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Television, radio and documentary film

Primary sources for historical research

Finding newsreels

Newsreels were short films shown in movie theaters, generally along with cartoons and feature films. Though some footage of newsworthy events survives from the 1890s, the first American newsreels were produced by the French Pathé firm in 1911. A competing newsreel was produced by Vitagraph.

Newsreels were initially seen as entertainment rather than news, and as a matter of policy, avoided controversial topics; later newsreel footage was censored. Several film companies produced newsreels in America, including Fox (Movietone News), Hearst/MGM (News of the Day, Metrotone News), Warner Pathé and Paramount (Paramount News).

American History in Video
Includes Universal newsreels 1929-1967, also United Newsreels for 1942-1946 (United Newsreels were financed by the U.S. government to provide coverage of World War II). Includes transcripts.

World Newsreels Online
Streaming video of international newsreels produced between 1929 and 1966. All are accompanied by transcripts, with those in foreign languages translated into English.

Newsreels from Prelinger Archives, in Internet Archive (Unfortunately, for commercial use only.) (Points to newsreels on youtube.)

March of Time

British Pathé

Wochenshau Archiv

Istituto Luce Cinecittà channel on YouTube:

Reference: newsreels

The American newsreel, 1911-1967. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, [1972]
Firestone Library (F) PN4888.M6 F5 1972

Newsreels in film archives : a survey based on the FIAF Newsreel Symposium. Edited by Roger Smither and Wolfgang Klaue. Wiltshire, England: Flicks Books ; Madison : Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1996.
Annex A, Forrestal (TEMP): PN4784.M6 N48 1996

The March of time, 1935-1951. Raymond Fielding. New York: Oxford University Press, 1978.
Firestone Library (F) PN4888.M6F53

Topical budget: the Great British news film. Luke McKernan. London : BFI Pub., 1992.
RECAP PN5124.M68 M35 1992