When parsing data of a movie, you’ll encounter references to the people who worked on it, like its cast, director and crew members.

For people in the cast (actors and actresses), the currentRole attribute is set to the name of the character they played:

>>> movie = ia.get_movie('0075860')
>>> movie
<Movie id:0075860[http] title:_Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)_>
>>> actor = movie['cast'][6]
>>> actor
<Person id:0447230[http] name:_Kemmerling, Warren J._>
>>> actor['name']
'Warren J. Kemmerling'
>>> actor.currentRole
'Wild Bill'

Miscellaneous data, such as an AKA name for the actor or an “uncredited” notice, is stored in the notes attribute:

>>> actor.notes
'(as Warren Kemmerling)'

For crew members other than the cast, the notes attribute contains the description of the person’s job:

>>> crew_member = movie['art department'][0]
>>> crew_member
<Person id:0330589[http] name:_Gordon, Sam_>
>>> crew_member.notes
'property master'

The in operator can be used to check whether a person worked in a given movie or not:

>>> movie
<Movie id:0075860[http] title:_Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)_>
>>> actor
<Person id:0447230[http] name:_Kemmerling, Warren J._>
>>> actor in movie
>>> crew_member
<Person id:0330589[http] name:_Gordon, Sam_>
>>> crew_member in movie
>>> person
<Person id:0000210[http] name:_Roberts, Julia (I)_>
>>> person in movie

Obviously these Person objects contain only information directly available upon parsing the movie pages, e.g.: the name, an imdbID, the role. So if now you write:


to get a list of movies acted by Mel Gibson, you’ll get a KeyError exception, because the Person object doesn’t contain this kind of information.

The same is true when parsing person data: you’ll find a list of movie the person worked on and, for every movie, the currentRole instance variable is set to a string describing the role of the considered person:

julia = i.get_person('0000210')
for job in julia['filmography'].keys():
    print('# Job: ', job)
    for movie in julia['filmography'][job]:
        print('\t%s %s (role: %s)' % (movie.movieID, movie['title'], movie.currentRole))

Here the various Movie objects only contain minimal information, like the title and the year; the latest movie with Julia Roberts:

last = julia['filmography']['actress'][0]
# Retrieve full information
# name of the first director


Since the end of 2017, IMDb has removed the Character kind of information. This document is still valid, but only for the obsolete “sql” data access system.

Since version 3.3, IMDbPY supports the character pages of the IMDb database; this required some substantial changes to how actors’ and acresses’ roles were handled. Starting with release 3.4, “sql” data access system is supported, too - but it works a bit differently from “http”. See “SQL” below.

The currentRole instance attribute can be found in every instance of Person, Movie and Character classes, even if actually the Character never uses it.

The currentRole of a Person object is set to a Character instance, inside a list of person who acted in a given movie. The currentRole of a Movie object is set to a Character instance, inside a list of movies played be given person. The currentRole of a Movie object is set to a Person instance, inside a list of movies in which a given character was portrayed.


movie['cast'][0].currentRole -> a Character object.
              +-> a Person object.

person['actor'][0].currentRole -> a Character object.
                +-> a Movie object.

character['filmography'][0].currentRole -> a Person object.
                         +-> a Movie object.

The roleID attribute can be used to access/set the characterID or personID instance attribute of the current currentRole. When building Movie or Person objects, you can pass the currentRole parameter and the roleID parameter (to set the ID). The currentRole parameter can be an object (Character or Person), a string (in which case a Character or Person object is automatically instantiated) or a list of objects or strings (to handle multiple characters played by the same actor/actress in a movie, or character played by more then a single actor/actress in the same movie).

Anyway, currentRole objects (Character or Person instances) can be pretty-printed easily: calling unicode(CharacterOrPersonObject) will return a good-old-string.


Fetching data from the web, only characters with an active page on the web site will have their characterID; we don’t have these information when accessing through “sql”, so every character will have an associated characterID. This way, every character with the same name will share the same characterID, even if - in fact - they may not be portraying the same character.


To help getting the required information from Movie, Person and Character objects, in the “helpers” module there’s a new factory function, makeObject2Txt, which can be used to create your pretty-printing function. It takes some optional parameters: movieTxt, personTxt, characterTxt and companyTxt; in these strings %(value)s items are replaced with object[‘value’] or with obj.value (if the first is not present).


import imdb
myPrint = imdb.helpers.makeObject2Txt(personTxt=u'%(name)s ... %(currentRole)s')
i = imdb.IMDb()
m = i.get_movie('0057012')
ps = m['cast'][0]
# The output will be something like:
# Peter Sellers ... Group Captain Lionel Mandrake / President Merkin Muffley / Dr. Strangelove

Portions of the formatting string can be stripped conditionally: if the specified condition is false, they will be cancelled.


myPrint = imdb.helpers.makeObject2Txt(personTxt='<if personID><a href=/person/%(personID)s></if personID>%(long imdb name)s<if personID></a></if personID><if currentRole> ... %(currentRole)s<if notes> %(notes)s</if notes></if currentRole>'

Another useful argument is ‘applyToValues’: if set to a function, it will be applied to every value before the substitution; it can be useful to format strings for HTML output.