How to Punctuate a Movie Title

A college student types on a computer in a school library
... Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

Most punctuation in movie titles follows the same general rules for punctuating other types of text. However, while most writing styles place movie titles in italics, the Associated Press puts them in quotes. Check with your teacher if you're not sure of what style to use in a paper.

1 APA, MLA, Chicago and Harvard

In most styles of writing -- including the Modern Language Association, the American Psychological Association, Chicago and Harvard -- films are considered "long texts," so their titles are italicized:

He focused his attention on repeated viewings of Grown Ups 2.

If punctuation or alternate capitalization occurs in a movie title, include that punctuation when writing it out:

I've seen Dude, Where's My Car? one too many times.

It's no coincidence that eXistenZ and The Matrix were released in the same cultural timeframe.

2 AP Style

The Associated Press style of writing is most commonly use in newspapers and other journalistic publications. Unlike academic writing styles, AP places the title of a film in quotation marks:

I saw "Duck Soup" last week.

The normal rules for quotation marks follow in AP format. If a period or comma comes after the title, it is placed inside the quotation marks. A question mark is also placed inside the quotation marks if it is part of the title:

I can't count how many times she's asked me about "The Prestige."

In "Aguirre, the Wrath of God," Herzog drew attention to the absurdity of colonialist narratives.

"Dude, Where's My Car?" is a comedy starring Ashton Kutcher.

Jon Zamboni began writing professionally in 2010. He has previously written for The Spiritual Herald, an urban health care and religious issues newspaper based in New York City, and online music magazine eBurban. Zamboni has a Bachelor of Arts in religious studies from Wesleyan University.