LIBRARIANS IN THE MOVIES
An Annotated Filmography

THE B GROUP

A library is used for research, for study, to meet someone, or for some other purpose, but any librarian that might be visible is essentially no more important than a piece of furniture that helps to identify the setting.

ABANDON (2002).  A senior at an elite college faces great pressures to complete her thesis and land a job, but finds life complicated by the unexpected reappearance of her old boyfriend.  She spends a lot of time studying in a library carrel.  In one scene she believe that she is being stalked through the stacks. 

AMERICAN PIE (1999).  A kid is sent to the high school library by his older brother to find a book hidden in a secret compartment in the stacks.

THE AMITYVILLE HORROR (1979).  A man does some research in the local town library, using microfilm.

AMITYVILLE II: THE POSSESSION (1982).  A father uses the local archives to get information about a house that is causing trouble for his family. He is helped by an elderly archivist/librarian who says "I've worked here for 25 years."

ANATOMY OF A MURDER (1959).  Shows lawyers using a library.

AN ANGEL AT MY TABLE (1990).  As a young girl the New Zealand author Janet Frame wins a prize at school -- free admission to the local athenaeum.  She doesn't know what an athenaeum is, but goes anyway.  We first see the impressive edifice looking up from the angle of a small child. We also see crowded and musty- looking stacks through which Janet wanders, collecting books.  She returns home and carefully gives books to each member of her very large family.  (Her father receives a Zane Grey novel, while she keeps a book of fairy tales for herself.)  They are all pleased. These scenes are a testimony to the power of libraries and books in an otherwise harsh existence.

ARLINGTON ROAD (1999).  A professor is being set up as a terrorist.  He uses the campus library and lots of microfilm as he attempts to foil the conspiracy against him. 

THE ASPHALT JUNGLE (1950).  Sam Jaffe is in jail for six years, and for good behavior gets to work in the prison library.

ATONEMENT (2007).  A torrid love scene takes place in the library stacks.   

BABY BOOM (1987).  Diane Keaton uses the library at the small local college to research the market for her baby food.  She asks for (and apparently finds!) titles such as "Progressive Grocer."

BACK TO SCHOOL (1986).  A student tutors and woes a young lady in the school library. 

BACK TO THE FUTURE III (1990).  Marty McFly and Dr. Brown need to learn about events of 1885, so they go to the local "newspaper archives."  It looks suspiciously like an old library -- a large room with high ceilings (their voices echo when they speak), dusty air, and dark wood shelves.  Apparently they sneak in at night, as no other people are present.  They immediately find the exact pages of the newspaper they seek, and also lots of old photographs lying about.

BALL OF FIRE (1941).  Seven professors compiling a dictionary give shelter to a stripteaser on the run from gangsters.  Scenes show them working in the library.

BATTLEFIELD EARTH (2000).  Set in the year 3000, this film includes two scenes of libraries in ruins.  First is the Denver Public Library, where the hero reads the Declaration of Independence.  The other is the Library of Congress, where he learns the secrets of radioactivity.

BE KIND REWIND (2008). Two video store clerks set out to make their own version of Ghostbusters after they accidentally erased the original. They begin with the library scene, although I don't know where they found a library that still used a card catalog!

BEACHES (1988).  Barbara Hershey goes to the library to find out more about her heart condition.

BEAUTIFUL GIRLS (1996).  Rosie O'Donnell says something about a person being a lonely, spinster librarian.  Also, a couple discuss the future of their relationship in the library. 

A BEAUTIFUL MIND (2001).  Several scenes take place in the library at Princeton University.

BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS (1970).  A law student gives a pass to the law library to his girlfriend so they can spend more time together.  She even manages to deal drugs in the stacks.

BIG (1988).  After being granted his wish "to be big" by a fortune teller machine, a young boy goes to the reference desk of a library to find a list of all the carnivals in New York at the moment.  He gets it, of course!

THE BLACKBOARD JUNGLE (1955). A student tries to rape a teacher in the library.

BLACKMAIL (1929).  The climatic chase scene ends atop the British Museum.  The villain falls to his death into the Main Reading Room. 

BLOOD WORK (2002).  Clint Eastwood does a computer database search in the library and, with no visible assistance, retrieves two newspaper articles -- precisely the ones he needs!

BREAKFAST CLUB (1985). Five students serve detention time in the library. One kid switches around a bunch of cards in the card catalog, another tears out pages from a volume of Moliere.

BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY (1988). Michael J. Fox is employed by a magazine to check the facts printed in their articles. Involves much work with reference books.

CABARET (1972). Liza Minelli meets Michael York in the library to announce that she's pregnant.

CAESAR AND CLEOPATRA (1946). Ernest Thesiger plays Theodotus, the librarian in the Library at Alexandria, and also the tutor to the boy-king Ptolemy. As the library burns, he pleads with Caesar for help, claiming that its loss would be "greater than 10,000 lives."

CARRIE (1976). Sissy Spacek searches through her high school library looking for books on mental telepathy.

THE CHOSEN (1981). Through dialog and a scene set in a library "like they used to be," with dark wooden shelves and individual study desks by the windows (the story takes place in New York during the last half of the 1940s), this film portrays the library as a sober yet exciting source of learning and discovery, where a young teen is introduced to great thinkers and writers outside his world of Hasidic Judaism.

CITY OF ANGELS (1998). Seth (Nicolas Cage) is an angel who falls in love with Maggie (Meg Ryan) and wishes he was mortal. Seth and the other angels hang out at the library (supposed to be L.A. from the other scenery, but really the San Francisco Public Library) reading people's thoughts. At the beginning of the movie we hear a woman's thoughts as she stands at an OPAC terminal: "What happened to the cards? You could touch the cards." Later, Maggie is curious to know who left a copy of Hemingway's "A Moveable Feast" on her nightstand (it was Seth) and she returns it to the library whence it came. Approaching a young, helpful but direct librarian (played by Sid Hillman) at a computer terminal, he tells her, "I can't tell you who checked it out, but I can tell you when." The library is also the location for other important meetings between Seth and Maggie. Similar to WINGS OF DESIRE (see below).

THE CLIENT (1994).  A lawyer and his associates use the law library to find information to help place their client (a young boy who witnessed a mob murder) in protective custody.

A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971).  Malcolm McDowell talks with a priest in the prison library.

COLLATERAL (2004).  A man bent on killing a federal prosecutor hunts her down in a law library.

CONFESSIONS OF A NAZI SPY (1939). The FBI investigates a Nazi spy ring operating in the U.S. One character uses the New York Public Library to find a book.

THE CRIMSON RIVERS (Les Rivieres Pourpres) (2000).  This is a tale of two gruesome murders and the policemen who try to solve them.  The first victim is a librarian.  One scene shows the investigators visiting a university library that is in a beautiful old building in the French Alps, but is made to appear sinister and evil by the way it is filmed. 

CROSSROADS (1986). A man uses a microfilm reader in the Julliard library while doing research on a blues musician.

THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW (2004).  This disaster film includes snowstorms in New Delhi, tornados in Los Angeles and an enormous tidal wave in New York City.  A bunch of teenagers take refuge in the New York Public Library where they burn books to keep warm.  They have a short debate about which ones to burn and decide to torch the "whole section of tax codes."  A librarian saves the Gutenberg Bible because, even though he does not believe in God, it symbolizes man's greatest achievement the printed word. Another librarian helps identify the condition of a girl who develops blood sepsis when she cuts her leg. 

DAY OF THE JACKAL (1973). The would-be assassin of Charles de Gaule goes to the Reading Room of the British Museum to study old newspaper accounts of World War II. The information he retrieves drives the rest of the plot.

DEAD HEAT (1988). A detective uses the library to locate an obituary.

THE DEEP (1977). A library is used to find information about sunken treasure found while skin diving.

DEFENCE OF THE REALM (1985). Gabriel Byrne uses newspapers in the public library to trace evidence of a cover-up. He finds what he wants and tears out the section, covering the noise with a cough. Philip Whitchurch is the "Cuttings Librarian."

DR. ZHIVAGO (1965). Uri and Lara meet by chance in a library and begin their love affair.

DOUBLE JEOPARDY (1999). A woman was convicted of murdering her husband, so asked her best friend to adopt her 5-year-old son. When she is released from prison seven years later, she goes to the library to try to find her friend, who has vanished. A young man (not a library employee) helps her use the Internet to try to find her friend and son.

EDUCATING RITA (1983). Rita browses for books in the library during her summer session.

ELEPHANT (2003).  This film is based upon the shootings that took place at Columbine High School in 1999.  The school library was one of the central places involved, so it appears in several scenes.  A student shelving books speaks briefly with the librarian and is then shot by the killers. 

THE EMPEROR'S CLUB (2002).  The movie concerns the relationship between an idealistic prep school teacher and an incorrigible student  One scene includes the stern school librarian who argues with the student over a book he wants to take to his dorm to study. 

