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Updated 9-December-2021

This guide contains all the information required to be able to add and correct names on the site. By 'names', we mean the names of actors, actresses, crew members, and basically any person eligible to be included on IMDb.

Guides (By Section)

General Rules | Primary Name | Capitalization
Name Particles | Roman Numerals | Suffixes and Prefixes
Group Names | Alternate Names
Name Corrections | Merging a Name| Splitting a Name | Removing a Name
Eastern name formatting (new)Japanese + Korean Names | Accented Characters 
Special Characters | Transliteration: Russian Names

General Rules

There are no strict rules when it comes to proper names and the correct way of writing a name depends on the individual, and may differ between people for the same name in the same country.

Names are stored in the database in the following form: Last Name, First Name(s).

For example:

  • Tom Cruise is stored as Cruise, Tom

  • James Earl Jones  is stored as Jones, James Earl

This is what you'll see when submitting names via the contribution experience, for example a cast submission:

Example of naming convention

But don't worry
, when displaying filmographies, the names are converted to the more common/clearer "First name Last Name" format (i.e. Cruise, Tom is shown as Tom Cruise).

Tom Cruise credit


There are some exceptions:

  • Stage names that don't resemble normal names, i.e. Little Richard, Meat Loaf, 50 Cent, Cedric the Entertainer, Boyz II Men, and Herbert the Rooster are not reversed.

  • Additionally, when a title is an intrinsic part of the name: Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth II. If you require a new name formatted this way, you should contact our data editors via the Contact Us form and follow these prompts: IMDb Fan/Contributor questions > Names and biographical Data > Change name.

Primary name

General Rule: The primary name for a person in IMDb is the one by which they are most often credited.

  • John Wayne was once credited as Duke Morrison, and even though that's closer to his birth name of Marion Michael Morrison, his primary name in the database is John Wayne.

  • We make an exception to the rule if we have reason to believe someone will be using a different name for all future credits. For example, if they changed their name because of marriage or have registered a new professional name with the relevant guild.

  • Such changes are made only for people with active careers. In the past, we required at least one onscreen credit with the new name; while that is still preferable, it is no longer a strict requirement.


Capitalization of name particles (i.e. van, von, di, de, la, etc.) may vary depending on the context in which the name is used. The most common usage is not to capitalize the particle when the full name is being used. However, the particle is capitalized if the last name is being used by itself. For example:

Cornelia ten Boom (first name being used)
    Mr. Van Damme (first name not being used)

Name Particles

Whenever we have reliable information on how a specific name should be written, we try to use it. When that information is not available, we use the following rules:

  • All name particles (e, du, d', den, der, des, la, le, l', ten, ter, van, von, etc.) belong to the 'last name' part of a name, regardless of nationality. Examples:
  • von Gritz, Hans     (not: Gritz, Hans von)
        De Niro, Dino       (not: Niro, Dino De)
        De Los Gatos, Oscar (not: Los Gatos, Oscar De)
  • The first letter of every separate word in a name is always capitalized, unless it is a particle beginning with "v":
  • von Gritz, Hans     (not: Von Gritz, Hans)
        De Niro, Dino       (not: de Niro, Dino)
        De Los Gatos, Oscar (not: de los Gatos, Oscar)

These are generic rules, to be enforced only when we lack 100% reliable information on a how a name appears in film credits. If we determine that Herr Otto Von Grunt always or mostly has his 'Von' uppercase in credits we use the latter version and lock it to prevent further changes.

Roman Numerals

If two people have the same name, we use a Roman numeral in parentheses to separate the credits for the two people. Examples:

  • The two directors named George Miller are Miller, George (I) and Miller, George (II) for our purposes.

  • The (I) and (II) are not considered part of their name; the name is not George Miller II. By comparison, stuntman Danny Aiello III uses "III" as part of his name; we store his name as Aiello III, Danny . Again, this is not the same as Aiello, Danny (III) .

Suffixes and Prefixes

Where a name includes a suffix (III, Jr.), we do not use a comma to separate it from the name, regardless of how it appears on screen. It is treated as an integral part of the surname, i.e. Downey Jr., Robert. The same applies to the corresponding suffixes in foreign languages, like père, fils, hijo, etc.

  • Courtesy titles like Mr., Dr., Sir, and degree indications like Ph.D., are not considered part of the name, and are not included in the primary name, even if that is how the name appears on screen. They are included as alternate names. (Exception: In the silent era, it was not unusual for women to be credited as, i.e., Mrs. John Smith -- in such cases, Mrs. is an integral part of the name, since John Smith is an entirely different person.).

  • Suffixes indicating professional affiliation, like ASC, CSA, MPSE, etc., are never included; such guild memberships can be noted in biographical trivia

Group Names

When a group with identifiable members appears on screen, we credit according to the way they are credited in the production.

