How to Reference a Movie in Harvard Referencing Style

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This article will help you learn the correct way of citing a film based on the Harvard style of referencing. Specifically, you’ll need to cite your source in two places:

  • In your paper via an in-text citation
  • In your reference list via a full reference

An in-text citation is when you refer to the source material within the body of your work or text. The reference list is usually placed at the end of your work. It has a full reference for every source that has an in-text citation. The reference list goes beyond the in-text citation and gives a complete list of information about the works you have cited, so that the reader can find and read the original source.

Here are some examples of how to reference films in Harvard style:

Film seen at the cinema

To reference a film seen at a cinema, you’ll need the following information:

  • Title (in italics)
  • Release year (in round brackets)
  • Director name
  • [Feature film]
  • Place of distribution: Distributor

Example:

The Help (2011) Directed by Tate Taylor. [Feature film]. Burbank, CA: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

For the in-text citation, the title of the film is used, followed by the release year separated by a comma, if the film title is not mentioned already. If the title is mentioned in the text, then only the year should be given, in round brackets.

Examples:

The characters in The Help (2011) reveal…

The film showcases race relations during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s in Jackson, Mississippi (The Help, 2011).

Film from a streaming service

If you are referencing a film you viewed via a streaming service, here’s the information you’ll need for your reference:

  • Title (in italics)
  • Release year (in round brackets)
  • Director name
  • Name of the streaming service or DOI
  • (Accessed: date)

Example:

Changeling (2008) Directed by Clint Eastwood. Available at: Netflix (Accessed: 22 September 2020).

For the in-text citation, the title of the film and date are used, separated by a comma, if the film title is not already mentioned. If it is, then only the date is necessary.

Examples:

In Changeling (2008), Angelina Jolie plays the character…

Angelina Jolie (Changeling, 2008) plays the character of a mother whose…

Film from a physical copy (DVD/Blu-ray)

If you want to reference a film you viewed on DVD or Blu-ray, you’ll need the following information:

  • Title (in italics)
  • Release year (in round brackets)
  • Director name
  • [DVD, catalogue number] or [Blu-ray, catalogue number] (in square brackets)
  • Place of distribution: Distributor

Example:

The BFG: Big Friendly Giant (2016) Directed by Steven Spielberg. [Blu-ray, 8042180]. Burbank, CA: Buena Vista Home Entertainment.

The in-text citation method is the same as in the previous two examples.

Key takeaways

  • The methods for referencing films and videos differ according to the mode of viewing.
  • The name of the film and year suffice for in-text citations of films viewed at the cinema, on DVD or through a streaming platform.

 


Published October 29, 2020.


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