ENCHANTED APRIL (1935).  While working in the British Museum library man becomes flustered and knocks a heavy tome off his desk.  The crash elicits tut-tuts from several semi-fossilized fellow researchers.  

EVER AFTER (1998). In one scene "Cinderella" and Prince Henry stroll through the monastery library, while monks transcribe manuscripts in the background.

FATAL ATTRACTION (1987). Michael Douglas confesses his predicament to a colleague in the firm's law library.

THE FBI STORY (1959). Jimmy Stewart kisses and proposes to the librarian, Vera Miles, in the stacks where murder stories are shelved.

FIELD OF DREAMS (1989). Kevin Costner spends quite a bit of time in a library researching a 1960s radical writer. (He even uses the microfilm reader.) Also, parents try to remove books from the school reading list.

FINAL ANALYSIS (1992). Richard Gere is a psychiatrist who becomes involved with a patient's sister. He uses the library (the exterior is the Powell Library at UCLA) to check a dream in the works of Freud. He even uses the book's index.

FINDING FORRESTER (2000). A black high school boy becomes friends with a recluse writer, and together they spend many hours talking about books. Several scenes show them using the online catalog in the New York Public Library. The boy also does research in the NYPL. Sophia Wu is a librarian.

FREEDOM WRITERS (2007).  This is the true story of a teacher who works with students at risk.  After having them read The Diary of Anne Frank, she invites Miep Gies, the woman who hid the Frank family, to visit them in Los Angeles.  Her visit takes place in the school library.

FRIGHT NIGHT II (1989). A college couple agree to meet in the library to study. The young man brings dinner, flowers, and a portable TV, which they watch while they eat! A vampire arrives and a fight ensues. Stacks are overturned in the fracas. No one else appears to be in the library.

GODS AND MONSTERS (1998). A man hired as a gardener goes to the library to find out about his employer. There the young librarian in a sweater and ponytail (Lisa Vastine) brings him a few huge volumes of bound newspapers.

GOLDENEYE (1995). James Bond and his girl du jour flee from peril through the library (with an interesting grill-work floor). The room gets pretty well shot up by the pursuing villains.

THE GRADUATE (1967). Dustin Hoffman hangs out in the UC Berkeley reference room (although the scenes were actually shot at USC).

THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE (1991). A friend of the unfortunate mother uses newspapers on microfilm in the public library to find out the origins of the evil nanny.

HARD-BOILED [Lashou shentan] (1992 -- made in Hong Kong). Tony Leung is a police plant in a gang who assassinates someone in a library. The gun used in the crime is hidden in a book on the shelf, and like a good patron the assassin reshelves the book. Yun-Fat Chow, the investigating cop, deduces that there was a book on the table across from the victim (based on the flow of blood) and without consulting the card catalog finds the book and the weapon. He then pursues the bad guy and eventually finds him. A librarian (Hoi-Shan Lai) makes brief appearances.

HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS (2002).  The library is the source of important information that helps solve the mysterious goings-on at Hogwarts. It is also where students quietly study amid wonderful leather-bound books with no computer in sight.

HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE (2005).  Harry, Hermione and Ron consult old books in the school library to find a spell that will allow them to breathe under water. 

HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE (2001). A scene takes place in the Hogwarts library (filmed in the Bodleian Library at Oxford) where the students look up information on magic. The impression is that information can help solve problems and that the library is where you find information. Another scene is a night-time visit to the "locked section" of the library where dangerous books are kept.

HENRY FOOL (1997). Henry is an ex-con who spends lots of time in the library writing his magnum opus about his life, and because he thinks it is a good place to pick up girls. He tries to get his parole officer to find him a job as an assistant librarian, to no avail.

HER ALIBI (1989). Tom Selleck is a writer. He discusses his new book with his editor while standing in the library stacks.

HORROR OF DRACULA (1958). An investigator is sent to Dracula's castle on the pretext of cataloging the Count's rare books and journals. In reality he is an undercover vampire killer intent on destroying the evil count, but he is turned into a vampire and eventually killed.

HOT SPELL (1958).  A woman who has come to the library to visit her son, who works as a clerk there, is shushed by the librarian (played by Elsie Weller). 

HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY [Quella villa accanto al cimitero] (1981). A professor rents a 19th century house for his family while he does research. But the house is haunted by an evil zombie who eventually kills everyone, with much blood and gore. Along the way the professor is aided in his research by an unctuous librarian (Carlo de Mejo).

