How to Find the Name of a Movie When You’ve Forgot

UPDATE — You can now ask and answer all your “Name That Movie” questions over at NameThatMovie. This article became so wildly popular that it was well-needed.

We all do it:

What’s the name of that movie?

What’s that actor’s name?

Sometimes, you just have to ease your mind because you just have to know. It’s just on the tip of your tongue, but driving you crazy that you cannot remember. Other times, maybe it’s some old nostalgic film from your childhood that you just have to track down to watch again.

These techniques also apply if you’re trying to find other info on movies, music, and even video games (directors, writers, voice actors, you name it).

Step 1.

Go to IMDb (Internet Movie Database).

Step 2.

Before you can begin your search, you’ll need to at least have some piece of information that links to the film or whatever else you’re trying to find.

Here are some examples:

  • Name of the Director
  • Name of the Writer
  • Name of the Composer
  • Name of any of the Actors or Actresses no matter how big or small their role was
  • Name of the Company that released the film
  • The Year (or Decade) the film was released
  • Plot Info

Reverse Method

It may be possible to find what you’re looking for even if you don’t know any direct facts about the movie you’re trying to find. Say that you at least recognize someone in the film and you’re aware of the title of another film they’re in. You can start your search there. When you search, I recommend that you search “All” first. This is the search filter found top-center of the page with the search field.

Step 3.

After you’ve searched (no matter how vague) and you’re on a studio, film, or actor’s page, it’s all about narrowing it down. If it’s an actor’s name that you have, you’ll want to look at their filmography. You can first narrow it down by looking at just the Actor section of their credit’s page. Even if you don’t know the exact year it came out, you should at least know a range, for example between: 1970 – 1980.

The films are in order from newest to oldest. I’d start on the oldest film in your range and work your way up. Just seeing the title might not be enough to spark your memory. Think about what the movie is about and try and relate the titles to that. Most titles will make sense in relation to what the film is about. When you click on a movie title to investigate further, look at the poster or movie cover image, look at the character and actor names, and read the synopsis. If it’s the right movie it should eventually click:

Yeah! This is the movie.

Reverse Method

If you know the title of a movie that has an actor in it who is also in the film you’re looking for, but you don’t know their name, only recognize them, find that title on IMDb. Then, go through the cast of actors on that film and try and find that actor. Most actor pages are supported with celebrity pictures so you can verify it’s who you think it is before you start searching their filmography for the movie.


  • If you’re looking for something other than a film or actor, just try relating the techniques to your search.
  • Don’t give up. 9 out of 10 times, I find what I’m looking for if I keep at it. As a last resort, you could always ask a film expert by describing whatever it is as best as you can at one of the following places:

Utilize Google Search. If all you’re left with is pieces of the plot, we can utilize Google to search the IMDb database in a much more powerful way than IMDb’s native search (this is true for most websites actually). Simply copy the following URL to your URL bar or follow it and add your own plot keywords:

You can also search just the plot records of IMDb’s database:
(apparently only one keyword searches)

Try to be vague and yet specific at the same time so to get a somewhat substantial amount of results to browse, but so you also try and filter out the obvious conflicting results that might pop up.

Also, a heads up: for some reason some people are getting the idea that my blog itself contains info on movies, which it does not. I keep seeing searches for plot keywords and actor’s names and whatnot done through my blog’s search form. Outside of this article, my blog does not contain any movie info. It is not a media database. You want to head over to IMDb or use one of the other options I’ve presented here. Thank you.

  • Normabates666/MW

    No, I mean THIS film might be HOSTAGE w/Bruce Willis.

  • Normabates666/MW

    That’s BLACK comedies, & Paul BaRtel. I’ll never blog before Noon again!

  • Normabates666/MW

    That’s 99 Percent, & John Dahl is one of my fave directors. He makes films with his bro Rick (RED ROCK WEST being my personal fave), joining the ranks of famous filmmaking bros such as the Cohens & the Pate bros (whose film DECEIVER I adore). If you like UNFORGETTABLE, you’ll probably like the other 2 I just mentioned.

