Refine your IMDB search in endless ways

Have you ever wanted to refine your IMDB search in a better way than IMDB offers? Well I have, and this is a guide how to do so.

Have you ever wanted to refine your IMDB search in a better way than IMDB offers? Well I have, and this is a guide how to do so.

Lets say you want to find popular action movies on IMDB, well that’s easy, you just click Movies->Genres->and choose Action.

Now let’s say you want to use the feature “Refine By:” and refine your list by Title Type to sort out all the TV-Shows, well that’s easy as well. You just click Refine By-> Title Type-> TV Series and voila!

The Problem
But let’s say instead that you want to add another genre to your search and you click “Refine by: Genres” and choose Fantasy. Then whoops, your Action movies all disappeared and you only have a list with Fantasy-titles.

Now this has happened to me many times. The Refine By -feature is awesome but it lacks the important feature to actually “refine” the search. But the good news is quite easy to fix.

Here’s the first example.
You’ve clicked Movies->Genres->Action and refined by User rating and chosen 7.0. You thought you would get a list that shows action movies with a user rating above 7 right? But what you get is a list showing All sorts of titles including TV Series and only with the specific rating of 7.0. This is probably not what you want.

What you probably wanted is this

For those people who understand everything and don’t need a deeper explanation

Refine by: add & between refiners, choose refiners from the Refine By: -list below..

The sollution

1. Check the page address, it should look like this:,asc&user_rating=7.0

This address shows which genre (genres=action), sorted ascending by popularity (sort=moviemeter,asc), and by rating (user_rating=7.0)

Notice the & between every refiner (yes, “refiner” is what I will be calling it). This is the rule to add new refiners to your list. You can add them anywhere except right after the question mark.

2. Now lets remove all TV Series from the list and make sure we only see feature films (Movies) just add the code title_type=feature like this:,asc&user_rating=7.0&title_type=feature

3. Now lets change the user rating to show titles with the rating 7.0 – 10 instead of just 7.0. Just change the code user_rating=7.0 to user_rating=7.0,10 like this:,asc&user_rating=7.0,10&title_type=feature

So this is actually quite easy to do. There are allot of ways to refine your list. Heres a list and how to use them and what they do.

Refine By List:

Title Data – Which data is included on the IMDB Page of a Title, for example “Goofs” or “Soundtracks”
The code would be &has=goofs or &has=sountracks
I never use this though because I think it removes too many results from the search..

Title Type – What kind of Title, Is it a movie or a tv-show? For regular movies you would type &title_type=feature here’s a list of title types:


Title – This will only show titles matching your query so you will probably only use this if you already know what you want to find. But you might want to see how many titles were released matching “matrix” after 1998? Then you would type &title=matrix

Keywords – These are the Plot Keywords of the titles. There are thousands of different keywords and you have to use this with “care”. For example if you were to browse movies by genre and choose Sci-Fi and then try to refine further by adding keywords, you might find what you want if you add the keyword “future” but if you add the keywords “love” and “robot” you might not get any results at all.. So to use this you might want to skip genre instead. Anyway this is the code for love &keywords=love

A short list just to give you a feeling of what you might want to use:


Genres – This is pretty straight forward and very useful there are a couple of different genres and the rule for them is that you always separate words with an underscore like this: Sci-Fi = sci_fi. The different genres are listed below. The code for sci_fi would be &genres=sci_fi

Here’s the list of genres:


Countries – Country of origin – code for Sweden &countries=se The country codes use the ISO 3166 Codes standard like US,GB,AU,SE and so on..

