created_at2018-04-13 01:57:41.607847
updated_at2023-12-16 17:13:47.781869
descriptionA command line utility for searching IMDb and renaming your media files.
Andrew Gallant (BurntSushi)




A command line tool to rename media files based on titles from IMDb. imdb-rename downloads the official IMDb data set and creates a local index to use for fast fuzzy searching.

Linux build status Windows build status

Dual-licensed under MIT or the UNLICENSE.


Archives of precompiled binaries for imdb-rename are available for Windows, macOS and Linux.

Otherwise, users are expected to compile imdb-rename from source:

$ git clone
$ cd imdb-rename
$ cargo build --release
$ ./target/release/imdb-rename --help

Alternatively, if you have Cargo installed, then you can install imdb-rename directly from

$ cargo install imdb-rename

imdb-rename's minimum supported Rust version is 1.28.0.


An aur package is available: imdb-rename.

Quick example

Ever since Season 1 of The Simpsons came out on DVD, I've been collecting them and ripping them on to my hard drive. My process is somewhat manual, but I wind up with a directory that looks like this:

S18E01.mkv  S18E05.mkv  S18E09.mkv  S18E13.mkv  S18E17.mkv  S18E21.mkv
S18E02.mkv  S18E06.mkv  S18E10.mkv  S18E14.mkv  S18E18.mkv  S18E22.mkv
S18E03.mkv  S18E07.mkv  S18E11.mkv  S18E15.mkv  S18E19.mkv
S18E04.mkv  S18E08.mkv  S18E12.mkv  S18E16.mkv  S18E20.mkv

It would be much nicer if these files had their proper episode titles. imdb-rename can rename these files automatically using episode titles from IMDb:

$ imdb-rename -q 'the simpsons {show}' *.mkv

This command ran a query with the -q flag to identify the TV show, provided the files to rename, and... presto!

S18E01 - The Mook, the Chef, the Wife and Her Homer.mkv
S18E02 - Jazzy & The Pussycats.mkv
S18E03 - Please Homer, Don't Hammer 'Em.mkv
S18E04 - Treehouse of Horror XVII.mkv
S18E05 - G.I. (Annoyed Grunt).mkv
S18E06 - Moe'N'a Lisa.mkv
S18E07 - Ice Cream of Margie: With the Light Blue Hair.mkv
S18E08 - The Haw-Hawed Couple.mkv
S18E09 - Kill Gil, Vol. 1 & 2.mkv
S18E10 - The Wife Aquatic.mkv
S18E11 - Revenge Is a Dish Best Served Three Times.mkv
S18E12 - Little Big Girl.mkv
S18E13 - Springfield Up.mkv
S18E14 - Yokel Chords.mkv
S18E15 - Rome-old and Juli-eh.mkv
S18E16 - Homerazzi.mkv
S18E17 - Marge Gamer.mkv
S18E18 - The Boys of Bummer.mkv
S18E19 - Crook and Ladder.mkv
S18E20 - Stop or My Dog Will Shoot.mkv
S18E21 - 24 Minutes.mkv
S18E22 - You Kent Always Say What You Want.mkv

Fancier example

imdb-rename isn't limited to just renaming TV episodes based on season/episode numbers. It can also perform a fuzzy match based on the contents of the file name. For example, given this file:


We can "clean it up" and rename it to a nice title like so:

$ imdb-rename Thor.Ragnarok.2017.1080p.WEB-DL.DD5.1.H264-FGT.mkv

which gives us:

Thor: Ragnarok (2017).mkv

Freeform searching

We can also use imdb-rename to search IMDb, which is the default behavior when a -q/--query is provided without any file names:

$ imdb-rename -q 'homey loves flanders'
#     score  id         kind       title                   year  tv
1     1.000  tt0773646  tvEpisode  Homer Loves Flanders    1994  S05E16 The Simpsons
2     0.646  tt2101691  tvEpisode  Tiny Loves Flowers      N/A   S02E08 Dinosaur Train
3     0.568  tt3203408  tvEpisode  Courtney Loves Love     2014  S01E05 Courtney Loves Dallas
4     0.561  tt1722576  short      In Flanders Fields      2010
5     0.561  tt2253780  tvSeries   In Vlaamse Velden       2014
6     0.555  tt4528474  video      My Lovely Homeland      2011
7     0.551  tt0220646  tvMovie    Moll Flanders           1975
[... results truncated ...]

