Are you planning to reference a movie in an essay you’re writing? You’ll have to figure out how to spell the movie title correctly, or you may lose points. At first glance, this may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at the variety of approaches different style guides take to writing movie titles.
With this guide, you will be able to write a movie title in a correct essay.
how to write a movie title in an essay
How should you write a movie title in an essay, whether that essay is an analysis of the movie or one unrelated to filmmaking or creative writing, such as one on history, psychology, or sociology? that depends, in short, on the context in which you are writing your essay.
If you’re hoping to reference a movie title in a high school essay, you may not need to use a particular style guide, a manual that tells you the right way to incorporate particular elements into your essay. in this case, it’s best to use uppercase and lowercase and italicize the title of the movie.
title case capitalizes all main words in a title or headline, including nouns, pronouns, verbs, and adverbs. minor words like short prepositions and articles (the, a, an) remain lowercase. the first and last word of the title should always be capitalized, regardless of what they are. To make it easier for you, we recommend that you also capitalize prepositions with more than four letters, such as “above” and “under,” although some style guides don’t do this. since you’re using italics, there’s absolutely no need to use quotes as well.
You have no idea what we’re talking about? let’s see this in action. (warning: some of the links definitely contain spoilers if you haven’t seen any of these movies yet!)
- bbc refers to “spider-man: far from home”, no italics.
- wikipedia follows the recommended structure above, as in, for example, “war of the worlds “. .
- The screen rant of the popular movie review platform also follows the structure described above, in the body of its texts. “one flew over the cuckoo’s nest” is an example. To let you see as many examples as possible, we’re linking to a post of yours on the 15 movies with the longest titles.
If you must use a style guide, such as ap, apa, or mla (common if you’re writing a college essay), you’ll have less freedom. on the other hand, each writing style will also tell you exactly what to do, so you won’t be left in the dark.
Don’t you have the entire style manual on your desk? No problem. We’ll make it easy for you.
rules for writing a movie title in an essay
Whether you’ve been asked to use a particular style guide when quoting and referencing movie titles in an essay, or if you’re committed to maintaining a consistent style, style guides can be a bit confusing. Here’s a closer look at some of the most popular writing styles and their rules for writing movie titles.
Of course, you will not only write the title of the film in the body of your essay, but also cite it in the references. each style guide also has specific guidelines on how to do this.
in apa, you do this by:
- citing the director of the film: last name, first initial.
- place the year of release in parentheses.
- follow this with the title.
- reference the medium used to view it, eg, dvd.
- specify distributor location and distributor name (eg, california: walt disney studios movies).
in mla, you:
- write the director like this: lastname, firstname.
- write the title of the film.
- specify the name of the distributor.
- mention the year of release.
Harvard-style, you would do the following:
- type the director by last name and initial.
- place the year of release in parentheses.
- type the title of the film.
- continue with the location and name of the distributor.
why is proper formatting important?
Style guides are established conventions to ensure consistency, adding clarity to your essay. In practical terms, though, it’s important to be careful about formatting movie titles that you may reference in any essay because failure to do so will result in you losing points, resulting in a lower grade.
You only have to get acquainted with the rules laid down by a particular style manual once, and after that, you’ll likely remember them. there’s no good reason not to make sure you get it right, and every reason to put in the effort.
frequently asked questions
Is the title of a movie underlined in an essay?
That’s actually a very interesting question. Today, almost everyone who writes an essay does so on a PC or laptop, using word processing software. this trend has led to the practice of underlining movie titles almost disappearing, as it’s just as easy to italicize a movie title as it is to underline it.
Underlining things we now italicize used to be more common, because people wrote things by hand or used typewriters. especially when handwriting something in italics, italics just aren’t possible. that’s why underlining movie titles, book titles, and even scientific names used to be more common. Underlining movie titles is still the right alternative to italicizing them if you’re writing an essay by hand.
Do you also include the release year with the movie title?
yes, you must mention the year of release when citing a movie in your references. it is not necessary to do it in the body of the text, unless there are several films with the same title. with remakes, this has become more common of late.
Cite a movie title in an essay?
put quotes around a movie title in an essay only if you are using the ap style.