Are Movies Italicized?
  • 3-minute read
  • 16th September 2023

Are Movies Italicized?

If you’ve ever found yourself hesitating before handing in a paper because you’re wondering whether the movie titles you refer to should be italicized, you’re not alone. Proper formatting of movie titles can be tricky, especially when following different style guides for various writing purposes.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the rules and conventions regarding italicizing movie titles in different contexts, from essays to news articles to blog posts.

Should You Italicize Movie Titles in an Essay?

In academic writing, maintaining consistent formatting is essential for clarity and professionalism. When it comes to movie titles in essays, the general rule is to italicize them. This will help to differentiate them from the rest of the text, making your paper more organized and readable. For example:

“The themes of hope and redemption are central to The Shawshank Redemption.”

But the final answer, of course, will depend on your style guide.

Should You Italicize Movie Titles for MLA?

The Modern Language Association (MLA) provides specific guidelines for formatting essays and research papers. It’s often required for humanities courses, especially English and literature. According to MLA style, you should italicize movie titles. For example:

In Casablanca, one of the characters, Rick Blaine, faces a moral dilemma.”

Should You Italicize Movie Titles in APA?

American Psychological Association (APA) style, commonly used in social sciences, has different rules for formatting movie titles. In APA style, movie titles are also italicized, but note that APA has different rules than other style guides when it comes to capitalization of titles in general.

In APA, you write the movie title with title case (all major words capitalized) in the main body of an essay, but in the reference list, the title should use sentence case (except for proper nouns and words following a colon). For example:

Main Body: “The study analyzed the impact of The Social Network on social media trends.

Reference list: Fincher, D. (Director). (2010). The social network [film]. Columbia Pictures.

In both cases, the movie title is italicized.

Should You Italicize Movie Titles in Chicago/Turabian?

The Chicago Manual of Style and Turabian style, often used in history and other social sciences, align with the general practice of italicizing movie titles. Here’s an example:

The film Schindler’s List presents a poignant depiction of the Holocaust.

Should You Italicize Movie Titles in News or Web Articles in AP Style?

When writing for news articles or web content following the Associated Press (AP) style, movie titles are placed in quotation marks rather than italicized. AP Style doesn’t use italics. For example:

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“In the movie ‘The Godfather,’ the character Vito Corleone is portrayed by Marlon Brando.”

Remember to consult the specific style guide required for your writing to ensure accurate formatting. Properly formatted movie titles enhance the overall professionalism and readability of your work.

Here’s a quick rundown of the guidelines of this post:

●  In essays: Typically, movie titles are italicized for clarity and consistency. But check your style guide!

○  In MLA style: Italicize movie titles.

○  In APA style: Italicize movie titles but pay attention to title capitalization guidelines for the main body of the paper vs. the reference list.

○  In Chicago/Turabian style: Italicize movie titles.

○  In AP style for news or web articles: Place movie titles in quotation marks.

So, the next time you’re discussing your favorite films, you’ll know just how to format their titles with confidence.

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