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IMDb will be discontinuing their ancient FTP service and will instead switch to a TSV format that is hosted on Amazon S3. See their announcement for more details:

The existing FTP sites have already gone offline, but they've put up new temporary FTP sites that will go offline September 10, 2017. Until then, you can still update goim using one of the tempoary FTP sites. For example:

goim load


Goim is a command line utility for maintaining and querying the Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Goim automatically downloads IMDb's data in plain text format and loads it into a relational database. Goim can then interact with the data in the database in various ways: fuzzy (with trigrams) searching, simple renaming of media files (including TV episodes), view information like plots, credits, goofs, quotes, IMDb rankings, trivia, release dates, film locations, prequels/sequels, etc.

Goim currently supports both SQLite and PostgreSQL. By default, Goim uses SQLite---which is more of a convenience for users that don't want to run a database server. Using PostgreSQL should be faster, and more importantly, will give you insanely fast fuzzy searching.

For Go programmers, the imdb sub-package contains types and functions for handling data in the database. The imdb/search sub-package exposes the full power and flexibility of Goim's searching via an API.

Goim is relased under the UNLICENSE.


Goim depends on Go and is go-gettable. Assuming you have Go installed and your GOPATH is set, then the following will install Goim into $GOPATH/bin:

go get

By default, this will attempt to install SQLite. If you don't want SQLite or can't install it easily, then install Goim with CGO disabled:

CGO_ENABLED=0 go get

When CGO is disabled, Goim will only work with PostgreSQL.

Quickstart with SQLite

If you want to give Goim a quick spin, it's easy to create a SQLite database with a subset of IMDb's data:

goim load -db goim.sqlite

This command downloads a list of all movies, TV shows and episodes and creates a new SQLite database in goim.sqlite. Depending on your system and internet connection, this might take anywhere from 1 minute to 5 minutes (including building indices).

Now you can find all episodes of The Simpsons that have "maggie" in the title:

# goim search -db goim.sqlite '%maggie%' {show:the simpsons}
  1. episode  And Maggie Makes Three (1995) (TV show: The Simpsons, #6.13)
  2. episode  Gone Maggie Gone (2009) (TV show: The Simpsons, #20.13)

If you add IMDb user rankings (should take less than a minute):

goim load -db goim.sqlite -lists ratings

Then you can find the top ten ranked Simpsons episodes with at least 500 votes:

# time goim search -db goim.sqlite {show:the simpsons} {votes:500-} {sort:rank desc} {limit:10}
  1. episode  Homer the Smithers (1996) (TV show: The Simpsons, #7.17) (rank: 90/100, votes: 840)
  2. episode  Homer's Enemy (1997) (TV show: The Simpsons, #8.23) (rank: 89/100, votes: 1217)
  3. episode  The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson (1997) (TV show: The Simpsons, #9.1) (rank: 89/100, votes: 1160)
  4. episode  Boy Scoutz 'n the Hood (1993) (TV show: The Simpsons, #5.8) (rank: 88/100, votes: 874)
  5. episode  Homer Badman (1994) (TV show: The Simpsons, #6.9) (rank: 88/100, votes: 960)
  6. episode  Homer the Heretic (1992) (TV show: The Simpsons, #4.3) (rank: 88/100, votes: 1090)
  7. episode  Homer's Phobia (1997) (TV show: The Simpsons, #8.15) (rank: 88/100, votes: 1031)
  8. episode  Homer's Triple Bypass (1992) (TV show: The Simpsons, #4.11) (rank: 88/100, votes: 895)
  9. episode  Hurricane Neddy (1996) (TV show: The Simpsons, #8.8) (rank: 88/100, votes: 855)
 10. episode  King Size Homer (1995) (TV show: The Simpsons, #7.7) (rank: 88/100, votes: 997)

Dig deeper by adding plot information to your database (takes minutes):

goim load -db goim.sqlite -lists plot

And check out the plot for King Size Homer:

# goim plots -db goim.sqlite king size homer

Plot summaries for King Size Homer (1995)
Mr. Burns institutes a new calisthenics program at work. Most employees enjoy
the morning workout, except Homer, who is too lazy. He finds out that if he
goes in disability, he will be exempt from the exercises. He finds hyper-obesity
among the list of disability, so he gorges himself on food to balloon up to 300
-- Anonymous

You can read more examples and see a complete list of search options by running goim help search. For example, if you load the actors list, you can search the credits of movies and episodes.

