How to mention a movie title in an essay

Essays can be on any topic, and you may need to mention references of person, place, dialogues, movies, TV Commercials, quotes, or anything. Most of us know how to give references for a person, places, quotes, but what about Movies, TV commercials? But, how to mention a movie title in an essay both electronically and on paper? 

While mentioning a movie in an essay while writing, you need to underline the movie name. On the other hand, if writing an essay electronically, there are two ways to do it: writing it in italics or putting the movie name in quotation marks. Both these methods are adapted by different press or writing organizations. There are even some other rules regarding the mention of movie titles in an essay. 

So let’s get to know more about mentioning movie titles in an essay!

How to mention a movie title in an essay?

Whether you are an art student or writing about movies and shows, you must know the proper way to mention a movie title in an essay, to make it look professional and right. Years ago, when there were typewriters, then the movie titles were underlined, and this method still works if you are handwriting an essay. 

But if you are writing the essay on a computer, then you have two ways to do it: 

  • Either italicize the movie title, like, The Godfather.
  • Or put the movie name in quotations marks, like “The Godfather.”

Actually, both these methods are adapted by different press and publishing organizations. Some use the italicize method to mention movies in essays, and some use quotation marks to mention the movie name. 

As there are set rules to whether to use Italicize or quotation to mention movie name, still there are some general rules when to use each of the methods. So let’s have a look at those rules for better understanding. 

When to use Italicization to mention movie titles in an essay? 

There are some general rules for using Italicization to mention movie titles in an essay, and it will better guide you while writing an essay. Here are the rules: 

  • According to the APA, MLA, and Chicago Style manuals, movie names should be italicized while following case capitalization norms.
  • If the source is self-contained and autonomous, use italics for the title. Italicize the titles of publications, such as books, plays, films, magazines, databases, and websites.
  • There is no Italicization of short film titles.
  • The film’s title should always be italicized, but the title of a scene or DVD chapter should be enclosed in quotation marks.
  • The film’s title should always be italicized, but the title of a scene or DVD chapter should be enclosed in quotation marks.
  • Capitalize all significant words when italicizing, but do not capitalize articles, prepositions, or conjunctions that appear in the midst of a title.
  • A colon and a space should separate subtitles.

When to use quotations to mention movie titles in an essay?

Yes, there are general rules for when to use quotations for mentioning a movie title in an essay. So here are the rules: 

  • Quotations are used for short films or very long works. 
  • If you are using Associated Press style, all film titles should be in quotation marks rather than italics, since AP style does not use italics except in extreme cases.
  • Often, titles are included in quote marks, particularly in reviews.
  • When citing movie titles, the first letter of the title must be capitalized, as must all nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, and verbs.

How to write a documentary title in an essay?

To write the documentary’s title in an essay, you should put it in Italics, as italics are used for titles of full-length plays and long works, i.e., documentaries. So you should always put the documentary title in Italics while writing an essay. Moreover, it is necessary to stick to case capitalization conventions while putting the documentary title in Italics for an essay.

However, if you are handwriting an essay, then you can underline the documentary title, as italicizing the title is not possible in writing. 

How to write a movie title in a sentence?

If you are writing the movie title on a computer, then you should put it in Italics because it is the most used and general method for mentioning a movie title in writing. However, if you are handwriting the movie titles in a sentence, you should underline the title, as it is difficult to italicize it. 

How to mention a movie in an essay APA?

According to APA(American Psychological Association), the name of a movie should be put in Italics for an essay. The APA style is the most often used in academic writings and academia in general, particularly in the behavioral and social sciences. Apart from mentioning the movie name in Italics, there are some other rules relating to the movie name. 

  • Major words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns) and all words with four letters or more should be capitalized. In contrast, minor words (conjunctions and prepositions of three letters or less and all articles) should be lowercase.
  • The use of capital letters is always reserved for proper names.
  • In both the title and subtitle, the first word is always capitalized (even A or The)
  • After the colon and em dash, the first word is capitalized.
  • Words with four or more letters in their name are capped (During, From, Between)
  • Whenever a hyphenated term is used, the first letter on each side is capitalized (Able-Bodied, Self-Care).

How to write a movie title in an essay MLA?

MLA is preferred by the humanities, particularly linguistics and literature. So, according to MLA writing, the movie titles should be mentioned in Italics. Apart from this, you need to follow some other rules too, to write the movie name in an essay according to MLA: 

  • The title’s first and last words and all of its major components should be capitalized, including hyphenated compound phrases.
  • The words which should be not be capitalized are:
    • article titles with prepositions in the middle of them (against, between, of, on)
    • subordinating terms (and, for, or, but)
    • an infinitive ‘to.’

Do you put movie titles in quotes?

Yes, movie titles are put in quotes, too, along with italics, but there are certain conditions when only quotes are used to mention movie titles. For example, in Association Press’s writing style, the movie title is mostly used in quotes to mention a movie name in an essay. 

So quotes are used for movie titles when movies are short or extended. All film titles should be in quotation marks rather than italics if you’re writing in AP style, which seldom uses the formatting convention. Titles are frequently included in quotation marks, notably in reviews.

There is a general rule to quoting the movie title, which says, when mentioning film titles, the initial letter of the title and all nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, and verbs must be capitalized.

What are the case capitalization conventions?

One must follow case capitalization conventions while mentioning movie titles in an essay. These case capitalizations conventions are: 

  • Titles for movies must begin with a capital letter to be legible.
  • Nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, and verbs must all be capitalized in order to avoid confusion.
  • Except in the case of extended prepositions like although, nevertheless, and additionally, and in the case of the initial word of a title, all prepositions, articles, and conjunctions should be lowercase.
  • Capitalizing proper nouns is an absolute requirement.

Bottom Line

Now you definitely know how to mention a movie title in an essay. The Italicization of the movie’s title is mostly used while writing an essay, so you can follow the Italicization method. However, if you are writing the essay in press style, then you should quote the movie title. 

We hope this article was helpful & informative. Please leave your valuable thoughts & suggestions in the comments. 

Thank you for reading!