These are films with no identifiable librarians, although they might mention librarians or have scenes set in libraries. Some of these films have been mistakenly listed on other sites or lists of reel librarians.
*Spoiler Alert* The following annotations may contain important plot details.
A – B – C – D – E – F – G – H – I – J – K – L – M – N – O – P – Q – R – S – T – U – V – W – X – Y – Z
Details: Dir. Jane Campion. Perf. Kerry Fox, Alexia Keogh, Karen Fergusson. New Line, 1990. Based on Janet Frame’s autobiographies To the Is-land, An Angel at My Table, and The Envoy from Mirror City.
Synopsis: A film based on the life of Australian writer Janet Frame, who suffered many years in a mental institution as a young woman. As a young girl, she visits the library to get books for her family, but there is no librarian in sight.
Details: Dir. Tim Burton. Perf. Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken. Warner Bros., 1992.
Synopsis: Batman (Keaton) faces the Penguin (DeVito) and Catwoman (Pfeiffer) in this sequel. One prominent librarian film site lists Michelle Pfeiffer as a librarian, but she is clearly identified in the film as secretary to Max Shreck (Walken).
Details: Dir. Penny Marshall. Perf. Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins, John Heard, David Moscow. 20th Century Fox, 1988.
Synopsis: A boy’s wish to be big comes true—literally. In one scene, the boy and his friend go to City Hall (or perhaps a Public Works building but most definitely not a library) and get directed to Consumer Affairs, down the hall, to fill out forms for a list of area carnivals and fairs.
Details: Dir. Alfred Hitchcock. Perf. Anny Ondra, John Longden, Cyril Ritchard. British International Pictures, 1929. Adapted from the play by Charles Bennett.
Synopsis: Alice, a young lady and daughter of a shopkeeper, has a boyfriend who’s a detective at the Scotland Yard. One night, she goes on a date with an artist, who attempts to rape her in his studio. She kills him in self-defense, but a witness later tries to blackmail Alice and her boyfriend. An exciting police chase culminates atop the Round Reading Room at the British Museum.
Details: Dir. Gabriel Pascal. Perf. Vivien Leigh, Claude Rains, Stewart Granger. United Artists, 1945.
Synopsis: One prominent librarian film site lists Ernest Thesiger, who plays Theodotus, as a librarian, but Theodotus introduces himself in the film as a royal tutor. Perhaps part of the confusion stems from when Theodotus tries to save the library of Alexandria (which had caught on fire from burning ships in the harbor), but his love of books is understandable as a self-described “teacher of kings.”
Details: Dir. Tay Garnett. Perf. Martha Scott, William Gargan, Edmund Gwenn. United Artists, 1941.
Synopsis: Miss Bishop (Scott), a college English professor, reflects back on her life. Miss Bishop advises a female student to take the librarian’s course because of her “amazing memory”; we later find out the student became a “world-famous historian” instead. At one point, Miss Bishop also tells the university president (Gwenn) that she is leaving to become an assistant librarian in New York, but he convinces her to stay on at the college. Therefore, there is no actual librarian in this film, but it is interesting that the film mentions a college librarian course.
Details: Dir. Jeremy Kagan. Perf. Maximilian Schell, Rod Steiger, Robby Benson, Barry Miller. Analysis Film Releasing Corp., 1981.
Synopsis: A young Jewish teenager (Robby Benson) tells his friend, Reuven (Barry Miller), that he’s been secretly reading books in the library, because his father (Rod Steiger) is a strict Hasidic rabbi. He tells Reuven “this man in the library” has been showing him things to read, like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and psychology. In the one scene set in a library, Reuven goes to see his friend in the library, and the “man in the library” turns out to be Reuven’s own father, who is referred to several times as a scholar and a writer—not a librarian.
Details: Dir. Paul Schrader. Perf. Christopher Walken, Natasha Richardson, Rupert Everett, Helen Mirren. Paramount, 1990. Based on the novel by Ian McEwan.
Synopsis: In this stylized thriller, a young couple (Richardson and Everett) on holiday in Venice are drawn into a stranger’s (Walken) mysterious fantasies. There is no librarian present in the film.
Details: Dir. Peter Greenaway. Perf. Michael Gambon, Helen Mirren, Richard Bohringer, Alan Howard. Miramax, 1989.
Synopsis: A highly stylized film about a crime boss’s wife (Mirren) who carries on an affair with another man (Howard) at her husband’s restaurant. Howard plays a bookseller—not a librarian—and in one scene, he takes Mirren to his book warehouse.
Details: Dir. Marco Brambilla. Perf. Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes, Sandra Bullock, Benjamin Bratt. Warner Bros., 1993.
Synopsis: Sylvester Stallone plays John Spartan, a cop who is brought out of cryogenics in order to pursue an old enemy (Wesley Snipes) running rampant in a future, nonviolent society. Sandra Bullock also co-stars as Lenina Huxley, a cop in the future. About an hour into the film, Lenina mentions visiting the Schwarzenegger Presidential Library to find archives of John’s past cases.