Also, see goim help for a list of all commands, which includes a command for each type of information available.

Upping the ante with PostgreSQL

You will need to install a PostgreSQL server and have it running on your machine. This can be done for Windows, Mac or Linux. Start here.

Once you're all set up, create a database and enable the pg_trgm extension (which is what provides fuzzy searching):

createdb imdb
psql -U postgres imdb -c 'CREATE EXTENSION pg_trgm;'

Note that enabling an extension can only be done by a PostgreSQL superuser, which is what the '-U postgres' is for (you may use any user here that has superuser privileges).

Technically, you can use Goim with PostgreSQL without enabling the pg_trgm extension, but it isn't recommended (and Goim will yell at you).

Now all you need to do is fill in your connection information. You can use the -db flag, but typing in all your connection details every time is painful. Instead, tell Goim to write a default config file:

goim write config

Now edit and fill in your details (the comments in the config file should help):

$EDITOR ~/.config/goim/config.toml

Note that the config file can specify a SQLite database too.

With all of that out of the way, you can now follow the steps above for loading and searching with SQLite. (Leave out the -db ... flag.) Also, with fuzzy searching, you don't need to use the '%' wildcard any more (although you can). For example, you can use goim search maggie {show:simpsons} to find all episodes of The Simpsons with "maggie" in the title.

Renaming media files

I just copied the first season of The Simpsons off my DVD box set, but I have a problem. All of my files look like this:

S01E01.mkv  S01E04.mkv  S01E07.mkv  S01E10.mkv  S01E13.mkv
S01E02.mkv  S01E05.mkv  S01E08.mkv  S01E11.mkv
S01E03.mkv  S01E06.mkv  S01E09.mkv  S01E12.mkv

No problem. Goim can rename these easily with the rename command:

# goim rename -tv 'the simpsons' *.mkv
Rename 'S01E01.mkv' to 'S01E01 - Simpsons Roasting on an Open F
Rename 'S01E02.mkv' to 'S01E02 - Bart the Genius.mkv'
Rename 'S01E03.mkv' to 'S01E03 - Homer's Odyssey.mkv'
Rename 'S01E04.mkv' to 'S01E04 - There's No Disgrace Like Home.
Rename 'S01E05.mkv' to 'S01E05 - Bart the General.mkv'
Rename 'S01E06.mkv' to 'S01E06 - Moaning Lisa.mkv'
Rename 'S01E07.mkv' to 'S01E07 - The Call of the Simpsons.mkv'
Rename 'S01E08.mkv' to 'S01E08 - The Telltale Head.mkv'
Rename 'S01E09.mkv' to 'S01E09 - Life on the Fast Lane.mkv'
Rename 'S01E10.mkv' to 'S01E10 - Homer's Night Out.mkv'
Rename 'S01E11.mkv' to 'S01E11 - The Crepes of Wrath.mkv'
Rename 'S01E12.mkv' to 'S01E12 - Krusty Gets Busted.mkv'
Rename 'S01E13.mkv' to 'S01E13 - Some Enchanted Evening.mkv'
Are you sure you want to rename these files? [y/n]: y

And now my files look like this:

S01E01 - Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire.mkv
S01E02 - Bart the Genius.mkv
S01E03 - Homer's Odyssey.mkv
S01E04 - There's No Disgrace Like Home.mkv
S01E05 - Bart the General.mkv
S01E06 - Moaning Lisa.mkv
S01E07 - The Call of the Simpsons.mkv
S01E08 - The Telltale Head.mkv
S01E09 - Life on the Fast Lane.mkv
S01E10 - Homer's Night Out.mkv
S01E11 - The Crepes of Wrath.mkv
S01E12 - Krusty Gets Busted.mkv
S01E13 - Some Enchanted Evening.mkv

The above command executes in less than a second on my machine. The exact same command could be used to rename an entire series at once.

