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Russian Cinema: A Research Guide: Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

This guide is intended to serve as an introduction to Russian and Soviet cinema from its beginnings to the present day.

About This Page

This page lists encyclopedias and dictionaries in PUL that might be useful for research on Russian and/or Eastern European film.  Some of the books here focus specifically on the region; others are general works that have substantial material on the region.   For more film dictionaries and encyclopedias, please see the Background Information page of the Film Studies guide.  For dictionaries and encyclopedias on Russia and Eastern Europe, please check the Dictionaries and Encyclopedias pages on the Russian and Eurasian Studies guide maintained by Thomas Keenan, Slavic Librarian.

Encyclopedias of Russian, Soviet, and Eastern European Film in PUL


Rollberg, Peter.  Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet cinema.  Historical dictionaries of literature and the arts 30.  Lanham, Md.: The Scarecrow Press, 2009.  (F) PN1998.2.R578 2009

Encyclopedia of Russian and Soviet film from the nineteenth century to 2007.  Entries for individual films, persons, studios, and genres.  Articles do not have bibliographies or sources, but there is a lengthy multipartite bibliography at the back of the book, as well as an introduction and a detailed chronology at the beginning.  In English; all transliteration is in the Library of Congress system, even for names where that is not the common form (e.g. 'Eizenshtein' instead of 'Eisenstein').  One of a series of books with the same format; see also the Historical dictionary of Polish cinema by Marek Haltof (PN 1993.5.P55 H34 2007).

Pervyi vek nashego kino: entsiklopediia.  Moskva: Lokid-Press, 2006.  (SLAV) PN1993.5.R9 P475 2006

Structured as a chronology.  Entries for each year include profiles of the most notable films made that year, biographies of selected persons active in the cinema at the time, a sketch of important developments from that year in film, and an excerpt from a primary source illustrating those developments.  Name and title indices; no bibliographies.

Noveishaia istoriia otechestvennogo kino, 1986-2000.  Sankt-Peterburg: SEANS, 2001-2004.  7 v.  (SLAV) PN1993.5.R9 G648 2001

Last four volumes of this work comprise a detailed chronology of Soviet and Russian film during this time period.  No bibliographies.

The BFI companion to Eastern European and Russian cinema.  Ed. Richard Taylor.  London: BFI Publishing, 2000.  (SLAV) PN1993.5.E2 B44 2000

Encyclopedia of Russian and Eastern European film from its beginnings to the time of publication.  Entries for national cinemas, film genres and movements, and institutions and persons involved in film.  Some entries include a bibliographic reference to a major work of scholarship in a Western-European language.  There is a brief bibliography at the end, as well as two introductions, one focusing on Eastern European film and one on Russian film.  In English; the Library of Congress transliteration scheme is not used for the Cyrillic alphabets.  This is one of a larger series published under the aegis of the British Film Institute.

Bulgarsko kino: entsiklopediia.  Sofiia: Titra, 2000.  (SLAV) PN1993.5.B8 I15 2000

An encyclopedia of Bulgarian film from 1915 to the time of publication.  The first part contains entries for eight hundred persons who have been involved in Bulgarian film, including directors, actors, screenwriters, designers and composers, cinematographers and animators, and film critics.  The second part covers individual films, including documentaries, animated films, short films, educational films, and television serials.  Entries for persons include biographical information and filmographies (biographies include more information about the subjects' personal lives than those in other reference sources listed here); entries for films include credits, brief synopses, and any alternate or working titles.  The book has name and title indices (including a bilingual Bulgarian/English title index) and a chronology.

Iutkevich, S. I.  Kino: entsiklopedicheskii slovar'.  M.: Sov. entsiklopediia, 1986.  (ANXA) PN1993.45.K55 1986

General encyclopedia of film, edited by the well-known Soviet film director Sergei Iutkevich.  Covers all of world film, but focus is primarily on film of the Soviet republics.  Many entries include short multi-lingual bibliographies.  Appended are a Russian-English-French-German glossary of film terms and an index.  An earlier edition of this work (1966-1970) was published in two volumes as Kinoslovar' ([RCPPA] 30109.526).


Grant, Barry Keith.  Schirmer encyclopedia of film.  Detroit, Mich.: Schirmer Reference, 2007.  (DR) PN1993.45.G65 2007

Encyclopedia of film, focusing on national cinemas, genres, and movements rather than on individual films or persons.  Entries are multi-page essays and include mulitiple bibliographies.  Includes substantial content on Russia/Soviet Union and the countries of Eastern Europe, considered individually.

International dictionary of films and filmmakers.  Ed. Tom and Sara Pendergast.  Detroit, Mich.: St. James Press, 2000.

