100 Free Online Archives for Film Students and Enthusiasts

Posted: 17/11/2009 in free stuff, General

Whether you plan on working in the film industry or just have a passion for all things cinematic, the web is full of resources to help you learn, study and find inspiration for your passion. Here are 100 excellent film sites that will provide you with a range of clips, photos, memorabilia and research archives on everything from amateur productions to big budget Hong Kong blockbusters.

North American Archives

These archives focus on films produced in North America, though many have impressive collections of international films as well.

  1. Internet Archive: Moving Image: Check out this site for free movies, films, and videos uploaded by internet users.
  2. Academic Film Archive of North America: Here you’ll find a listing of a wide range of academic films.
  3. The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences: This group, responsible for giving out the Oscars, has a large archive of film information here.
  4. American Film Institute: With loads of lists about films, this site also houses resources that researchers and scholars can use.
  5. National Center for Jewish Film: Look up all kinds of information on films made by the Jewish community in these archives.
  6. National Film Preservation Board: Use this site to learn about films that have been preserved and get access to a list of places you can see them.
  7. The Open Video Project: Check out this site for a collection of free digital videos you can share or watch.
  8. Public Domain Flicks: This site is a great place to find free older films to watch.
  9. Pacific Film Archive: This archive at Berkeley has one of the largest collections of Japanese films anywhere.
  10. National Film Board of Canada: If the films that you’re interested in are Canadian, tap into the resources listed here.
  11. Agrasanchez Film Archive: Here you’ll find one of the largest collections of Mexican films.
  12. National Film Preservation Foundation: With loads of archives, DVDs and preserved films, this site is a great place to start looking for film info.
  13. Roland Collection of Films on Art: You’ll get access to thousands of films on art through this great collection.
  14. Getty Images: While the material on this site isn’t free to use, you can look at clips and images free of charge, and there is a wide selection to search through.

Documentary Archives

If you’re looking for films that document reality, or at least one version of it, you’ll find loads of information on these sites.

  1. Best Online Documentaries: Check with this site for a large list of documentaries that can be viewed online for free.
  2. DocsOnline: Stream documentary videos from all over the world through this site.
  3. Documentary Film Network: This archive offers access to over 180 different films.
  4. Free Documentaries Online: The documentaries on this site deal with everything from new technology to lost civilizations.
  5. Factual TV: Watch informative films on a wide range of topics on this great educational site.
  6. Documentary 24: This site lists new and interesting films you can watch online at no cost.
  7. Free Documentaries.org: If political documentaries are what you’re looking for, try out this site first.
  8. PBS Frontline: Learn about a wide range of news topics from free episodes of this show.
  9. SurftheChannel: With this site you’ll find links to loads of free documentaries, shows and more.
  10. Joining the Dots TV: Try out this site to learn about some of the most moving and educational documentaries out there.
  11. Filmmakers Library: Look through this collection of documentary films that spans over 40 years.

Educational and Instructional Archives

Learn more about films produced to educate with these great archives.

  1. Educated Earth: Watch movies on astronomy, math, technology, chemistry and more on this site.
  2. fleischarchive: Here you’ll get access to an archive of black and white educational films from Germany.
  3. Prelinger Archive: You can watch most of the films in this archive online for free.
  4. BBC Active: This site is billed as the world’s largest educational program archive.
  5. Weizmann Institute of Science Archives: This archive is full of science videos, documents and more.

Library and Museum Archives

These archives are held in libraries or museums, many with large collections of materials.

  1. Library of Congress: This site is a great place to go for historical archives with films and clips in its American Memory division as well as other collections documenting a range of events.
  2. Harvard Film Archive: You can browse through the impressive collection in this library though this site, though you might need to be an academic to get something loaned to you.
  3. George Eastman House: Also known as the International Museum of Photography and Film, this site is home to a great collection of archives.
  4. Caltech Archives: Check out this site for an extensive library of audio and video recordings of lectures and other scientific presentations.
  5. American Museum of Natural History Moving Image Archives: This archive holds films that document the museum’s role in scientific discoveries and explorations.
  6. MoMA Film with Images: Visit this site to see artistic and avant garde films.
  7. Museum of the Moving Image: There are a number of great online exhibits available through this archive.
  8. University of Illinois Archives: This university has one of the largest academic libraries in the nation, with rare materials, photos, films and scripts.

Historical Archives

These archives will help you find footage of historical events.

  1. Moving History: This UK site offers a wide range of free videos documenting history from newsreels and TV.
  2. Australians at War Film Archive: See all kinds of footage of Australian soldiers and battles in this collection.
  3. Fortunoff Video Archive: Here you can listen to first hand accounts of the survivors of the Holocaust.
  4. Contemporary Films Footage Archive: Find a wide range of political and subculture videos from the United States here.
  5. National Archives: Look through the records and exhibits of the National Archives to find out more about American history.
  6. Human Studies Film Archives: Visit this site for a great collection of anthropological films.
  7. Northeast Historic Film: This site will give you access to historical films and documents related to New England.
  8. History Newsreels: In this division of the National Archives, you can watch newsreels of some of the most iconic events in American history.
  9. History Makers: On this site you’ll see videos of famous leaders and thinkers who’ve changed history.

European Archives

Learn more about films made in Europe through these archives.

