How do I cite information about a movie from a website like IMDb?
Note: This post relates to content in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook. For up-to-date guidance, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook.
Basic publication facts about a movie (e.g., the title, director, year of release) should be taken from the version of the movie you watch, when possible. Other movie information published on a website will likely fall into two categories: common knowledge and information that requires documentation—that is, information, analysis, and wording specific to the website.
Details about a movie (e.g., awards received, filming locations) that can be corroborated by numerous reference works usually do not need to be documented.
If you watch a film, you should generally recount its plot in your own words. If, however, you use a specific turn of phrase about a movie’s plot from a site like IMDb, then treat the site as your source. In creating your works-cited-list entry, assess the work you are citing using the MLA format template. The entry for the quotation below provides the nom de plume of the author, a description of the work in the “Title of source” slot, the title of the website that contains the plot summary, and the URL in the “Location” slot:
Writing of A New Leaf, one reviewer effectively explains the paradox central to the plot: “The main agent of change is a phenomenally passive and unassuming Henrietta Lowell” (Kid).
The_Kid in Bellevue. Plot summary of A New Leaf. IMDb, www.imdb.com/title/tt0067482/plotsummary?ref_=tt_stry_pl.
Reviews posted online should also be documented:
A New Leaf, directed and written by Elaine May, portrays May as Henrietta Lowell, a “deliciously inept, awkward, filthy rich botanist” (Rowanwood).
Rowanwood. “Deserves Cult Status.” 27 Dec. 2002. IMDb, www.imdb.com/title/tt0067482/reviews?ref_=tt_ov_rt .