Do You Italicize Movie Titles? All you need to know

Do you italicize movie titles? This is a question that has been asked and needs answers for proper guidance.

If you have been writing an essay and at some point, you find it difficult to remember if you should use italics, quotation marks, or other formats. Do you italicize movie titles or is there an alternative?

It’s fair to say that movie titles are always italicised. But there are other questions like whether is it appropriate to underline or italicize movie titles. What is the appropriate method to format movie titles?

In this guide, we will look at the best styles to use and how to format your movie title. We have also discussed italics and important formatting tools.

After reading this guide, you will discover when to use italics and quotations whenever you are writing about movies and TV shows.

Do You Italicize Movie Titles

What Is a Movie?

Before blockbuster movies came to the big screen in cinemas, plays were already introduced to the public in ancient Greek. Back then in the 6th century BC there were ancient Greek playwrights and their works positively influenced today’s entertainment.

Some of the ancient Greek playwrights include Sophocles, Euripides, Aeschylus and Aristophanes. These names are still remembered to this day in theatre production.

What we know as movies today are videos that last for more than one hour. There is a difference between a movie and a YouTube clip or short film. Normally, a movie last for more than an hour and some could last for three hours. 

The 2019 Avengers End Game is a Marvel movie with a running time of three hours and two minutes. In 2021, DC Justice League Snyder’s Cut had a running time of 242 minutes. When you convert that number of minutes to hours, it’s four hours and two minutes of action.

We all know a movie when we see it on any screen. The difference is always the running time. YouTube clips only last for a couple of minutes and so do short films. Your favourite TV show comprises various episodes and the running time for each episode is 40 to 55 minutes. These days some TV shows run for up to an hour and some minutes.

For instance, Amazon Ring of Power had some episodes with a running time of one hour and twelve minutes. HBO’s Game of Thrones (seasons 7 & 8) has a running time of one hour and some minutes.

Also Read: 15 Best Website To Watch Movies In Theatres For Free

Formatting of Movie Titles in the Past

Before now, the formatting of movie titles was done differently, but things changed and you can italicize movie titles all thanks to the invention of computers.

Back then, italicizing, underlying, and putting titles in quotations were appropriate and interchangeable. It was considered appropriate, as long as you were consistent in your paper.

During that time, typewriters could not italicize or underline, so there were no strict rules.

Movie Titles Today

Things are done differently today since the invention of computers. With computers, it’s difficult to ignore the rules as they are strict. You need to know the difference and understand, especially if you are writing a paper in college.

With the help of computers today, movie titles are always italicized. The task can be done by simply clicking a button.

Movie titles need to be underlined if you are writing with just a pen and paper.

Why Is Proper Formatting Important?

The importance of formatting cannot be neglected and here is why.

College Essays

Writing essays are common for college students, even before gaining admission. Irrespective of your field of study, writing an essay is something you are familiar with.

In college, some students may be required to write essays as part of their studies. As a college student, professors will expect the best from you. They will expect a certain level of grammar and formatting knowledge.

Essay writing is important for anyone who wants to earn a degree from a college. Before you are admitted to any college, you will write an essay in your application. Remember that you need to convince the application readers at the college you wish to attend, so you must know how to go about it.

Getting Your Dream Job

Essay writing is not just a requirement for college. Some job positions require writing skills and this is where essay writing is important.

It’s unwise to think that college is the only place where essay writing is required. Writing is more like everyday life and it could be a requirement at any place or time. It’s better to be prepared than to be empty-handed.

Writing skills are important these days and it could be a requirement for your dream job.

Having a Successful Career

Every student has an ambition and wants to earn a degree for a reason. Yes, you and your friend may be in the same field of study, but your friend wants to build a career different from what you aspire to.

Building a successful career involves a lot of dedication and preparation. Studying in a college and earning a degree is part of the process of acquiring skills and knowledge.

Education is important to building a successful career. When you are educated, you know how to make the right decisions in your career. It’s the foundation for building a successful career.

More Rules You Should Know

The question is if you should italicize movie titles and we are looking at more important rules to note.

Presently, the titles of movies and TV shows are always italicized. However, you should note that it’s different for the titles of scenes, short films, and episodes of TV shows.

Short films, episodes, and scenes are treated as shorter works, so their titles are in quotations. This is done to differentiate short films and episodes of TV shows from movies.

