Wikipedia:Notability (films)

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The notability guideline for film-related articles is a standard for deciding if a film-related topic can have its own article. For the majority of topics related to film, the criteria established at the general notability guideline are sufficient to follow. This guideline, specific to the subject of film, explains the general notability guideline as it applies to film and also takes into consideration other core Wikipedia policies and guidelines as they apply to determining stand-alone articles or stand-alone lists for film.

General principles[edit]

The general notability guideline states: "If a topic has received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject, it is presumed to satisfy the inclusion criteria for a stand-alone article or stand-alone list." The link to the main article explains each criterion. A topic might be considered notable even if it only satisfies some of the criteria. Conversely, even if a topic is presumed to satisfy all of the criteria, group consensus may still determine that it does not qualify as a stand-alone article.

Additional criteria for the evaluation of films are outlined in the sections below.

Reliable sources[edit]

One of the general notability guideline's criteria is that coverage should come from reliable sources that are independent of the subject. This section discusses a source's independence and reliability.

  • Independence: The source needs to be independent of the topic, meaning that the author and the publisher are not directly associated with the topic. Authors should not include members of the production, and publishers should not include the studio or companies working with it on the production and release. The kinds of sources that are considered independent are those that have covered topics unrelated to the one at hand, such as periodicals. Books that discuss a film in a larger context or among other films are also potential sources; see this section's last paragraph regarding the amount of coverage in a source. Press releases, even if they are reprinted by sources unrelated to the production, are not considered independent.
  • Reliability: The content guideline to identify reliable sources says, "Reliable sources may be published materials with a reliable publication process, authors who are regarded as authoritative in relation to the subject, or both." Sources that have published materials in print (such as newspapers and other periodicals) are reliable if their publication process is considered reliable. If these sources also publish materials online, then it is usually fair to assume that these materials have a similar publication process (see WP:NEWSBLOG). If sources publish materials only online, then their publication process and/or the authority of the author should be scrutinized carefully.

To presume notability, reliable sources should have significant coverage. Examples of coverage insufficient to fully establish notability include newspaper listings of screening times and venues, "capsule reviews", plot summaries without critical commentary, or listings in comprehensive film guides such as Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide, Time Out Film Guide, or the Internet Movie Database.[1]

Other evidence of notability[edit]

A topic related to film may not meet the criteria of the general notability guideline, but significant coverage is not always possible to find on the Internet, especially for older films.

These criteria below are presented as rules of thumb for easily identifying films that Wikipedia should probably have articles about. In almost all cases, a thorough search for independent, third-party reliable sources will be successful for a film meeting one or more of these criteria. However, meeting these criteria is not an absolute guarantee that Wikipedia should have a separate, stand-alone article entirely dedicated to the film.

The following are attributes that generally indicate, when supported with reliable sources, that the required sources are likely to exist:

  1. The film is widely distributed and has received full-length reviews by two or more nationally known critics.
  2. The film is historically notable, as evidenced by one or more of the following:
    • Publication of at least two non-trivial articles, at least five years after the film's initial release.
    • The film was deemed notable by a broad survey of film critics, academics, or movie professionals, when such a poll was conducted at least five years after the film's release.[2]
    • The film was given a commercial re-release, or screened in a festival, at least five years after initial release.
    • The film was featured as part of a documentary, program, or retrospective on the history of cinema.
  3. The film has received a major award for excellence in some aspect of filmmaking.[3]
  4. The film was selected for preservation in a national archive.[4]
  5. The film is "taught" as a subject at an accredited university or college with a notable film program.

Inclusionary criteria[edit]

Some films that do not pass the above tests may still be notable, and should be evaluated on their own merits. The article's ability to attest to a film's notability through verifiable sources is significant. Some inclusionary criteria to consider are:

  1. The film represents a unique accomplishment in cinema, is a milestone in the development of film art, or contributes significantly to the development of a national cinema, with such verifiable claims as "The only cel-animated feature film ever made in Thailand" (See The Adventure of Sudsakorn)[5]
  2. The film features significant involvement (i.e., one of the most important roles in the making of the film) by a notable person and is a major part of their career.
    • An article on the film should be created only if there is enough information on it that it would clutter up the biography page of that person if it was mentioned there.
  3. The film was successfully distributed domestically in a country that is not a major film producing country, and was produced by that country's equivalent of a "major film studio". Articles on such a film should assert that the film in question was notable for something more than merely having been produced, and if any document can be found to support this, in any language, it should be cited.[6]

Future films, incomplete films, and undistributed films[edit]

Films that have not been confirmed by reliable sources to have commenced principal photography should not have their own articles, as budget issues, scripting issues and casting issues can interfere with a project well ahead of its intended filming date. The assumption should also not be made that because a film is likely to be a high-profile release it will be immune to setbacks—there is no "sure thing" production. Until the start of principal photography, information on the film might be included in articles about its subject material, if available. Sources must be used to confirm the start of principal photography after shooting has begun.

