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Do You Italicize Movie Titles? Become An Essay Pro

Updated: January 4, 2024 | Published: May 16, 2021

Updated: January 4, 2024

Published: May 16, 2021


Do you italicize movie titles? How many times have you been writing an essay, and suddenly you can’t remember whether to use italics, quotation marks, or other formats?

The short answer is that movie titles are always italicized. Read on to find out more about italics, and other important formatting tools in order to become an essay pro.

By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly when to use italics and quotations whenever you’re writing about movies and TV shows.

What Is Considered A Movie?

First, let’s get our definitions straightened up. What’s the difference between a movie, and let’s say, a clip on YouTube or a short film?

In general, most of us know what a movie is when we see it, but for the sake of clarification, movies do not include YouTube clips, short movies (such as Pixar’s shorts), or TV show episodes.

Movie Titles: Formatting In The Past

Before computers became commonplace, italicizing, underlining, and putting titles in “quotations” were considered to be equal and interchangeable, as long as you were consistent throughout your paper. This is because these tools were used for emphasis, as opposed to specific grammar rules. Typewriters, for example, did not have the ability to italicize or underline, and so there weren’t any strict rules.

Movie Titles Now

With the invention and increased use of computers, you’ll find that the rules concerning emphasis are much stricter, and it will be very important to know the difference if you’re writing a paper in college.

Now with the computer’s ability to format with the click of a button, movie titles are always italicized.

The only exception is when you are writing by hand, in which case the movie title would be underlined.


Below are some example sentences to demonstrate the different emphasis put on movie and TV show titles.

  • Matilda was an all-time favorite movie in my home.
  • Disney’s Alice in Wonderland is based on the books, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, by Lewis Carroll.
  • The Netflix series, Workin’ Moms, is based on Catherine Reitman’s experiences as a working mother of two children.
  • The TV show, Young Sheldon, centers around the early life of Sheldon Cooper, an eccentric character in The Big Bang Theory.
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published in June of 1997.
Movie titles are always italicized
Photo by Donald Tong from Pexels

Some More Rules You May Want To Know

Although the titles of movies and TV shows are always italicized, it’s important to note that the titles of specific scenes or episodes, as well as short films, are treated as shorter works, and are therefore put in “quotations.”

Though movie scenes rarely have titles, this rule is more relevant to TV show episodes and scenes from plays.


Below are some example sentences to demonstrate the different emphasis put on movie and TV show titles in comparison with specific scenes or episodes.

  • My favorite Friends episode is “The One With the Holiday Armadillo.”
  • The first episode of The Big Bang Theory, entitled “Pilot,” aired on September 24, 2007.
  • The Pixar short, “Bao,” which appeared in the initial release in Incredibles 2, won an Oscar Award for Best Animated Short Film.
  • The jumping desk lamp that became Pixar’s famous icon was originally introduced in a Pixar short called “Luxo Jr.”
  • In the episode, “The Pitch,” Seinfeld and George propose a TV show about nothing, which was the show’s way of poking fun at Seinfeld’s original premise.
TV shows, like movies, are also italicized
Photo by from Pexels Copy

Why Is Proper Formatting Important?

College Essays

No matter what you study in college, most students write a lot of essays during their school years. While some degrees may put more of an emphasis on writing proper essays, most teachers and professors will expect a certain level of basic grammar and formatting knowledge.

Before you even step foot into college, you’ll most likely be expected to write an application essay. It’s important to put your best foot forward, and small formatting rules can go a long way in making a good first impression.

Landing Your Dream Job

In addition to college essays, prospective employers and job positions will require and look for basic (or advanced, depending on the position) writing skills. Whether you think your dream job requires writing skills or not, writing is a part of everyday life and work, from emails and text messages, to presentations and reports. Having good writing skills will help you make a good first impression, land your dream job, and do your best work.

Having A Successful Career

Though different students earn a degree for different reasons, many are hoping to work toward a successful career. In order to do this, the right preparation is key. Preparation may be earning a degree, gaining specific skills, or having the right guidance along the way.

University of the People prepares our students for successful careers by providing program advising, mentorship, and an emphasis on career development. We know that these extra details, much like formatting in an essay, make a big difference for the future success of our students. University of the People is a tuition-free online university that offers degree programs in business administration, computer science, health science, and education.

University of the People prepares students for success
Photo by Startup Stock Photos from Pexels

Cheat Sheet

Titles In Italics

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

Titles In “Quotations”

  • Title of a chapter in a book
  • Title of an TV or radio series episode
  • Name of an act or scene in a movie/play
  • Title of a song
  • Title of a short poem
  • Title of an article or paper

The Bottom Line

So, do you italicize movie titles? In short, yes. Movie titles, as well as TV show titles, are italicized. We hope you learned a little bit about the history of italics, when to use italics and quotations, and the reasons why proper formatting is important for your education and career.