It’s rare to see movie scenes with titles, so this rule is more important to episodes of TV shows and scenes in plays.

Here are some examples to show the difference between titles in movies and TV shows.

Let’s say you want to talk about an episode from the TV show Friends. Let’s pick the seventh season and tenth episode “The One With the Holiday Armadillo.

Next, we have the TV show The Big Bang Theory. On September 24, 2007, the first episode of The Big Bang Theory “Pilot” aired.

The first episode of George R.R Martin’s Game of Thrones “Winter is Coming” premiered on HBO in the United States, on April 17 2011.

On August 21, 2022, the first episode of House of the Dragon “The Heirs of the Dragon” premiered on HBO.

Just so you know, the jumping desk lamp, which is the famous icon of Pixar was initially introduced in a Pixar short known as “Luxo Jr”.

On September 1, 2022, the first episode of The Rings of Power “A Shadow of the Past” premiered in the United States.

Also Read: 23 Recommended Free Online Certification Exams

Tiles in Italics

Below are the titles in italics.

  • Titles of a move or play
  • Title of a TV show or radio series
  • Title of a music album
  • Title of an opera
  • Titles of sculptures and paintings
  • Titles of magazines, newspapers or journals 
  • Title of a book
  • Title of a long poem

Titles in Quotations

Here are the titles in quotations.

  • Title of a book chapter
  • Title of a song
  • Title of a short poem
  • Title of a paper or article
  • Title of a TV show or radio series episode
  • The name of an act or scene in a movie

Do You Underline Movie Titles?

You must use a style that guides you on how to format a movie title. The styles include the Chicago formatting style, Modern Language Association techniques, and American Psychological Association.

These styles can italicize movie titles. Other styles adopt quotations for movie titles. Styles that can adopt quotations include the Association Press (AP) style.

But with the American Psychological Association (APA), Modern Language Association (MLA), and the Chicago styles, you have to underline movie titles, rather they should be written in italics in the body of the text.

Here is an example of how to write a movie title.

Avengers: Endgame was heavily criticized for satisfying the past, only to deliver nothing more than an emotional conclusion to a superhero adventure.

The American Psychological Association (APA), the Modern Language Association, and Chicago style use case capitalization for movie titles.

Adjectives, adverbs, nouns, pronouns, and verbs are all capitalized. While minor wordings like conjunctions and prepositions use the lower case in the text. Conjunctions and prepositions can be uppercase when they are the first word in the title.

Generally, it’s a rule under the American Psychological Association (APA) that all words with more than four letters should be in uppercase.

The titles of movies are written in quotations under the Association Press (AP). You must know that standard rules for quotes within other quotes still apply and we can look at an example.

For instance, the 2019 MCU movie “Avengers Endgame” set a new record across the world. The movie broke the IMAX and Box office opening record worldwide beating “Star Wars”, the movie with the previous record.

Italics and Titles

Besides discussing if it’s appropriate to italicize movie titles, we want to look at italics and titles.

Generally, the rule is to use italics on titles of books, as well as album titles. If you are writing in a book, you should underline the words rather than use italics.

If the works are longer, they are italicised and if they are shorter just like a title of a song or an article from a magazine, they are put in quotes.

Below are some italics examples.

  • Newspaper title: What news is on The Wall Street Journal about today’s market?
  • Book title: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien is one of my favourite books and I enjoy reading it at my leisure.
  • Magazine title: I came across an interesting article about green energy and technology in Time.
  • Album and Song title: My favourite and best song from Taylor Swift’s Red is “I Knew You Were Trouble”.
  • TV Show Title: I enjoyed watching the season finale of House of the Dragon on HBO.
  • Article title: “City of Watch” remains one of the most interesting articles ever published by The New Yorker.
  • Poem title: “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost is one of my favourite poems.
  • Movie title: Christian has memorized his lines from The Beauty and the Beat.

Also Read: 20 Best Free Live TV Streaming Sites

Other Italicized Works

Works that are italicized include movies, TV shows, plays, paintings, scientific species, and works of art. Shorter works with quotations include episodes of TV shows, chapter titles, short stories and poems.


Now that you know more about if you should italicize movie titles or you should underline them, it’s easy for you to differentiate.

With computers, movie titles are italicized and there is a difference between movies and episodes of TV shows. We hope this article was helpful and answered the question “do you italicize movie titles?”. 



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You May Also Like