Movies

Name that movie! Five quick ways to find a forgotten movie name online

Here are five sites that can help name that movie.
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We’ve all been there – randomly remembering a movie you really loved, but not for the life of you remembering what it’s called.

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You don’t want this to keep you up at night, but googling that obscure actor who might have been in it has fallen short.

‘What Is My Movie’ might be able to save the day – a strangely accurate site that can guess a film based on something as little as a vague scene description.

If you’re not sure how to use the site, or if you’re curious to know if there are other hacks to unearthing titles, this is our short guide to the secrets of finding forgotten movie names.

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What Is My Movie?

What Is My Movie is a super-accurate movie finder site that can suggest the name of a movie by a scene or plot description, an incomplete title, and actors’ and directors’ names. By “super-accurate”, we mean that the site can easily find a film like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind with the sparse description “erasing memories”.

Creepy? A little bit. Useful? Hell yeah.

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Creepy? A little bit. (Credit: Warner Bros)

According to the site, the search engine was originally developed by tech company Valossa for Arctic15, a start-up matchmaking conference.

The team sought to “present a new way of searching video content” by attempting to analyse data that can’t normally be analysed by machines, from scenes to themes to plot and dialogue.

The site now hosts 40,000 titles in its library, including movie titles from the 1900s to the most recent releases.

However, don’t expect the site to be 100 per cent up to date. After all, a new movie is released every week!

name-that-movie-emma-stone
“Stars Emma Stone”? (Credit: Getty)

How to use it

First, type anything you can recall from a film in the search box. You can input whatever you can remember from the film’s title, its plot, its characters, or its actors. You also might try describing specific scenes or type out bits of dialogue.

Once the site gives you its suggestions, you can refine your search by choosing title matches, actor matches, or director matches.

You can also help the site by letting it know if its suggestions are good matches or bad matches!

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Are there other ways to name a movie you can’t remember?

IMDB

IMDB, or the Internet Movie Database, is a site that records pretty much everything about every single movie that’s ever been released. The only problem is that IMDB’s search engine is incredibly simple. You can look up an actor, director, or production company, but you’ll have to go through their page and rifle through the list of movies they’ve done to find the right one. If none of the titles ring any bells, you could be stuck clicking on each one for hours!

However, there is one trick that could work. Using this URL, you can attempt to find a film on IMDB using Google by entering short plot descriptions.

Remember to keep it simple though! For example, if you want to find the film A Quiet Place, you’re going to want to use keywords like “no sound”, “horror”, and “deaf”. If you want to find the film Someone Great, you can use keywords like “Netflix”, “break up”, and “New York”. And if you want to find the film Blade Runner 2049, you can try the keywords “IMAX”, “future”, and “cyberpunk”.

Hot tip

When all else fails, you can try posting a question on IMDB’s message boards. It’s filled with filmy folk who love to dissect and discuss films.

what-is-my-movie-schindler
It’d be hard to forget Schindler’s List! (Credit: Getty)

Filmfind

Just like IMDB’s message boards, Filmfind is a community of cinema-lovers where a movie search query is answered by real people instead of a search engine or AI. The site works like a forum where you can either describe what a movie is about and wait for someone to come up with an answer, or volunteer to answer another person’s query. 

Wild About Movies

If for some reason you know a film’s release date but not its title, actors, or director, you can head over to Wild About Movies – a site that categorises films by year then by release date. While it’s highly unlikely you’re going “What was the name of that movie that was released in 2010?”, it’s still fun to go through each year on this site and make comparisons between what kinds of movies were popular on certain years.

what-is-my-movie-rocky
Name the Rocky! (Credit: Getty)

The Internet Movie Browser

The Internet Movie Browser is a movie database with an extensive range of filters. You can insert film titles, the names of the actors and directors, release dates, and production companies into the search bar, and then refine the search by providing a range for the release date and runtime and ticking off genres and countries. You can also organise results based on critics’ scores.

While it’s not the easiest way to search for a film whose title you don’t know, it is good for comparing film ratings and finding top-rated films.

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