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March 24, 2010

Top 5 movie search engines

Pandia top five movie search enginesOften, when I am watching a movie, I get curious about stuff like “Where have I seen this actor before?” or “Isn’t this the same director that did that other movie I like so much?”

Earlier I would have called my friend the movie buff. Now there are some excellent search engines available so I don’t need to bother him at odd hours. Here are the top five movie search engines. Three of them will help you find movie facts, two will help you find movies you might enjoy.


If you are at all familiar with movie search online, it will be no surprise that the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) is my number one pick. This site is a treasure trove of all kinds of cinema related information and it’s easy to navigate.

The search box has a drop-down menu that lets you search titles, TV episodes, names, companies, keywords, characters, videos, quotes, bios and plots. This is where most people go to find the answers to their film related questions.

But did you know that from the same drop-down menu you can also access advanced search?

Here you can:

  • Do an advanced title search
  • Do an advanced name search
  • Do a title text search
  • Search collaborations and overlaps (the place to go for a list of titles in which both Brad Pitt and George Clooney appeared)
  • Browse movies by genre, country, language and year
  • And more…

The front page also presents all kinds of film related news like box office hits this week, movie news, TV news, celebrity news and mores.


Filmsite has been around since 1996 and contains interpretive, descriptive review commentary and historical background on a large number of movies.

The search box lets you search by director, actor or movie. The search engine is a Google Custom Search and has no advanced search options, but the results are still relevant and interesting.

Still, the most intriguing part of Filmsite is browsing, using the top tabs with drop-down menus. The main categories are:

  • Genres
  • Directors and stars
  • Quotes
  • Oscars
  • Reviews
  • Posters
  • Greatest films
  • Videos
  • Best of…
  • Scenes
  • History

Between them, they contain more than 80 subcategories of movie facts and trivia. There are even hundreds of colorful, vintage film posters for some of the best Hollywood and American classic films in the last century.


Anyclip has some advanced search options that let you search for quotes, actions, objects, actors and movies.

The front page has no less than five search boxes, so you can combine queries to find — for example — when a certain actor said a certain line or when a certain object appeared in a certain movie. I haven’t seen any other search engine that can do this.

You can also browse by movies, actors, directors. You browse films by poster view, which is appealing to me. Anyclip does not have a huge index yet, but it keeps expanding.


Nanocrowd is a powerful, yet simple search engine that use crowd sourcing to help you find movies you might like.

The technology is called Reaction Mapping and it interprets the comments people write about movies. This way Nanocrowd can analyze millions of viewer comments from all over the Web to find out what movies are really about and what people think of them.

There are two ways to use Nanocrowd. The first is to use the search box to search for a movie, an actor or a director. I enjoyed Avatar, so I ask for recommendations based on this.

Nanocrowd has five clusters of characteristics attributed to this movie and ask me to choose one. I choose “future, humans, thought-provoking” and get a list of movies including some of my favorites: Blade Runner, Terminator and The Matrix.

The other way to find a picture is to take a quiz that will determine if a certain movie is right for me. I follow the link on the front page. I am thinking about renting A Serious Man, which I missed in the theatres, so I input the movie title. This produces a list of 10 related movies and I get to choose if I enjoyed them or not if I have indeed seen them.

The next step is a list of 6 “nanogenres” ascribed to this move and I can choose which of these appeal to me. The last step, “Movie in a nutshell”, is a cloud of the most prominent terms that are used to describe this film in all the sites indexed by Nanocrowd.

I get to decide whether this looks good to me. Based on my choices, it seems I should definitely get my hands on the DVD.


You don’t use Jinni to find facts about movies and actors, you use it to find movies to watch — movies that are right for your mood and your taste. The Jinni team calls their product a semantic discovery engine for movies and TV shows.

You search by using Jinni’s visual user interface to input your preferences in one or more of the available categories. I chose mood: offbeat, plot: friendship, genre: fantasy. Jinni recommended, among others A Nightmare Before Christmas, My Neighbour Totoro and A Charlie Brown Christmas — movies I know and love.

There are a number of ways to refine you search. Choose from 12 moods, 15 types of plots, 5 genres, and a number of time periods.

Reviews, trailers and show times

If you are looking for movie reviews, trailers and show times, you could check out:
Yahoo! Movies
MSN Movies
Rotten Tomatoes

Thanks to Charles Knight.

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