Citing audiovisual materials (film, television, and online video): MLA (9th ed.) citation guide


This guide is based on the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 9th ed. and provides selected citation examples for common types of sources.

For more detailed information, please consult the full manual: available in print and online.

See pages 328-333 in Appendix 2 of the Handbook for more examples of citing audiovisual work.



It is recommended that you include "date of access" when citing online audiovisual sources. Most audiovisual content is now found online, but the URLs for this type of online content are more likely than other sources (i.e. academic articles) to be changed or removed. For this reason, it is important to indicate when you accessed the source in case the URL is changed or removed.

If a series does not have episode titles, begin the works cited entry with the series title.

Parenthetical (in-text)

The MLA Handbook suggests that, wher possible, incorporate the title of the film, video, or television episode in the text of your paper rather than using a parenthetical reference:

The documentary film, Pink Ribbons Inc., features interviews with critics of the Pink Ribbon campaign for breast cancer awareness.

For in-text citations of film or video recordings, you will also need to cite the relevant time or time ranges. Times should be denoted as the hours, minutes, and seconds displayed on the media player, separating the numbers with colons (250). 

Elinor's frustrations and inner turmoil manifest in her response to Marianne's question (Sense and Sensibility 01:42:10-1:43:04).

Works cited

A difference between audiovisual materials and others is that works cited entries for audiovisual materials do not as often begin with authors, and they usually make use of the contributor field. Recall the MLA core elements:

MLA core elements in standard order: 

1) Author 
2) Title of Source 
3) Title of Container 
4) Contributor 
5) Version 
6) Number 
7) Publisher 
8) Publication Date 
9) Location

Notes on contributors:

  • Multiple people can contribute to a work while not being its primary creator.
  • Key contributors should be listed in your entry, while other kinds of contributors should be listed on a case-by-case basis.
  • Whenever you list a contributor, include a label describing their role (145).
  • Examples of contributors to audiovisual work might be directors, editors, creators, narrators, actors etc.

See pages 145-153 (sections 5.38-5.47) of the Handbook for more information about contributors.


Actors whose contributions are the focus of your discussion 

Moonlight. Directed by Barry Jenkins, performances by Trevante Rhodes and André Holland, A24 / Plan B Entertainment / Pastel Productions, 2016.

Usually, contributors can be described using the phrase "by"-- as in "directed by", "narrated by", and "edited by". If they cannot be described that way, the role can be specified with a noun with commas instead -- in this case, "instructor":

“Why Use Technology to Share Content?” Teaching With Technology, Kevin Kelly, instructor, LinkedIn Learning, Accessed 7 May 2021.

Online streaming

Feature film

The Water Walker. Directed by James Burns, Seeing Red 6 Nations / Contour Films Inc., 2019, Crave, Accessed 6 Oct. 2022.

Note: This film has two production companies, so they both go in the publisher field separated by a slash.

Short video

“One Perfect Source?” Created by libncsu, 9 July 2014, YouTube, Accessed 6 Oct.2022. 

See also: How do I cite YouTube videos?

TV episode

"Ruby Slippers." Once Upon a Time, season 5, episode 18, ABC Studios, 17 Apr. 2016. Netflix, Accessed 23 July 2016.

Podcast episode

“Whispering and the Weather.” The Anthropocene Reviewed, Created by John Green, WYNC Studios, 27 Sept. 2018, Accessed 1 Sept. 2021.

Music video

Monae, Janelle. “Make me Feel.” Dirty Computer. Wondaland Arts Society/Bad Boy Records/Atlantic Records,2018, YouTube, Accessed 13 Nov. 2022.


Note: no URL is needed for apps

Feature film

Do The Right Thing. 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, 1989. Netflix app. Accessed 31 Oct. 2022.

Podcast episode

“Spark Tank! How Do we Solve the Energy Storage Problem?” How to Save a Planet, Gimlet Media, 30 June 2022, Spotify app. Accessed 5 July 2022.


Elisapie. “Arnaq.” The Ballad of the Runaway Girl, Bonsound, 2018. Apple Music app. Accessed 13 Nov. 2021.


Feinberg, Leslie. Stone Butch Blues. First Alyson Books, 2003, Libby app. Accessed 15 Feb. 2020.

CDs, DVDs and more


Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy. Directed by Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, National Film Board of Canada, 2021.

Song from a CD

Witch Prophet. “Weight of the World.” The Golden Octave, Heart Lake Records, 2018.

A film or video found on its own website

Pink Ribbons Inc. National Film Board of Canada, 2011,

Note: This does include online streaming services (e.g. Netflix)

Episodes from a broadcast television series

"What About Your Dad." Reservation Dogs, season 1, episode 4, FXP, 23 Aug. 2021. 

Episode with no title

Begin with the series name instead:

Fleabag. Created by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, season 1, episode 3, BBC, 4 Aug. 2016. 


Generally, this is what you would italicize or use quotation marks around in your prose, parenthetical citations, and works cited:


  • long-form works: films, plays, audiobooks
  • works that contain other works: a television series, websites, music albums, apps

Examples: HamiltonBreaking BadRumours ​

Use quotation marks:

  • for short-form works: music videos, short videos, songs
  • for works contained within other works: an episode of a television series, a podcast episode, a page on a website

Examples: "My Shot", "Ozymandias", "Go Your Own Way"