IMDB Scrapers 2021: How to Scrape IMDB Movie Data with Python

Are you looking for the best web scrapers to use for extracting data from the IMDB website or you are looking for a guide on how to create your own for such? We have both covered as we would be recommending IMDB scrapers and also providing a guide on how to create custom scrapers.

IMDB Scrapers

If you’re looking for the best place to get data on movies and TV shows, then the IMDB website is the place to go. Started as a hobby project but has now grown to be the world’s largest database of movie and TV shows. Currently, the website has over 250 million items listed on it database.

It is not just about the movies they list and the description they provide, but what gives it a good appeal is the other user-generated content such as ratings and reviews, and even side comments, that makes it the perfect source of information about movies. As a researcher looking to collect movie-related data to analyze, the IMDB website is one of the best sites to get data from.

Unfortunately, the IMDB website does not provide an API for collecting data from its platform free of charge. If you must do so, you will have to find your way around it. And as you already know, manual data collection on the web at any reasonable scale is not only time-consuming and error-prone but can be impossible.

For this reason, you will need to make use of web scrapers to get the job done and our focus in this article is on recommending some of the best you can use for scraping movie data from the IMDB website. We would also be showing you how to develop a custom IMDB scraper if you have coding skills.


IMDB Scraping – an Overview

The term IMDB scraping is the process of using computer bots known as web scrapers to extract publicly available data from the IMDB website. It is the available alternative since IMDB does not provide an API for those interested in its content. How IMDB scrapers work is simple. It sends a web request to download the page that has the data you want just as regular web browsers do. However, instead of rendering it as browsers do, it combs through the content of the page, looking for the data you want to scrape in other to parse it after which it then stores it in a file or database.

The description of how it works above is just a model. IMDB scrapers or even regular scrapers can be more complicated than the simple process described. It is important you know here that IMDB would not allow you to scrape its content without a fight. Yes, IMDB does not allow the scraping of its content. It does have an anti-spam system that analyzes individual requests and correlate them with certain indexes to detect whether the request is an act of web scraping in other to block it. Only when it is not detected would your web scraper be allowed to scrape.

Fortunately for us, there are simple techniques you can use to bypass the IMDB’s anti-spam which have been integrated into the already-made scrapers we would be recommending. We would also show you how to bypass the anti-scraping system if you’re developing a custom scraper yourself.


How to Scrape IMDB Data Using Python, Requests, and Beautifulsoup

Scrape IMDB Data Using Python

This section has been written for coders that want to develop their own custom IMDB scraper. If you do not have a coding skill, or you do not want to deal with the blocks because of your limited experience in botting, then you can move to the next section where we recommend already-made scrapers for you. In this section, we would be describing how to develop custom IMDB scrapers. Custom scrapers are more flexible and integrate better with custom scripts and software than the general web scrapers out there which is the advantage you get from developing your own tool.

However, you will have more to deal with. As stated earlier, IMDB does not allow the scraping of its content and as such, you will need to bypass all the measures it put in place to discourage that in other to succeed at scraping its content. The most important anti-scraping measures for the IMDB website to prevent scraping is IP tracking and blocking. For you to evade this, you will need to make use of proxies. When it comes to scraping IMDB, you will need residential rotating proxies that would use real IPs and rotate them frequently. Bright Data, Smartproxy, and Shifter are some of the best rotating residential proxy providers in the market.

YouTube video

Aside from using proxies, you will need to set and rotate headers, set random delays between requests, and even have referral headers so that the anti-spam system won’t be suspicious. In terms of coding, you can use Requests and Beautifulsoup as a Python developer. This is because the website works without JavaScript enabled. Requests is the de facto but third-party library for sending HTTP requests while Beautifulsoup is for parsing out data from downloaded HTML pages.

  • Sample Code for Scraping Movie Data from IMDB Website

Below is a sample code using Python, the Requests, and Beautifulsoup libraries to scrape details of movies. The class accepts the URL of a movie on IMDB and returns the name, description, rating, and Metascore. The script is quite simple and does not put into consideration a lot of things. Exceptions are not handled, proxies aren’t used, and no anti-scraping bypassing technique is integrated. It’s just to show you how it is done. If you run it for long, you will get blocked by IMDB.

# import both Requests and Beautifulsoup

import requests

from bs4 import BeautifulSoup


class IMDBScraper:


   def __init__(self, url):

       self.url = url

       self.download_page()



   def download_page(self):

       # method for downloading the hotel page

       self.page = requests.get(self.url).text



   def scrape_data(self):

       #method for scraping out movie title and description

       soup = BeautifulSoup(self.page, "html.parser")

       movie_title = soup.find("h1", {"data-testid": "hero-title-block__title"}).text

       movie_description = soup.find("span", {"data-testid": "plot-xl"}).text

       return {"title": movie_title,

               "description": movie_description,

               }



urls = ["https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2382320/?ref_=hm_fanfav_tt_i_3_pd_fp1",]

for url in urls:

   x = IMDBScraper(url)

   print(x.scrape_data())

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Best IMDB Scrapers in the Market

Trying to create a new IMDB scraper can be tasking for developers and for non-coders, that cannot be done. Fortunately for us, there are already-made web scrapers that have been developed that are in the market that you can use for scraping IMDB without writing a single line of code. We would be discussing some of these web scrapers below. 4 out of the 5 web scrapers can be used by non-coders.


