The Official Blog of IMDb

Newsletter #10

November 15th, 1996 | Posted by admin in Newsletter

this issue edited by Jon Reeves

Welcome to issue 10 of the IMDb newsletter. The newsletter is intended to
keep database users and contributors informed of the latest developments
from the management team. Comments and suggestions are welcome and should
be directed to Issue 11 is scheduled for January.

To subscribe to the newsletter, fill out the survey
and check the appropriate box. To unsubscribe, drop a note to



by Greg Bulmash

For those of you who don’t already know, The WASHED-UPdate(tm) is a
column about the good, the bad, and the silly places our fave celebs
of yesteryear have seen their careers go in recent years. Each column
runs exclusively on IMDb for one week before appearing anywhere else
on the web.

Jon and Col could probably give you more pertinent stats on the stats
than I can, but they are looking good and we are working on ways to
integrate it into the IMDb better.

Future developments:

  • The “Has-Been Hunter Index” with links to the IMDb filmographies and
    archival WASHED-UPdate(tm) columns of celebs who have been profiled so
    far should be up and running by the end of the month. This will be
    hosted at the WASHED-UPdate(tm) Archives on my site.
  • More press for IMDb and The WASHED-UPdate(tm) should be hitting U.S.
    newsstand shelves in January when my article “Hunting The Elusive
    Has-Been” appears in Internet Underground (a Ziff-Davis publication).

And that’s all the news having to do with the unholy alliance between
TWU and IMDb.


by Mark Harding

The IMDb is always a popular site to link to from other web sites and
to assist people wishing to do this we’ve set up a new service we call
Link-it!. This service allows people to send their HTML pages to an e-mail
address at our site,, for processing. Link-it! inserts
the correct HTML markup for links automatically and when finished
returns the document to the original sender.

In order to simplify the process, and to avoid linking unnecessarily,
the HTML document needs to contain some extra markups. This simply
consists of wrapping and names or titles to be linked in [], e.g.

A film by [Woody Allen] … or
Starred in [Batman (1989)]

which allows the Link-it! software to concentrate on only those areas
required. If a match cannot be made a list of potential matches is
returned in the HTML as comments.


by Col Needham

We’ve recently added a new recommendations section to the database,
available wherever you see the “recommend” icon, for example see Bringing
Up Baby (1938).

The IMDb recommendations pages contain suggestions for other movies to
watch which are similar to the movie whose page you are looking at. This
could be in a number of ways such as genre, themes explored, shared cast
or perhaps an obscure offbeat connection. The idea is to provide a useful
viewing guide for our users. The selections are made by the IMDb editors
themselves and we’ll probably open it up to a select few contributors
who have an expertise in particular fields at a later date.

In addition to the manually selected list of recommendations, wherever
possible, we try to provide links to other lists based on the results
of our extensive user poll.

For other examples see:

Vertigo (1958)

Se7en (1995)

Wrong Trousers, The (1993)

Double Indemnity (1944)

Casablanca (1942)

The recommendations list is managed by Rob Hartill.


by Col Needham

A frequent request via our user survey is for browsable areas within the
database, such that people interested in a particular section can easily
find all the information; for example, browsing all the trivia or goofs.

We’ve just launched a new section specific area
with an A-Z index available for alternate versions, business information,
crazy credits, goofs, laserdiscs, literature, locations, plot summaries,
soundtracks, technical and trivia. Further areas will be added over the
coming weeks and we’ll also expand each one to include other interesting
features related to each section.


by Col Needham

In October we launched a new mirror site in Italy, available (not
surprisingly) at

This should be a useful and faster alternative for many of our European
users. Italian aka titles are shown (when available) on all searches at
this site.

The server is housed at the Italian ISP Like It whose technical
manager is IMDb team member Giancarlo Cairella. If it proves to be a
success we will look at further mirror sites next year.


by Mark Harding

In our quest to cover all possible information related to movies we’ve
added a new list that covers all those companies that provide what
we deem miscellaneous support to the production of a movie. These are
the caterers, the animal handlers, the equipment suppliers, etc. For an
example, see Down Periscope (1996) and click on the “Companies” icon.

For details on submitting information please see the on-line submission


by Michel Hafner

There has been a change in policy for the alternative title list. It has
now a field for attributes to give more information about the nature of
the alternative title if it’s not clear from the context. Examples of
useful attributes are:

  • (UK title)

  • (US title)
  • (re-issue title)

  • (rerun title)

  • (video title)

  • (working title)

The year added to alternative titles is now the year this title came
into use, which can be different from the year of the primary title
which is the year of first public screening of a film. If this year
for alternative titles is not known the year of the primary title is used.

The new policy is valid for all alternative titles, including the new
Italian alternative titles and all others that will soon be officially
collected and available when we open up the database for alternative
titles in many additional languages.


by Jon Reeves

Writing credits are among the most carefully controlled in the industry,
with strict rules over name ordering, use of “and” vs. “&”, and an
arbitration process. Until now, the credits in the IMDb have not reflected
the full complexity, partly because the software was not up to the task.
Several writers have justifiably complained about this.

