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Film and Media Studies: Film Stills

Film Stills

Film stills (or publicity stills) are photographs taken during the production of a motion picture or television program for promotional purposes. Common subjects include actors and actresses at film sets, film premieres, and other commercial settings.

Before employing any photograph in your work, please make sure to carefully evaluate the item for its copyright status and fair use policies on the site. Some film stills are protected by copyright laws and, therefore, may not be in the public domain and may not be used for educational purposes.

Photos, Clips, Press Kits & Ephemera

  • American Motion Picture Stills, 1903-
    A collection of American film stills curated by UCLA Library Special Collections and the Digital Library Program. This digital collection is only a small portion of the much larger physical collection at UCLA.
    Recommended Subjects include “Motion picture actors and actresses-- California-- Los Angeles,” “Television actors and actress-- California-- Los Angeles,” and “Entertainment.”

  • CineFiles
    CineFiles is a gateway to digitized film-related documents and ephemera that have been collected by the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive since the 1970s.

  • Library of Congress: Prints & Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC)
    PPOC contains records and digital images representing a rich cross-section of still pictures held by the Prints & Photographs Division and, in some cases, other units of the Library of Congress.
    Recommended keywords include “film stills,” “movie stills,” and “publicity stills.”

  • Margaret Herrick Library: Digital Collections
    The Margaret Herrick Library Digital Collections presents a curated selection of materials from the library's extensive holdings on motion picture history.

  • Media History Digital Library
    A free online resource, featuring millions of pages of books and magazines from the histories of film, broadcasting, and recorded sound. It only scans items in the public domain.

  • FilmGrab
    FilmGrab is the internet’s largest growing archive of movie stills from 100+ years of cinema.

  • William K. Everson Collection
    The William K. Everson Collection includes press kits, film stills, photographs, and program notes.

California:

  • BAMPFA Film Library & Study Center
    The UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) brings the rich artistic resources of the UC Berkeley campus to the broader public. It has over 55,000 film stills and 10,000 posters that can be consulted by appointment.

  • Finding Aide for the Collection of Motion Picture Stills
    This collection is primarily American motion picture stills dating from ca. 1920s to the present. It represents films produced by various companies including Columbia Pictures, 20th Century Fox, MGM, Paramount, Republic, RKO Universal, United Artists, Warner Brothers and more.

  • Margaret Herrick Library Photograph Archive
    The Margaret Herrick Library carries over 13 million photographs which include film stills in a variety of formats. Many photographs are available on a walk-in basis, but appointments are required for Archive Collections.

National & International:

  • Harvard Film Archive
    The Harvard Film Archive is one of the largest and most significant university-based motion picture collections in the United States, with nearly one million still photographs, posters, and other promotional materials from around the world and from almost every period in film history.

  • The Moving Image Stills, Posters, and Paper Collection
    The George Eastman Museum’s Moving Image Stills, Posters, and Paper Collection comprises approximately three million objects, including letters, scripts, musical scores, lobby cards, posters, film stills, and celebrity portraits.

  • The National Film Archive Stills Collection 
    The British Film Institute’s BFI National Archive carries the world’s largest collection of film stills. The collection is international in scope, but contemporary collecting is focused on British work across all genres and types of filmmaking.

Finding Film Stills - Print Resources

The following list contains print resources that contain film stills and are available at Langson Library. They are also available at other UC libraries and can be easily requested through the Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service.