The Internet TESL Journal

Finding Information on the International Movie Database Website

Shiao-Chuan Kung
sckung [at]
Wenzao Ursuline College of Languages (Taiwan, Republic of China)


The Web's multimedia capabilities and interactive functions have made it an attractive medium for ESL students. Documents on the Web cover a huge range of topics, are mostly written in English and are constantly increasing in number. The Web is thus a rich database of authentic material. The International Movie Database is an example of a source of authentic material that would appeal to most teenage and adult students of ESL. It contains biographies of stars, plots of movies, famous quotations, cast information, records of awards received by films, and commentaries by viewers. This lesson requires that students practice on-line navigation and research skills and carefully decode information found at the site in order to complete the assignment.

Finding Information on the International Movie Database Website

Fill in the blanks with information found at http://

  1. In the movie "You've Got Mail," the female lead character is played by ________________ and the main male character by ________________.
  2. The movie "Braveheart" tells the story of a ________________ (nationality) hero named ________________. One of the taglines of this movie is "Every man ________________, not every man really ________________."
  3. "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" is the English title for a film directed by ________________. It is an action adventure movie about two warriors going after a stolen ________________. It was filmed in ________________ province, China.
  4. The character of Hamlet in the 1996 version of the film was played by the British actor ________________. However, the 1921 version of the movie was played by the ________________ (nationality) actress Asta Nielsen.
  5. In the movie "Mission Impossible II," mission commander Swanbeck says to the main character "Mr. ________________, this isn't mission difficult, it's mission impossible. ╬Difficult' should be ___________________________________." The agent's mission in this movie is to recover and destroy a genetically engineered disease called ________________.
  6. Much to many people's surprise, Gwyneth Paltrow is not English. She was actually born in ________________. She received an Oscar Award in 1998 for her work in the film ________________.
  7. The Italian film known as "Life is Beautiful" in English tells the story of a carefree and humorous Jewish ________________ (occupation) who marries a lovely schoolteacher called ________________. When the Nazis take over Italy, he tries vigorously to protect his son from the horrors around him by telling the child that the Holocaust is a game where the winner will win a ________________.


1. Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks
2. Scottish, William Wallace, dies, lives
3. Ang Lee, sword, Anhui
4. Kenneth Branagh, Danish
5. Hunt, a walk in the park for you, chimera
6. Los Angeles, "Shakespeare in Love"
7. book keeper, Dora, tank


The lesson can be followed up by asking the students to write a paragraph similar to the items in the assignment. The paragraph should contain blanks that can be filled in with information found at the site. Have the students submit their writing together with the correct answers.

The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. VII, No. 8, August 2001