INCIDENT AT DARK RIVER (1989). After his daughter dies as a result of pollution in the river behind his home, Mike Farrell takes on the local battery factory, using the university library to trace information on pollution. He also learns about a local environmental group.

INCREDIBLE HULK (2008). Dr. Banner ducks into a building to evade the bad guys who are chasing him. It turns out to be the library, where he runs among several ranges of books.

INFERNO (1980). Contains a brief scene in what appears to be "the library from hell" where the hero goes in search of a rare occult text.

INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE (1994). In one a scene a young girl vampire studies in a beautiful 19th century library.

THE IPCRESS FILE (1965).  A spy contacts man who has secret files for sale.  They meet in a library and a 'chase' ensues.  (Since running is forbidden in the library, the spy has to out-walk the other guy's bodyguard.) 

JÉSUS OF MONTRÉAL (1989).  An actor uses the library to find information about the crucifixion of Jesus, in preparation for directing a passion play.  The librarian comes toward his study table pushing a book cart and whispers earnestly, "Looking for Jesus?  Perhaps he will find you."  In French, with English subtitles.  

JUMPER (2008).  A high school boy discovers he can transport himself instantaneously to anyplace on earth. Several times he ends up in the school library, and one time, when he transports while he is drowning in a lake, the stacks are flooded with water. 

JUST ANOTHER GIRL ON THE I.R.T. (1992). A young girl becomes pregnant and spends time in the library looking up information about pregnancy. She also argues with the boy who is the father of her unborn baby.

KINGSAJZ (1988). This comedy follows a young scientist in the contemporary world who actually came from the world of dwarves, thanks to a magic potion, held by the Big Eater, ruler of the dwarves. The dwarf kingdom, Shuflandia, exists in a cellar of a library, and only the most obedient get the chance to grow to king size and inhabit the larger world. Once there, nobody wants to return to Shuflandia.

A KISS BEFORE DYING (1991). A young woman suspects her brother- in-law of murdering her sister. She visits the law library to talk to her sister's former boyfriend, and the main library to check their class yearbook. Filmed at the University College in London, in the Scandinavian Library, with nary a law book in sight.

LAST EMBRACE (1979). Part of this detective thriller takes place in a Jewish synagogue in New York City, where the books are not treated well. Another long scene involves library researchers trying to find who murdered the hero and why.

LEGALLY BLONDE (2001). Since this is about law students, several scenes take place in the library.

LIKELY LADS (1976). A man meets his wife at the library after work, but he is drunk and distressed (the local pub has just closed) and he causes a disturbance. Readers and library staff shush him.

LISTA DE ESPERA (2000).  A Cuban film about a group of people who are stuck at a bus station for months waiting for their bus to arrive.  They work together to create their own society.  One of the things they do is build a library.  In Spanish. 

LOGAN'S RUN (1976). Futuristic film where no one is allowed to live beyond 30. Michael York and friends escape to city above ground that happens to be Washington D.C., and come to the Library of Congress where they meet Peter Ustinov, who explains what a library is, etc.

THE LONGEST YARD (2005).  Characters use the prison library while being taunted by the guards. 

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (2001). Needing to learn more about the Ruling Ring, Gandalf the Grey goes to a library in the city of Minas Tirith where, after poring through many ancient books and scrolls, he finds a passage that reveals how it can be identified, and how it can be destroyed. No librarian is shown, but in the book the Steward, Lord Denethor, calls himself the "master of lore" of the city.  Gandalf smokes his pipe and sips from a goblet while poring over manuscripts at least a thousand years old.  You'd think there would be more stringent rules! 

LORENZO'S OIL (1992). The parents of a dying boy try to find a cure, along the way doing much research in libraries. A reference librarian (played by Mary Pat Gleason) at the National Library of Medicine helps them find an article in a veterinary science journal. (The scene was actually filmed in Pittsburgh at the Allegheny County Law Library.)

LOVE, MARY (1985). A dyslexic woman, in prison, is sent to college on a special program. A number of scenes take place in the library.

LOVE ME TONIGHT (1932).  Maurice Chavalier is a tailor who is mistaken for royalty when he visits a chateau.  While most of the guests leave for a hunt, one stays behind, saying he intends to do his hunting in the library.  When the owner of the chateau returns, he meets the man in the library and learns that Chevalier's pretended title does not exist. 

