• 2-minute read
  • 5th June 2020

How to Cite a Movie in Harvard Referencing

While books and journals are the most common sources in academic writing, you may need to cite a film or documentary in your work at some point. But how does this work? In this post, we look at citing a movie using Harvard referencing, including the in-text citations and reference list entry.

Citing a Movie in Harvard Referencing

To cite a movie in Harvard referencing, you need to give its name in italics and the year it was released:

Nineteenth-century New York is portrayed as a Darwinian battleground plagued by tribal warfare (Gangs of New York, 2002).

If you name the source in the text, though, simply give the date in brackets:

In Gangs of New York (2002), nineteenth-century New York is portrayed as a Darwinian battleground plagued by tribal warfare.

Finally, to cite a specific part of a movie (e.g., to quote an important line or discuss a particular scene), you may need to give a pinpoint citation. And in the absence of page numbers, this means giving a timestamp:

At this point, Bill the Butcher says, “He was the only man I ever killed worth remembering” (Gangs of New York, 2002, 2:21:34).

Here, we’re citing something from 2 hours, 21 minutes and 34 seconds into the film. And the timestamp will allow readers to find the relevant quote.

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Adding a Movie to a Harvard Reference List

The reference list format for a movie in Harvard referencing is:

Film title (Year) Directed by Name of Director [Film]. Place of distribution if known, Distribution company.

We would therefore list Gangs of New York like this:

Gangs of New York (2002) Directed by Martin Scorsese [Film]. Buena Vista Distribution.

Harvard Variations and Proofreading

Harvard referencing is a style, not a unified system. As a result, different universities may use different versions of this style. The guidelines set out above are based on the Open University version of Harvard referencing, but make sure to check your own style guide for advice if you have one.

Whichever version you use, though, your references should be clear and consistent. And to make sure of this, why not ask the referencing experts at Proofed to check that your writing is always error free?

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