film (cast, credits, citations to articles)? (IMBd is not always accurate!)

Search the film title in Screen Studies Collection.

Want to identify films by genre?

In AFI Catalog Advanced Search, select your choice in the “Genre” box (e.g. Film Noir).

Want to identify film titles set in a particular locale?

In Film Index International Advanced Search, use row drop-down to search just the “Synopsis” of a film (e.g. cafe* OR restaurant*).

Want to get an overview of or find additional sources about a film or film-related topic?

Search for your film or topic in Oxford Bibliographies - Cinema Studies.

Want to find film criticism and scholarly articles about a film?

Search these databases or one of the others listed in the Useful Databases box on this page.

Or explore more databases and film-related journals in the Find Articles tab.

Want to find film reviews?

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