Film: published recording [from Audio visual source using APA 5th ed.]


You may need to reference a published recording because you have not seen a cinema screening of the film, but only a recording, which may differ from the cinema version (e.g. "director's cut") or include extra features. This guidance is based on the style for a film (motion picture) and the style for a music recording. You will need to indicate whether it is a DVD or a video.

Standard Form

Name of primary contributor – the director or producer, or both, Initials. (Role of primary contributor). (year of original release). Title of film [Motion picture][Medium of recording - DVD, Video etc.]. Place of publication: Publisher. (year of publication of the recording, if different from year of release)


de Sica, V. (Director). (1948). Ladri di biciclette [Bicycle thieves] [Motion picture][Videocassette]. [U.K.]: Art House. (1994 )

Douglas, B. (Director). (1972-1978). Bill Douglas trilogy [Motion picture][DVD]. London: BFI. (2008)

Puiu, C. (Director). (2005). The death of Mr. Lazarescu [Motion picture][DVD]. [London]: Tartan Video. (2006)

Richardson, T. (Director). (1961). A taste of honey [Motion picture][DVD]. [London]: BFI. (2002)

Citation in Text

In a booklet essay (Douglas, 1972-1978) John Caughie describes the emotional reticence of ...

In his next feature (Puiu, 2005) the director turns to ...

de Sica (1948) made the classic ....

In her commentary on the film, (Richardson, 1961), Rita Tushingham describes ...



  • If the recording is held in the University Library, check the catalogue for details. DVD and video packaging is often unhelpful.
  • If the place of publication is not directly indicated on the item and the information was gained from an alternative source, use square brackets []. If it is not possible to narrow the place of publication down, give the country of publication in square brackets [].
  • Give the title of foreign language films in the original language, followed by a translation into English inside square brackets [].
  • Use the text of your work to refer the reader to the correct part of the recording, for example, "extras" added to the recording..
  • Some more academically-orientated publishers, such as the British Film Institute, issue recordings with accompanying material in a booklet. As this is integral to the work, treat this as an extra, and reference the recording in your list. You will probably be citing the film as well, so will not need to include the item twice (unless you are required to provide a separate filmography, though this is not APA style). Use your in-text citation to direct the reader to the booklet.
  • Some DVDs carry films made over several years. Use a year range to show the years of release of the first and last film on the set.