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.
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
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).
This is what you'll see when submitting names via the contribution experience, for example a cast submission:
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).
There are some exceptions:
General Rule: The primary name for a person in IMDb is the one by which they are most often credited.
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)
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:
von Gritz, Hans (not: Gritz, Hans von) De Niro, Dino (not: Niro, Dino De) De Los Gatos, Oscar (not: Los Gatos, Oscar De)
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.
If two people have the same name, we use a Roman numeral in parentheses to separate the credits for the two people. Examples:
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.
When a group with identifiable members appears on screen, we credit according to the way they are credited in the production.
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.
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 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?.
The best method of splitting credits when two people are both listed under a single page, depends on what categories are involved.
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.
In certain instances it may be necessary to remove a name page entirely.
However, please remember:
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.
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.
This will appear in the correct format as expected when displayed on the website.
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.
We store names according to how they appear in on-screen credits.
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
|HTML codes supported by IMDb interfaces
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.
|ъ (hard sign)
|ь (soft sign)