Apify IMDB Scraper

Apify Logo

  • Pricing: Starts at $49 per month for 100 Actor compute units
  • Free Trials: Starter plan comes with 10 Actor compute units
  • Data Output Format: JSON
  • Supported OS: cloud-based – accessed via API

Apify IMDB ScraperThe Apify IMDB Scraper is built on top of the Apify platform which is a platform for web scraping and other forms of automation. The Apify platform is a NodeJS platform and as such, only NodeJS developers can make use of it. For the target users, the Apify IMDB scraper is one of the best IMDB scrapers they can use if they want to avoid developing a custom scraper from scrape.

All they need is to add the Apify module and they are good to go. With this tool, you can extract and download data on movies, TV shows, video games, and other listings from IMDb. This tool requires you to add proxies and I would suggest you use residential proxies either from Apify, Bright Data, or Smartproxy.


ParseHub

Parsehub Logo

  • Pricing: Free with a paid plan
  • Free Trials: Free – advance features come at an extra cost
  • Data Output Format: Excel, JSON,
  • Supported Platform: Cloud, Desktop

Parsehub Overview

The ParseHub is arguably one of the best web scrapers that you can use as an IMDB scraper. ParseHub is not a specialized IMDB scraper but a general web scraper tool that you can use to scrape the website. The tool has been designed to extract data from all kinds of the website including the modern websites that depends heavily on Javascript. One thing you will come to like about ParseHub support for scraping IMDB movie data is that it even provides a tutorial on how to get that done – you can read the ParseHub guide on how to scrape IMDB here. ParseHub is available as a free tool that you can use if you do not have a budget. However, the true power of ParseHub is unleashed with their paid plan.


ScrapeStorm

Scrapestorm Logo

  • Pricing: Starts at $49.99 per month
  • Free Trials: Starter plan is free – comes with limitations
  • Data Output Format: TXT, CSV, Excel, JSON, MySQL, Google Sheets, etc.
  • Supported Platforms: Desktop, Cloud

Scrapestorm Overview

The ScrapeStorm is another IMDB scraper you can use. Over time, it has proven to be one of the best web scrapers for those without coding skills. Just like ParseHub, it does not require you to write a single line of code. All operation is visual and the steps required to scrape IMDB is quite easy that even a newbie won’t find it difficult. This tool is the product of an ex-Google crawler team so you can be assured they known what they are doing. ScrapeStorm comes with advanced features that are unrivaled by many other web scraping tools. It is powered by an AI which detects data of interest automatically without human interference. For scraping IMDB, you will need to specify the data of interest. This scraper is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux.


WebHarvy

Webharvy Logo

  • Pricing: Starts at $139 for a single user license
  • Free Trials: Not available
  • Data Output Format: TXT, CSV, Excel, JSON, XML. TSV, etc.
  • Supported Platforms: Desktop

WebHarvy scraper

The WebHarvy scraper is one of the best IMDB scrapers out there. Just like the other ones described above, it is a generic web scraper that has support for scraping IMDB.it is intuitive, quite simple to use but powerful when you take a look at the feature it comes with. Using this web scraper, you can scrape across multiple pages, categories, and even by using keywords.

It also has support for automatic pattern detection, which eases your tasks if you want to scrape from similar pages. If you need to apply Regular Expression, then WebHarvy is equal to the task.  It also has support for image scraping, allow you to save the scraped data in many file and database formats.


WebScraper.io Extension

webscraper io

  • Pricing: Freemium
  • Free Trials: Freemium
  • Data Output Format: CSV, XLSX, and JSON
  • Supported Platform: Browser extension (Chrome and Firefox)

webscraper overview

WebScraper.io wants to make web scraping accessible to everyone and for that reason, they provide a Chrome extension that you can use for scraping IMDB for free. Their cloud-based scraper is the paid option with more advanced features. However, if all you need is to scrape IMDB, then the extension would do. Currently, the extension already has over 400k people using it.

It provides users a point-and-click interface for defining the data you want to scrape and with the way it was developed, you can use it to scrape all kinds of sites, including modern dynamic websites that feel like native applications. You can save the scraped movie data in either Excel, CSV, or JSON.

Conclusion

As a way of concluding this article, you need to know that the key to succeeding in scraping IMDB is not just using the best web scraper. You can have the best web scraper and still fail. One thing you need to know is that you must learn how to use the chosen web scraper correctly for you to be successful.