The changes have now been made in the software for all platforms, and
you’ll see them reflected in more of the database shortly. For now,
take a look at the recent TV movie If These Walls Could Talk (1996) (TV)
for a particularly complex case.

Details on submitting writer order information will be in the next issue.


by Mark Harding

A new field that tracks the salaries paid to movie stars was recently
added to the Biography database. It records the name of the movie and
the salary paid for their involvement – this could be anything from
acting to directing to screenplay work etc. The tag for the salary
field is SA:, e.g., in Demi Moore‘s biography you’ll find the line

SA: * _Striptease (1996)_ (qv) -> $12,500,000

For more information see the Biographies submission guide.


by Mark Harding

The IMDb Video Sales Trial has now ended with all parties agreeing that
it’s been a huge success. Our statistics show us that you agree too! We
are now preparing the second stage of the service in which we hope to
increase both the number of partners in the service and the number of
titles covered. We’re also particularly interested in Partners that
offer less mainstream material. As well as covering videos we hope to
extend the service to other movie related material such as posters,
books etc, so if you know of any good sites out there please let us know!


by Col Tinto

The usual batch of “most voted without summary” movies are provided
below, so if you’ve seen it, summarize it!

The plot summary list is far from complete, but it’s getting there.

For this reason, we’re starting to focus more on quality than quantity.
From now on, the rejection rate will be higher, as low quality plots, or
those with many errors that would take a while to fix will be instantly
rejected – you have been warned…

Also, if you spot any plots you feel are of inferior quality, let me
know – or better still, send me a new one!

A River Runs Through It (1992)

Highlander III: The Sorcerer (1994)

Happy Gilmore (1996)

Escape from L.A. (1996)

The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996)

Empire (1995)

Nixon (1995)

Wyatt Earp (1994)

The Crow: City of Angels (1996)

Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie (1980)

Man of the House (1995)

Jabberwocky (1977)

Kingpin (1996)

Bugsy Malone (1976)

Stealing Beauty (1996)

Cabin Boy (1994)

Look Who’s Talking Too (1990)

The Three Musketeers (1974)

Friday (1995)

Beautiful Girls (1996)


by Jon Reeves

Here’s the most popular searches people have done lately, based on total
pages for the week ending November 9.


  1. 3. Star Trek: First Contact (1996)

  2. 72. Ransom (1996)
  3. 134. William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet (1996)

  4. 4. Star Wars (1977)

  5. 1. Independence Day (1996)

  6. 41. Sleepers (1996)
  7. 10. Braveheart (1995)

  8. 5. Striptease (1996)

  9. 33. Basic Instinct (1992)

  10. 74. “Baywatch” (1989)
  11. 14. Pulp Fiction (1994)

  12. 8. Trainspotting (1995)

  13. 9. Mission: Impossible (1996)

  14. 7. Twister (1996)
  15. 152. “Babylon 5″ (1993)

  16. 17. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

  17. 18. Jurassic Park (1993)

  18. 34. Fargo (1996)
  19. 102. Toy Story (1995)

  20. 57. The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)

This month shows a wave of interest in future releases (
Star Wars: Episode I (1999),
Batman and Robin (1997), and

Alien: Resurrection (1997)
weren’t far back) and a strong showing by TV series (the first time with
one in the top 20, let alone 2). The “huh?” factor this month: number 33,
Wilhelm von Kobell (1966); number 60,
A Star Overnight (1919).


  1. 5. Pamela Anderson
  2. 22. Sharon Stone

  3. 1. Teri Hatcher

  4. 12. Kim Basinger

  5. 3. Tom Cruise
  6. 4. Demi Moore

  7. 10. Mel Gibson

  8. 6. Sandra Bullock

  9. 7. Bo Derek
  10. 134. Leonardo DiCaprio

  11. 11. Alyssa Milano

  12. 8. Shannon Tweed

  13. 2. Jenny McCarthy
  14. 14. Helen Hunt

  15. Claire Danes

  16. 15. Brad Pitt

  17. 20. Arnold Schwarzenegger
  18. 18. Michelle Pfeiffer

  19. 38. Harrison Ford

  20. 23. Jennifer Connelly

With the house ad not running, Groucho Marx drops right off the list.
Kim Basinger places remarkably high, considering she hasn’t had a
movie in 2 years. Excluding Groucho, this month’s list averages about 2
years younger (largely due to Romeo & Juliet
displacing Sean Connery),
at around 34. The “huh?” factor: #71

Gretchen Ardell; #75
Gretchen Becker.


by Col Needham

Movies opening in the US in October/November sorted by number of votes
(to November 8):

3938.8That Thing You Do! (1996)

2988.5Ghost and the Darkness, The (1996)
2598.3Long Kiss Goodnight, The (1996)
1889.5Beautiful Thing (1996)

1688.8Bound (1996)
1598.3Sleepers (1996)
1209.1William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet (1996)

1019.5Shine (1996)
869.3Ransom (1996)
817.0Chamber, The (1996)

Movies opening in the US in October/November sorted by average votes
(to November 8):

