How to cite a movie in APA

To cite a movie in APA Style, list the film’s producer(s) and director as authors and the production studio as publisher. The title is written in sentence case and italicized, followed by the label “Motion picture” in square brackets.

The in-text citation includes the last names of the producer(s) and the year. If you are referring to a specific quote or scene from the movie, add a timestamp to direct the reader to the relevant part.

APA movie citation
APA formatProducer Last Name, Initials. (Producer), & Director Last Name, Initials. (Director). (Year). Film title [Motion picture]. Country of origin: Studio.
Reference listCarroll, G., Giler, D., & Hill, W. (Producers), & Scott, R. (Director). (1979). Alien [Motion Picture]. United States: Twentieth Century Fox.
First in-text citation(Carroll, Giler, & Hill, 1979, 0:45:14)
Subsequent in-text citations(Carroll et al., 1979, 1:20:43)

Citing movies in different formats

In general, you don’t need to specify the format in which you watched the film. However, if you are discussing a specific version of the film (for example, if you refer to the special features of a DVD), you can specify the version in the citation.

In these cases, the publication date is the release year of the specific version, not the general release:

Dempsey, C., Guiney, E., & Magiday, L. (Producers), & Lanthimos, Y. (Director & Producer). (2016). The lobster [Motion picture; DVD release]. UK: Film4.

As in the above example, when the director is also a producer, this information should be included.

Movies on Netflix and other streaming services

You don’t usually need to state that a film was viewed on a particular streaming service (like Netflix or Hulu). Just follow the standard format without mentioning where you viewed the film.

However, if the film was also produced by a streaming company (e.g. a Netflix Original), you should replace the studio information with a URL linking to their site:

Johnson, M., Bernstein, M., Newirth, C., & Paul, A. (Producers), & Gilligan, V. (Director & Producer). (2019). El Camino: A breaking bad movie [Motion picture]. Retrieved from https://www.netflix.com

7th edition updates

In the 7th edition, the format of a movie citation is simplified. It’s now recommended to omit producers, listing only the director(s) of the film in the author position. Additionally, no country is listed, and the word “Film” is used instead of “Motion picture”:

Scott, R. (Director). (1979). Alien [Film]. Twentieth Century Fox.

Where to find source information for a movie citation

The source information you need for your citation can usually be found in the movie’s end credits or on the packaging for a physical release. Otherwise, you can find it on IMDb.

Where to find information for an APA movie citation on IMDBStudio information can be found further down this page, under the heading “Company Credits.” Click on “Full Cast and Crew” and scroll down to “Produced by” for producer information:

 

Where to find producer names on IMDB

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Jack Caulfield

Jack is a Brit based in Amsterdam, with an MA in comparative literature. He writes and edits for Scribbr, and reads a lot of books in his spare time.

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