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Paul Lai
LIB 118

Citing Films and Videos (MLA Style)

The Theater Arts Department often uses the MLA Style for citation. (Chicago Style is also preferred by some professors.)

Citing films and online videos are special cases that are often buried and hard to find in the style manuals. We've included some quick examples below.

Don't hesitate to ask a librarian if you're having problems!

See the MLA page of our Style Guides reference page for more help with using these or other citation styles.


Recorded Films (such as a DVD)

Title of the Film. Directed by Director's Name, [performances by Performer's Name, Performer's Name, and Performer's Name]. Studio and/or Distributor, Year released.

The Learning Tree. Written, produced, and directed by Gordon Parks, performances by Kyle Johnson and Alex Clarke. Warner Bros., 1969, released on DVD 2011.

Videos from a Library Database (i.e., from Kanopy)

Title of the Film. Directed by Director's Name, [performances by Performer's Name, Performer's Name, and Performer's Name]. Studio and/or Distributor, Year released. Database Name, Stable URL.

Mavis!. Directed by Jessica Edwards. Film First Corp. and HBO Documentary Films, 2016. Kanopy,

A Television Show

“Title of the Episode.” Title of the Show, season X, episode YY, Original Broadcast or Cable Station, Date Month Year. Netflix [or other Distributor], Stable URL.

or, for a whole TV series:

Artist's Last name, First name, creator. Title of the Show. Studio and/or Distributor, Year released.

Barris, Kenya. Black-ish. Wilmore Films, American Broadcasting Company (ABC), 2014.

Videos from an Outside Website

“Title of the Work.” YouTube [or other website], by Author Name, uploaded by Full Name, day Month year, Web address.

"Dancing with Somali People in Minneapolis." YouTube, reported by Megumi Ageshi, uploaded by Ethnic Neighborhoods, 14 February 2018,

Capturing and Using Citations

Film still from the film Tonica Dominante

Daniel, Liam, film-still photographer. Tonica Dominante.
Directed by Lina Chamie, Cinematográfica Superfilmes and Ledo Audivisual Teatro, 2000.

An academic paper about theater or film is still an academic paper — one that needs to meet scholarly standards for quotation and citation. Think of this as a way to leave breadcrumbs that direct other scholars back to the things you focus on. You should put no image in your project, paper, or presentation without a proper citation.

That said, it is sometimes hard to find and capture citation-worthy information about a film you find on the Web. We at Lindell Library recommend using RefWorks to store information about your sources, and the outside resource IMDb (the Internet Movie Database) for tracking down citation-worthy information about films. Here is a quick primer on how to import citation information from IMDb to RefWorks:

  • Have open a text document (such as Notepad or Microsoft Word) where you can paste in notes as you make them
  • In IMDb,, enter a search for an movie you want to use
  • When you find the movie, scroll down to its description and click on See full cast & crew >>
  • Use the information on this page (e.g. the director) and the links in the Details box to the right to find out more about the production
  • In your text document, construct an MLA-style citation (TITLE. Directed by NAME, STUDIO/DISTRIBUTOR, YEAR) for the movie based on the information you just gathered, e.g.:

    Black Panther. Directed by Ryan Coogler, based on the Marvel comics by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Marvel Studios, 2018.

  • Also paste in a stable URL for the site where you accessed the movie, if you did so online
  • You can either save this text document and use it when you want to know how you accessed the movie, or (recommended) you can transfer that information to RefWorks:
  • Open RefWorks and log in to your Augsburg-sponsored account
  • Click the plus sign + to Add a reference > Create a new reference
  • Change the drop-down box at the top to Video
  • Copy and paste the citation from the text document into the Notes field
  • Click on Add more fields, enter URL, and add a URL field to the record
  • Copy and paste the stable URL from the text document into your new URL field
  • Use the information from your Notes field (and from IMDb, if necessary) to populate the Title, Director, and Year fields
  • Populate other fields as you find them (Performers, Producer, Medium, Studio / Distributor, Studio Location)
  • Click Save

You now have a safe electronic location (that you can access from many platforms) where this film's citation information is stored.