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Michigan State University

Religions of the World: Films

This is a guide to researching religions of the world: Western and Eastern Christianity, Eastern religions, Islam, Bahai, New Age Movements, Judaism. Last updated 06-26-2023


If you know the title of the film you seek, look up its title in Books and Media.

If you only know a topic you want a film about,  try looking up keywords you hope will be in the title in Books and Media.

Or use a subject heading search.  There is a  list of frequently used religion subject headings in the Online Catalog section of this research guide.  Try those and then modify your search results along the left by choosing streaming video or film.

Where do we keep our films/movies in the Library?  Films on VHS/DVD may be be found in closed stacks in the Digital and Multimedia Center, 4th floor west wing. 

We gained a huge number of DVDs with the gift collection we received in 2015 called the Rovi Media Collection.  Rovi contains 164,490 films through December, 2014.  If the film you seek is in our Rovi Media Collection you need to request it online by clicking on the "Request Rovi" button in the "Status" area of the online catalog record.  You will receive an e mail notice to pick up the film at our Main Library Circulation Desk, usually the day after you place your request (except weekends and holidays). 

M.S.U. faculty, staff, students, and community borrowers can check out VHS/DVD films for two weeks.  No renewals.  The fine for overdue films is one dollar per day per film.  Only ten Rovi Collection items may be requested at one time.  If a film is on reserve for a class, the check out period is four hours and you must view it IN the DMC. 


Streaming Media films

We have bought, or are subscribing to, quite a number of streaming media services.  In some cases  you can find these films via our online catalog, just like a book.  In these cases, there will be a link within the catalog record to the streaming service to click on; viola you are all set! 

But, not all the streaming media films in the various packages we own/subscribe to have individual entries in our online catalog.  To see the different streaming media services we are offering and what is in them do this:  From the Libraries' Home Page, on the left side under the heading "Quick Links", click on "Electronic Resources."  Next click on "Media" on the left side or your screen.  Now you should see, on the right side of your screen, quite a long list called "Streaming Video."   These are the streaming media packages whose wares we are offering.  By hovering your mouse over the black icon you learn about the content of the different services.  The services that seem most useful for religious studies subjects are below.  Many are from Alexander Street Press (ASP).  These are listed first, followed by other packages we offer.

Alexander Street Press Streaming Media (ASP)

All of their offerings have the same search interface.  Click on Search box, top right.  Suggestions: religion.  Judaism. Christianity.  Buddhism.  Hinduism, Islam, etc.  To receive more results truncate your searches:  Jew*  Christ* Buddh* Islam*, Muslim* etc.  If results are too numerous, try Filter Your Results, and choose by subject, person, content type, release date, etc. The filter results lists are not in alphabetical order.

60 Minutes: 1997-2014

Television programs. 

Academic Video Online Premium

This link includes all Alexander Street Press' wares, which you search at once.

American History in Video

Just the ASP American History videos.  Ken Burns' programs are here.

Art and Architecture in Video

Try search topics such as: church.  mosque. cathedral.  nave. gothic. synagogue. Surnames of famous artists who have done religious subjects.

Artfilms Digital

Includes content in the areas of Architecture, Visual Art, Design / Fashion / New Media, Film and Cinema, Media and Television, Music, Performing art, Performance Art, Photography, and Theatre.  There are a few in history/politics, language/literature, and philosophy/religion.  The largest number are in film/cinema and theatre.

Asian Film Online

Black Studies in Video

Docuseek2 Complete Collection

Issues based documentary films.

Ethnographic Video Online

Filmakers Library Online

Issues based documentaries

Latin American Video Online

LGBT Studies in Video

Meet the Press

Weekly American television news/interview program broadcast on the network NBC. Began November 6, 1947.  Specializes in interviews with leaders in Washington, D.C., across the country and even the world on issues of politics, economics, foreign policy and other public affairs, along with panel discussions that provide opinions and analysis. It originates from NBC's bureau in Washington, D.C. 

New World Cinema: Independent Features and Shorts, 1990-Present

PBS Video Collection

from Public Broadcasting Service.

World History in Video

Other Streaming Media Services

Ambrose Digital Library

Has:  History of Christianity the First 3,000 Years.  Radical Islam: a Historical Perspective.  Radical Islam: a Historical Perspective Extended Interviews.

Film Platform Full Catalogue

Has subject categories: Arts and Culture.  Jewish studies. Israel/Palestine studies.  Genocide.

Films on Demand: Master Academic Package

Keyword search.  Filter as needed by subject category philosophy and religion, type of production (documentary, feature, etc.), copyright date, producer, language.

HistoryMakers Digital Archive

African- American video oral histories.  in the Topic Search you can filter by historical content/context section for church/religion.  Biographical theme section  has filter for spirituality.  Interview qualities has filters for courage, faith, hope, perseverance, etc.  Personal identity filter has spiritual/religious identity.

Kanopy Films

Documentaries, classic, and indie films.  Prefer other platforms, if possible.

Socialism on Film: the Cold War and International Propaganda

To sample what is possible, click on Explore, then Search Directories.  Then under "B" there is Buddhism.  "C" there are Christianity and Churches.  Under "J" there is Judaism.  Under "R" there are Religion and Religious Groups.

Vanderbilt Television News Archive

Offers indexing and abstracting of over 30,000 evening news broadcasts and news related shows from networks such as ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN. Streaming video of the entire NBC collection dating from August 5th, 1968 to the present and of CNN from 1995 to present are currently available online for MSU community users through our subscription. All other broadcasts must be leased directly through the Vanderbilt Television News Archive.  Searching for such subjects as religion, Christianity, church, synagogue, w, Judaism, Islam, Muslim, etc. will work.

Michael Rodriguez is our Performing Arts subject librarian.  He is the author of our Streaming Video research guide.