Is there a preferred formatting style when naming a film in a question or answer?

Here are a few styles I've found, and there could be more:

Version 1 No bold, no italics, no links:

In the Social Network, Mark Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg) answers a question in a lecture:

Version 2 No bold, no italics, has link (to Wikipedia article/IMDB page):

In Flags of Our Fathers, there are whole war scenes shot on black soil near some sea.

Version 3 No Bold, has italics, no link:

In Interstellar Cooper has those completely automated robotic farm trucks.

I'm not suggesting that all questions and answers already on the site be changed, but I'd like to be consistent with the community going forwards.

  • 5
    I'm not sure its realistic to expect people to adhere to a style guide that closely. If we agree a preferred style are people going to edit new questions to convert to it?
    – iandotkelly Mod
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 13:56
  • I totally agree. I'm just curious if there is a preferred style. To put in context a bit more, I answered a question with my own way of naming a film, and it was changed to another. So either it's a personal preference or a rule I didn't know.
    – Longshanks
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 14:05
  • 2
    There is no rule (that I am aware of). Personally I think your version 2 is the nicest, but that's because I think a link to IMDB and Wikipedia is a nice feature to give people who may now know the movie that well.
    – iandotkelly Mod
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 14:12
  • @iandotkelly Yeah, I thought so too about version 2. I only italicise really from writing essays. Thanks for your thoughts.
    – Longshanks
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 14:21
  • 1
    While I agree with @iandotkelly about links being nice, I don't think we should confuse linking and formatting too much. For example, your list here (although I know it's not exhaustive) is missing links and italics in combination, which I would prefer over just links. And this is also shown in Ian's answer, which answers part of the problem but might now be interpreted as him preferring links over italics, which I'm not sure he's really saying.
    – Napoleon Wilson Mod
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 17:16
  • In formal writing a movie name should always be in italics if that's possible given the writing implement, or underlined if not. I doubt Stack Exchange questions count as formal writing, though.
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Mar 31, 2017 at 2:23

4 Answers 4


A quick search of the Internet indicates that the accepted writing style for mentioning a movie is to use italics or to underline.

Without purchasing the APA Publication Manual (2010), there are a number of citations from educational institutions essentially saying to go by this pub, and it states to use italics or to underline to describe a movie or book.

From Purdue:

Summary: APA (American Psychological Association) style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences. ...


•Italicize or underline the titles of longer works such as books, edited collections, movies, television series, documentaries, ...

Many other sources cite the APA, but then go to on to simply say to use italics.

My suggestion:

  • Use italics for titles.

  • Use other types of fonts and styles (italics, bold, larger point size, all caps, underlining) to emphasize your message (and not necessarily on titles) in the way you see fit in accordance with the context of what you are saying.

  • I fully understand that we are not writing academic papers here. But being consistent with that standard when writing intelligently about something you know simply makes your work stand out more.

Ultimately, you are free to write the way you want. But don't be surprised if someone steps in and edits your wording to be consistent with this standard.


There is no preferred formatting style for movie (or other) titles in the site.

[I think linking to IMDB or Wikipedia is a nice feature for readers of your post, so I would encourage people to do that.]


I've edited many of these, and my style is to use italics (with a link to IMDB) followed by the year (in parenthesis). I think it adds a nice visual appearance, as well as being overly helpful. Links to IMDB give a reader a bit of quick information, and having the year right there allows you to distinguish between remakes and also puts the timeframe right into the question (which I've found to be helpful as well).

Here is an example of one of my revisions where you can see I've added the year(s) as well as a link to IMDB.


Consistency is more of an issue for the particular post, rather than the whole site, i.e. choosing one method and sticking with it for the entire post when the title is used more than once. It really only becomes an issue if the use of the title in the sentence presents an ambiguous reading. Capitalization is often adequate enough to prevent this.

Also, it depends somewhat on the context of use. If, for example, a movie and book are being mentioned I will likely italicize one (usually the movie on this site) and put quotes around the other to distinguish the two mediums.

Personally, I find the ubiquitous links to wikipedia and imdb somewhat distracting if the question or answer isn't referencing from the linked site. Especially for studio films which already get enough of a marketing budget. We're all using the internet already. If additional info from an external source is desired, it's easy enough to look. When the author has made the effort to link something, I like to think it is either to back up what they are asserting or to provide additional relevant information on the topic.

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