  • If The Beatles are credited that way, we would not enter "Lennon, John (as The Beatles); McCartney, Paul (as The Beatles); Harrison, George (as The Beatles); Starr, Ringo (as The Beatles)" Instead, they would simply be credited as "Beatles, The".

  • In the above cases, individual members of the group can be added to credits with the (uncredited) attribute.
    i.e. Help! (1965): Paul McCartney ... Paul - The Beatles (uncredited), or if appropriate (documentaries, talk shows etc.) Paul McCartney ... Himself - The Beatles (uncredited).
    Please note we prefer the "Paul - The Beatles" hyphenated character notation, rather than "member of" or "one of".

  • If they are credited both as a group and individually (i.e.: "The Beatles: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr"), then both the group name and individual names would be listed as they are in the credits.

Alternate Names

The best way to record an alternate name is to use the (as ...) attribute on the credit(s) where that alternate name was used. We will automatically create the alternate name entries from this.

Name Corrections

Before correcting a name, please be sure the name actually needs to be corrected! In particular, see the naming conventions (above) to make sure the suggested correction meets them.

  • Please remember that we record the name as it appears on-screen; even if the name is not spelled the way its owner prefers, it could still be the name we want in the database.

  • If a name is spelled differently in one particular credit, then you should add the appropriate (as ...) attribute to it instead by correcting that particular credit.

  • All other names should then be corrected to that name, choosing the option to Preserve previous name on existing credits - thus retaining the spelling used in the original credits.

Merging a Name

Please only submit a name merge if you are sure that all data on both name pages belong to the same person. If data is mixed up you'll need to move each item separately (for help with this process we recommend you reach out to us through the contact form and choose the options IMDb Fan/Contributor questions > Names & biographical Data > Merge duplicate names followed by E-mail and our staff will do their best to help out. Please include any URL's you're looking to merge. 

If a name page looks empty and you think a dupe page was created incorrectly, merging is the preferred way to get rid of the empty name. IMPORTANT: A name page can only be considered 'empty' if it does not contain any bio, credits, performer profile, photos or Contact data - some of which you cannot see or access unless you are an IMDbPro member. If you don't have IMDbPro, check for a "More at IMDb Pro" section - if a name page has links to Contact Info or Clients etc., the page isn't empty and you shouldn't merge it.

If you're certain all data belongs to the same person or that the name page is completely empty, before submitting a name merge you'll need to determine which name is correct, or which is to be the "primary name" -- usually the name used most often, though if a person is expected to use a single name for all future credits, this would be the one to remain.

For more guidance on how to do this, please see our support article How can I combine two IMDb name pages?.

Splitting a Name

The best method of splitting credits when two people are both listed under a single page, depends on what categories are involved.

  • If the credits are cleanly divided by category (for example, X is an actor and Y is a production designer), the easiest way is to use the name split option.

  • If the credits are more messy (for example, two different actors with the same name have their credits intermingled), then you'll need to choose the "correct" option for the affected filmography categories. Once you have the affected credits, you should choose the "show name" check box. You will then need to add Roman numerals to the names as necessary.

Again, please note that the updates may happen in stages, which can mean that some credits may disappear for a day or two while the split is being processed.

Removing a Name

In certain instances it may be necessary to remove a name page entirely.

However, please remember:

  • If a page is a duplicate of another it should not be deleted, instead please submit a merge for the two pages (see section above on merging names)

  • If a page appears to be empty, it could have attached data that is not visible to you. Please do not attempt to merge or delete it.

A name should only be removed from the site if it is obviously incorrect i.e. the name of a film or company.

To report a bad name, reach out to us through the contact form and choose the options IMDb Fan/Contributor questions > Names & biogrpahical Data > Other name and bio data issue followed by E-mail and our staff will do their best to help out. Please include the URL of the name page that you think should be deleted.

Eastern Name formatting

When adding a new name or correcting an existing one, please enter it in the same format it’s supposed to be shown (e.g. “Chow Yun-Fat” instead of “Yun-Fat Chow”) and/or in the way preferred by the person to whom it refers (if known) and our submission system will change it so that it is properly stored and displayed.

Example of credit update for Chow Yun-Fat

This will appear in the correct format as expected when displayed on the website.

Example of Chow Yun-Fat credit

Japanese/Korean Names

For Japanese names and titles, we prefer "Revised Hepburn" romanization (Hepburn, but with syllabic "n" never converted to "m"). Circumflexes for long vowels are accepted since macrons are not available. For Korean names and titles, we prefer the transliteration outlined here.

  • Names that are already in use in English should be used as they are presented in English dictionaries and not transliterated. Thus, Park and Samsung instead of the precisely transliterated Bark and Samseong.

