How do I cite YouTube videos?

MLA style gives authors several ways to cite YouTube videos.

If you are citing a video in which the primary creator or author is clear, you can list that creator in the Author element. The following provides an example of a citation for the music video of Beyoncé’s song “Pretty Hurts”:

Beyoncé. “Beyoncé – Pretty Hurts (Video).” YouTube, 24 Apr. 2014, www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXXQLa-5n5w.

The title of the video is copied exactly as it appears on YouTube. The container is YouTube, followed by the date listed below the video and the Location element (the URL of the video).

If it’s not clear who the primary creator or author of a video is, you could omit the Author element and begin the citation with the title of the video:

“Capybara Eat Huge Pumpkin.” YouTube, uploaded by Alex Smith, 12 Jan. 2021, www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YNwxZnABzA.

In this example, the video’s creator is not specified. The name of the account that uploaded the video is provided in the Contributor element, after the title of the container, YouTube. Even if it’s clear who the author or creator of a video is, you might opt to include the name of the account that uploaded the video in the Contributor element if it provides helpful information.

If you are citing an entire work uploaded to YouTube, such as a film, use what you see on YouTube to cite the work in MLA style. Here is an example citation for a film:

Moby Dick. Directed by John Huston, MGM, 1956. YouTube, 8 Jan. 2021, www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1Yc8KPH-X0.

Details about the film’s original publication are found in the YouTube description below the video and so are provided in the citation. Here Moby Dick is a self-contained work, and so its title is listed as the first container. It is followed by the Contributor, Publisher, and Date elements. YouTube is the title of the second container, followed by the Date and Location elements.

For more on how to cite YouTube videos in MLA style, see our posts on citing TV episodes on YouTube and interviews on YouTube, as well as our related posts on citing online videos and formatting titles of uploaded videos,