How to Find the Title of an Old Movie

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You have just finished watching a movie you really liked, but once it ended, you had no idea what the film was called. You may want to add the movie to your film collection, or maybe you just want to be able to see it again, so you begin to search for it. This search becomes complicated if the film was made years ago, and no one you know has any idea about the movie. You can find the movie’s title by using your memory and some simple investigative techniques.

  • Identify any celebrities in the film. If you can pick out a movie star, you can then look up all of the movies they starred in at IMDb.com. From there, you can go through any applicable films of theirs to see which one fits your memory.

  • Try to narrow down the time period in which the film was produced. The first feature-length movie that included dialogue (“The Jazz Singer”) was produced in 1927, while the first movie featuring color footage (“On with the Show”) was made in 1929. So if the film you are searching for was made with no dialogue and no color footage, you can limit your search to movies produced before the late 1920s.

  • Distinguish any characteristics about the film that might set it apart from other films of the era. Try to remember what the characters looked like (including what they wore) or sounded like, as well as what their major motivations were throughout the movie. Also, pick out any particular scenes that stand out as being representative of the film.

  • Use search engines such as Google to identify the movie. Be as specific as possible in your searches; for instance, if you know the film must have been made in the 1920s and has a particular line in it, type the line of dialogue, as well as “film” and “1920s.” Keep trying different bits of information.

  • Talk to people who can help you find the film title. If you do not know anyone who can help you identify the film, consult film scholars and movie buffs at any movie website’s forums or message boards. One such website dedicated to older movies is ClassicMovies.org, which has its own Classic Movies forum.

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  • Photo Credit Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images
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