Details: Dir. Bruce Beresford. Perf. Ashley Judd, Tommy Lee Jones, Bruce Greenwood, Annabeth Gish. Paramount, 1999.
Synopsis: Libby Parsons (Judd) is convicted for her husband’s murder—and then sets out for revenge after she finds out he faked his death. Libby does go to a library (filmed at the Vancouver Public Library) to look up an address on the Internet. A young man helps her—and tries to flirt with her. He is clearly not a librarian, as listed on some other sites; he is listed in the credits as Handsome Internet Expert. He is more likely a student, as he is wearing casual clothes and carrying a backpack. There are people in the background, but the focus is not clear enough to discern any librarians. Libby also goes to a newspaper archives office (newspapers roll off the press in the background) to look up articles, but again, no librarians or archivists visible.
Details: Dir. Douglas Hickox. Perf. Beryl Reid, Harry Andrews, Peter McEnery. Canterbury Film Productions, 1970. Based on the play by Joe Orton.
Synopsis: It takes a comedy of manners and twists it through a lens of satire and pitch-black humor. The main plot involves the opportunistic Mr. Sloane (Peter McEnery) who lodges with an eccentric family, consisting of the aging nymphomaniac Kath (Beryl Reid), her uptight brother Ed (Harry Andrews), and their doddery Dadda (Alan Webb). Kath lies to Ed, saying she met Sloane in the library.
Details: Dir. Omar Naim. Perf. Robin Williams, Mira Sorvino. Lions Gate, 2004.
Synopsis: In this science-fiction thriller, some people have Zoe implants, which record a person’s memories during their lifetime. When they die, a Cutter edits together the footage for a Rememory service—basically, censoring out the “bad” bits for the sake of the family. Alan Hakman (Williams) is a Cutter who finds out he has been implanted with a Zoe chip, a big no-no for Cutters. One resource lists his on-and-off lady friend, Delila (Sorvino) as a “rare-book librarian.” However, in the film, she appears to be a bookstore owner—and possibly, a restorer of rare books as part of the business (she gives a stack of old books to an assitant and says to him, “Put it in archives, very gently”). We first see her through a large storefront window, as Hakman looks at her from the sidewalk, and she later says to him, “Store’s still open. It’s the 11:30 rush.” Books are shelved and stacked every possible place—on shelves, on the floor, on counters, on top of bookcases—again, contributing to the look and feel of a bookstore, rather than an organized library.
Details: Dir. Steven Spielberg. Perf. Harrison Ford, Shia LaBeouf, Cate Blanchett. Paramount, 2008.
Synopsis: A disappointing film in many ways, perhaps the biggest disappointment comes when Indiana Jones (Ford) and wannabe biker (LaBeouf) drive a motorcycle through the university library (but no librarians to be seen). Wrecking a library is bad, but what Indiana Jones shouts to a nerdy student is worse: “If you want to be a good archaeologist, you’ve got to get out of the library.” (!@#?!) This directly contradicts what Indy had said in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, when he had championed the library: “Seventy percent of archaeology is done in the library.” Sigh.
Details: Dir. Max Ophüls. Perf. Joan Fontaine, Louis Jourdan, Mady Christians. Universal, 1948.
Synopsis: A woman (Fontaine) develops a lifelong passion for a concert pianist (Jourdan), who never remembers her. In one scene, she goes to the library to look up a book on her pianist idol, and there is a man sitting at a desk behind her who looks annoyed when she makes noise. There is no indication, however, that he is a librarian and not simply a fellow library patron. He is unlisted in the credits.
Details: Dir. John Boulting. Perf. Ian Carmichael, Hugh Griffith, Terry-Thomas, Sharon Acker. Kingsley-International, 1957. Based on the book by Kingsley Amis.
Synopsis: Struggling professor Jim Dixon (Carmichael) tries to make a name for himself at a stuffy university. Of course, all kinds of mishaps ensue. In one scene, he is researching at the college library and encounters Margaret, a neurotic woman who believes they have a serious relationship. However, she is clearly not a librarian as she wears long, black professor’s robes; she is also identified as a lecturer in the source book.
Details: Dir. Paul Mazursky. Perf. Robin Williams, Maria Conchita Alonso, Elya Baskin, Cleavant Derricks. Columbia, 1984.
Synopsis: During a Soviety circus tour, Russian saxophone player (Williams) defects to the U.S. in the middle of Bloomingdale’s. In one scene, he and a couple of friends find themselves in a downpour after watching a movie. They take shelter beside a branch of the New York Public Library.
Details: Dir. Ivan Reitman. Perf. Uma Thurman, Luke Wilson, Anna Farris, Rainn Wilson, Eddie Izzard. 20th Century Fox, 2006.
