March 24, 2009

Searching for the title of a movie in Chinese

If you want to rent movies in Taiwan, it is helpful to know the Chinese title of the movie you want. In this post, I will introduce two websites that can be used to search for the Chinese names of a movie. The first site is from Taiwan and only lists the titles used in Taiwan. The second site is a Chinese knockoff of imdb.com (which does not have a Chinese site) found at imdb.cn.

For titles used in Taiwan

Use the search page for atmovies.com.tw. (Just enter the English title.)

  • I noticed mistakes in some titles, so if you can't find a movie here, you might want to try the methods described below.
  • There are also pages where new movies are listed (in theaters and on DVD). Titles of Western movies are in both Chinese and English.

For titles used in China/Hong Kong/Taiwan

There are few ways to search for movies:

First method:

This method is described here.

Step 1: Find your movie on IMDB.com
I found Run Lola Run, an old favorite of mine: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0130827/

Step 2: Now, take that link that you just found, and replace the .com with .cn: http://www.imdb.cn/title/tt0130827/

Second method:

Search by movie title at imdb.cn.

Third method:

Search Google using the "site" operator:
Example: Using google.com to search for the movie The Prestige, I search for:
site:imdb.cn "the prestige"
Then click on the link that looks like a link to the movie.

  • Most movies have different titles in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Some of the entries do not specify which title belongs to which region. Some of the entries may be missing titles for some or all Chinese regions.
  • The info is all in simplified characters, and you cannot search at the site using traditional characters.
  • The site states that it "has no relation with imdb.com", but the web addresses are organized identically to imdb.com, which makes Method 1 possible. Some or most of the information is scraped from imdb.com. Another site that uses almost the same web addresses as imdb.com is mov6.com, so you can uses the trick described in method 1, but mov6.com only lists the title used in China, not Hong Kong or Taiwan.

If you know of a better bilingual movie database, please leave a comment. (Wikipedia is another option but is not as comprehensive as the sites in this post.)

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  • The best site for finding mainland titles is probably Douban.

    Searching for Dark Knight, for example, nets these results:

    By Blogger Yersi, at March 24, 2009 8:57 PM  

  • I just use Google. Search for the title of the movie in English plus the Chinese character 演 which occurs in both actor and director. Sometimes I add site:.tw to narrow it down and make sure that is the title used in Taiwan.

    By Blogger David, at March 24, 2009 10:15 PM  

  • Yersi, Douban shows the movie cover in the search results, so that is a definite advantage over the sites I mentioned. Also, there appear to be more alternate titles compared to imdb.cn, but the alternate titles are not identified by region. The English titles have some problems (I noticed Bruce Almighty is listed as Dear God), but I think I agree that Douban is a better site for getting the title used in the mainland. But imdb.cn still has some advantages. For example, you can see all of an actor's movies on one page (if they have their own page), while Douban only shows 15 results per page.

    David, that definitely works, and it might be the fastest way to look for a single title, but I would rather use a database. I want to be able to search by actor, I want to find all movies with the word "batman", and I'm lazy so I don't want to have to do much manual filtering.

    By Blogger Taiwanonymous, at March 25, 2009 9:51 PM  

  • I find Wikipedia quite reliable for this. More here:


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