Wikipedia:Notability (movies)

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All articles in Simple English Wikipedia must be about notable subjects. This page shows how notability is used for movies. Notability is different from "fame", "importance" or "popularity", although these may affect it.

Important note: If a new article does not fully meet these notability guidelines, that is not a reason for quick deletion. A claim of notability is enough to avoid quick deletion under A4, even if someone disagrees with the claim. This would then need a full Reason for deletion process to decide if the article should be included in Wikipedia.

In order to meet Wikipedia's rules for notability, the article must show that the guidelines have been met. Evidence with references should be included. This is an important part of the rules about keeping articles. But remember, notability is only one part of the rules about keeping articles. Other rules that can affect an article include:

General rules[change source]

Main article: Wikipedia:General notability guideline

First, be sure to read the general notability guideline. It gives the general rules for notability for all subjects. For articles about movies, it is sometimes hard to satisfy all the rules on that page. This page gives other ways to show notability for movies. Remember: showing that a movie is notable is only one step in getting an article on Wikipedia. It is up to consensus to decide if an article stays on Wikipedia.

Reliable sources[change source]

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

  • Reliability: First, please read WP:reliable sources. If a source is not a reliable source, it cannot be used as evidence to show notability.
Even in sources that are otherwise reliable sources, only coverage that is independent of the source and significant can be used to show notability. A whole article in The New York Times about a movie could be used to help show notability. A routine movie listing and description in the same newspaper cannot be used to help show notability. See following sections.
  • Independence: The source cannot be linked to the subject. Usually, if a person or organization writes or publishes about itself, this writing is not a good source. Even a source that is usually reliable is not considered reliable when it writes about itself. In the case of movies, people working on a movie are not reliable sources, because they are not independent. Things published by, or with the help of, movie studios, are not reliable.
Sources that cover subjects besides movies (like regular newspapers) are usually more reliable than sources that only cover movies. Books that discuss a movie in a larger context or among other movies can also be good sources. Press releases are not considered independent, even if other sources print them.

Also, to show notability, reliable sources must also have significant coverage. This means that the reliable source is writing in detail about this movie—and not about all movies.

  • Many newspapers run lists of the times that movies are shown in local theaters. These lists sometimes include short descriptions of the movie. (These are often called "showtimes" or "cinema listings".) These are not considered "significant coverage" because newspapers do this for all movies while they are showing.
  • The same way, movie guides like Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide (en), Time Out Film Guide (en), or the Internet Movie Database include descriptions of nearly all movies. So they are not usually considered "significant coverage". (However, Leonard Maltin himself is a notable critic. His reviews in other places could help establish notability. See below.)
  • Web-based reviews by amateur critics who have not established their own notability as critics are also not considered "significant coverage".

Many sources that are not considered "significant" can still provide valuable information. They point to other, reliable, sources. They can also be used (sometimes) to fill in extra details (like lists of less-important actors in the movie). But by themselves they do not show that a movie is notable.

Other evidence of notability[change source]

Sometimes, it is hard to find enough evidence on the Internet to meet the rules in the general notability guideline, especially for older movies. Here are other types of evidence you can use—when supported with reliable sources—to show notability for movies.

  1. The movie was widely distributed and has received full-length reviews by two or more nationally known critics.
  2. The movie is historically notable, as shown by:
  3. The movie received a major award for excellence in some aspect of movie making.[1]
  4. The movie was selected for preservation in a national archive.[2]
  5. The movie is "taught" as a subject at a university or college with a notable film (movie) program.

These ideas are presented as rules of thumb. They should give you a quick idea if a movie should have an article here. Usually, you will be able to find independent, third-party reliable sources about movies meeting one or more of these rules. But meeting these rules is not an absolute guarantee that Wikipedia should have a separate article about this specific movie.

Some movies that do not pass the above tests may still be notable. The article still must show a movie's notability through reliable sources. Some other rules to consider are:

  1. The movie did something unique in the art of movie-making, either worldwide or in a specific country. In that case, write a specific, verifiable claim such as "The only cel-animated full-length movie ever made in Thailand". [See The Adventure of Sudsakorn (en) (th).][3]
  2. A notable person had one of the most important roles in the making the movie, and the movie is a major part of his or her career.
    • An article on the movie 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 in detail.
  3. The movie was successfully released in a country that is not a major movie-producing country, and was made by that country's equivalent of a "major movie studio." Articles on that kind of movie must be able to say that the movie was notable for something more than simply having been produced. If any document can be found to support this, in any language, it should be cited.[4]

Future movies, incomplete movies, and undistributed movies[change source]

Movies that have not been confirmed by reliable sources to have started principal photography should not have their own articles. Budget problems, script problems and casting problems can all interfere with a project before it starts filming. There is no "sure thing" production, even if the movie is likely to be a high-profile release. Until the start of principal photography, information on the movie should 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 movies, reliable sources must confirm that the movie is clearly out of the pre-production process. That means that the final animation frames are actively being made, and final recordings of voice-overs and music have started.

Movies that have already begun shooting, but have not yet been publicly released in theatres or to video, should usually not have their own articles unless the production itself is notable per the notability guidelines. Similarly, movies made 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.

Resources[change source]

When looking for references to show the notability of a movie, and to provide the necessary information for a well-written article, consider some of these resources:

  1. There are many movie and entertainment magazines. There is a list of them at en:Category:Film magazines. Many of these can provide good references and indicators of notability.
  2. Look for other resources at en:Wikipedia:WikiProject Films/Resources.
    Consider similar types of pages to these two in other Wikipedias, too.
  3. Web searches and Google Books searches often turn up reliable sources. See, for example, The New York Times Film Reviews 1999-2000 (there are other year collections) and The New York Times Guide to the Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made, both sourced from Google Books.
  4. (Reminder: This source by itself is not considered reliable.) A movie'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 show the movie's notability, however.

Relevant discussions[change source]

These rules were copied from English Wikipedia and simplified. They were discussed in detail before they became rules. See these discussions:

Related pages[change source]

Notes[change source]

  1. A prize usually confirms that a movie is notable, rather than proving it. There is not a firm list of "major awards". It is agreed that Academy Awards or the major prizes from the Cannes Film Festival are major. Other prizes are also sometimes "major awards."
  2. See United States National Film Registry for one example. Any nation with a similar archive would equally meet the rule.
  3. This should not be carried too far. Most movies could could claim a unique fact such as "Only movie where seven women in an elevator carry yellow handbags."
  4. In this case "major movie-producing country" means any country producing 20 or more movies in a year, according to the report by UNESCO. Defining a "major movie studio" is highly dependent on the country in question.