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Are Movies Italicized?

When it comes to writing, proper formatting is crucial, and knowing when to italicize, use quotation marks, or underline titles can be a bit confusing. One common question that arises is whether movie titles should be italicized, put in quotation marks, or formatted in some other way. In this article, we will explore the rules and guidelines for formatting movie titles and other important formatting tools to help you become an essay pro.

Before delving into the specifics of movie title formatting, it’s essential to understand the distinction between a movie and other forms of visual content, such as YouTube clips or short films. In general, movies refer to full-length cinematic productions and do not include shorter video clips or TV show episodes.

Movie Titles: Formatting Rules

In the past, before the widespread use of computers, italicizing, underlining, and using quotation marks for titles were considered interchangeable. However, with the advent of computers, the rules for emphasis have become more stringent. Today, movie titles are always italicized when typed, and when writing by hand, they should be underlined. Consistency in formatting is key when it comes to emphasizing titles in writing.

Specific Scenes, Episodes, and Short Films

While movie and TV show titles are italicized, specific scenes or episodes, as well as short films, are treated as shorter works and should be enclosed in quotation marks. This distinction is important when referencing particular segments within a larger cinematic or television production.

Importance of Proper Formatting

Understanding the rules for formatting movie titles is not only essential for academic writing but also for various professional and personal contexts. Whether you are writing college essays, applying for jobs, or pursuing a successful career, having a strong grasp of formatting rules can make a significant impact on your written communication.

Cheat Sheet for Formatting Titles

It’s important to remember that titles of movies, plays, TV or radio series, books, magazines, journals, newspapers, music albums, long poems, operas, paintings, and sculptures should be italicized. On the other hand, titles of chapters in books, TV or radio series episodes, acts or scenes in movies or plays, songs, short poems, articles, and papers should be enclosed in quotation marks.


In conclusion, movie titles, along with TV show titles, should be italicized in writing. Understanding the rules for formatting titles is crucial for academic, professional, and personal writing endeavors. By adhering to proper formatting guidelines, you can enhance the clarity and professionalism of your written work.


Do I italicize the titles of TV shows?

Yes, similar to movie titles, the titles of TV shows should also be italicized when referenced in writing.

Can I use quotation marks for movie titles instead of italics?

No, movie titles should be italicized, not enclosed in quotation marks, to adhere to standard formatting conventions.

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