Film archives and institutions are a great place to begin research. They offer primary source material. Listed below are links to some of the major film archives and institutions from around the world.
American Memory provides free and open access through the Internet to written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience. It is a searchable database that includes early motion picture collections and films on special topics.
"An international center for the preservation, study, and exhibition of film and video with a particular focus on American independent and avant-garde cinema and its precursors found in classic European, Soviet and Japanese film."--anthologyfilmarchives.org
"Located in Melbourne, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) celebrates, explores and promotes the cultural and creative richness of the moving image in all its forms - film, television and digital culture. Through ... award-winning Australian and international exhibitions, films, festivals, live events, creative workshops, education programs and Collection resources, ACMI provides diverse audiences ways to engage with the moving image."--acmi.net.au
"The National Archive is the largest archive of moving image material in the world. Started in 1935, the collection includes over 275,000 films, 210,000 TV programmes, seven million photographs and 15,000 posters. Archived material is accessible via curated exhibitions and screenings in cinemas."--bfi.org.uk
This collection includes news, sports, entertainment and more. The online database allows searches and orders to their database and from their archive collection. See also Gaumont Pathé, the French equivalent.
"The International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) brings together institutions dedicated to rescuing films both as cultural heritage and as historical documents. Founded in Paris in 1938, FIAF is a collaborative association of more than 120 film archives in over 65 countries whose purpose has always been to ensure the proper preservation and showing of motion pictures."--fiafnet.org
International professional trade association representing film/audiovisual libraries, professional film researchers, producers and others working in the industry. The website provides assistance in finding footage and facilities.
With a special focus on Philadelphia, the Theatre Collection contains research materials on the history of American theatre, early film, and popular entertainment. You can find significant reference books, periodicals, programs, clipping files, reviews, photographs, posters, film stills and other memorabilia. The collection chronicles local theatre, with playbills dating back to 1803. It also maintains the Lubin Film Company Archive (1912-1916), and other rare items on the silent and classic fil
"George Eastman House collects and interprets images, films, literature, and equipment in the disciplines of photography and motion pictures -- and it cares for the George Eastman legacy collections -- to inspire discovery and learning for a regional, national, and international audience." Located in in Rochester, NY.
There are three main film collections on Getty Images Creative: Image Bank Film, Archive Films, and Universal Studios. All three are rights-managed. There are also several royalty-free collections. The site provides searches, downloads, and purchases of multiple royalty-free and rights-protected brands.
The Cinémathèque Française hosts the largest archive of films, movie documents, and film-related objects in the world. The Bibliothèque du Film (see above) merged with the Cinémathèque Française in 2007.
The only national arts organization devoted to film, television and video. The American Film Institute serves as a point of national focus and coordination for the many individuals and institutions concerned with the moving image as art.
MOMA's collection includes more than 22,000 films and 4,000,000 film stills. It has strongest international film collection in the United States, including original negatives of the Biograph and Edison companies, and the world's largest collection of D.W. Griffith films.
The Museum of the Moving Image is dedicated to educating the public about the art, history, technique, and technology of film, television, and digital media and to examining their impact on culture and society. It collects, preserves, and provides access to moving-image related artifacts, and it offers various types of public programming.
Containing over 220,000 films and television programs, and 27 million feet of newsreel footage, the UCLA Film and Television Archive contains materials dating back to the 1890s, and it includes one of the largest and most respected repositories of television programming in the world.
WCFTR maintains over three hundred manuscripts collections from playwrights, television and motion picture writers, producers, actors, designers, directors and production companies. Materials preserved include fifteen thousand motion pictures, television shows and videotapes, two million still photographs and promotional graphics, and several thousand sound recordings. WCFTR collections on the American film industry are richest for 1930 through 1960.