PHP IMDB Scraper

By  on  

It's been quite a while since I've written a PHP grabber and the itch finally got to me. This time the victim is the International Movie Database, otherwise known as IMDB. IMDB has info on every movie ever made (or so it seems). Their HTML source code is easy to parse so this one was a piece of cake.


$url = '';

//get the page content
$imdb_content = get_data($url);

//parse for product name
$name = get_match('/<title>(.*)<\/title>/isU',$imdb_content);
$director = strip_tags(get_match('/<h5[^>]*>Director:<\/h5>(.*)<\/div>/isU',$imdb_content));
$plot = get_match('/<h5[^>]*>Plot:<\/h5>(.*)<\/div>/isU',$imdb_content);
$release_date = get_match('/<h5[^>]*>Release Date:<\/h5>(.*)<\/div>/isU',$imdb_content);
$mpaa = get_match('/<a href="\/mpaa">MPAA<\/a>:<\/h5>(.*)<\/div>/isU',$imdb_content);
$run_time = get_match('/Runtime:<\/h5>(.*)<\/div>/isU',$imdb_content);

//build content
$content.= '<h2>Film</h2><p>'.$name.'</p>';
$content.= '<h2>Director</h2><p>'.$director.'</p>';
$content.= '<h2>Plot</h2><p>'.substr($plot,0,strpos($plot,'<a')).'</p>';
$content.= '<h2>Release Date</h2><p>'.substr($release_date,0,strpos($release_date,'<a')).'</p>';
$content.= '<h2>MPAA</h2><p>'.$mpaa.'</p>';
$content.= '<h2>Run Time</h2><p>'.$run_time.'</p>';
$content.= '<h2>Full Details</h2><p><a href="'.$url.'" rel="nofollow">'.$url.'</a></p>';

echo $content;

//gets the match content
function get_match($regex,$content)
	return $matches[1];

//gets the data from a URL
function get_data($url)
	$ch = curl_init();
	$timeout = 5;
	$data = curl_exec($ch);
	return $data;

As with my other grabbers, the trick is always in the regular expressions. Note that the most important part of the URL is the string after "/title/". That string uniquely identifies the movie.

Recent Features

  • By
    CSS vs. JS Animation: Which is Faster?

    How is it possible that JavaScript-based animation has secretly always been as fast — or faster — than CSS transitions? And, how is it possible that Adobe and Google consistently release media-rich mobile sites that rival the performance of native apps? This article serves as a point-by-point...

  • By
    Regular Expressions for the Rest of Us

    Sooner or later you'll run across a regular expression. With their cryptic syntax, confusing documentation and massive learning curve, most developers settle for copying and pasting them from StackOverflow and hoping they work. But what if you could decode regular expressions and harness their power? In...

Incredible Demos

  • By
    CSS Vertical Centering

    Front-end developing is beautiful, and it's getting prettier by the day. Nowadays we got so many concepts, methodologies, good practices and whatnot to make our work stand out from the rest. Javascript (along with its countless third party libraries) and CSS have grown so big, helping...

  • By
    Flexbox Equal Height Columns

    Flexbox was supposed to be the pot of gold at the long, long rainbow of insufficient CSS layout techniques.  And the only disappointment I've experienced with flexbox is that browser vendors took so long to implement it.  I can't also claim to have pushed flexbox's limits, but...