How to Write Movie Titles in Essays?

Writing a movie title in essay projects may be necessary when handling different academic assignments. Thus, knowing how to write movie captions in the correct format is vital for composing successful papers. While mastering this art is necessary, many students face challenges doing it. 

This subject raises many questions regarding various components. For instance, italicizing, quoting, underlining, and punctuating are some of the challenges some students face. 

Fortunately, relevant guidance exists to address all these challenges and improve your writing skills. This post addresses these difficulties in all the major academic writing styles like APA, Chicago, and MLA. Keep reading to learn more and master this area of academic writing. 

How to Put a Movie Title in an Essay

Writing a movie title in essay has different components that have evolved through the ages. The rise of computer technology has drastically changed how learners handle this subject. It has changed some elements, like underlining movie titles. For instance, before personal computers became common, students used typewriters to write academic papers. This technology required them to underline movie titles. Also, underlining movie headlines was necessary because some scholars hand-wrote their assignments. The reason is that italicizing a title was difficult in a hand-written essay. 

Rules to Follow When Writing a Movie Title in Essay

Here are the main rules to follow to write movie titles correctly in your academic papers. 

Title Sources 

As a rule of thumb, you should list the full title as it appears in the source you are citing. However, few exceptions exist for this rule, particularly when punctuating subtitles and standardizing capitalization. 

  • You must capitalize every principal word, like an adjective, noun, and verb. However, don’t capitalize articles, prepositions, or conjunctions in the title’s middle. However, capitalize them if they are long, such as additionally and furthermore, or if they are a title’s first word. 
  • Always separate subtitles with colons and spaces.


Italicization is another vital component to pay attention to when including a movie title in essay.

You must italicize titles from self-contained and independent sources. Remember to italicize every book, play, film, periodical, database, and website title.

Quotation Marks 

Put a title in quotation marks if its source is a part of a larger work.

Titles with Other Titles  

Titles containing other titles occur commonly in academic writing. Also, if the title usually appears in double quotation marks, enclose the caption in single quotes. For instance, 

“Madness in David’s ‘Make Common Sense Common Again.'”


Capitalization is another core component when drafting movie captions in essays. You should apply all the established capitalization rules when writing these titles. These laws require you to do the following: 

  • Begin all movie captions start with capital letters. 
  • Always capitalize all proper nouns.

However, you must pay special attention to some exceptions when applying these rules to place a movie title. The final rules will depend on the writing style you use. Please note that different academic formats disagree on minor matters that may complicate matters. So, use these rules, knowing they don’t apply universally across various educational writing styles. 

Movie Title in Writing

You will format your essays using APA, MLA, or Chicago styles. While these disagree on different issues, they agree on a few core components. For instance, these styles need you to capitalize all movie titles. They also require you to capitalize adverbs, nouns, verbs, and pronouns. These formatting styles also agree on capitalizing prepositions, articles, and conjunctions only if they are the first word in titles. 

APA requires capitalizing all words with more than three letters. It also capitalizes a caption’s first word and proper nouns. Here is an excellent example: When the bells ring.

When formatting your essay using AP style, place your movie titles in quotes. You still have to abide by all the rules of writing titles within quotes. For example:

  • “The Passion of the Christ” shuttered records within its first year of release.
  • “We are happy to work on any movie as popular as ‘The Lord of the Ring,'” John exclaimed. 

While you should always italicize all TV shows and movie titles, several exceptions occur; for instance, treat every heading of a specific scene or episode and a short film as a shorter work. Therefore, place such captions in quotations. 


Here are two main questions students ask about placing a movie title in essays, plus their answers. 

How do you write a movie title in an essay?

Capitalize all the major words in the headline, such as pronouns, verbs, proper nouns, and adverbs. However, don’t capitalize short prepositions articles like a, an, and the. The only exception occurs when these words open movie headlines or are four letters long and more, for instance, beneath or about. However, the three main formatting styles disagree on this last rule. So, consult your essay’s style guide before applying this rule. 

How to draft a movie title in an essay MLA?

The MLA format for writing a movie title requires formatting all headlines uniformly in the entire essay. It has two major principles you must pay attention to.

  • Capitalize all the first letters of the main words except minor ones, such as conjunctions, articles, and prepositions. The only exception here applies when they exist at a headline’s beginning.  
  • Italicize every title in the essay’s body.
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