How to Write a Movie Title in an Essay?

Oct 20, 2023

self-education

 

How to Write a Movie Title in an Essay?

What could be easier than writing a movie title in essay? After all, it’s not a degree thesis or a scholarly article to bother with the formatting.

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Most students think that way, but they are making an unfortunate mistake, as teachers are often picky about formatting and punctuation trifles, and they love to judge our essays by these formalities, sometimes as much as by the content itself. A paper will score lower than it otherwise would, simply because a student neglected a small formatting detail when placing a movie title.

Let us help you avoid such nuisances by quickly showing how to write the title of a movie in an essay using various style guides, and, of course, providing plenty of movie title examples.

Why Do We Need Movie Titles in a Paper?

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One may have such a need for many reasons. The most obvious one – writing a movie review essay. This is when the whole story is built around a movie’s plot, and one may need to mention the title, and the director, provide citations, and include any other relevant information. In that case, an incorrectly formatted title or a citation will have a significant impact on the final score of one’s work.

Besides a movie review, we may need to have movie titles virtually in any paper: from admission essays to degree theses and dissertations. The reason is – these days watching movies is common entertainment, which has even overshadowed books as a source of ideas and inspiration. We live in a movie era, indeed. What famous actors and actresses say and do in popular movies becomes a universally understood and widely shared language that allows us to connect with the reader’s values and emotions instantly.

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When you don’t know how to format a movie title in your paper, you will intentionally avoid including one. This will unfairly diminish the value of your work.

Whereas, when you know how to format titles correctly, you can always make your paper stronger and your writing complete by supporting your claims with movie-based evidence and referring to the universally appreciated values and truths that we often find in good movies.

Writing a Movie Title in an Essay Using Different Style Guides

We wish there would be a universal recommendation on a movie title format in an essay. The problem is with style guides, as there are simply too many of them, and they all postulate different formatting rules. Well, mostly different, as there are some similarities that we’ll pinpoint a bit later.

What’s more – various educational institutions choose to adhere to the style guide they prefer, and even individual faculty members may change style guides in their assignments, sometimes jumping from one style guide to another throughout a single semester.

It means that you need to be aware of the style guide the teacher wants you to follow each time you write an essay, and you must consistently adhere to that style in your writing.

How to Write a Movie Title in an Essay APA Style

In APA (American Psychological Association) style, the following rules apply:

  • Italicizing. In practice, it means that you need to slant the title’s font to the right.

For example: The Shawshank Redemption.

  • Capitalization. Each word in a movie title must begin with a capital letter. This rule doesn’t apply to conjunctions (and, or, but), articles (the, a, an), and prepositions (in, on, under, between, etc.), unless they are the first words in a sentence. For example:
    The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
  • Citation. Suppose you are including a reference or a citation from a movie. In that case, you must also provide relevant referencing information, such as a movie’s director and/or the year of release. For example:
    As the character Don Vito Corleone famously says in The Godfather, “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse” (Coppola, 1972).

How to Write a Movie Title in an Essay MLA Style

The MLA (Modern Language Association) style is very similar to the APA style when it comes to movie titles in essays:

  • Italicizing. Use the italics font style when including a movie title in an essay. For example:
    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
  • Capitalization. Similar to the APA style, each word in a movie title in MLA style must begin with a capital letter. This rule doesn’t apply to conjunctions (and, or, but), articles (the, a, an), and prepositions (in, on, under, between, etc.), unless they are the first words in a sentence. For example:
    The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.
  • Citation. Suppose you are including a reference or a citation from a movie. In that case, you must also provide relevant referencing information along with the movie’s title in italics, such as the movie’s director and/or the year of release. For example:
    In Jurassic Park (Spielberg, 1993), director Steven Spielberg uses cutting-edge special effects to create a thrilling viewer experience.

How to Write Movie Titles in Essays Using AP Style

The AP (Associated Press) style guide is quite different from APA and MLA. Here is what it says about movie titles:

  • Applying Quotation Marks. When writing movie titles in college essays, students must put them into quotation marks, instead of italics font style. For example:
    “Gone with the Wind.”
  • Capitalization. The same rule as in APA and MLA applies – all major words must start with the first capital letter, while all articles, conjunctions, and prepositions are not capitalized. For example:
    “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.”
  • Citation. The AP style is a unique style in this sense – it doesn’t require you to put citations from movies directly into the essay’s text. However, if your essay requirements state so, you should do it the normal way: including the director and the year of release in parentheses.

How to Write Movie Titles in Essays Using Chicago Style

The Chicago style guide is the simplest of all, as it doesn’t require italicizing or quotation marks in movie titles. Instead, it only stipulates capitalization of all the major words in a title, except articles, prepositions, and conjunctions. Also, if a citation is needed, the director, release year, and any other relevant information must go along as plain text (no parentheses or quotation marks are needed either). For example:

The Godfather, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, 1972.

The Benefits of Using Movie Titles in Essays

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Just before the thought flashes in your mind “Oh no, it’s too complicated; I’d better refrain from using movie titles in my essay,” we’ve prepared a list to convince you to think otherwise. Take a look at these benefits and think twice:

  • Movie titles are the best attention-grabbers, they will easily and quickly spike the engagement in our readers.
  • Movie titles make excellent examples when you need to illustrate or support a point.
  • Movie titles that include memorable quotes, can very effectively support your arguments. You can even intentionally search the web for relevant quotes to back up your thesis statement.
  • Movie titles are an excellent way to buff the word count of your essay, especially the long titles with lengthy quotes.
  • Movie titles can significantly improve your grade by enhancing the creative and style value of your essay.
  • Movie titles in an essay are fun! They make an otherwise tedious work more joyful and entertaining, both for you and your reader!

The Grand Finale

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If you were attentive enough, you must have noticed that while different style guides do stipulate different formatting rules for movie titles in essays, there is still a tangible similarity present in all this mess. The two most common style guides used in academia, are the APA and MLA style, which both stipulate italicizing movie titles in essays. Very simple, isn’t it?

The AP style, which requires one to put a movie title in quotation marks, is rarely used in colleges, as it is more common for publishing work and journalism, while the Chicago style is common only for graduate-level academic work.

If you need further guidance on how to write a movie title in a sentence – feel free to contact us, and we will assist you to the best of our abilities.

Frequently Asked Questions about Movie Title in an Essay

Do you italicize a movie title in an essay?

Yes, the two most popular academic style guides, MLA and APA, require you to italicize movie titles in essays. At the same time, the AP style requires placing the title in quotation marks, while the Chicago style only prescribes capitalizing each major word in a title.

What to do with movie titles in an essay?

You should format it according to one of the style guides used in academic writing. Unless otherwise specified in your essay assignment, you’d be safe by italicizing a movie title in your paper, which corresponds to the two most popular style guides: APA and MLA.

How to introduce a film in an essay?

You should introduce it using the formatting rules of a specific style guide. For example, MLA and APA styles stipulate italicizing film titles and adding director and release year information in parentheses. The Chicago style requires capitalizing letters in every major word of a movie title and director’s name.

How to punctuate a movie title in an essay?

All punctuation marks from an original movie title must be formatted according to the chosen style guide, e.g., italicized using MLA and APA styles, or put in quotation marks if AP style is applied. A director’s name and release year must be separated by a comma from the movie title.

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