How to cite a film in MLA

MLA film citation

To cite a film in a reference entry in MLA style 8th edition include the following elements:

  1. Contributor(s) name, label: Start with the action of the key contributor (Directed by, Performed by, Produced by, etc.), follow with the name.
  2. Title of the film: Titles are italicized when independent. If part of a larger source add quotation marks and do not italize.
  3. Contributor(s) name: Start with the action of the key contributor (Directed by, Performed by, Produced by, etc.), follow with the name.
  4. Publishing studio: Always use the abbreviated version, e.g: MIT P for MIT Press or Oxford UP for Oxford University Press.
  5. Year of release: Give the year of publication as presented in the source.

Here is the basic format for a reference list entry of a film in MLA style 8th edition:

Contributor(s) name, label. Title of the film. by Contributor(s) name, Publishing studio, Year of release.

Take a look at our workd cited examples that demonstrate the MLA style guidelines in action:

Films are commonly produced by many people performing different parts. If your research focuses on the contribution of one particular person, e.g. the performance of an actress or the ideas of the screenwriter, begin the entry with their name, followed by a descriptive label.

Otherwise, if you are discussing a film without focusing on an individual's contribution, start with the title. You can add information about key participants after the title.

Examples

A film with focus on the main performer

Thurman, Uma, performer. Kill Bill: Volume 1. Miramax, 2003.

A film with its director as key contributor

Kill Bill: Volume 1. Directed by Quentin Tarantino, Miramax, 2003.

MLA in-text citation of a film

Audio-visual material uses the specific time of the audio/video for in-text citations.

(Last name time) or (Short form of title time).

Examples

A film with focus on the main performer

The following scene exemplifies the performers physical abilities (Thurman 00:15:43-00:20:07).

A film with its director as key contributor

The style of recording resembles the director's previous movies (Kill Bill 00:35:40) .

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