LOVE MY LIFE (2006).  Several scenes take place in a university library.  Students meet there to visit, and in on scene the library shushes them for talking to loudly.  In Japanese, with subtitles.   

LUCKY JIM (1957). A new university lecturer must do the bidding of an absent-minded and boring professor in order to keep his job. Several scenes are set in the college library.

MAGNOLIA (1999). One of the central characters spends an extended scene in the school library looking at books. Later, another man mentions that his mother was a librarian.

MALCOLM X (1992). Contains a scene in the prison library.

THE MAN WITHOUT A FACE (1993).  A brief scene, filmed in the Camden (Maine) public library, shows a boy looking up a story in a newspaper.  He pauses for a moment with a thoughtful gaze on his face.  The exterior of the building is also shown. 

THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (2004).  An army officer researches a politically powerful and corrupt international corporation at the New York Public Library.  Using the Internet, microfilm and a lot of coins in the copy machine, he compiles damning evidence against the company.   

MANHATTAN PROJECT (1986). A very bright young boy builds his own atomic bomb using stolen plutonium and resources readily available in his local college library.  Several scenes were filmed in a real library. 

MARATHON MAN (1976). Dustin Hoffman hangs out in the Columbia University library. (But it was actually filmed at USC.)

MATILDA (1996). The main character, a brilliant little girl named Matilda Wormwood, is mistreated by her family, who spend most of their time eating and watching television. When Matilda says she would rather read, her incredulous father cries, "Read? What do you want to read for when you got a perfectly good TV set right here?" Left alone most of the time she teaches herself to read, and walks to the library to read not only "Heidi" and "Ivanhoe," but also "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and "Moby Dick." The librarian is a stereotypical grandmotherly type who at first frightens Matilda (or perhaps Matilda is simply being very polite), but soon gains her confidence with a smile.

MISERY (1990). The local sheriff uses the library.

THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES (2002).  A scene was filmed in the library at Carnegie Mellon University.  The library is in an older building with some areas that exude a Gothic look and feel, with no signs of technology.  In fact, the library is a totally wireless facility! 

MY SCIENCE PROJECT (1985).  As three students walk through the school library they pass the reference desk where the librarian lies sound asleep.  Linda Hoy is another librarian who is a bit more helpful.

THE NASTY GIRL [Das Schreckliche Madchen] (1990). A good part of the plot revolves around the heroine's attempt to get into a tightly controlled city archive. Despite the title, the film is not rated triple-X. The "nasty girl" is so called because she upsets local people by digging up information on what happened in her home town during the Nazi regime. In German, with English subtitles.

NATIONAL TREASURE (2004).  Two would-be thieves do some research on the Library of Congress, trying to find a way to break into the National Archives so they can steal a priceless historical document. 

NATIONAL TREASURE: BOOK OF SECRETS (2007).  The treasure hunters again use the Library of Congress, this time to find information about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. 

NECRONOMICON (1993). H. P. Lovecraft, the well-known horror writer, is looking in the late thirties after the book "Necronomicon." He finds it guarded by monks in an old library.

NEVER BEEN KISSED (1999). Two girls talk in the school library about getting dates to the prom.

NIGHT OF THE DEMON (1957).  A fellow researches in the British Library, with some assistance from a librarian (John Salew).

THE NIGHT STRANGLER (1972, made-for-TV). The timid researcher in the newspaper library helps Darren McGavin solve a strange series of murders.

NINTH GATE (1999). A dealer in rare books tries to track down a demonic text. His search takes him to several libraries and archives.

NOW AND THEN (1995). Four girls go to a library to look through old newspapers to find out about the death of one of their mothers.

ON THE BEACH (1959). As a cloud of nuclear fallout slowly works it way to Australia, people examine their lives and relationships before they face death in a matter of months. A rally for the people to "save their souls" is held in front of the State Library of Victoria. The scene shows the forecourt of the library and the various statues and gardens.

OSMOSIS JONES (2001).  Frank Detomello catches a cold.  The inside of his body is known as the "City of Frank" to its inhabitants.  Osmosis Jones is a maverick white blood cell cop, paired with a no-nonsense partner, Drixorial, a cold tablet.  The two must protect their human host from more than just a simple cold.  They team up to fight the invading viruses intent on taking over the City.  In one scene, Osmosis and Drix, are doing research in a library -- the brain, of course.

PAPERBACK ROMANCE (1997). A young woman, an author of romance novels, is writing at a desk in the library. She attracts the attention of a young man nearby when she reads passages aloud. (Originally released in 1994 as "Lucky Break.")

