Do I Italicize Movie Titles?

You may be wondering, do I italicize movie titles? When writing a paper, you want to make sure you format your title correctly.

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Introduction

No, you do not italicize movie titles. The reason for this is because movies, television shows, and other media are intended to be consumed as a whole experience. Therefore, their titles are not meant to be dissected and analyzed like the titles of books or articles.

What are movie titles?

A movie title is the name given to a film. It is typically used to identify the film in marketing, publicity, and critical studies.

Why do we italicize movie titles?

Italics are used for large works, names of vehicles, and artwork. The name of a movie should be italicized. The reason we italicize names of works is simple: to set them apart from the surrounding text. For instance, if I wanted to talk about the movie “The Lion King,” I would italicize it, but if I just wanted to say that my favorite animal is the lion, I wouldn’t italicize it.

How do we italicize movie titles?

We generally italicize the titles of things that can stand by themselves. That includes works of art like paintings, sculptures, drawings, mixed media, and photographs. It also includes TV shows, long musical works like symphonies and albums, and movies. We also put the titles of chapters in books in italics.

What about other types of media?

Other types of media can be italicized as well. This includes but isn’t limited to video games, board games, novels, and songs.

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Are there any exceptions to the rule?

There are a few exceptions to the rule of italicizing movie titles. For example, if you are writing an academic paper, you may want to consult your professor or adviser to see if they have a preferred style guide that you should follow. Additionally, some style guides suggest that you do not italicize the titles of movies that are considered “classic” or “cult classics.”

Conclusion

We italicize titles of works that stand by themselves. This includes books, long poems, plays, movies, television shows, and works of art. We also italicize the names of ships and planes. We do not italicize newspaper names.

Further reading

If you are unsure about how to punctuate a title, check with your instructor or editor, or consult the most recent edition of the style manual for your field.

Works cited

In your “Works Cited” or “Bibliography” you will only include the resources that you actually cited (referred to) in your paper. Consequently, if you watched but did not cite a particular movie in your paper, you would not include that movie in your “Works Cited.”

If you are unsure about how or whether to italicize something, check with your instructor or submit a question through our Ask a Librarian service.

About the author

Emily Helen is a movie buff and freelance writer who loves to weigh in on the latest films. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Emily has spent her post-college years living in Los Angeles, New York, and Philadelphia.

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