When crafting an academic paper, the inclusion of diverse sources like movies can significantly enrich your research and argumentation. The key to using such a unique source effectively lies in understanding how to cite it properly. In this article, we will explore how to cite a movie in various academic styles, including APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard, and Vancouver. Each of these styles offers a unique approach to citation, and knowing their nuances can greatly improve the credibility and professionalism of your work.

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APA Style

The APA style, governed by the American Psychological Association, is predominantly used in social sciences. It emphasizes an author-date citation system. When citing movies in APA, the focus is on the director’s name, serving as the author, followed by the year of release.

In APA, the citation begins with the director’s last name and initials, followed by their role (usually as a director), the year of release in parentheses, the movie title in italics, and finally, the format in square brackets. The production company’s name concludes the citation.

Bibliography entry

An illustration of a movie citation in APA

In-text citation

An illustration of a movie citation in APA

MLA Style

The MLA style, preferred in the humanities, emphasizes the work rather than the author. It is managed by the Modern Language Association and features a format focusing on the title of the work.

An MLA movie citation starts with the film’s title (in italics), followed by “Directed by” and the director’s first and last name. If other significant contributors are mentioned, such as actors, their names follow the director’s, along with their roles. The production company and the release year are placed at the end.

Bibliography entry

An illustration of a movie citation in MLA

In-text citation

In-text citations include the movie title and the time frame in minutes and seconds that you’re referring to in your paper.

An illustration of a movie citation in MLA

Chicago Style

The Chicago Manual of Style is versatile, offering two citation methods: author-date and notes-bibliography. The latter is more suitable for non-conventional sources like films, particularly in the arts and humanities.

For the notes-bibliography method in Chicago style, the citation starts with the director’s name (first name followed by last name), followed by the title of the movie in italics. Then, include the production company and the release year. For the author-date system, the format is similar but starts with the last name and the first name.

Bibliography entry

An illustration of a movie citation in MLA

In-text citation

An illustration of a movie citation in MLA

Vancouver Style

The number-endnote scheme is used in Vancouver reference style. The sources are numbered in parentheses and correspond to the items in the document’s reference list. This means that each movie you cite has a unique number, and you use the same number when mentioning the same movie more than once.

An illustration of a movie citation in Vancouver

Keep in mind that there are variations in Vancouver-style referencing, including the use of square brackets, parentheses, and numbers to link in-text citations with entries in the reference list. Consult your course materials or library guides to determine the preferred format. The key aspect is to keep your citations and references thorough and uniform across your entire document.


Citing a movie correctly in various academic styles is a crucial aspect of writing a well-researched paper. Whether you’re using APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard, or Vancouver styles, understanding the specific requirements of each makes your work academically rigorous and respectful to the sources used. Accurate citations not only provide your audience with the necessary information to locate the original sources but also lend credibility to your scholarly work. Remember, attention to detail in citations reflects the overall quality of your academic writing.


How do you cite a movie with multiple producers?

To cite a movie with multiple producers, list the producers’ names in the order they appear in the credits, followed by “Producers,” and then the other relevant details like the movie title, director, and release year.

How do you cite a movie without an author?

When citing a movie without an author, start with the movie title in italics, followed by the director’s name (if available), the production company, and the release year.

What are the easy movie citation methods?

Some of the easy movie citation methods include using online citation generators, referencing guides from academic institutions, or following a specific citation style guide like APA, MLA, or Chicago style, which provide clear guidelines for citing movies.

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