How to Cite a Documentary in MLA

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Documentary films included in academic papers should be cited both in-text and in the Works Cited page at the conclusion of the paper. To cite films in MLA style, you need the title of the film, director's name, actors' names, film studio and year of release.

Creating the In-Text Citation

Within the academic paper, sentences that use information directly from the documentary should include a parenthetical citation before the period. In MLA style, the title of the film should be included in the parenthetical citation. For example: Gun culture has been blamed for the tragedy in Columbine ("Bowling for Columbine").

Works Cited Page

On the Works Cited page, the listing begins with the title of the film in italics. The director is listed after indicating "Dir." and actors are listed after indicating "Perf." The film studio is then listed followed by a comma to separate the year of release. Finally, "Film." concludes the citation. For example: Bowling for Columbine (in italics). Dir. Michael Moore. Perf. Michael Moore, Charlton Heston, and Marilyn Manson. Alliance Atlantis, 2002. Film.


About the Author

Based in Los Angeles, Jana Sosnowski holds Master of Science in educational psychology and instructional technology, She has spent the past 11 years in education, primarily in the secondary classroom teaching English and journalism. Sosnowski has also worked as a curriculum writer for a math remediation program. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism from the University of Southern California.

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