  • mike

    try this one,
    story about a boy who has a crush on a girl. Alli can remember is that he always carried his hockey stick with him. Movie was made in the mid 80’s I think

  • Lindsaylindius

    its a movie where a lady finds out that this cop kidnaps a little girl every since she was little and the lady finds and save her but the lady realized the little girl cant talk but she took her to a mental place where the little girl finally says the lady name.

  • The_swimmer007

    Thats not it! I’ve been looking for this movie for such a long long long time. You said 99 percent! Well unless thats 99 percent of not being what im looking for then your right! It could have been a lifetime movie, if you could do this for me i will poop myself and video tape it, post it on youtube and tag you in it!!!!!!

  • Sarah

    Hi Bryan, i really need help trying to remember the name of this movie. I saw it as a kid, and can not remember the title of it for the life of me. This is a vampire movie whos main character is a female. this girl became a vampire when she got caught in the cross fire of a stand off between a man and the “head” vampire. due to this happening, the head vampier whent ahead and turned her to try and save her life. as she grew up, she started grading the tast of the blood (A,B,C,D,F). as she goes along looking for that one person who has the A+ tasting blood she is trying to kill the head vampire for turning her. as she finds out in the end, the only person with the A+ blood is the head vampier. also, i think this movie came out between 1989-1998 and i believe the name on her coffin was Silver.
    Please if you have any ideas on what the name of this movie could be i would love to finally be able to see this movie from my childhood agin.
    THANK YOU SOO MUCH and i hope to hear from you soon! :-)

  • Katie

    Hi Bryan, ive been looking for a film for ages but i saw a couple of years ago and i dont remember much about it. All i can remember is it was a cartoon/animation and at the beginning a little girl and her father are out on a ride the little girl on a pony and the father on a bigger horse. Then when they get back the father has to go away for some reason. Thats all i can remember if you have any ideas as of what the film cold be called i would love to see this film again. Hope to hear from you :)

  • AmandaMillard

    i once so this movie, about a girl in high school. she was one of the bookworms. not what you will call popular. at her school, der is this guy, who is very popular with the ladies, and has 3 different girlfriends, hwo each has a different click. So he knows that there will never be a chance that the 3 girls will find out that he’s fooling them. But somehow they all end up at detention, whit the bookworm, and the 3 ‘girlfriends’ start bitching about who he belongs to.
    the bookworm talks them to there senses, and at last they alle 4 dedicate there free time to ruin this boys life.
    i don’t remember the endning, but i believe it’s his birthday party. and some cake gets thrown around.
    hope someone can help me.

    i remember the name of the movie, is the name of the guy, playing around with the girls.

  • Claudia

    Hi I think this movie/episode is from Goosebumps and the only think I remember is that a girl is with a man she doesn’t love and he works in the woods,he hires a men and the girl become in love with him ,later she got blind (I think the husband hit her) then a group of mans put the husband inside a fake tree with his mouth taped and they give to the girl a saw and cut the tree with the husband inside in two,any help

  • Broncos0402

    i saw this movie when i was young it was about a blond young lady who got hooked on drugs…the movie was late 70’s or early 80’s i believe she ended up dying at the end if i remember her friends tried helping her with no success

  • help me please!

    hey im looking for a movie about a woman who is i guess stalked and the lady thats stalking her burrows under the womans house and the woman can hear the digging! im pretty sure she was stalking her but then again she could have just been living under the ladies house. please help!! ive been trying to find it all day!

  • UPDATE: You can now ask and answer all your “Name That Movie” questions over at This article became so wildly popular that it was well needed. Enjoy.

  • Mmht001

    I watched a movie many years ago and can’t remember its name to watch it again, so, please, Help me to find it. The story was about a rich family that has a great business. The older son is responsible for their business while his younger brother is just well known by his relations with women and girls. Once, their Chauffeur’s daughter comes back from France where she studies photography. The older brother tries to make his brother away from her but he falls in her love himself. He follows her to France to marry her.

  • Please ask your “Name That Movie” questions here:

    Thanks, Bryan