PASSPORT TO PIMLICO (1949). Some friends find an ancient treaty that allows them to create their own country in the middle of London. Two of them go to the public library to look up details about a coat of arms they have found.

THE PELICAN BRIEF (1993). A law school student uses the library to develop a theory on why several people have been murdered.

THE PHOTOGRAPH (2002).  This low-budget feature tells the story of a woman who is unhappy with her life and becomes obsessed with a famous movie star.  She finds an ancient book that might help her but to use it she must face grave danger.  The screenwriter wanted to show scenes in an old library with a basement and underground tunnels, but he could not find one.  A newspaper article led him to the public library in Commerce, Texas, where he found exactly what he had in mind. 

PLAIN CLOTHES (1988). A cop goes back to high school to solve a murder. He uses the library to make connections with the evidence.

POSSESSION (2002).  A man researching a 19th century poet in the library finds a letter in a book.  He hides from the librarian and steals the letter. 

POSITIVE I.D. (1987). The lead character goes to the library to look through old newspapers. As she is leafing through some large bound volumes she remarks to the librarian that "I thought that this was going to be on microfilm." The librarian replies, "This newspaper?"

PRETTY IN PINK (1986).  A boy flirts with a girl he likes by sending messages to the computer she's working on in the school library.   

PRICK UP YOUR EARS (1987).  This is the story of the life and violent death of Joe Orton, the British playwright.  In one scene two men vandalize public library books, are chased out of the library by the irate librarian, and get six months in jail. The female librarian is prim and proper; the male librarian devises a scheme to get proof of the crime.  (Our reporter in the field says "the library where the vandalising takes place is in south Islington [UK] and used to be my local library.")

THE PRINCE AND ME (2004).  The main characters study in the library and look for books in the stacks. 

THE PROGRAM (1993). A college football team is having a difficult time, and part of the solution is found by tutoring them. Several scenes take place in the library.

PUMP UP THE VOLUME (1990). A shy high school student is pursued by a fellow student and library clerk. She quizzes him on his (possibly embarrassing) choice of reading materials while marking up a copy of the school newspaper (hers? the library's?) to indicate possible romantic prospects.

QUATERMASS AND THE PIT (1967). Noel Howlett is an archivist/librarian at Westminster Abbey. He translates information about "an outbreak of evil" from a medieval Latin codex that allows Quatermass and his assistant to break a "time line" for the ongoing psychic disturbances at Hobbs End. (Released in the U.S. in 1968 as FIVE MILLION YEARS TO EARTH.)

THE RACE FOR THE DOUBLE HELIX (1987, made-for-TV). Scientists are in a fierce competition to be the first to discover the structure of DNA. Two of them use the library to find a paper by Linus Pauling, charming the librarian and sitting on the floor in the stacks.

RACE WITH THE DEVIL (1975). Two couples steal a reference book.

RACING WITH THE MOON (1984). A library offers book delivery service to injured soldiers in the hospital.

REGARDING HENRY (1991). Harrison Ford has lost his memory. His eleven-year-old daughter takes him to the New York Public Library because she has some studying to do. He is supposed to be reading the National Geographic, but instead he folds call number slips into wads and flicks them at her. She is disgusted with his childish behavior.

REMEMBER ME (2010).  A scene shows a young man shelving books in the college library while talking to his buddy about going out. 

RICOCHET (1991). John Lithgow breaks out of prison by stealing a bookmobile and taking the librarian hostage. After he and his cohorts escape, they murder the librarian, set the bookmobile on fire, and send it over a cliff.

RUNNING ON EMPTY (1988). A one-time student radical has been on the run from the FBI for seventeen years. He uses the library newspapers on microfilm for obituary notices to find a new identity. Justine Johnston is a librarian.

RUSHMORE (1998). A student asks the school librarian who has checked out a book, and is told. Our reporter in the field writes, "While I was upset that the librarian gave the information, I did think it was positive that the librarian is played by a handsome African-American man." (I don't know the name of the actor.)

SCHOOL DAZE (1988).  A college freshman wants to get into a fraternity but has trouble.  His cousin agrees to help him and they meet in the campus library to discuss the situation. 

SCREAM 2 (1997). Sydney is working at a computer in the college library when her stalker sends her a nasty message over the library's network.