Synopsis: Uma Thurman plays Jenny Johnson as well as her superhero alter ego G-Girl. She starts dating Matt (Luke Wilson), but goes crazy when he breaks up with her — like throwing-a-shark-into-his-apartment-kind-of-crazy. Although initially described as “an uptight librarian on the outside,” we find out Jenny’s an art curator.
Details: Dir. Jon Turteltaub. Perf. John Travolta, Robert Duvall, Kyra Sedgwick, Forest Whitaker. Touchstone Pictures, 1996.
Synopsis: A small-town guy, George Malley (Travolta), becomes supersmart after seeing a light in the sky one night. And because George starts reading multiple books a day, the library is mentioned several times throughout the movie. They even hold a library book fair showcasing all the library books he’s read in the past 2 months! Alas, no librarian.
Details: Dir. Brett Ratner. Perf. Anthony Hopkins, Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes, Emily Watson. Universal, 2002. Based on the book by Thomas Harris.
Synopsis: Ex-FBI agent Will Graham (Norton) needs to look up a quotation he gets from Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Hopkins). He gets help from a bookseller (not a librarian), who looks like a 1980′s Madonna wannabe.
Details: Dir. H. Bruce Humberstone. Perf. Virginia Mayo, Ronald Reagan, Gene Nelson, Phyllis Thaxter. Warner Bros., 1952. Based on the play The Male Animal by James Thurber and Elliott Nugent.
Synopsis: This 1952 Technicolor musical comedy stars Virginia Mayo as “Hot Garters Gertie,” a former burlesque dancer who saves up to go to college. Although set on a college campus, there is no library, or librarian, to be seen.
Details: Dir. Walter Lang. Perf. Robert Young, Maureen O’Hara, Clifton Webb, Ed Begley. 20th Century Fox, 1948. Based on the novel Belvedere by Gwen Davenport.
Synopsis: Eccentric Lynn Belvedere (Webb) answers a family’s ad for a live-in babysitter and shakes up the family and the neighborhood with his manner and methods. A few scenes show the Book Shoppe Proprietress (Mary Field); she is not a librarian as listed on some other sites.
Details: Dir. Wesley Ruggles. Perf. Lana Turner, Robert Young, Walter Brennan, Dame May Whitty. MGM, 1943.
Synopsis: Lana Turner as Peggy Evans, a small-town “soda squirt” who leaves town to find adventure, and her former boss (Robert Young) finds her posing as an heiress in New York. No librarian, but Peggy visits the New York Public Library’s newspaper archives to look up articles of missing heiresses.
Details: Dir. Phil Alden Robinson. Perf. Robert Redford, Dan Aykroyd, Sidney Poitier. Universal, 1992.
Synopsis: A team of eccentric experts test out security weaknesses but get mixed up in international intrigue. The film tries to be cutting-edge, but it’s best when it embraces its old-fashioned wit. No librarian in sight or mention of libraries.
Details: Dir. Alfred Hitchcock. Perf. Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Leo G. Carroll, Michael Chekhov. Selznick International, 1945. Based on the novel The House of Dr. Edwardes by Francis Beeding.
Synopsis: A psychiatrist (Bergman) realizes that the mental hospital’s new director, Dr. Edwardes (Peck), is an imposter and suffers from paranoid amnesia. They go on the run to find out what happened to the real Dr. Edwardes. There is no actual librarian in this film, although a character in the film guesses that her occupation is that of a librarian.
Details: Dir. David Lean. Perf. Katharine Hepburn, Rossano Brazzi. United Artists/Criterion, 1955. Based on the play by Arthur Laurents.
Synopsis: One well-known source lists Katharine Hepburn as a librarian in this film about a single woman (Hepburn) who travels alone to Venice and has a brief, but memorable, love affair with an Italian shop owner (Brazzi). She clearly identifies her occupation in the film as a “fancy secretary”—so she may be a spinster, but not a Spinster Librarian.
Details: Dir. Timur Bekmambetov. Perf. James McAvoy, Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman, Terence Stamp, Common. Universal, 2008. Based on the comic book series by Mark Millar & J.G. Jones.
Synopsis: James McAvoy stars as Wesley, a regular guy who finds out one day he shares his (dead?) father’s super-human assassin skills. He gets trained by other bad-ass assassins (Angelina Jolie, etc.). There are several scenes set in a warehouse library, including the final showdown fight, but no librarian to be seen (or shot at).
Details: Dir. Clive Donner. Perf. Peter Sellers, Peter O’Toole, Romy Schneider, Woody Allen. United Artists, 1965.
Synopsis: In one scene, Carole (Schneider) and Victor (Allen) argue in a library, and another man takes a book that Carole wanted. To prove his love for her, Victor “fights” with the man. No librarian in sight, although there is a quiet, bespectacled man (uncredited in the film cast) reading in the corner who doesn’t stir throughout the entire fight scene. A librarian, surely, would have been outraged by such destructive behavior in a library.