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How to Cite a Movie in APA Style

Movies are often used as sources in academic and professional writing. Citing movies in APA style requires specific elements: director’s name, release year, movie title, production company, and country of origin. These details apply to both in-text citations and reference list entries. For streaming services, include the platform name and URL. Proper citation ensures credit to creators and allows readers to locate the source.

General Format for Citing a Movie 

The Basic Structure 

The general format for citing a movie in APA style is as follows:

Director’s Last Name, First Initial. (Director). (Year). Title of the movie [Film]. Production Company.

Examples of Standard Movie Citations 

Here are a few examples to illustrate the standard format: 

Spielberg, S. (Director). (1993). Schindler’s List [Film]. Universal Pictures.

Nolan, C. (Director). (2010). Inception [Film]. Warner Bros.

Citing Different Types of Movies 

Theatrically Released Movies 

When citing a theatrically released movie, use the basic format. Ensure you include the production company responsible for the film. 

Example: 

Lee, A. (Director). (2012). Life of Pi [Film]. 20th Century Fox.

Streaming Movies 

For movies accessed via streaming platforms, include the URL of the streaming service. 

Example: 

Bong, J. H. (Director). (2019). Parasite [Film]. CJ Entertainment. Retrieved from Netflix.

DVDs and Blu-rays 

When citing movies from physical media like DVDs or Blu-rays, specify the medium. 

Example: 

Cameron, J. (Director). (1997). Titanic [DVD]. Paramount Pictures.

In-text Citations for Movies

How to Incorporate Movie Citations in Your Text 

In-text citations in APA style include the director’s name and the release year, enabling readers to find the full reference in the bibliography. 

Example:

When discussing the portrayal of historical events, Schindler’s List (Spielberg, 1993) is often cited for its impactful depiction. 

Examples of In-text Citations for Movies 

The innovative special effects in Inception (Nolan, 2010) revolutionized the genre.

In Life of Pi (Lee, 2012), the visual storytelling captivates the audience.

Special Cases in Movie Citations 

Citing Movies with Multiple Directors 

When a movie has multiple directors, list all directors in the citation. 

Example: 

Coen, J., & Coen, E. (Directors). (2007). No Country for Old Men [Film]. Miramax.

Citing Foreign Language Films 

For foreign language films, include the original title and a translation in brackets. 

Example: 

Almodóvar, P. (Director). (2006). Volver [To Return] [Film]. Sony Pictures Classics.

Citing Movies without a Listed Director 

If a movie lacks a credited director, cite the producer or the studio. 

Example: 

Walt Disney Studios. (1937). Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs [Film]. Walt Disney Productions.

FAQs

How do I cite a movie from a streaming service in APA style?

To cite a movie from a streaming service in APA style, include the director’s name, release year, movie title, and the URL of the streaming service. For example: Bong, J. H. (Director). (2019). Parasite [Film]. CJ Entertainment. Retrieved from Netflix.

What should I do if a movie has multiple directors?

When a movie has multiple directors, list all the directors in the citation. For instance: Coen, J., & Coen, E. (Directors). (2007). No Country for Old Men [Film]. Miramax.

How do I cite a foreign language film in APA style?

When citing a foreign language film, include the original title followed by an English translation in brackets. For example: Almodóvar, P. (Director). (2006). Volver [To Return] [Film]. Sony Pictures Classics.

Can I cite a movie without a listed director in APA style?

Yes, if a movie lacks a credited director, cite the producer or the studio instead. For example: Walt Disney Studios. (1937). Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs [Film]. Walt Disney Productions. 

Conclusion

APA citations for movies include the director’s name, release year, italicized movie title, production company, and country of origin. Use the director’s last name and release year for in-text citations. Create a full entry in your reference list. For streaming movies, add the platform name and URL.

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