SE7EN (1995). Two detectives (Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt) work together to solve a series of murders that follow the seven deadly sins. At one point Freeman contacts a "friend" in the FBI who gives him a list of people who have recently borrowed certain books dealing with sins. This leads the two detectives to the killer's apartment. In one scene Freeman chastises the library guards, saying "I'll never understand it--all these books--a world of knowledge at your fingertips--and you play poker all night."

SEX AND THE CITY (2008).  A sex writer sees a wedding in the New York Public Library while she is there returning a book, and decides to hold her upcoming wedding there, too. 

SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991).  Clarice looks at newspapers on microfilm to learn more about Hannibal Lecter's nefarious past. 

SLIVER (1993).  A woman researches in the library, using microfiche. 

THE SKULLS (2000). A dumb movie about college students who join a secret club that does nasty things. After one boy is killed, his buddy tries to catch the culprit. He follows him into the library but loses him in the special collections area. Later he is again spotted in special collections; perhaps he is a librarian!

SLEEPERS (1996). Two scenes are set in the library of the reform school, but no librarians appear.

SLIDING DOORS (1998). A cheating boyfriend says he is going to the library. His girl friend follows him to make sure. While at the library, he calls his lover to tell her he is at the library and will not be able to make their date.

SMILLA'S SENSE OF SNOW (1997). A woman suspects that a boy's death was not an accident, as the authorities claim. During her investigation to uncover the truth, she breaks into a corporate archive/library to get information.

THE SNAPPER (1993). This is a comedy about a working class Irish family with a pregnant daughter. Her father goes to the library to borrow a book on pregnancy, telling the librarian "It's for the wife."

SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL (1987). A key scene featuring Lea Thompson and Eric Stolz is set in their high school library.

SOUL MAN (1986). A white student turns himself black so he can earn a scholarship to law school. Several scenes were shot in the Harvard Law School library.

SOULKEEPER (2001, made-for-TV). A young man helps two friends find information online. When their search is interrupted by a power outage, he says, "If you want anything else, you'll have to try the library." So they visit the library, a large building filled with dark wood shelves and heavy light fixtures, where they use the card catalog to find the dusty tomes they need.

SPENCER'S MOUNTAIN (1963). A wholesome tale of a rural family, later to be immortalized as the Waltons. During his summer vacation the eldest son, James McArthur, sets up a public library and runs it for the benefit of the community.

STRAIGHT TALK (1992). Dolly Parton walks into a Chicago library and asks about a job. The ogre at the circulation desk (Susan Philpot) stares at her short, tight dress, shakes her head and says, "I don't think so."

THE SUBSTITUTE (1996). Tom Berenger is a former CIA agent who goes undercover at a high school to find out who is behind an attack on his girlfriend, who is a teacher there. Several gang members try to beat him up in the library, but he manages to throw most of them out the window. He locks up all their guns in a caged office (in the library!) but soon after is shot by one kid who finds another gun. The kid then turns to shoot the librarian but she pulls a gun on him. Berenger then revives (he was wearing a bullet-proof vest) and tosses the kid out the window. Our correspondent says this is a "very dumb movie except for this scene."

SUMMER SCHOOL (1987). A high school gym teacher takes his class to the library so they can work on book reports.

SURRENDER DOROTHY (1998).  A young man wants to turn his roommate into a woman.  Eventually he decides that he needs information on specific surgical procedures, so he goes to the Philadelphia Free Library to do research. 

SUSPECT (1987). Cher plays a public defender who gets help from a member of the jury to win the case. Features a library scene where both of them try to avoid being seen together by the judge.

TALE OF A VAMPIRE (1992). A young woman mourning the mysterious death of her fiancée lands a job at a library that specializes in the occult. She interacts with two library patrons, one of whom turns out to be a vampire and seduces her because she resembles his lost love.

THE TAO OF STEVE (2000). A fellow at a college reunion has a sexual encounter with another man's wife in the library stacks.

TEEN WOLF II (1987).  A young man meets his love in the college library.  A stereotypical librarian gives the students some sharp looks because they are making too much noise. 

TEREZIN DIARY (1991). This documentary about Hitler's concentration camp near Prague includes a scene of the camp library (from a German propaganda film) followed by a survivor's memory of how a friend of his, a librarian, was crushed to death by a German with a tractor "for pure pleasure."

THREESOME (1994). A different kind of love triangle involving two college boys and their roommate, a girl mistakenly assigned to their room because her name is Alex. The college library is the scene of a hilarious seduction attempt that fails.

THE THIEF (1952). An odd spy movie that has no dialog. Ray Milland looks for microfilm hidden in a card catalog drawer in the Library of Congress.

THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE (2009).  A woman becomes involved with a Chicago special collections librarian (played by Eric Bana) who has a genetic disorder that causes him to involuntarily travel through time. 

TRUE COLORS (1991). An ambitious law student must spend Christmas at school so he uses the library to read magazines. Set in the University of Virginia Science and Engineering Library (formerly the law school library).

THE TRUMAN SHOW (1998). Truman and the lovely dark haired young woman meet in the campus library.  The library scenes were filmed in the Fort Walton Beach Campus Library, a facility shared by the Okaloosa-Walton College and The University of West Florida.  A real librarian served as a consultant and as an "extra" who portrayed the librarian, but her scene was cut from the final version of the film. 

UHF (1989). A young man who seems unable to keep any job because of his tendency to drift off into bizarre daydreams becomes general manager of a shoestring UHF television station that his uncle won in a poker game. The station is on the verge of bankruptcy but rises in the ratings as a result of the wacky programming he puts on the air, including such features as "Wheel of Fish" and "Conan the Librarian." A 30-second promotional ad for the latter program shows a Schwarzenegger-like young man (Roger Callard) dressed in leather asking "Don't ya know da Dewey Decimal System?" and executing a patron who comes to the desk with an overdue item.

URBAN LEGEND (1998). In this campus killer-thriller the heroine and a future victim meet in the library where they find a book on urban legends that was last checked out by the campus practical joker.

WAR GAMES (1983). Matthew Broderick goes to the library to find information about a computer programmer. Filmed in the California State University Long Beach library.

THE WAY WE WERE (1973). Barbara Streisand pretends to study in the college library, but uses the opportunity to sneak peeks at gorgeous Robert Redford.

WET GOLD (1984, made-for-TV). A waitress comes upon a drunken old man who tells her a story of a sunken ship filled with gold. Her boyfriend doesn't believe the old man's tale, so she goes to the library, where she finds an old newspaper article that matches what he told her. Then they all go off to find the lost treasure.

WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER (2001). Two people ask a friend where they might find books on astrophysics and camp directing. They are directed to the library. The next scene shows them in the "Waterville, Maine" Public Library looking at books in the stacks marked "Astrophysics" and "Camp Directing."

WHAT DREAMS MAY COME (1998). A man and wife lose their two children in an auto accident. Four years later the husband dies, too. He goes to heaven, but his wife, out of despair for her lost family, commits suicide and ends up in hell. The husband wants to find her and help her, but he needs a guide. He meets his guide in a library.

WHAT'S NEW PUSSYCAT? (1965). Woody Allen is chased around the library by a bad guy who wants his girlfriend's book. She eventually hits him with the book and knocks him unconscious.

WINSLOW BOY (1999). Based on a true case from 1910 England, this film depicts a father's efforts to defend his son who has been accused of theft. His sister does much ad hoc research in the law library and finds cases that might be helpful.

WHISPER OF THE HEART [Mimi wo sumaseba] (1995).  A young girl (whose father happens to be a librarian) regularly visits her school library and soon discovers that every book she wants to read has already been checked out by the same boy.  

THE WHISPERERS (1966). A lonely and confused old lady spends a good deal of time warming herself in the local library.

WINGS OF DESIRE [Der Himmel uber Berlin] (1987). Bruno Ganz and Peter Falk appear in this story of an angel who longs to be mortal. The new Staatsbibliothek in Berlin is the setting for an early scene in which angels are at work comforting people. Because we, like the angels, can hear the often despairing thoughts of the patrons as they sit alone in their carrels, we realize that the crowded library is the "noisiest" place in the city. One of the most touching library scenes found in film. In German, with English subtitles.

THE YOUNG POISONER'S HANDBOOK (1995). Based on the real-life exploits of a young man who poisons his family and friends. In an early scene the young, pretty library clerk allows him to check out restricted books on poisons.

YOUNG SHERLOCK HOLMES (1985). Holmes and Watson meet as teenage students. Several scenes take place in a library.

Z.P.G. [Zero Population Growth] (1972). In the over-crowded 21st century human reproduction is outlawed. When the heroine becomes secretly pregnant her husband accesses an automated library cubicle for information on childbirth and is immediately arrested and interrogated. The "library" has no human attendant. Even the interrogators are unseen.

ZARDOZ (1974). Sean Connery finds in a forgotten library (it is the year 2239 and everything is covered with dust) the book that helps him discover the secret of Zardoz.


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