Language – Original language – same country codes as Countries. Code for Japanese would be &languages=ja

Year – Which year the title was aired/released. Code is &year=2012 for 2012. This one is interesting though. On the refine-pages of IMDB you are only able to choose a specific year. Although it is very easy to change that to a period of years instead. For example, if you want to see titles released between 2001-2010 you would just add a comma like this &year=2001,2010

Number of Votes – pretty self explained, but why use this to refine? Let’s say you want to find a popular title with high ratings and you don’t use this refiner, you might wind up finding a title with the user rating 10. You might think “wow, this must be a great movie” but what you didn’t notice was that there were only 5 votes (which is the minimum to receive a rating on IMDB). These 5 people might be relatives of the movie creators and put the high ratings just to be nice to their kin, although the movie might suck.. So to be on the safe side I always refine by at least 2000 votes, which means there are at least 2000 people on the planet that have seen the movie..

Anyway the code for at least 2000 votes would be &num_votes=2000,

Notice the comma after 2000. it means “atleast 2000” if you type 2000 without the comma it will only list titles with exactly 2000 votes which most likely will be 0 most of the time.. You can also specify range by putting &num_votes=2000,50000 for 2000-50 000 votes

User Rating – This is my most used refiner. I usually agree to the ratings on IMDB to some extent. If the title has 2000 votes and they all are below 3, it’s probably not going to be worth my time. People use the ratings in many different ways. Some people vote 10 on everything they like and 1 on everything they don’t like. I usually vote 5 for a movie that’s “not my style, and I probably won’t watch it again but it didn’t suck” and everything above that is a movie that i enjoyed and might see again some day. Above 7 is a great movie that I would recommend. Everything below 5 is a movie that I didn’t enjoy and if it’s below 3 i hated it..

And so, the code for titles with a user rating of 7 would be &user_rating=7.0. This works just like the “year”-refiner so if you only type 7.0 you will only find titles with the exact rating of 7.0. If you wan’t to add a span between 7.0 and 10 you would type &user_rating=7.0,10

Companies – This is a bit special, it’s not included in the Refine By section but it’s a nice feature that I use some times. Maybe you like movies created by Studio Ghibli, (Spirited away, Howls Moving Castle and so on) Then you might want to find titles were Studio Ghibli is among the companies. First you will have to find the main page of the studio. So start searching for Studio Ghibli in the main search. When you’ve found the page you will be able to see the companies IMDB Code in the address bar so for Studio Ghibli it will be &company=co0048420

Role – This is just like above but you search for some one in the cast. So if you were to search for Josh Heartnett you would type &role=nm0001326

My Ratings – Choose to include, exclude or restrict to titles you already have rated  &my_ratings=restrict the other options are exclude and include

Sorting features
This probably isn’t the most important part because when you have made your search you can always click “Sort By” and choose any of the sorting methods. But sometimes the page “crashes” and doesn’t show any results after changing the sorting method and then it might be good to know that you can specify this as well. By standard IMDB will always first sort by “MOVIEmeter” which would translate “most popular on IMDB”. Although if you want to you can specify the sorting method by changing the sort=moviemeter,asc  to maybe sort=num_votes,desc for example. asc and desc mean ascending and descending.

Here are the different sorting methods:

So let’s put our knowledge to the test
Now I wan’t to search for Adventure feature movies with anime as one of the keywords. I want the user ratings to be at least 7.0 and have atleast 2000 votes. I want the movies to be released some time between 2001-2012. I also want Studio Ghibli to be among the companies behind the movie. Finally I want the list to be sorted by highest rating. The code would look like this,desc&user_rating=7.0,10&&num_votes=2000,&title_type=feature&company=co0048420&year=2001,2012


Well.. (allmost) all that for nothing.
I just found out there already is a function for this on Just head to =)
Although you might find this useful anyway since even the advanced search lacks features. It will for example not let you search specific studios like Studio Ghibli, only the big companies like Sony Pictures..


6 thoughts on “Refine your IMDB search in endless ways”

  1. Well anyway, big thanks for this, I was already thinking to make some kind of generator like that advanced search function not knowing that it exist. Was always annoyed that you can’t really refine many things, while after certain point whole refine bar disappears.

  2. I don’t know if that’s possible I’m afraid. If you figure it out, please comment and I can add it to the list of options :)

  3. Sorry, I haven’t been monitoring this post for a while. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem possible through this method to exclude genres.. only add them.

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