This encyclopedia is divided into four parts: films, directors, actors, and writers and production artists.  Each entry includes credits and production information (if a film) or biographical information and filmography (if a person), along with a critical essay and an extensive bibliography.  While the focus is global, many entries are devoted to Russian and Eastern European films and directors (actors and screenwriters are less well represented).  Entries for films are under original title (or transliteration of original title, if Cyrillic), rather than translation (i.e. Bronenosets Potemkin rather than Battleship Potemkin); transliteration of personal names is often the most commonly-used form rather than the LC transliteration (i.e. Eisenstein, not Eizenshtein).

The hyperlink will take you to the e-book of the 4th edition (2000); a print copy of the 2nd edition can be found in Firestone (PN1997.8 I58 1990).  Print copies of the 1st (1984) and 4th editions can be found in ReCAP.

The Oxford history of world cinema.  Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.  (F) PN1993.5.A1 O96 1997

An encyclopedia of global film, subdivided chronologically.  Includes historical essays and sub-essays on Russian and Eastern European film with brief bibliographies.  Index is appended.

Biographical Resources on Russian, Soviet, and Eastern European Film


Dokumental'noe kino XX veka: kino-operatory ot A do IA: spravochnyi katalog.  Moskva: Materik, 2005.  (SLAV) TR849.A1 D65 2005

Biographical dictionary of cinematographers and camera-operators active in Soviet and Soviet documentary film.  Each entry includes a brief biography and a filmography of all feature-length films worked on.  Appended are a list of the winners of the prize for cinematography at the "Russia" Festival of Documentary Film and a list of the Soviet studios that produced documentary films.  No indices.

Noveishaia istoriia otechestvennogo kino, 1986-2000.  Sankt-Peterburg: SEANS, 2001-2004.  7 v.  (SLAV) PN1993.5.R9 G648 2001

First three volumes are a biographical dictionary of Soviet and Russian directors, actors, screenwriters, and composers who were active in the film industry during the title period.  Although information is given about their careers before 1986 (if applicable), the focus is on their post-1986 work.  Bibliographies are appended to articles, but only cover books and articles published after 1986.

Dolmatovskaia, Galina, and Irina Shilova.  Who's who in the Soviet cinema.  Moskva: Progress, 1979.

Biographical dictionary of selected Soviet directors and actors.  Each entry includes an appreciation (sometimes including quotations from an interview with the subject) and a filmography.  No indices.


Caslavsky, Karel.  Hvezdy ceskeho filmu.  Praha: Fragment, 2002-  2 v.  (F) PN2859.C95 C37 2002

Illustrated biographical dictionary of Czech film stars.  Actors are arranged in roughly chronological order based on the dates of their careers.  Entries include date of birth (and of death, if applicable), a brief biographical sketch, a drawing of the actor, and one or more stills from his or her films.  Name index at the back of the book.

Balski, Grzegorz.  Directory of Eastern European film-makers and films, 1945-1991.  Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1992.  (RBSC) PN1998.2.D55 1992q

Specialized Reference Sources on Russian, Soviet, and Eastern European Film in PUL


Kozhevnikov, A. Iu.  Krylatye frazy i aforizmy kino: liubimye otechestvennye komedii.  Moskva: Olma, 2011.  (RCPPA) PN6277.R8 K694 2011

Collection of famous lines from Russian film comedies.  Each chapter is devoted to a different film and includes basic credits, a list of lines (alphabetized by first word), and stills from the film.  No indices.  The titles below are more useful as reference sources.

Kozhevnikov, A. Iu.  Bol'shoi slovar': krylatye frazy otechestvennogo kino.  Sankt-Peterburg; Moskva: Neva; Olma, 2001.  (SLAV) 1994.9 K65 2001

Dictionary of famous lines from Russian-language films, covering 1931 to 2000.  First section is an index of lines alphabetically by first word (not keyword), with title and character speaking given; second section is an index of lines arranged by film, with films given in chronological order.  Appendices include a short dictionary of pseudonyms used in films and a bibliography.

Elistratov, V. S.  Slovar' krylatykh slov: (russkii kinematograf): okolo tysiachi edinits.  Moskva: Russkie slovari, 1999.  (F) PG2691.E557 1999

Dictionary of movie lines that have passed into common Russian speech.  Lines are indexed alphabetically by first word and include a reference to the film of origin and an explanatory note about the common usage of the quotation.  Indices include a film-title index and a keyword index (e.g. the line Zhenit'sia nuzhno na sirote, from Beregis' avtomobilia, can be located by looking under the word SIROTA).


Rassokhin, O. O.  Moskva v kino: 100 udivitel'nykh mest i faktov iz liubimykh fil'mov.  Moskva: EKSMO, 2009.  (F) PN1995.9.M627 R38 2009

Guide to the locations in Moscow where twenty-six well-known Russian/Soviet films were shot, including Sluzhebnyi roman, Moskva slezam ne verit, and Pokrovskie vorota.  Content is arranged chronologically by film; each chapter includes brief credits, a synopsis of the film, and a walking tour of a Moscow neighborhood with information on filming locations and photographs of their present appearance.  No indices.