IMDb Search Results

Search Overview

To use search on IMDb, enter a word or phrase into the search box available at the top of most pages on the site. You can simply click on the magnifying glass icon to search across all data types, or select "Titles", "Names", or any other data type from the dropdown menu to the right of the search box and then click on the magnifying glass icon.

Recent changes

As of 28 November 2012 we have launched a new and improved version of our search results page. The following frequently asked questions cover the changes between the old and new search results page.

Q: What does the new page look like?

A: For an example click

Q: Why does the page look different?

A: We are implementing a faster and more modern search engine technology, updating the results and UI at the same time to make search terms more relevant on average and to make the search experience easier to use. The distinction between approximate and partial matches has been removed. All exact matches can still be found in a separate view, and more extensive results for each category (name, title, etc.) can also be found in separate views. For each category, the initial results page focuses on the top five to ten results, which produce the vast majority of intended results based on our click-through data. We've also removed the photo and video results, which were infrequently used.

Q: Why is the result order different than before in some cases?

A: We have an entirely different search algorithm now. The results will be similar to the previous results in many cases. In many other cases, the results will be more useful than before. We've done a lot of tuning to get the results to be as measurably accurate as possible, but we expect to monitor the impact of this change and make adjustments as needed for cases where the new results could be improved.

Q: What will happen to my search settings?

A: This new search experience is simplified, and the previous search preferences will no longer change the display of the search results page from the default view. You can still choose to add adult names and titles to your search results by clicking the link in the lower right column of any search results page.

Q: What happened to the character information on the search results, like the title and the name of the actor?

A: The current structure of that data doesn't allow it to be accessible in the new search. Searches for many iconic character names will still be useful because they produce only one result. Other more generic character names will produce longer lists of characters without data to help identify the titles they are from. We will work to make this additional data viewable in search in the future.

Q: I use What happened to the list of the AKAs under the movies and people on the search page there?

A: The objective of this project was to simplify search both technically and in the UI. Instead of providing all AKAs on the search results page, we focus on including results with AKAs that closely match the search term, if any. All AKAs for individual titles are still viewable via title pages.

Search Results

In the search results we rank by a combination of search keyword/phrase-matching and popularity, as determined by our MOVIEmeter (for titles) and STARmeter (for names) rankings. Be aware that this might have the effect of pushing a popular object above an exact match.

So for example if you search for "matrix" you will see the popular film "The Matrix", along with its two (arguably less popular) sequels displayed at the top, even through there is an exact match of a TV Series called "Matrix" (which co-incidentally also starred Carrie-Anne Moss).

To see only exact matches, you can click on the "Exact matches" link at the bottom of each data type (Titles, Names, etc.) on the main search results page. An exact match is where the query you typed in the search box is exactly the same as an object in IMDb's database. Exact match searches will ignore prefixes like "The," so for example, an exact match search for "matrix" will return the movie "The Matrix" and the TV Series "Matrix," but not the two sequels to "The Matrix," which contain additional words.

For the purposes of the search, case distinctions are not made, and certain punctuation characters are ignored (e.g. "Wham", "wham" and "Wham!" are all considered to be the same input text. Also we ignore accented characters, so a search for "Leon" will find "Léon".

If there is a single good match for your search, you will be taken straight to the page for that match.

Navigating Through Search Results

For each type of object in the search results you will be offered the chance to do a more exhaustive search (e.g. to search for "More title matches" or "More name matches"). This kind of search will display up to 200 results for your query, ranked by the same combination of keyword/phrase-matching and popularity as the main search results page.

Adult Titles

By default on the IMDb site we do not display "Adult" titles in the search results. If you want such titles to be included in your search results, you can select the "Enable" option for adult titles in the lower right column of any search results page.

Searching for Names

When searching for names we will also search amongst alternative credited names that a person may appear under, and also under their birth name and any nicknames we have in our database.

When a credited AKA, birth name or nickname appear in the matches they are identified as such in the search results.


If you know the IMDb constant identifier of an object in the database (e.g. tt0133093 is the IMDb id for the film The Matrix, and nm0000148 is the IMDb id for the actor Harrison Ford), you can just enter the id in the search box, and the search will take you straight to the relevant page.

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