How To Cite A Documentary Film In An Essay

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How to Cite a Movie/Film in APA

If you were wondering how to cite a movie in APA format, you’re in luck! Use the following guide to cite a film/movie using the APA citation format. We also provide style guides for the MLA, Chicago, and Turabian styles. To have your bibliography or works cited list automatically made for you, check out our free APA citation maker.

Once you’re finished with your citations, we can also help you with creating an APA title page.

Citing a film/Citing a movie

APA format structure:

Producer, A. (Producer), & Director, A. (Director). (Release Year). Title of motion picture [Motion Picture]. Country of Origin: Studio.

APA format example:

Bender, L. (Producer), & Tarantino, Q. (Director). (1994). Pulp fiction [Motion Picture]. United States: Miramax.

Citing a film from YouTube

APA format structure:

Author, A. [screename]. (Year, Month Date of Publication). Title of video [Video file]. Retrieved from URL

APA format example:

Smith, Rick. (2013, September 20). Favre to Moss!. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOP_L6hBjn8

Notes: When citing a video from YouTube, keep in mind:

  • Screen names are more prominent that actual names on YouTube. If you come across a user whose real name isn’t available, use only their screen name without brackets.

For more information on how to cite in APA, check out Cornell.

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In the midst of writing an essay, paper, or article, you may need to throw in a direct quote here and there; to add emphasis, authority, or clarity to your work. A quote can often accomplish things that a paraphrase or summary simply cannot . A clear and direct voice can easily drive a point home better than the best group of sentences you can come up with.

And along with this, in the process of sorting out your notes and research data, you may find that the quotes you'd like to include in your paper are not all from books and journal articles. Considering that your information can come from many sources, whether they be print, online, or audiovisual, its a good chance that you can have sources ranging from books and government documents to mp3s and Youtube videos. All of which need to be properly cited a formatted.

Formatting style and citation overview

A prerequisite to citing anything is a format and guideline to follow. And this usually comes about from the three basic styling guides, APA, MLA, and Chicago Manual of Style (the Turabian styling guide is also popular but closely resembles the Chicago manual in many respects; so often times the two are categorized together). A professor or publisher will generally request one of the three types of formatting styles, for both in-text and bibliographic listings.

These are the two main types of citations; one that appears in the text of a work and one that appears at the end. The in-text is how you indicate the source of your quote in the lines of the text of your paper and the work cited, bibliography or reference pages are where your source will show up at the end of your document. It may be helpful to become familiar with all the styling guides to make things easier for you in the long run, but typically you'll just need to know the details of the one being requested of you, when preparing your paper or essay for publication.

*This article will focus on audiovisual citations only.

Audiovisual citations

In most cases, since the written word is often used in research (whether online or in print) the chances of you actually using audiovisual material for research may be minimal. So this type of citing is usually not as common as the rest; but nonetheless still needs to be addressed to avoid plagiarism in any fashion.

*The following list is categorized by medium and provides details of both in-text citations and also ones that appear in a list at the end of the document.

APA (American Psychological Association)

1. Audio Recording

In-text citation:
(Krasdale, 2010)

Reference Listing:
Krasdale, S. (Speaker). (2010). The way money works (Cassette Recording No. 17). New York, NY: Education Plus Inc.

2. Film/Motion Picture

In-text citation:
(Dunhoo & Titun, 1985)

Reference listing:
Dunhoo, A. (Producer), & Titun, K. (Director). (1985). Inside the aerospace industry [Motion Picture]. United States: Lakeview Films

3. Radio broadcast

In-text citation:
(Lopez, 2013)

Reference listing:
Lopez, P. (Narrator). (2013, March 1). The harms of secondhand smoke amongst children [Radio broadcast episode]. In E. McDonnell (Producer), Morning Edition. Washington, DC: National Public Radio.

MLA (Modern Language Association)

1. Audio Recording

In-text citation:
(Kent)

Work cited listing:
Kent, Abdullah. The diseases of the heart. 1995. True Audio, 1999. Audiocassette.

2. Film/Motion Picture

In-text citation:
(The Politics of Money)

Work cited listing:
The Politics of Money. Dir. Larry Smith. New Studios, 2000. Film.

3. Radio Broadcast

In-text citation:
("Fun with marriage")

Work cited listing:
"Fun with marriage". Morning Digest. Philadelphia-Delaware Radio . WXKF, Philadelphia. 12 June 2002. Radio.

*MLA basic rule of thumb:* When providing in-text citations for MLA you may notice that the in-text citation matches the beginning of the work cited listing. This is the basic setup for MLA referencing. To make finding a source relatively easy, the in-text citation will simply mirror the beginning of the listing that is found at the end of the paper.

Chicago Manual of Style

1. Audio Recording

First foot/endnote:
Randolph Klein, Understanding French, Knowledge Productions 1678-CD, 2012, Compact disc.

Subsequent notes:
Klein, Understanding French.

Bibliography:
Klein, Randolph. Understanding French. Knowledge Productions 11678-CD. 2012. Compact disc.

2. Film/Motion Picture:

First foot/endnote:
The Life of the Ruler, DVD, directed by Tod Lewis (1982; New Orleans, LA: Castle Light Productions, 2000).

Subsequent notes:
The Life of the Ruler.

Bibliography:
The Life of the Ruler. DVD. Directed by Tod Lewis. 1982; New Orleans, LA: Castle Light Productions, 2000.

3. Radio Broadcast:

First foot/endnote:
"Cleaning up after the tsunami," Morning Digest, WXKF Philadelphia-Delaware Radio (Philadelphia, PA: WPKT, January 10, 2005).

Subsequent notes:
"Cleaning up after the tsunami"

Bibliography:
"Cleaning up after the tsunami." Morning Digest. WXKF Philadelphia-Delaware Radio . Philadelphia, PA: WPKT, January 10, 2005.

Citing tip

Citing using any manual of style can be a tedious process. When obtaining a movie or film quote save some time by not watching anything at all. Many, many video recording, films, and motion pictures have transcripts available for them (as well as audio recordings). This is a tremendous help when providing direct quotations. Instead of struggling to decipher and record an exact statement, a keyword search in the work's transcript can just as easily provide the same results.

Special notes

Please note that for some citation guidelines (such as MLA film/video recording citations) there is no a one-size-fits-all method of citing. There are actually a few different methods citing based on what you would like to emphasize in your referencing (for example, maybe you'd like to emphasize the director or the people involved, then your citation would be changed because of that).

Also your citation may be altered based on whether or not you provide a signal phrase or include the full reference in the text of your paper as oppose to using parenthetical citations. The default method for all the in-text citations above are parenthetical, with no signal phrases. And finally there is no in-text citation format for the Chicago manual of style because footnotes and endnotes are utilized with this guide instead.

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