Citing audiovisual materials (film, television, and online video): MLA (8th ed.) citation guide


This guide is based on the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 8th ed. and provides selected citation examples for common types of sources. For more detailed information please consult the print version of the handbook available at the SFU Library.

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The 8th edition of the MLA Handbook does not list specific rules on how to cite a DVD, a book, a journal article, etc., but instead outlines a universal set of general guidelines of citation and documentation that can be applied to any source type, including audiovisual materials. These are the guidelines we followed to develop the following examples for you.

Film, video, or television episode

Parenthetical (in-text)

Where possible, incorporate the title of the film, video, or television episode in the text of your research paper rather than using a parenthetical reference. For example:

Ichikawa's Burmese Harp, narrating the experience of Japanese soldiers stationed in Burma during the Second World War, was one of the first films to depict the wartime experience from the perspective of the Japanese army.

If you choose to use in-text citations with time-based media, such as 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 (p. 57). For example:

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

To cite film itself:

The Burmese Harp [Biruma no tategoto]. Directed by, Kon Ichikawa, Nikkatsu, 1956.

To cite the director's contribution:

Ichikawa, Kon, director. The Burmese Harp [Biruma no tategoto]. Nikkatsu, 1956.

To cite the performer's contribution:

Kang-ho, Song, performer. The Host[Gwoemul]. Directed by Joon-ho Bong. Showbox Entertainment, 2006. Criterion, 2007. 

To cite an online video:

North Carolina State University Libraries. "Literature Reviews: An Overview for Graduate Students". YouTube. North Caroline State U, 30 June 2009. Accessed 23 July 2016.

Film without an author:

"Hurricane Katrina: The Drive: New Orleans Lower 9th Ward." YouTube. New Orleans Video Access Center, 16 June 2006. 13 Nov. 2015.

To cite an episode from a television series:

"The 9-8." Brooklyn Nine-Nine, season 1, episode 15, Fox, 9 Feb. 2016. 

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


It is not necessary to list performers, but performers or producers can be included if it seems relevant (p. 24; p. 38).

For content accessed online, also include "Date of Access" to show when you accessed the online material (p. 53).

Include the original release date for the film, video, etc.; dates should be expressed in the form you deem most appropriate (pp. 43-44). For example, you may choose to only write the year when citing  a film, and write the full date when citing an episode of a television series.

When working with authors with variant forms of names (ex. YouTube usernames), see p. 102 (2.1.1)

For films, TV episodes, online videos, etc. with multiple publication dates, see p. 42.

For audio recordings, see p. 28 & p. 39.