  • This rule should be applied mainly to composers, writers, companies and politicians who are well known. Other names should be presented according to the rules. In case these names are taken from Western materials with a different transliteration, these names should be presented as an alternate name: "(as Park)" or "(as Lee)".

Accented Characters

We store names according to how they appear in on-screen credits.

  • If someone's given name is José but has always been credited as Jose, we will use the latter form, regardless of what is on their birth certificate. This means that in many cases accents will be ignored, especially for people working in English-language films.

  • If an individual is credited on some films with an accented letter, we record that fact for each film for which we know it to be the case and the name with an accented letter will be noted as an AKA ('also known as'), in other words a pseudonym.

  • By default, we ignore accents in names unless we know for sure that they appear in on-screen credits. If you need to enter accented characters and are unable to type the necessary characters from your keyboard, there is an alternate way to enter them, as explained in a separate guide. There is also a special guide available explaining how to transliterate Russian names.

Special Characters

If you need to enter accented/extended characters into the additions interface and your keyboard does not allow you to type them directly, you may use the following HTML codes instead. For example to enter the title Léon (1994) you may use Léon (1994)

HTML codes supported by IMDb interfaces
&lt; < &gt; > &amp; & &quot; " &AElig; Æ
&Aacute; Á &Acirc; Â &Agrave; À &Aring; Å &Atilde; Ã
&Auml; Ä &Ccedil; Ç &ETH; Ð &Eacute; É &Ecirc; Ê
&Egrave; È &Euml; Ë &Iacute; Í &Icirc; Î &Igrave; Ì
&Iuml; Ï &Ntilde; Ñ &Oacute; Ó &Ocirc; Ô &Ograve; Ò
&Oslash; Ø &Otilde; Õ &Ouml; Ö &THORN; Þ &Uacute; Ú
&Ucirc; Û &Ugrave; Ù &Uuml; Ü &Yacute; Ý &aacute; á
&acirc; â &aelig; æ &agrave; à &aring; å &atilde; ã
&auml; ä &ccedil; ç &eacute; é &ecirc; ê &egrave; è
&eth; ð &euml; ë &iacute; í &icirc; î &igrave; ì
&iuml; ï &ntilde; ñ &oacute; ó &ocirc; ô &ograve; ò
&oslash; ø &otilde; õ &ouml; ö &szlig; ß &thorn; þ
&uacute; ú &ucirc; û &ugrave; ù &uuml; ü &yacute; ý
&yuml; ÿ &acute; ´ &brvbar; ¦ &cedil; ¸ &cent; ¢
&copy; © &curren; ¤ &deg; ° &divide; ÷ &frac12; ½
&frac14; ¼ &frac34; ¾ &iexcl; ¡ &iquest; ¿ &laquo; «
&macr; ¯ &micro; µ &middot; · &nbsp;   &not; ¬
&ordf; ª &ordm; º &para; &plusmn; ± &pound; £
&raquo; » &reg; ® &sect; § &shy; ­ &sup1; ¹
&sup2; ² &sup3; ³ &times; × &uml; ¨ &yen; ¥

Transliteration: Russian Names

The following rules are used for transliterating most of the Russian names and titles in the database. This system is the classic British BGN or PCGN system adopted in 1947, with minor changes required for ASCII compatibility.

Russian Transliteration
Capital Small Capital Small
А а (vowel) A a
Б б B b
В в V v
Г г G g
Д д D d
Е е (vowel) E e
Ё ё (vowel) Yo yo
Ж ж Zh zh
З з Z z
И и (vowel) I i
Й й Y y
К к K k
Л л L l
М м M m
Н н N n
О о (vowel) O o
П п P p
Р р R r
С с S s
Т т T t
У у (vowel) U u
Ф ф F f
Х х Kh kh
Ц ц Ts ts
Ч ч Ch ch
Ш ш Sh sh
Щ щ Shch shch
Ъ ъ (hard sign) (none) (none)
Ы ы (vowel) Y y
Ь ь (soft sign) (none) (none)
Э э (vowel) E e
Ю ю (vowel) Yu yu
Я я (vowel) Ya ya

Important Notes

  • The "soft sign" and the "hard sign" are used in modern Russian only as separators and therefore should not be transliterated.
  • Names that are already in use in English should be used as they are presented in English dictionaries and not transliterated. Thus, Tchaikovsky instead of the precisely transliterated Chaykovskiy.
  • This rule should be applied mainly to composers, writers, and politicians who are well known. Other names should be presented according to the rules. Thus, Ezhov and Shumyatskiy, not Yezhov and Shumiatsky. In case these names are taken from Western materials with a different transliteration, these names should be presented as an alternate name: "(as Yezhov)" or "(as Shumiatsky)".

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