do movies go in quotes

Do Movies Go in Quotes When Citing?

Quoting movies is a common practice among film enthusiasts and casual moviegoers alike. But have you ever wondered if movies should be put in quotes?

In this article, we’ll explore the rules for putting movies in quotes, as well as the reasoning behind these rules.

Movie Titles: When to Use Quotes and When to Skip Them

When it comes to citing movie titles, understanding the proper formatting can be a bit confusing. One common question that arises is whether to use quotation marks or skip them. The general rule of thumb is to use quotation marks when referencing a specific movie title within a larger body of work, such as an essay or article.

For example, “Casablanca” is a classic film that continues to captivate audiences.

However, if you are referring to a movie title in a formal or standalone context, such as on a movie poster or in a bibliography, it is customary to italicize the title instead: Casablanca. This formatting distinction helps to differentiate between titles that are part of a larger work and titles that stand alone.

The Dos and Don’ts of Quoting Movie Titles

When quoting movie titles, it is essential to follow certain guidelines to maintain consistency and accuracy. Here are a few dos and don’ts to keep in mind:

  1. Do use quotation marks when incorporating a movie title into your writing.
  2. Do capitalize the significant words in the movie title, such as nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs.
  3. Do include any punctuation marks that are part of the original movie title, such as exclamation points or question marks.
  4. Don’t italicize movie titles within quotation marks.
  5. Don’t capitalize minor words in the movie title, such as articles, prepositions, or coordinating conjunctions, unless they are the first or last word in the title.

A Guide to Citing Movie Titles in Different Writing Styles

Different writing styles, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago, have specific guidelines for citing movie titles. In APA style, for instance, movie titles are italicized. In MLA style, movie titles are also italicized, but they can be placed in quotation marks if being referenced within a larger work.

Chicago style, on the other hand, uses italics for movie titles, but they can be placed in quotation marks for emphasis or clarity. It is important to consult the appropriate style guide for your specific writing requirements to ensure accurate citation of movie titles.

Why Some Movie Titles Are Italicized Instead of in Quotes

The choice to italicize movie titles instead of using quotation marks is based on established style conventions and helps to provide visual clarity and consistency. Italicizing movie titles makes them stand out from the surrounding text and indicates that they are distinct works.

Additionally, italics are often used for longer works, such as books, plays, or films, while quotation marks are typically reserved for shorter works, such as articles, short stories, or individual episodes of television shows. The use of italics for movie titles helps readers quickly identify and differentiate them within a text.

The Evolution of Movie Title Formatting Over Time

Over time, the formatting of movie titles has undergone changes and adaptations as style guidelines and conventions have evolved. In the past, movie titles were often underlined instead of italicized or placed in quotation marks.

However, with the standardization of style guides and the increased use of computers and digital publishing, italics have become the preferred method for indicating movie titles. This shift allows for easier readability and consistency across various media platforms.

As writing and publishing practices continue to evolve, it is important to stay updated on the current conventions for formatting movie titles in your chosen style guide.


In conclusion, movies titles are usually italicized, but using quotes is also acceptable. The choice of format may depend on the citation style you are using, the publication, or your personal preference.

Regardless of the format, it’s essential to be consistent in your usage throughout your writing.