Judith Downie
Humanities Librarian
CSUSM Library
KEL 3424

Back to Film Resources Index

Many films are adaptations or re-tellings of fiction and non-fiction works. This page will lead you to resources on how to adapt, the text of an actual adaptation, or discussion of a series of adaptations of a title. Here are some tips on finding a variety of resources.

Internet Sources


To find materials, you can look through these catalogs:

  • CSUSM Library Catalog is what you can find in the Kellogg Library

  • Circuit is the joint catalog for CSUSM, SDSU, UCSD, and USD with delivery in 1-3 days for CSUSM users.

  • Melvyl searches the entire University of California catalog system and delivers in 5-10 days through Interlibrary Loan for CSUSM.

  • WorldCat searches a 'universe' of library catalogs and delivers in 5-10 days through Interlibrary Loan for CSUSM.

Useful Subject Terms
Can't think of terms to accurately describe your topic?  Library catalogs use specific subject headings to group related books together. 'Film' and 'adaptation' are such large topics and can be defined in multiple ways, you will want to think of ways to narrow it down, by title, director, genre, etc. Ask a librarian to help, or here are some examples to consider:

Looking for films that have been adapted from books?
Search the CSUSM catalog using the genre/form search field (instead of the usual keyword or subject search). Type in FILM ADAPTATIONS to see the current list of films in our collection. Or, type title of either the book (or movie) in the keyword field and add the word adaptation to limit to any possible adaptations.


The Research Databases at CSUSM will offer both articles on adaptation in general and discussion of a specific title's adaptations. When looking for articles on a particular film adaptation or a technique used in a particular film, the easiest way is to type the title of the movie into the database. Some databases do not offer full text of the articles. Use the button to check our other resources for full text.

Academic Search Premier
Covers a wide array of subjects with full text for nearly 1,850 scholarly journals, including more than 1,250 peer-reviewed titles.

Communication & Mass Media Complete
Provides abstracts and full text for more than 200 communication journals.

Includes abstracts of articles from critical literary and language journals. This is primarily concerned with the original work of literature, but you will find plenty of articles on adaptations here.

RILM Music Abstracts
Abstracts from scholarly journals on international music and related disciplines, focus on adaptations here will be on writing music for film.


Internet Sources
These may not be as scholarly as published journal reviews, so be aware of the credentials of the reviewer. Keep in mind when searching the internet that not all material will be scholarly and other search terms will be 'cinema' or 'film' rather than 'movie'.

Comparing Film Adaptations
This site from PBS uses the many versions of Shakespeare's works which have been filmed to show how to examine the similarities and differences in adaptations of the same story. Fathom offers a lesson plan using Shakespeare, Frankenstein, and others for the same purpose.

Internet Movie Database
For basic information about a film, this is one of the more complete sites. "A search on adaptations" returns a variety of links to foreign-language-adaptations, adaptations by the writer and more.