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How to Cite a Movie in Chicago Manual of Style

Knowing how to cite a movie per the Chicago Manual of Style is simple enough, although it can get tricky with in-text and footnote citations, which we explain below. In general, the17th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style (the most recent as of this publication date) requires the movie’s director, title, publication location, production company, year of release, and format, in that order. 

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If you want to know how to cite a film in Chicago style, for both primary and secondary sources, follow this formula for the bibliography or reference page: 

Last Name, First Name of director, dir. Movie title in italics. Publication

location: Production Company, Year of release, Format. 

The format can refer to a hard copy or a URL if you watched the film on a streaming site. In practice, your Chicago film citations should look like this: 

Forman, Milos, dir. Amadeus. Berkeley, CA: The Saul Zaentz Company, 1984, DVD. 

When citing direct dialogue or specific details of a film, a writer needs to include citations to avoid one or more types of plagiarism. If you’re using Chicago style, you’ll have to choose between in-text citations (author-date citations) and footnote citations. Each system uses different methods for how to cite movies, so let’s take a deeper look at each. 

How to in-text cite a movie in Chicago style

If you already know how to write a research paper, you’re probably familiar with in-text citations already. Chicago author-date citation format follows most of the same guidelines for in-text citations, mentioning the director’s last name and the year of release in parentheses. 

(Last Name of director Year of release)

(Forman 1984)

If you’re referencing a specific excerpt or scene, it’s best to include an hour:minute:second timestamp of the part you’re describing, separated by a comma. 

(Last Name of director Year of release hour:minute:second timestamp)

(Forman 1984, 1:25:45)

How to footnote a movie in Chicago style

Chicago’s footnote/endnote style doesn’t interrupt text the way author-date citations do, but they take a little more work to organize. Footnotes and endnotes can be either full notes or short notes, depending on whether the source was referenced before:

  • If it’s your first time referencing the source, use a full note.
  • If it’s not your first time referencing the source, use a short note.

As you can guess, full notes and short notes each give different amounts of information about the source. 

How to footnote a movie in Chicago style: Full notes

Full notes are almost identical to the reference list citation formula above, but with one minor addition: Chicago-style full notes use parentheses around the production information. Use this formula for citing movies in Chicago-style full notes:

#. Last Name, First Name of director, dir. Movie title in italics (Publication

location: Production Company, Year of release), Format. 

2. Forman, Milos, dir. Amadeus (Berkeley, CA: The Saul Zaentz Company, 1984),

DVD. 

Just like author-date citations, add an hour:minute:second timestamp if you’re referencing a specific excerpt or scene.

2. Forman, Milos, dir. Amadeus (Berkeley, CA: The Saul Zaentz Company, 1984),

DVD, 1:25:45.   

How to footnote a movie in Chicago style: Short notes

As the name suggests, short notes are short. After the first reference of a source, you can use an abridged citation, the short note, that mentions only the director’s last name and the movie title. The movie title itself can be shortened, as long as the reader can differentiate it from other sources. 

#. Last Name of director, Movie title in italics.

2. Forman, Amadeus

Again, if referencing a specific excerpt or scene, add a timestamp. 

2. Forman, Amadeus, 1:25:45.

How to in-text cite a documentary in Chicago style

Documentaries are a commonly used source in academic writing and follow the same guidelines mentioned above. If you’re wondering how to cite a documentary in-text per the Chicago Manual of Style, use this formula: 

(Last Name of director Year of release)

(France 2017)

As always, include timestamps for specific excerpts and scenes. 

(France 2017, 0:41:35)

How to footnote a documentary in Chicago style

Likewise, citing a documentary in Chicago style using footnotes follows the same rules as for other films. For full notes, use this formula: 

#. Last Name, First Name of director, dir. Movie title in italics (Publication

location: Production Company, Year of release), Format. 

1. France, David, dir. The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (New York, NY:

Public Square Films, 2017), https://www.netflix.com/watch/80189623. 

For short notes, use this formula: 

#. Last Name of director, Movie title in italics.

1. France, Death and Life.

If necessary, the timestamp comes at the end of both full notes and short notes. 

1. France, David, dir. The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (New York, NY:

Public Square Films, 2017), https://www.netflix.com/watch/80189623, 0:41:35.

1. France, Death and Life, 0:41:35.

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