How to Cite a Movie in APA Format in Essays

Disclaimer: This article reflects the 7th edition of the APA movie citation guide (1).

Here’s your short yet actionable guide on how to cite a movie if your assignment requires an APA-style citation.

To cite a film in an in-text citation in APA, write the director’s name (last) and the picture’s year of release.

In-text citation format: Example of citation:
(Director’s last name, year)(Zhao, 2018)

To cite a movie in the list of references, list the director or multiple directors’ last names and initials. Also, mention their positions and the production company in the publisher section. Write the film title in a sentence case and italicize it, followed by the word “Film” in square brackets.

Reference list format:Example: 
Last name, Initials. (Director). (Year). Movie title [Film]. Production Company(s).Zhao, C. (Director). (2018). The Rider [Film]. Sony Pictures Classics.

If the film has several production companies, separate them with a semicolon.

  • Example: Moore, M. (Director). (2002). Bowling for Columbine [Film]. United Artists; Alliance Atlantis; Salter Street Films; Dog Eat Dog Films.

How to Quote a Movie in an Essay

When referring to a specific quote, add a timestamp to the in-text citation to state the particular moment of the picture you’re referring to.

  • Example of in-text citation with a timestamp: (Zhao, 2018, 0:34:16)

Referencing a movie title in an essay

When referencing a movie title in an essay using APA, use italics, not quotation marks.

  • Example: Pirates of the Caribbean has become one of the most successful box office series.

How to quote a movie line in an essay

To properly cite a movie line in APA, include the author’s name, year, and timestamp of the quote in the film.

  • Example: In The Godfather (Coppola, 1972), the character Michael Corleone says, “I’m gonna make him the offer he can’t refuse (00:28:52).

Where to Find Source Information for a Movie Citation?

All the information you need for your video citation is in the film’s end credits or the packaging material if you have its physical release. Also, consider movie databases like IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, TMDB, and others. Corresponding writing tools can help you properly format your citation.

And last but not least:

Please check the Purdue OWL guide (2) to learn how to cite other audiovisual media. (Netflix series, TV episodes, podcasts, music albums, YouTube videos, etc.)