How to In-Text Cite Movies in MLA Format
Students studying film and other subjects within the humanities and liberal arts often use Modern Language Association, or MLA, style to cite their sources. MLA style uses parenthetical citations within the text to direct readers to entries in the Works Cited page. Parenthetical citations usually include the author and page number, but for some types of sources, such as films, the parenthetical citation lists the first item in the Works Cited citation.
Works Cited Entries
According to the seventh edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, the beginning of your Works Cited entry for a film or movie depends on what is relevant to your analysis. If your paper is about a movie in general, for example, begin the entry with the title of the movie. If your paper discusses the director, begin with the director's name, followed by the abbreviation "dir." If your paper focuses on an actor or actress, begin with her name and the abbreviation "perf."
To cite a movie within the text of your paper, put the first item of the Works Cited entry in parentheses at the end of the sentence. Your parenthetical citation may list the title, the director or a performer. However, if you already named the title, director or performer in the text, you don't need a parenthetical citation -- the reader can locate the corresponding Works Cited entry from the sentence. For example, if you write, "Holly Golightly, played by Audrey Hepburn, eats a pastry standing outside Tiffany & Co.," you don't need to cite Hepburn in a parenthetical citation.
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- MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Seventh Edition; Modern Language Association
- Purdue Online Writing Lab: MLA Works Cited: Other Common Sources
- Purdue Online Writing Lab: MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics
Rebekah Richards is a professional writer with work published in the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "Brandeis University Law Journal" and online at tolerance.org. She graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University with bachelor's degrees in creative writing, English/American literature and international studies. Richards earned a master's degree at Carnegie Mellon University.