The rename command is very flexible, and it can also rename movies and work with different file name formats. Read more about it with goim help rename.

Updating the database

Whether you're loading data for the first time or updating an existing database, you'll want to use Goim's load command. By default, data is downloaded from one of IMDb's FTP mirrors, but it also supports HTTP downloading or reading from the local file system.

The load command lets you pick and choose which lists you want. By default, it only loads the movies list. But let's say you also want plots and quotes:

goim load -lists plot,quotes

Since plots and quotes are completely independent, this load will be done in parallel if you're using PostgreSQL.

If you want to add all attribute information (i.e., plots, quotes, trivia, goofs, etc.), then you can use the special attr list (make sure movies has already been loaded):

goim load -lists attr

Or you can load all information available with the all list. (Warning: loading actors can take a while!)

I haven't been clever enough to come up with a good way for updating the database in place, so every update will truncate the corresponding table and rebuild it from scratch. (This is done inside a transaction, so if something bad happens, your old data should be preserved.) The only exceptions to the truncating scheme are the atom and name table. The short story here is that this will allow primary (surrogate) keys to persist across updates. Under this scheme, you should never have to worry about stale data cluterring search results. (See for some elaboration on this point.)

Typically, IMDb updates its plain text data sets some time between Friday and Saturday morning, so there's no need to have Goim update your database more frequently than once a week.

Entity-Relationship diagram

The schema of the database is very simple, but I've made an ER diagram. It was automatically generated with erd and goim-write-erd.

Database loading time and size

The following benchmarks were measured with data downloaded from IMDb on February 3, 2014 (872MB compressed). The specs of my machine: Intel i7 3930K (12 logical CPUs) with 32GB of DDR3 1600MHz RAM. Both PostgreSQL and SQLite databases were stored on a Crucial M4 128GB solid state drive (CT128M4SSD2).

A complete database (with indices) for SQLite uses approximately 3GB of space on disk. A complete load (with all IMDb data downloaded first) took about 12 minutes. Note that since this is SQLite, this did not use any concurrent updating. After completion, a search query of %Matrix% takes approximately 0.5 seconds.

A complete database (with indices) for PostgreSQL 9.3 (using a default configuration) uses approximately 5.5GB of space on disk. A complete load (with all IMDb data downloaded first) took about 7.5 minutes. There is a significant speed boost from parallel table updates, although about half the time is spent building indices (the trigram indices take especially long). After completion, a search query of %Matrix% takes approximately 0.18 seconds. A search query of matrix (using the trigram indices) takes approximately 1 second. (Searches were done only when the Postgres autovacuum appeared to be idling. On my system, it tends to run for a few minutes after a full load of the database.)

Goim is smart about updating and will avoid rebuilding indices where appropriate. For example, while the initial load took 7.5 minutes, updating the database with new data took only 5.5 minutes on my machine.

A PostgreSQL database with just movies/TV shows/episodes takes about 1.5 minutes to load completely, including indices.

Loading all attribute lists (excludes only movies and actors/actresses) into a PostgreSQL database takes about 2 minutes to load completely, including indices.

The point of these benchmarks is not to be rigorous, but to give you a general ballpark of the sorts of resources used to load the database.

For reference, here is the output of goim size on a full database as of February 26, 2014:

actor                2944464 rows (102 MB)
aka_title            364286 rows (28 MB)
alternate_version    18052 rows (5728 kB)
atom                 5736653 rows (285 MB)
color_info           1382568 rows (49 MB)
credit               21316676 rows (1248 MB)
episode              1723386 rows (73 MB)
genre                1687771 rows (71 MB)
goof                 189835 rows (46 MB)
language             1396121 rows (59 MB)
link                 909486 rows (49 MB)
literature           123700 rows (18 MB)
location             716354 rows (54 MB)
movie                957817 rows (40 MB)
mpaa_rating          14884 rows (1256 kB)
name                 5736653 rows (282 MB)
plot                 387030 rows (227 MB)
quote                613856 rows (169 MB)
rating               517401 rows (22 MB)
release_date         3339695 rows (169 MB)
running_time         878488 rows (39 MB)
sound_mix            506885 rows (23 MB)
tagline              147611 rows (13 MB)
trivia               401191 rows (89 MB)
tvshow               99905 rows (4328 kB)
total                5737 MB


