Research: Research Tips:

Research Tip #21

Film Scripts

From 1921-1965, New York State law required the Motion Picture Division (and its predecessor, the Motion Picture Commission) to review every motion picture proposed for public exhibition in New York State and to issue a license for exhibition unless the film contained material that was "obscene, indecent, immoral, inhuman, sacrilegious, or of such character that its exhibition would tend to corrupt morals or to incite to crime."

The State Archives holds approximately 73,000 case files (series A1418) for films submitted for review and licensing.  Approximately 55,000 of the case files contain film scripts.  There are usually no scripts in the files for the approximately 18,000 silent films reviewed by the Division.

The State Archives has an online motion picture film script index that is searchable by a number of different criteria.  Researchers who locate scripts of interest in the index may request copies.

To obtain a copy of a film script, click the request button beneath the film details.  Then, print and sign the "Application for Photocopies of Film Scripts from Case Files of the Motion Picture Division" and mail the form to:

New York State Archives, Cultural Education Center Room 11A42, Albany, NY 12230