  1. German Films: Archive: Check out this archive to study German film.
  2. Goethe Institut Film Archive: While the main archives of this collection are housed in Germany, you can watch copies in locations all over the world.
  3. Film Archiv Austria: This site will help you to increase your knowledge of great Austrian films.
  4. Europa Film Treasures: Here you’ll find information that will point you to major film collections all over Europe.
  5. British Film Institute National Archive: Find videos, information, photos, news and a whole lot more on this site.
  6. Huntley Film Archive: This British film site contains a great free viewing room.
  7. Film Archives Online: Try out this site to find catalog information on films stored in archives throughout Europe.
  8. Centre National du Cinema: Learn more about French films through this site and the resources it offers.
  9. Greek Film Center: You’ll find the tools you need to look up Greek films, directors and actors here.
  10. Open Society Archives: Go through this site to find out more information about Hungarian films.
  11. Fondazione Cineteca Italiana: With numerous great Italian directors, this archive is a great place to find information about classic films.
  12. Brabants Film Archief: This resource will help you look up information and find where you can watch films in Dutch collections.
  13. Russian Archives Online: From documentaries to artistic films, you’ll find records of them all here.
  14. British Universities Film and Video Council: If you’re looking for a large collection of moving image archives, this site can’t be missed.

Asian and Oceanic Archives

These archives include films from countries like Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India.

  1. Korean Film Archive: This site will help you find just about any Korean film you’re looking for.
  2. The Film Archive NZ: Find all kinds of film information from New Zealand here.
  3. National Film Archive of India: Tap into the wonders of Bollywood with this great archive.
  4. Asian Film Archive: This archive collects, preserves and archives great films from all over Asia.
  5. Moving Image and Sound Archives of Singapore: This archive collection even has an AV gallery.
  6. Australian Centre for the Moving Image: With information on exhibitions, Australian filmmakers and research archivists consider this site is a great resource.

African Archives

Many people don’t realize what a thriving film industry there is in Africa, but these archives document the many movies being made past and present.

  1. FESPACO: This site is a great place to search for information on African film–especially that of West Africa.
  2. National Archives of Malawi: Look through the information housed on this Malawian site to find out more about the films and history of the country.
  3. Nigerian Film Corporation: Nigeria has a booming film industry, often called Nollywood, and you can learn more about it here.
  4. African Movie Channel: While not everything on this site is free, you can watch some movies at no cost and look through a record of many others.
  5. African Film Library: This site is a relatively new one, offering a comprehensive library of information on films released in Africa.

Middle Eastern Archives

Take a look in these archives for films relevant to the Middle East.

  1. Jobotinsky Institute: This archive houses a wide range of information about Ze’ev Jabotinsky and the Revisionist Movement.
  2. Israel Film Archive: Here you’ll find all kinds of photos, news, information and clips of films from Jerusalem.
  3. Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive: Sponsored by the American director, this archive collects films made by the Jewish community and houses them in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Central and South American Archives

Those seeking to learn more about films from Brazil, Guatemala and other Latin American countries should look through these archives.

  1. Cinemateca Brasileira: Learn more about Brazilian film through this helpful archive.
  2. Cinemateca Boliviana: This archive is home to a wide range of information on films made in Bolivia.
  3. New Media Guatemala: This site collects a range of new media films and shorts coming out of Guatemala.
  4. Manfut.org: Here you can examine the cinema of Nicaragua.
  5. La Cinemateca Dominicana: Check out a wide variety of Dominican films here.
  6. Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen: This museum is located in El Salvador and offers clips, news about releases and more.

Movie Information

If you need to know some basic information about a film, like the year it came out, directors or stars, you can find it in these useful databases.

  1. IMDB: This site is one of the largest and most reliable sources of movie information on the web.
  2. Rotten Tomatoes: If you need movie information and ratings, this site can be a big help.
  3. Yahoo! Movies: Find all kinds of basic movie information here.
  4. Movies.com: Movie reviews, times, information and trailers can all be found here.
  5. Screen Source: Try out this site for lists of Oscar winners, actor information and much more.
  6. National Film Registry: This site is home to a list of the 25 films selected each year to be added to the National Film Registry.
  7. Filmsite: From movie quotes to movie posters, this site is a great resource for film buffs.
  8. Fluge: This site offers a wide range of information on movies.
  9. All Movie Guide: No matter the genre, you’ll find great information on thousands of films here.
  10. The Movie Database: Use this search engine to look for records, photos and stats on movies.

Film Documents

These archives are home to the other ephemera created when a movie is made, like posters and scripts.

  1. Movie Poster Archives: Visit this site for a collection of older movie posters.
  2. Film Poster Archive: This site is meant to sell older posters, but browsing through the collections offers loads of info about vintage poster art.
  3. Cinema Poster Archive: Search through this archive to find posters from over 2000 different films.
  4. Script-o-Rama: Here you’ll get access to numerous movie scripts.
  5. Script Crawler: This archive has a search tool that makes it easy to find what you’re looking for.
  6. The Internet Movie Script Database: If you’re in a need of a movie script, you’ll find it here in this large archive.

General Search

If you can’t find what you need in these resources, consider these more general archive search sites.

  1. UNESCO Archives: Here you’ll find an incredibly comprehensive list of links to institutions with archives around the world.
  2. FIAF: The International Federation of Film Archives has a huge list of places where you may be able to find the works you’re looking for.
  3. Repository of Primary Sources: The University of Idaho maintains this directory which can be useful in finding all kinds of original documents, including films.
  1. Mark says:

    Thanks a lot for this list, it’s going to take all week toy go through this lot. 8)

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