1889.5Beautiful Thing (1996)
1019.5Shine (1996)


869.3Ransom (1996)
1209.1William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet (1996)
1688.8Bound (1996)

698.8Breaking the Waves (1996)
3938.8That Thing You Do! (1996)
2988.5Ghost and the Darkness, The (1996)

418.3Jude (1996)
2598.3Long Kiss Goodnight, The (1996)


by Joachim Polzer

The IMDb will be present at the European Film Forum which will take
place on November 19th at the German city of Karlsruhe. The IMDb will
demonstrate online their capabilities in the convention section of this
congress event. The motto of the “Forum Kino Karlsruhe” is: “The future
of the cinema – The cinema of the future” which seems the right place
for IMDb demonstrations. IMDb team member Andre Bernhardt will be at the
booth personally for questions and suggestions. “Forum Kino Karlsruhe” is
organized by the EIKK (European Institute of Cinema Karlsruhe); admission
for the conference and convention section of “Forum Kino Karlsruhe”
is free. Hours: 12 noon until 6:30 P.M. Location: Konzerthaus Karlsruhe.


by Jon Reeves

Just a few of the traditional media outlets that have mentioned us lately:

Brisbane Internet Games; Brisbane Courier-Mail.

ComputerCredible Magazine.
Facts Magazine (Switzerland).
The New York Times.
The Toronto Star.
Internet User Magazine (Italy).
The Discovery Channel.

We’ve also won several new awards. See
selections from the gallery here

The Silkie Award.
Cool Site of the Hour.
Internet Now! Sight of the Week.
University TopLinks.

Our good friend Greg Bulmash’s WASHED-UPdate has some new awards of its own:

Cool Site of the Hour.
Too Cool award.
Short Attention Span Site of the week.
Sublime Site of the Week.

Surf Central pick.


by Col Needham

Traffic continues to climb so in October we added another couple of
servers at our US site to help keep response times down to a minimum.

In order to showcase many of the interesting features of the database,
we’ve added a “feature of the day” link to the home page

and search
. The link is updated at midnight each day and highlights an
area that you may have missed, or have yet to discover, or just plain
forgotten about. At the moment 50 different features are included and
more will be added as the database expands.

As mentioned in the last newsletter, we’ve added the first batch of
translated pages to the site. German versions of the home page,
the search page, the complex search page, the site tour
and the index are now automatically served if your browser is configured to
prefer German over English. Italian translations are almost ready.

On the data collection side, the name based additions interface has been
completely redesigned to be easier to use. Major improvements on the title
based interface too, plus more validation checks have been added to both.

A new version (3.3) of the locally installable UNIX interface to
the database is now available from our FTP sites. Long overdue, this
version supports the laserdisc, business information and special effects
companies sections. Other new features include support for the writers
credit ordering and AKA attributes. It also displays the URL of the
equivalent page in the web interface for all name/title searches. This
version is running on the IMDb mail-server interface (send a message
with the subject “HELP” to for details).

The interface for the X Window System, xregal, is now at version 1.3,
with support for the features added in version 3.3 of the UNIX interface,
name completion, better formatting for the trivia and cast lists, more
configuration options, and some bug fixes. It is also available from
the FTP sites.

A new version of imoviedb, the interactive shell for the UNIX interface
which includes name and title completion has also been released.


by Jon Reeves

This is a regular section giving information about the current size
and growth of the IMDb. We receive between 30,000 and 45,000 additions
every week from users all over the world.

Number of filmography entries: 1,250,697
Number of people covered: 353,618
Number of movies covered: 87,784

Size of the database (Mb): 106

Recent milestones:

  • 20,000 release date entries

  • 30,000 running times

  • 75,000 writers entries

  • 350,000 people covered

  • 1,250,000 filmography entries


This is a regular section listing some enhancements we’re currently
looking at. Please bear in mind that some of these may take quite
a while to come to fruition or even fail to materialize because the
original volunteer decides not to proceed.

  • a “crew completion” list, similar to the cast completion list.
  • a separate list of films in production, with their current status.
  • outline list: a “one line” plot summary, short enough to display
    on the main title page.
  • a list of “influential scenes”… the scenes that launched a thousand
    spoofs, became the director’s trademark, changed cinema forever,
    launched a star.
  • a complete rewrite of the additions interface is now in beta test
    and may even be in service by the time you read this.
  • full support for accented characters (ISO 8859-1) without losing
    people that can’t type them. Implementation in progress.
  • a locally installable MS-Windows interface to the database is
    still under development.
  • enhanced awards section for the database covering more
    international festivals, national film institutes etc.
  • general support for alternate titles in languages other than
    English and the language of the original country.
  • a movie recommendation service that will use your vote records to
    suggest other movies you might enjoy. Initially available via an
    E-mail interface. Time to check you’re up-to-date with your voting!

Academy Awards and Oscar are registered trademarks of the Academy of Motion
Picture Arts and Sciences. UNIX and X Window System are registered trademarks
of The Open Group. The WASHED-UPdate is a trademark of Greg Bulmash.

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