In the case of animated films, reliable sources must confirm that the film is clearly out of the pre-production process, meaning that the final animation frames are actively being drawn or rendered, and final recordings of voice-overs and music have commenced.[7]

Additionally, films that have already begun shooting, but have not yet been publicly released (theatres or video), should generally not have their own articles unless the production itself is notable per the notability guidelines. Similarly, films produced in the past which were either not completed or not distributed should not have their own articles, unless their failure was notable per the guidelines.

Character articles[edit]

Film character articles should follow the recommendations at WP:GNG and WP:NFICT before being created.

If a film character was adapted from another medium or work, and the original incarnation of the character already has an article, a new article should not be created for the adptated version unless one of the following criteria has been met:

Please note that simply meeting the criteria above does not automatically mean an adapted character should have their own article. Before creating an article in the mainspace or moving a draft to the mainspace, please discuss on the draft's talk page, the film or television series' talk page, or relevant WikiProject talk pages to ensure the character is notable to justify a split of the original incarnation's article. Please also note that some franchises, such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe task force's WP:MCUCHARACTERS, have franchise-specific criteria which expand on this guideline.


When seeking out references to establish the notability of a film, and to provide the necessary information for a thorough article of high quality, consider some of these resources:

  1. A film's entry in the The Internet Movie Database, or similar databases, can provide valuable information including links to reviews, articles, and media references. A page in the database does not by itself establish the film's notability, however.
  2. Film and entertainment periodicals abound. Many magazines in Category:Film magazines can provide good references and indicators of notability.
  3. Films which premiere at certain major film festivals (e.g. Toronto, Cannes, Berlin, Sundance, Telluride) will very likely see reviews in significant WP:GNG-worthy publications within the next few days. A film's notability must not, however, depend on sourcing it to the film festivals' own self-published catalogues of their own film lineups; a film can screen at a major film festival and still not attain sufficient notability to qualify for an article.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Many of these sources can provide valuable information, and point to other sources, but in themselves do not indicate a notable subject. Similar cases of publications where a mention does not establish notability may include: reviews that are part of a comprehensive review of ALL films in a particular festival, that don't assert anything regarding the notability of individual entries; other forms of comprehensive, non-selective coverage; and some web-based reviews by amateur critics who have not established their own notability as critics.
  2. ^ Examples would include the Sight and Sound Poll, AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies, Time Out Centenary of Cinema, 1999 Village Voice Critics Poll, Positif's poll, etc.
  3. ^ This criterion is secondary. Most films that satisfy this criterion already satisfy the first criterion. However, this criterion ensures that our coverage of such content will be complete. Standards have not yet been established to define a major award, but it's not to be doubted that an Academy Award, or Palme D'or, Camera D'or, or Grand Prix from Cannes would certainly be included. Many major festivals such as Venice or Berlin should be expected to fit our standard as well.
  4. ^ See The United States National Film Registry for one example. Any nation with a comparable archive would equally meet our standards.
  5. ^ This should not be too widely construed, as any film could claim a unique accomplishment such as "Only film where seven women in an elevator carry yellow handbags."
  6. ^ This criterion ensures that our coverage of important films in small markets will be complete, particularly in the case of countries which do not have widespread internet connectivity (or do not have online archives of important film-related publications) and whose libraries and journals are not readily available to most editors of the English Wikipedia. In this case "major film producing country" can be roughly approximated as any country producing 20 or more films in a year, according to the report by UNESCO. Defining a "major studio" is highly dependent on the country in question.
  7. ^ Common steps in the animated film pre-production process are usually geared towards pitching the idea of the film by previewing the final product (for instance, storyboards, scratch voice-over tracks, and rough animations also known as "reels"), and such events do not fulfill the requirements of this guideline. Instead, this guideline attempts to ensure that the film has been green-lighted and is currently in production, as evidenced by activities analogous to live-action filming, such as recording of final voice-over tracks by credited voice actors, recording of final music and foley sound effects, and drawing or rendering of final animation frames.

Relevant debates[edit]