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Russian cinema: an introduction (SLAV 2785): Where to start

This guide is to assist in research on pre-revolutionary Russian, Soviet, and post-Soviet Russian cinema. It provides guidelines for library use and lists some of the most useful reference materials, databases, websites, and book catalogs.

Start here

Historical Dictionary of Russian and Soviet Cinema, by Peter Rollberg
PN1998.2 .R578 2009 (6th floor Gelman)
The ultimate English language encyclopedic resource: wealth of information, very useful filmographies and bibliography.  Go here for correct transliterations of foreign names and translations of film titles.

Internet Movie Database on Russia and Soviet Union:


Researching Russian and Soviet cinema in the variety of online and printed resources at Gelman library can be very productive and rewarding. For that reason, we have put together this guide, which contains a wide selection of databases, books, and reference materials. On these pages we also provide an extensive guide to WWW resources on Russian and Soviet cinema.


Starting this research and planning it most efficiently can be at times tricky especially when dealing with a variety of unfamiliar names, varied spellings of which can be confusing. 

Global Resources Center (GRC) staff is ready to help and guide you through this process. Expert assistance from professional librarian on staff at the GRC on 7th floor of Gelman Library is available. Call or write librarian Mark Yoffe for a research appointment for help formulating your strategies and tactics for finding resources:  202 994-6303,

Note on transliteration and database searching

Note on transliteration and database searching:

Searching databases you need to be mindful that some Russian names can be transliterated in a few different but accepted ways. That is particularly important when dealing with names ending in “ii” or “y” as in the case of film director Andrei Tarkovskii. His name can be also spelled Andrey Tarkovsky and even Andrej Tarkovskij. For the most complete results use all variants in your search.

Tip: For unique names like Tarkovskii or Kozintsev (as opposed to very common names like Ivanov), search only the last name of the person.

If you don’t have a specific person or film in mind, then you can search these databases using general terms: Soviet cinema, Soviet film, Russian cinema, Russian film, Soviet/Russian film/cinema history or reviews.

For more specific searches you can combine terms, like: Soviet cinema AND World War II, or Soviet film AND women.

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