Notice that our query had a typo in it. imdb-rename does its best to find the most relevant results. It is also fast. Even though the above query searches through all 6 million names in IMDb, it runs in under 100ms. This is thanks to using an inverted index memory mapped from disk.

How does it work?

imdb-rename works by downloading approved datasets from IMDb, and creating an inverted index based on ngrams extracted from the names in IMDb's data. The inverted index provides a quick way to search and rank results using techniques from information retrieval such as Okapi-BM25.


My motivation for building this tool is somewhat idiosyncratic, but three-fold:

  1. I find it very convenient to have a tool to rename media files automatically. imdb-rename is my third iteration on this tool. The first was an unpublished hodge podge of Python scripts and a MySQL database. The second was a Go program with a PostgreSQL database. The Go program served me well, but IMDb retired their old data format, which required me to build a new tool to adapt.
  2. I've been working on a low-level information retrieval library off-and-on for a couple years, and initially built this tool on top of that library as a form of dogfooding. It didn't work out as well as I'd hoped, so I scrapped the generic library and built out a specific solution tailored to IMDb. I'm no longer dogfooding directly, but I've established a useful baseline.
  3. I want more people to learn about information retrieval, and I believe this tool can serve to teach others. In particular, imdb-rename is a complete end-to-end information retrieval system that is fast, solves a real problem, is only a few thousand lines of code and comes with a built-in evaluation that is easy to run.

This tool is perhaps a bit over engineered, but I had fun with it. Believe it or not, parts of imdb-rename are intentionally simple at the cost of both query speed and size on disk!


It is possible to run an evaluation to compare the various parameters available for searching. The evaluation system is available as a separate tool called imdb-eval, which is included in this repository. To use it, we must first build it:

$ git clone
$ cd imdb-rename
$ cargo build --release --all
$ ./target/release/imdb-eval --help

Running an evaluation is simple. We can run an evaluation on all combinations of scorer and similarity function, along with ngram sizes of 3 and 4 like so: (This will use truth data that is built into the imdb-eval binary.)

$ ./target/release/imdb-eval --ngram-size 3 --ngram-size 4 | tee eval.csv

This will output the results of running a search on every item in the truth data. The results include the rank of the expected answer. The results can be summarized into a single score called the Mean Reciprocal Rank (which is itself a specific instance of MAP, or mean average precision) with the --summarize flag like so:

$ ./target/release/imdb-eval --summarize eval.csv

If you have xsv installed, then the results can be easily sorted and formatted:

$ ./target/release/imdb-eval --summarize eval.csv | xsv sort -R -s mrr | xsv table

If you want to tweak the truth data, then you might consider starting with the bundled truth data (assuming you're at the root of the imdb-rename repository):

$ $EDITOR data/eval/truth.toml
$ ./target/release/imdb-eval --ngram-size 3 --ngram-size 4 --truth data/eval/truth.toml

What does this tool not do?

imdb-rename is tool for renaming media files, and to the extent that searching IMDb facilitates renaming files, it is also a search tool. There is no intent to develop this further to explore all IMDb data, such as cast/crew information.

Folks interested in building a different type of IMDb tool may be interested in the imdb-index crate, which provides programmatic access to the index created by imdb-rename.

IMDb licensing

The data used by imdb-rename is retrieved from IMDb datasets. In particular, imdb-rename will never scrape, and only uses the data provided by IMDb in the tsv files.

Additionally, imdb-rename must only be used for non-commercial and personal uses.

Commit count: 55

cargo fmt