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MLA Works Cited for Movies, Films, and TV Shows

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Student researching MLA Works Cited from Movies and TV Shows

If you’re writing a school essay using MLA style and need to cite films, movies or television shows, you can do so easily. MLA 8 is designed to be flexible to accommodate different platforms and versions. The container system enables you to emphasize relevant details, so your citations will always be on point.

Films or Movies?

“Films” and “movies” are synonymous, so you can use the terms interchangeably. Typically, in the United States, the word movie is used rather than film. Sometimes, independent theaters or distributors prefer the term “film” to describe their production. Both are acceptable.

Citing Films in MLA Works Cited

When citing films or movies in your works cited page, you will follow the same basic core element structure as any other MLA citation. However, you may choose to format it differently depending on your topic.

For example, if you are writing about African American directors, you should use the name of the director, such as Spike Lee, as the first element in place of the title. On the other hand, if you are writing about specific actors, place the performer’s name first.

Works Cited Format

The basic format starts with the title. Then, include the director, film studio and release year. If it’s important to the citation, include the performer’s name after the director.

Title of Movie. Contributor(s). Publisher/Production Company, Year of Release.

Examples:

The Color Purple. Directed by Steven Spielberg, Warner Brothers. 1985.

Steven Spielberg, director. The Color Purple. Warner Brothers. 1985.

The Color Purple. Directed by Steven Spielberg, performances by Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, and Oprah Winfrey. Warner Brothers. 1985.

In-Text Citation

If you’re referencing a scene in a movie, use the name of the movie in the in-text citation, matching it to the relevant works cited entry. Your in-text citation should follow this format:

(Title of Movie Start Time of Relevant Section-End Time of Section)

Example – In-Text:

(The Color Purple 01:15:15-01:20:03)

Example – Works Cited:

The Color Purple. Directed by Steven Spielberg, Warner Brothers. 1985.

If you’re specifically referencing the director in your paper, create the in-text citation and works cited entry accordingly.

In-Text Example, referencing director:

The Color Purple (Spielberg)…………….

Works Cited Example, referencing director:

Stephen Spielberg, director. The Color Purple. Warner Brothers. 1985.

In-Text Example, referencing performer:

The Color Purple (Winfrey)………….

Works Cited Example, referencing performer:

Oprah Winfrey, performer. The Color Purple. Warner Brothers. 1985.

Citing Television Shows in MLA Works Cited

Television episodes are cited the same way as movies and films. The main difference is that you should include the episode name in quotation marks before the title of the television series. The components of your citation are:

  • “Episode Name.”
  • Series Name,
  • Contributors,
  • Distributor,
  • Distribution Date.

Example:

“Part One.” Roots, written for television by William Blinn, Directed by David Greene, Warner Brothers Television, 1977.

Educate With Entertainment

Using films, movies and television shows in your MLA school paper is a good way to highlight cultural aspects in a topic in your humanities class. Create your works cited entry to emphasis your point and key the in-text citation to the entry.

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About the author

Adrienne Mathewson

Adrienne Mathewson, Editor-in-Chief of Bibliography.com, is an Information Professional with a Master of Library Information & Science degree from San José State University with an emphasis on information literacy and scholarly publishing. She is a certified librarian through the State of New Mexico.

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