How to cite a film in Chicago style

Note: This article mainly covers notes and bibliography style. For author-date style, click here.

In Chicago notes and bibliography style, a bibliography entry for a film viewed online (e.g. on a streaming platform like Netflix) lists the director as the author, with the label “director” after their name. State the length of the film in hours and minutes, and include a URL at the end.

In a note, start with the film title, followed by the director’s name. You can point the reader to a specific scene or moment in the film using timestamps.

Bibliography Director last name, First name, director. Film Title. Production Company or Distributor, Year. Film length. URL.

Weir, Peter, director. The Truman Show. Paramount Pictures, 1998. 1 hr., 43 min. https://www.netflix.com/watch/11819086.

Full note Film Title, directed by Director first name Last name (Production Company or Distributor, Year), Timestamp(s), URL.

1. The Truman Show, directed by Peter Weir (Paramount Pictures, 1998), 1:31:15. https://www.netflix.com/watch/11819086.

Short note Shortened Film Title, Timestamp(s).

2. Truman Show, 1:11:35 to 1:13:59.

Citing a film viewed in a physical format

When you viewed the film in a physical format (e.g. DVD, Blu-ray), include information about the format in your note and bibliography entry.

If the physical release is from a different year to the original theatrical release, list the original year first, before the production company or distributor.

Bibliography Director last name, First name, director. Film Title. Original Release Year; Production Company or Distributor, Year. Film length. Format.

Bong Joon-ho, director. Parasite. 2019; Curzon Artificial Eye, 2020. 2 hr., 11 min. Blu-ray Disc, 1080p HD.

Full note Film Title, directed by Director first name Last name (Original Release Year; Production Company or Distributor, Year), Timestamp(s), Format.

1. Parasite, directed by Bong Joon-ho (2019; Curzon Artificial Eye, 2020), 1:15:27, Blu-ray Disc, 1080p HD.

Short note Shortened Film Title, Timestamp(s).

2. Parasite, 0:51:17.

Information about other contributors

Depending on the nature of your citation, you may want to include information about contributors other than the director. For example, you could mention an actor whose performance you discuss, the writer if you closely analyze dialogue, and so on.

All of this information is optional; include only information relevant to your discussion.

Bibliography Director last name, First name, director. Film Title. Other contributor information. Production Company or Distributor, Year. Film length. URL.

Eggers, Robert, director. The Lighthouse. Featuring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson. Cinematography by Jarin Blaschke. A24, 2019. 1 hr., 49 min. https://www.amazon.com/Lighthouse-Willem-Dafoe/dp/B07Z4236MR/.

Full note Film Title, directed by Director first name Last name, Other contributor information (Production Company or Distributor, Year), Timestamp(s), URL.

1. The Lighthouse, directed by Robert Eggers, featuring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson, cinematography by Jarin Blaschke (A24, 2019), 0:45:19, https://www.amazon.com/Lighthouse-Willem-Dafoe/dp/B07Z4236MR/.

Short note Shortened Film Title, Timestamp(s).

2. Lighthouse, 0:15:04.

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Citing films in Chicago author-date style

In Chicago author-date style, you cite films using in-text citations in parentheses, consisting of the director’s last name, the year, and a timestamp if relevant.

The reference list entry follows the same format as a bibliography entry, except that the year appears before the film title.

Author-date film citation examples

Format Director last name, First name, director. Year. Film Title. Production Company or Distributor. Film length. URL.
Reference list Weir, Peter, director. 1998. The Truman Show. Paramount Pictures. 1 hr., 43 min. https://www.netflix.com/watch/11819086.
In-text citation (Weir 1998, 1:31:15)
Format Director last name, First name, director. Original Release Year. Film Title. Production Company or Distributor, Year. Film length. Format.
Reference list Bong Joon-ho, director. 2019. Parasite. Curzon Artificial Eye, 2020. 2 hr., 11 min. Blu-ray Disc, 1080p HD.
In-text citation (Bong 2019, 0:51:17 to 0:52:48)
Format Director last name, First name, director. Year. Film Title. Other contributor information. Production Company or Distributor. Film length. URL.
Reference list Eggers, Robert, director. 2019. The Lighthouse. Featuring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson. Cinematography by Jarin Blaschke. A24. 1 hr., 49 min. https://www.amazon.com/Lighthouse-Willem-Dafoe/dp/B07Z4236MR/.
In-text citation (Eggers 2019, 0:15:04)

Frequently asked questions about Chicago style citations

Which contributors should I mention in a Chicago film citation?

The director should always be listed in the author position in a Chicago film citation, followed by the label “director.” Other contributors to the film (actors, cinematographers, writers, composers, producers, etc.) may be listed after the film title, e.g. “Featuring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson. Cinematography by Jarin Blaschke.”

Only the contributors relevant to your discussion of the film should be added. You might mention actors whose performances are discussed in detail, or the composer if the use of music in the film is examined. It’s also fine to mention no contributors other than the director, if none are relevant to your discussion.

How do I cite a source with no page numbers in Chicago style?

In Chicago style, when a source does not include page numbers but you still want to point the reader to a specific point within it, an alternative locator should be used in your note or in-text citation. With audiovisual sources (e.g. films, videos, podcasts, songs), this is a timestamp, e.g. 1:15:28.

Web pages are usually short enough that no specific locator is needed. However, for a particularly long web page, you can use a subheading from the page, in quotation marks, e.g. “Citing Sources with Notes.”

Note that page numbers should be left out of newspaper citations, even when they are available. This is because page numbers can vary between different editions of a newspaper.

Should I use short notes or full notes for my Chicago citations?

In Chicago notes and bibliography style, the usual standard is to use a full note for the first citation of each source, and short notes for any subsequent citations of the same source.

However, your institution’s guidelines may differ from the standard rule. In some fields, you’re required to use a full note every time, whereas in some other fields you can use short notes every time, as long as all sources are listed in your bibliography. If you’re not sure, check with your instructor.

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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.

1 comment

Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
May 24, 2021 at 3:26 PM

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