Citing a Movie Properly

When students are working on school or college assignments, they always face a necessity to cite different sources. In most cases, these sources are books or articles. But what should you do if you need to cite a movie?

Citing a movie has several peculiarities and to succeed you need to know them well in advance. Your tutor will simply ask you to redo the paper if you fail to cite all the sources correctly. That is why today our essay writers will tell you how to cite a movie using the most popular formatting styles. On top of it, you will familiarize yourself with examples of movie references and will always know how to apply them in your works!

How to cite a movie? MLA style

Any time you will need to use a quote from a movie or will have to refer to its title it will be necessary to use an appropriate formatting style. 

For MLA in-text citations you can choose one of two ways: start with the title or with the director’s name. Both options are correct. However, not depending on the way you choose, you will need to collect the following information:

  • Movie’s name;
  • Director’s name;
  • Producer’s name;
  • Producing company;
  • Studio;
  • Names of performers;
  • Release date;
  • Medium (usually DVD or film).

Note that if you start the in-text entry with the movie’s name, the reference entry should start with it as well. Similarly, if you begin the entry with the director’s name, reference entry should also begin with it.

You have probably noticed: other types of sources require the author’s last name and page number when citing. Everything is different from the movie citing: here you need the movie’s title and director’s name.



How to list an entry: movie name

If you decided to start the entry with a movie name, you can follow our example. Refer to the title using italics in parenthesis.

For example, Anthony Russo (Avengers: Endgame) has given us a completely new picture of the superheroes we all love.

You can also use the following example:

               Avengers: Endgame is the final movie in the Avengers series but we are sure that viewers can expect spin-offs in the nearest future.

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Works cited page entry

Here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Start with mentioning the movie’s title in italic and then place a period;
  2. Add ‘Directed by’ and write the director’s name followed by a comma;
  3. Write ‘Perf.’ and include major performers in the ‘last name-first name’ format;
  4. Include the name of the production company, distributor or studio and add a comma;
  5. Then write the release year;
  6. Finish the entry with the medium.

 The reference in an MLA style will look as follows:

Avengers: Endgame. Directed by Anthony Russo, Marvel Entertainment, 2019. Film.

In-text example:

Avengers: Endgame (Anthony Russo) has introduced us to a wide range of characters and a thrilling story.

As you see, such entry starts with the movie’s title. However, if you want to emphasize the director’s name, it should go first. Then you can add the movie’s title in italics. 

If you want to begin the entry with the director’s name, you will need to follow the steps below:

  1. Write the director’s last name and follow it with a comma;
  2. Then write the first name and also follow it with a comma;
  3. Write ‘Director’ and add a full stop;
  4. Include the movie’s title and also add a full stop;
  5. Indicate a production house;
  6. Finally, indicate the release year.

Here is how your reference will look like:

Russo, Anthony, Director. Avengers: Endgame. Marvel Entertainment, 2019.



How to cite a movie? APA style

The next popular formatting style is APA. It is similar to MLA style and you also need to possess all the information about the movie in order to refer it properly. Such information includes the director’s name, producer, studio, producing company, distributor, city, release year and medium.

If you are willing to know how to cite a movie in APA style, just follow these steps:

  1. Write the first name and then first initials of the director, then of the producer;
  2. After initials, you need to indicate their role using parentheses. For example, (Director);
  3. If the director and producer is the same person, you should write (Director/Producer);
  4. If there are several names, you need to use ampersand;
  5. Indicate the movie’s title and format. The title must be italicized and the format should be within square brackets with a period afterward;
  6. Finish your entry with the country and title of the production company. If the movie was produced in several countries, you can indicate the country of the movie’s original release.

For example, Russo A. (Director). (2019). Avengers: Endgame [Motion Pictures]. United States: Marvel Studio

In-text citing

You will need to include the director’s and producer’s last names without writing the words ‘Director’ and ‘Producer’. In case there are more than one director and producer, you should indicate the last names of all of them in the first entry. Further, you will only need to indicate the last name of the first person, followed by ‘at al.’

Don’t forget to include the production year.

If you want to highlight a specific scene or moment, you should also indicate the timestamp. The format is hours, minutes, seconds.

For example, if the scene took place on the 45th minute of the movie, you need to write 00:45:00. Don’t forget to include a zero every time, when no value has to be mentioned.

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How to cite a movie? Chicago style

We won’t surprise you by saying that before citing a movie in the Chicago style, you should also find out all the necessary details about it. This stage is 100% similar to citing in MLA or APA styles. However, the rest of the features and elements are rather different.

Chicago formatting details include:

  • Director’s name;
  • Release year;
  • Production city and state;
  • Distributor’s name;
  • Medium format.

Here are the steps that will help you to cite a movie using Chicago style:

  1. Start with indicating the movie’s full title in italics. This is the key element that you will be using for built-in citations;
  2. Write the name of the director starting with the first name followed by the last name. The name should be following ‘Directed by’;
  3. Indicate release year and follow it with a semicolon. Beginning with this part all the details should go within parentheses (which will be closed after the name of the distributor);
  4. Write the city and state, where the movie was produced;
  5. Finish the citation with the movie’s format and put a full stop.

For example, Avengers: Endgame. Directed by Antony Russo. (2019; United States, Film).

Closing thoughts

Now, when you already know how to cite a movie using the most popular MLA, APA, and Chicago formats, it will be much simpler for you to deal with such assignments.
However, make sure that you use in-text citations only if they are required.

Another tip is that you should try and avoid repetitions if you have already mentioned a certain movie before. If you have given all the necessary details, readers will be able to identify the film without a reference. We hope that our guidelines helped you to understand how to cite a movie and now you won’t have to stress out before paper’s submission!