Learn and Generate Bibliographies, Citations, and Works Cited

 MLA Works Cited Films, Movies and TV Shows


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.

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.

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 format it differently depending on your topic. For example, if you are writing about African American directors, use the name of the director, such as Spike Lee, as the first element in place of the title. Or if you are writing about specific actors, place the performer’s name first.


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.


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


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


The Color Purple. Directed by Stephen 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:

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



(The Color Purple 01:15:15-01:20:03)

Works Cited:

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



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


The Color Purple (Spielberg)…………….

Works Cited:

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



The Color Purple (Winfrey)………….

Works Cited:

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, but place the episode name in quotations first.

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


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


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.

Related Articles:

About the author

Adrienne Mathewson

Adrienne Mathewson, Editor-in-Chief of Bibliography.com, is an Information Professional with a Master’s in Library, Information & Science 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.

Add comment

15 − six =