Writers and college students in the humanities are often required to use the Modern Language Association (MLA) style. Joseph Gibaldi, Ph.D., recently released the updated MLA style rules on the seventh edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. Writers often need a guide to cite movies in their papers. Knowing how to cite unreleased films, recorded films, foreign films and online film clips will help writers avoid plagiarism by citing movies correctly.
Unreleased Films in Theaters or Coming Soon
New films that are not out on DVD or videocassette need to be cited using MLA style. According to the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, writers need to cite unreleased movies by italicising the name of the movie, providing the first and last name of all directors "Dir." and performers "Perf." Writers must also provide the name of the company sponsoring the film, the year of publication, and the medium of publication. The title of the film is the only part of the citation that needs to be italicised. Writers are required to cite a film in the following manner:
Name of movie (italicised). First and last name of all directors. First and last name of starring performers. Name of the company. Year of publication. Medium of publication.
Toy Story 3 (italicised). Dir. Lee Unkrich. Perf. Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, and Don Rickles. Pixar Animation Studios, 2010. Film.
Recorded Films: VHS and DVD
Citing videocassettes and DVDs is similar to citing unreleased films, with the exception of specifying the medium of publication. For example, instead of writing film at the end of the reference, writers need to write "videocassette" or "DVD" accordingly.
Name of movie (italicised). First and last name of all directors. First and last name of starring performers. Name of company. Year of publication. Medium of publication.
The Notebook (italicised). Dir. Nick Cassavetes. Perf. Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, James Garner, and Gena Rowlands. New Line Cinema, 2004. Videocassette.
Twilight (italicised). Dir. Catherine Hardwicke. Perf. Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke, and Peter Facinelli. Summit Entertainment, 2008. DVD.
According to Joseph Gibaldi, to cite foreign films include the title of the film in italicised font followed by the foreign name in square brackets. The rest of the citation includes the name of the directors and starring performers, the name of the company, year of publication and the medium of publication.
Name of movie italicised [foreign language name]. First and last name of all directors. First and last name of starring performers. Name of company. Year of publication. Medium of publication.
Like Water for Chocolate (italicized) [Como agua para chocolate]. Dir. Alfonso Arau. Perf. Lumi Cavazos, Marco Leonardi, and Regina Torne. Miramax Home Entertainment, 2000. DVD.
Online Film Clip
Modern technology now provides access to short clips and movie scenes online. According to the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, online films need to be cited using the title of the film clip in quotation marks and the name of the website in italicised font. Following, the name of the publisher, date of publication, where it was accessed (e.g., web), date writer accessed the video, and the full web link to the video clip in angle brackets (e.g., "<, >").
"Title of the film clip." Name of the website (italicised). Name of publisher. Date of online publication. Web. Date of video access. <http://www.yourcitenamegoeshere>
"Avatar Movie Trailer [HD].". YouTube (italicized). August 22, 2009. Web. 21 June 2010. < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1_JBMrrYw8>