  • Goim doesn't currently support all available lists. Notable absences are biographies, soundtracks, directors, writers, producers (and other crew members).
  • I am pleased with the search infrastructure, but there needs to be more options. For example, to search movie links, running times, release dates, etc.
  • Look into searching plots/quotes. (Concern: how long will a fulltext index take to build on these tables?)
  • Expand the clever logic in the rename command to general searching. (Maybe. Not sure if I want to complicate the search too much more, but it would be nice to give a file name and, e.g., get back a plot.)
  • With Goim's data and searching, can we easily connect it to other data sources? (Schedules? Subtitles?)
  • Investigate adding foreign key constraints to the schema.
  • SQLite is a second class citizen. There are definitely more places where indices would be good.
  • Add more tests. (See cmd_load_test.go.)

Motivation and comparison with similar tools

I tend to acquire a lot of media and it's a pain to keep up with correctly naming it. Many years ago, I spent a weekend hacking together a Python script to parse the movies IMDb list into a MySQL database and used that to rename files. But it was slow and the renaming script was terribly inflexible. I wanted to make it better, so I embarked on a more disciplined approach to storing IMDb's data. I also find it incredibly useful to access most of IMDb instantly from the command line.

To the best of my knowledge, there are only two tools that claim to load a substantial fraction of IMDb's data into a relational database: IMDbPY and JMDB. The source code of JMDB doesn't appear to ever have been released, and it looks like some sort of GUI tool. Truthfully, I haven't tried it.

IMDbPY has been around for a long time and is pretty similar to Goim. However, I found its loading procedure to be a bit awkward (a fast load seems to require some mangling with CSV files), and generally slower than Goim although I haven't done any rigorous benchmarks. (And I don't know enough about IMDbPY to know if the comparison would be fair.)

IMDbPY also seems to support MySQL. Goim does not. (And I don't have any particular plans to support it, but I'm not against it.)

It is entirely possible that I could have used IMDbPY to load a database and then built tools on top of it to do searching and renaming, but I'm much happier with a smaller and simpler piece of software to do the work for me. Also, it's a lot more fun to design your own database. Plus, controlling the schema gives me the freedom to experiment with other neat ideas, like storing temporal data based on the diffs that IMDb provides for its plain text data.

Licensing minutia

While IMDb is generous enough to provide an easily parseable dump of a subset of their data, they are pretty finicky with their licensing.

This project is not a commerical project. The only source of IMDb data in Goim is through the "alternative interfaces" plain text data files, which are expressly provided for non-commercial uses.


  1. I agree to the terms of their copyright/terms of use. Namely, I am not using data mining, robots, screen scraping or any other mechanism to get IMDb data other than the aforementioned "alternative interfaces" plain text data dump. To the best of my knowledge, I am not using any framing techniques to enclose IMDb trademarks, logos or other proprietary information. I do not link to IMDb in any part of Goim, sans this README. I am not using any IMDb software (not that it actually works), so the terms at the bottom don't apply.
  2. As mentioned above, data is only taken from the plain text data from their "alternative interfaces," specifically from one of those listed FTP sites. Goim does not send any HTTP requests to IMDb proper. Goim does not attempt to recover any information on IMDb proper that is not available in the subset of data provided through the "alternative interface."
  3. I am only using Goim for personal and non-commercial use. Each individual user of Goim has to build their own database. This has precedent with IMDbPY and JMDB.
  4. Information courtesy of IMDb ( Used with permission.


Goim is a robust command line utility to maintain and query the Internet Movie Database (IMDb).







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