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How to Cite a Movie in MLA Style

Movies are often used as sources in academic writing. This guide explains how to cite movies in MLA style. It will cover the essential elements of a movie citation, including director, title, studio, and release year. You’ll learn how to format both in-text citations and Works Cited entries.

Gathering Necessary Information

Key Details Needed for Citing a Movie

When citing a movie in MLA style, you need several key pieces of information:

  • Title of the movie
  • Director’s name
  • Names of key contributors (e.g., actors, producers, screenwriters)
  • Production company
  • Year of release
  • Format (e.g., DVD, streaming service)

How to Find Accurate Information About the Movie

Accurate information can be found in various sources such as:

  • End credits of the movie
  • Official movie databases like IMDb
  • Production company websites
  • Streaming platforms

Ensure that you verify the details from reliable sources to maintain the integrity of your citation.

Formatting the In-Text Citation

In-Text Citation Basics

In-text citations briefly reference the movie within your text. They include the italicized movie title and, if needed, a timestamp. These citations link to the full entry in your Works Cited list.

Example:

Inception explores the concept of shared dreaming (Nolan 01:15:32).

How to Cite Movies with Multiple Directors or Producers

For movies with multiple directors or producers, list names in credits order. Use “and” between two names, commas for three or more.

Example:

(Ethan and Joel Coen 00:42:15)

Examples of In-Text Citations for Movies

Single Director: (Spielberg 00:45:00)

Multiple Directors: (Wachowski and Wachowski 01:10:23)

Without Time Stamp: (The Matrix)

Creating the Works Cited Entry

Structure of a Works Cited Entry for a Movie

A standard Works Cited entry for a movie in MLA style should follow this format:

Title of Movie. Directed by Director’s Name, performance by Lead Actor’s Name, Production Company, Release Year.

Formatting the Director’s Name and Movie Title

The movie title should be italicized, and the director’s name should follow the phrase “Directed by.”

Example:

Inception. Directed by Christopher Nolan, Warner Bros., 2010.

Including Other Contributors: Actors, Screenwriters, and More

If other key contributors played a significant role, include their names and roles.

Example:

The Dark Knight. Directed by Christopher Nolan, performances by Christian Bale and Heath Ledger, Warner Bros., 2008.

Special Cases in Movie Citations

Citing a Movie from a Streaming Service

When citing a movie from a streaming service, include the platform and URL.

Example:

Roma. Directed by Alfonso Cuarón, Netflix, 2018, www.netflix.com/rome.

How to Cite a Movie Clip or Scene

For a specific scene or clip, include a timestamp.

Example:

The Godfather. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, Paramount Pictures, 1972. 01:20:00.

Citing Foreign Language Films

Include the original title and an English translation if necessary.

Example:

Amélie [Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain]. Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, UGC-Fox Distribution, 2001.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Incorrectly Formatting Titles

Ensure movie titles are italicized and properly capitalized.

Incorrect: The godfather

Correct: The Godfather

Omitting Necessary Information

Do not omit key details like director’s name or production company.

Misplacing Punctuation and Italics

Punctuation should follow MLA rules, and italics should be used for movie titles.

Using Citation Tools and Software

Use WriterBuddy for precise citations. It offers features like MLA Movie Citation and can streamline the citation process.

FAQs

What key details are needed for citing a movie in MLA style?

You need the movie title, director’s name, key contributors, production company, year of release, and format.

How do I cite a movie with multiple directors in MLA style?

List the directors’ names in the order they appear in the credits, connected by “and” or separated by commas if more than two.

How should I cite a movie from a streaming service in MLA style?

Include the movie title, director, streaming platform, release year, and the URL of the streaming service.

What are common mistakes to avoid when citing movies in MLA style?

Common mistakes include incorrectly formatting titles, omitting key details, and misplacing punctuation and italics.

Conclusion

Citing movies in MLA style requires attention to detail. Include the director, title, studio, and release year. Format in-text citations with the movie title in italics. Create a full entry on your Works Cited page. Double-check your citations against the latest MLA guidelines. With the help of Writerbuddy, you’ll cite movies accurately in your academic work.

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