This is a rewrite/improvement of my popular script/post Your own movie database in 5 minutes with IMDb API and Perl that got (and still gets) quite some visits every day. I rewrote the code in Python, took out the DB dependency (goal was a static site anyways) and documented the steps.

Disclaimer: this is quick and dirty. If you want to build a a real movie site, use something more powerful like themoviedb, I used that A. to build and B. create a weekly movie email script. So keep that in mind when reading this and if you decide to use it.


You don’t have to create any text files unless you want to use your own set of movies, all files are in this github repo.

  • copy and paste top 250 movies from imdb and put in file called inimdb-top-rated.txt file (or use your own but use the same syntax: movie,year)

      $ head  imdb-top-rated.txt
      1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)  9.2
      2. The Godfather (1972)   9.2
      3. The Godfather: Part II (1974)  9.0
      4. The Dark Knight (2008)   8.9
      5. Pulp Fiction (1994)  8.9
  • normalize the data to title,year:

      $ grep -v "^ *$" imdb-top-rated.txt |perl -pe 's/ *\d+\.\s+(.*)\s+.*\((\d+)\).*/\1,\2/g' > movielist.txt
      $ wc -l movielist.txt
      250 movielist.txt
      $ head movielist.txt
      The Shawshank Redemption,1994
      The Godfather,1972
      The Godfather: Part II,1974
      The Dark Knight,2008
      Pulp Fiction,1994
      Schindler's List,1993
      12 Angry Men,1957
      The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,2003
      The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,1966
      Fight Club,1999
  • run the python script that queries omdb for movie info returning a nice html page. OK, 2% not found, I can live with that, look at the runtime :)

      $ time python movielist.txt
      ERR2: cannot find movie: Old Boy (year: 2003)
      ERR2: cannot find movie: Érase una vez en América (year: 1984)
      ERR2: cannot find movie: M (year: 1931)
      ERR2: cannot find movie: Nader y Simin, una separación (year: 2011)
      ERR2: cannot find movie: Relatos salvajes (year: 2014)
      Done, 245 processed, created static html movie page: topmovies.html
      real 0m13.348s
      user 0m0.755s
      sys 0m0.420s
  • see example output by opening topmovies.html output file in the browser (edit CSS in this file to your liking). One issue I found though was that the IMDB poster URLs get 403 (forbidden) when hosting this output html on a domain (on localhost it works). So you need to use another API (themoviedb, facebook) for this, see here.

  • to quickly test this you can run this (assuming Mac)

      $ mkdir movie_test && cd $_
      $ wget
      --2016-02-23 18:39:50--
      Connecting to||:443... connected.
      HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
      Length: 1004 [text/plain]
      Saving to: ‘’
      100%[=========================================================>] 1,004       --.-K/s   in 0s
      2016-02-23 18:39:52 (479 MB/s) - ‘’ saved [1004/1004]
      $ chmod 755
      $ ./
      Test script for { Your movie site in just one minute }
      See for more info
      1. creating textfile my_movies_1456249202.txt with 10 movies in it
      2. importing required html template
      --2016-02-23 18:40:02--
      Connecting to||:443... connected.
      HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
      Length: 1362 (1.3K) [text/plain]
      Saving to: ‘template.html’
      100%[=========================================================>] 1,362       --.-K/s   in 0s
      2016-02-23 18:40:02 (433 MB/s) - ‘template.html’ saved [1362/1362]
      3. run the movie site creation script (via github)
      Done, 9 processed, created static html movie page: mymovies.html in 1 seconds
      4. open the generated html site in default browser (mac, other OS, click on generateed mymovies.html)
      < Thanks bbelderb for testing >
              \   ^__^
              \  (oo)\_______
                  (__)\       )\/\
                      ||----w |
                      ||     ||

Resulting page

Resulting movie html page

I hope you like it and feel free to leave any comment of feedback in the comments below.

Bob Belderbos

Software Developer, Pythonista, Data Geek, Student of Life. About me