What Is IMDb?

The Internet Movie Database Explained

The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) is the largest, most comprehensive movie database on the web. It offers an extensive database of movie, TV show, and cast information. The site was officially launched in 1990 and is now owned by Amazon.com.

IMDb is an extremely detailed and rich source of film data that features top movies, news, free movies, reviews, movie trailers, showtimes, DVD movie reviews, celebrity profiles, and more. If you’ve ever researched a movie or actor, you’ve probably landed on IMDb. 

The site is truly a mammoth depository of movie information, and while it’s great that most of it is completely free to access, it can seem cluttered and hard to sift through. Below are some tips on how to use IMDb as well as a look at some of its features, including what you get with IMDbPro.

What’s on IMDb?

Screenshot of the IMDb home page

IMDb is, in a word, extensive. It’s a huge hub of entertainment information. Nearly any search engine will point you there if you’re looking up the plot to a movie or if you’re trying to find out who played in a film you just watched or who’s going to be in an upcoming TV show.

There’s a staggering array of information related to the entertainment industry: scripts, trivia, director/producer information, publicity contacts, plot summaries, movie trailers, etc. In addition to background information, the Internet Movie Database also offers exclusive character resources like biographies and memorable quotes, plus includes the ability to instantly watch TV shows and movies for free.

Users are invited to participate in the site's ever-growing wealth of information by rating movies on a scale. IMDb’s “top” pages—such as the 250 films in the Top Rated Movies list—are based on these user votes of confidence (or disapproval), which steadily rotates a list of movies through the list of favorites depending on votes received.

Most pages associated with a movie or TV show on IMDb offer several features, including a plot synopsis, plot summary, storyline, cast information, review scores, tagged genres, images, videos, nominations, similar titles, box office details, runtime, trivia, frequently asked questions, user reviews, quotes, and more.

You can also build your own private or public watchlists. These can contain the movies and shows you're interested in. They serve as a great way to collect titles you're planning on watching, and you can even sort them by rating, runtime, popularity, and other useful criteria.

IMDb Advanced Search Options

Screenshot of IMDb's popular movie and TV genre list

Coming Soon and other IMDb Charts like Most Popular Movies and Top Box Office are some of the more popular ways to use IMDb, but there are actually several ways to search through the site. You might need to pick one method over another if you’re looking for a new movie to watch or if you have only one or two bits of information to start the search, such as an actor’s name or information on the plot.

  • IMDb Name Search: Find titles by an actor’s name, birthday or birthplace, star sign, death date or place, gender, filmography, name group (like Oscar-Winning or Best Actress-Winning), and more.
  • IMDb Title Search: Search for movies and shows by their title, runtime, title type (TV episode, TV short, short film, feature film, etc.), release date, user rating, number of votes, genre, title group (IMDb “Top 100” or Emmy Award-Winning), title data (locations, crazy credits, alternate versions, etc.), companies (like Sony or Paramount), instant watch options, US certificates (PG, NC-17, etc.), countries, keywords, language, filming location, cast/crew, runtime, sound mix, and more.
  • IMDb Collaborations Search: This search type lets you find movies and shows where two people of your choosing appear, or you can find people who played in the same film by searching for two titles.
  • IMDb Site Index: This one lists various interesting places you can browse on IMDb, such as Best of the year, Bottom 100, Birthdays, and Amazon Originals.
  • Film Genres: Browse IMDb by genre to find horror movies, comedies, animations, fantasy films, thrillers, crime shows, and lots more.

IMDb Free Movies

Screenshot of IMDb TV's recently added movies

The Internet Movie Database doesn’t just have information on movies and shows, but also free films you can watch right now. That part of the site is called IMDb TV.

You can browse recently added movies and TV shows, popular movies/shows, movies of the week, IMDb originals, hidden gems, and films organized by genre. They’re all viewable from their website and the mobile app.

IMDbPro Features

You can pay for some features of IMDb if you want them. However, they’re aimed more toward people looking for contacts in the entertainment business.

Subscribing to IMDbPro lets you:

  • Claim your own IMDb page
  • Track updates from people/title profiles to always have the latest information
  • Find industry contacts and talent representation
  • See titles not available on IMDb

There’s a free 30-day trial of IMDbPro before the $12.50 /month price kicks in. That price is for if you pay for one year upfront ($149.99), or you can opt for the slightly more expensive month-to-month subscription for $19.99.

Was this page helpful?