How to cite a movie in APA

A movie or documentary can be a useful source for your paper. When you decide to use one of these sources, you need to know how to cite a movie in APA style.

To cite a movie or documentary correctly, you must use an in-text citation and include the source in the reference list.

Be aware that if you would like to cite a Youtube video, there are other rules you need to follow.

APA movie citation

Citing a documentary or movie in APA Style
APA formatProducerLastName, Initials. (Producer), & DirectorLastName, Initials. (Director). (Year). MovieTitle [Motion Picture]. Country: NameStudio.
Reference listFinerman, W., Starkey, S. P., Tisch, S. (Producers), & Zemeckis, R. (Director). (1994). Forrest Gump [Motion Picture]. United States: Paramount Pictures.
In-text citation
  • The movie Forrest Gump by Finerman, Starkey, Tisch, and Zemeckis (1994) is an example of … .
  • Forrest Gump invented the smiley (Finerman, Starkey, Tisch, & Zemeckis, 1994)

Explanations and exceptions

  • Depending on the number of producers and directors, there are different APA Style rules. Read more about how to cite sources with multiple authors.
  • When a person is both a producer and director, indicate this by adding “(Producer/Director)” after their name instead of only “(Producer).”
  • Always italicize the movie title.
  • Always use [Motion Picture] to indicate the movie format, except when the movie is on DVD [DVD] or VHS [VHS].
  • If the movie or documentary is produced by Netflix (Netflix original) or another streaming service, you should replace the country and name of the production studio with “Retrieved from [source]”. E.g. “Retrieved from”

Where to find the information to cite a movie

The information needed to cite the movie can be easily found on IMDb (Internet Movie Database).

how to cite a movie apa

  1. Search for the movie using the title (e.g. ‘Forrest Gump’).
  2. The release year is displayed right after the title. In this case, 1994
  3. Above the title, there is a tab called “Full cast and crew.” Here you can find the producer(s) and director(s).
    • The director (Robert Zemeckis) is shown on top
    • Below the cast you will find the producers (Wendy Finerman, Steve Starkey and Steve Tisch). You don’t need to cite the co-producers, line producers or associate producers.
  4. Now, go back to the movie’s overview page and scroll down to the heading “details.” Here you find the country of origin (USA) and the production company/ studio. In this example it is “Paramount Pictures.”

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Raimo Streefkerk

Raimo is an expert in explaining plagiarism and citing sources. He has been writing helpful articles since 2017 and is continuously improving Scribbr's Citation Generators.

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