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Chicago Style Bibliography Documentary

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How to reference a Film using the Chicago Manual of Style

The most basic entry for a film consists of the personnel, title, medium, director name(s), distributor, distributor city, and year of release.

Last Name, First. Film Title. Medium. Directed by First Name Last Name. Distributor City: Distributor, Year of Release.

Doe, Jane. BibMe: The Movie. DVD. Directed by John Smith. Los Angeles: Columbia, 2001.

Begin the citation by including any personnel responsible for the content being cited, including composers, writers, or performers. The first person’s name should be reversed, with a comma being placed after the last name and a period after the first name (or any middle name). Titles and affiliations associated with the author should be omitted. A suffix, such as a roman numeral or Jr./Sr. should appear after the author’s given name, preceded by a comma.

For a film with two or more personnel, list them in order as they are credited in the film. Only the first person’s name should be reversed, while the others are written in normal order. Separate names by a comma.

Doe, Jane, and Joe Anderson. BibMe: The Movie. DVD. Directed by John Smith. Los Angeles: Columbia, 2001.

After the personnel are listed, italicize the film title, and follow it with a period. Include the medium of the copy of the film you viewed (e.g. VHS, DVD, Laser Disc), along with a period.

Include the text “Directed by” and then list out the names of any directors. Write a director’s name in normal order – do not list reverse the first and last names. For a film with two or more directors, separate each person by a comma and include the word “and” before the last director’s name.

Doe, Jane. BibMe: The Movie. DVD. Directed by John Smith, and Joe Anderson. Los Angeles: Columbia, 2001.

After the directors, include the city in which the film’s distributor is located, followed by a colon, the distributor’s name, a comma, and the year of release. If film was re-released in a more recent year and you are citing content new to that particular version of the film, use the most recent year of release in your citation.

If you are citing a commentary or an individual scene, cite it like a chapter from a book. Place the commentary or film chapter name, along with a period, in quotations, after the initial personnel and before the film title.

Doe, Jane. “Humble Beginnings.” BibMe: The Movie. DVD. Directed by John Smith, and Joe Anderson. Los Angeles: Columbia, 2001.

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Audiovisual Recordings and Other Multimedia


This section contains information on The Chicago Manual of Style method of document formatting and citation. These resources follow the seventeenth edition of The Chicago Manual of Style, which was issued in 2017.

Contributors: Jessica Clements, Elizabeth Angeli, Karen Schiller, S. C. Gooch, Laurie Pinkert, Allen Brizee, Ryan Murphy, Vanessa Iacocca, Ryan Schnurr
Last Edited: 2017-11-08 10:16:19

This resource explains how to cite film, television, and other audiovisual materials. Citations for such recorded media usually include some or all of the following information: name of the person primarily responsible for the content of the recording (composer, writer, performer, etc.), a title in quotation marks or italics, recording company or publisher’s name, identifying number, an indication of medium (DVD, videocassette, etc.), and a copyright and/or production or performance date. Entries for recorded material found online should also include a DOI or URL.

General Model for Citing Film, Television, and Other Recorded Mediums in Chicago Style

The order of the elements listed—and whether or not they will be included—depends not only on the nature of the source, but also whether a part or the whole source is cited, and whether a particular contributor is the focus of the citation.

 Footnote or Endnote (N):

   1. Firstname Lastname, Title of Work, Format, directed/performed by Firstname Lastname (Original release year; City: Studio/Distributor, Video release year), Medium.

Corresponding Bibliographical Entry (B):

Lastname, Firstname. Title of Work. Format. Directed/Performed by Firstname Lastname. Original Release Year. City: Studio/Distributor, Video release year. Medium.



   1. Joe Versus the Volcano, directed by John Patrick Shanley (1990; Burbank, CA: Warner Home Video, 2002), DVD.


Shanley, John Patrick, dir. Joe Versus the Volcano. 1990; Burbank, CA: Warner Home Video, 2002. DVD.

Musical Recordings

General audiovisual guidelines apply to music recordings. If no date can be located, CMOS recommends consulting a library catalog or other source. Usually, musical citations without a date are unacceptable, but if they must be used, “n.d.” (for no date) can be substituted.


   1. Name of group or composer or performer, Title, Recording date, Recording Company or Publisher, Track Number on Name of Album, Year of Release, Medium.

1.  Bob Dylan, “Workingman’s Blues #2,” recorded February 2006, track 3 on Modern Times, Columbia. compact disc.


Name of group or composer or performer. Title. Recording date. Recording Company or Publisher, Medium.

Dylan, Bob. “Workingman’s Blues #2.” Recorded February 2006. Track 3 on Modern Times. Columbia. Compact disc. 

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