How to Cite a Movie in MLA — Format, Styles & Examples

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How-to-Cite-a-Movie-in-MLA-Definition

MLA format essays can readily include film or movie citations. MLA was created to be adaptable to handle many platforms and versions. With the container system, you can highlight the most critical details in your citations, ensuring they are always accurate.1

How to Cite a Movie in MLA – In a Nutshell

  • A film’s in-text citation should refer to its entry in the works-cited list. If you list a film by its title, you must reference it in your text or cite it in parentheses.
  • The director must be discussed or cited if a film is included under the director’s name.
  • In-text citations do not require the complete title; only enough information to distinguish it from other sources.

Definition: MLA movie citation

To cite a film in MLA format, add the title, director, any other contributors, production or distribution firm, and release year. If a film has many versions, you must specify which one you’re referring to.

Example:

England. Directed by Terrence William, performances by Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev, director’s cut, Universal Pictures, 1985.

To reference a movie from Netflix (or other online streaming services), including the website or app’s name (e.g., “Netflix app”). If you watched the film on an unauthorized site or video-sharing platforms such as YouTube, include the website name, uploader, upload date, and URL.

Example:

The Vampire Diaries. Directed by J. Miller Tobin, Image Ten, 1968. YouTube, uploaded by 20th Century Studios, 26 Sept. 2014, www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZy6P72Uu3Y.

In the MLA in-text citation, provide the title (or a truncated version of the title) and the time.2

Example:

(England 29:45–32:37)

(Night 18:25–40)

MLA movie citation: Format

You construct an MLA Works Cited entry by entering the pertinent information. Typically, an MLA movie citation begins with the author’s name, but because numerous people develop films, you should begin the citation with the movie’s title. The director appears as a contributor following the title.

How-to-Cite-a-Movie-in-MLA-Example

Other contributors

As with television programs, you may also include other contributors if necessary. If your paper discusses specific performances, you can cite the performers; if you examine the film’s graphics, you could include the cinematographer.

Identify and separate the roles of each contributor with commas.

Example:

Legacies. Directed by Julie Plec, performance by Danielle Rose Russell, music by Michael Luca, BGI / Film4, 2013.

Suppose your film discussion concentrates primarily on one contributor (such as the director or a performer). In that case, you may insert that person’s name at the beginning of the citation in place of the author.

In this instance, ensure that the identical name appears in the in-text citation.3

Example:

Danielle, Russell, performer. Legacies. Directed by Julie Plec, BGI / Film4, 2013.

Versions

If there are multiple film versions, you must specify the one used for the reader to locate the appropriate source.

If the version was released after the original, you must also provide the release year after the title. This isn’t mandatory, although providing historical context for the source is typically helpful.

Example:

Maze Runner. 1982. Directed by Ridley Wesley, final cut, Columbia Pictures., 2008.

Publishers

Films are frequently produced and distributed by multiple firms, making it challenging to identify the publisher.

Determine the organization primarily responsible for the production or distribution of the film. If there are multiple production companies or distributors involved, use a forward slash to separate them.

Example:

Twilight. Directed by Barry Johnson, A24 / Plan B Entertainment, 2016.

MLA movie citation: Online

Suppose you stream a video on an official distribution site like Hulu, Amazon Prime, or Netflix. In that case, if necessary, you may include pertinent information about the platform in the Works Cited section.

Example:

E.O. the Extra-Ordinary. Directed by Mike Ahern, Universal Studios, 1982. Netflix app.

Suppose the movie was republished on a site unaffiliated with the film’s makers (like YouTube, where anybody can post a copy of a film). In that case, this information should generally be included in the citation.

Add the website’s name, the uploader’s name, the release date, and the URL after describing the film in detail.

Please note that this format is only applicable to YouTube-uploaded full-length films. Follow the standard for citing a YouTube video when referencing a clip or other YouTube content.

Example:

Vincenzo. Directed by Kim Hee-won, performance by Song Joong-ki, Global Film, 1923. YouTube, uploaded by Paramount Pictures Studio, 9 June 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=FC6jFoYm3xs.

MLA movie citation: In-Text

The in-text citation should match the first phrase of the entry in the Works Cited section. This is typically the title italicized when citing a movie. If the title is more than a few words, only the first word should be used.

Add the time frame of the section you are citing or referencing to instead of the page number.

Example:

(Twilight 01:01:23–05:31)

The time frame must be included in the parenthetical citation if the title is already given in the sentence.

Example:

The opening shot of Vincenzo introduces the town of Seoul with a school in the foreground (2:18–25).

When referring to the entire film, it can only cite the title without a time frame.

Example:

Danielle’s performance in Legacies gives an eerie sense of displacement.

Using the same name in the in-text citation as the contributor’s name in the Works Cited entry will help the reader easily identify it in the alphabetized list.4

Example:

(Danielle 25:53–27:13)

FAQs

Movie Title. Contributor(s), Production Company, Year of Release. Streaming Service, URL.

Creator or writer. “The Video’s Title.” Name of Website Where You Found the Film, the name of the individual or organization that submitted the film [if different from the author/creator], publish date on the website, and the URL. Date of Access [optional, but suggested]

In MLA movie citation format, source titles are italicized or enclosed in quotation marks. Italicize the title of a self-sufficient unit. If the title is part of more extensive work, it should be enclosed with quotation marks.

Sources

1 Mathewson, Adrienne. “MLA Works Cited for Movies, Films, and TV Shows.” Bibliography. Accessed January 3, 2023. https://www.bibliography.com/mla/mla-works-cited-films-movies-and-tv-shows.

2 Roberts, Nora. “MLA Film Citation – powered by Chegg.” bibme. Accessed January 3, 2023. https://www.bibme.org/citation-guide/mla/film.

3 Ellis, Matt. “How to Cite a Movie in MLA Format.” grammarly blog. Accessed January 3, 2023. https://www.grammarly.com/blog/cite-movie-mla.

4 Quetext blog. “How To Cite A Movie: MLA, APA, And Chicago Style.” Accessed January 3, 2023. www.quetext.com/blog/how-to-cite-a-movie-mla-apa-and-chicago-style.