Manage your Movie Collection with Griffith

Mon, Mar 2, 2009

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Griffith is an application for the Gnome desktop that organizes your movie collection, much in the same way Alexandria is used to organize your book library. Simply by entering the name of a movie, Griffith will query various databases on the internet and download cover art, plot details, and cast information.


Griffith is probably included in your package management repositories; for Ubuntu, you can install it by running:

sudo apt-get install griffith

But you can find more information about installation, including a Windows version, at the Griffith download page.

Adding movies

The nicest part about using Griffith to organize your movie collection is that it does all the work for you. By clicking on the “add movie” button, you’ll see a window for a new entry:

add new movie in griffith

You can see here that I’ve entered the title of a movie, and on the right side there is an option to select the database which Griffith will query for the movie’s information. Griffith supports over 25(!) different databases on the Internet, but the International Movie Database seems to do a great job at providing all the information needed for a movie.

Once you click “Get from Web,” Griffith will go out and find the details for your movie. Most likely, it will return a list of movie titles that are similar to the one you entered, and ask you to select the correct movie. Normally this will be the first movie listed, but if, for example, there were several remakes of a title (“Hamlet” would be a good example), it also lists the year in which the movie was produced, letting you select the appropriate item. Once you tell Griffith which movie you want, it will fill in all the information for you, automatically:

Griffith's add item filled with info from IMDB: Main

Griffith's add item filled with info from IMDB: Details

Griffith's add item filled with info from IMDB: Plot

You can repeat this process for part or all of your movie collection; when you’re finished, you’ll have a Griffith window filled with your movies. You can select the movie you want to view, and tab between all the information downloaded by the program. Griffith will even let you grab a larger version of the cover image from Amazon.com, and then help you print it out.

Griffith Main Window

A plethora of options

Adding personalized information
Now that you’ve gone through the hassle of adding your movie collection to Griffith, and you’ve had all the information about your titles entered automatically by the program, you can start manipulating your collection to suit your needs. For example, you might choose to rate movies, which Griffith allows you to do on a scale of 1 to 10. The little thermometer icon will indicate how well you’ve rated a movie. You can also tell Griffith about the media on which a movie is stored; is it a DVD? What region encoding does it use, and what quality is the disk in?

Searching through your movies is easy, and you can filter by pretty much any type of information Griffith stores: from title, to genre, to director, to year. You can also indicate whether you’ve loaned out a particular movie, and to whom; so you’ll never wind up arguing with a friend again over whether or not she still has your copy of Back to the Future.

Exporting your database
What fun is cataloging all your movies, if you can’t show off your massive collection to your friends? Griffith’s export function is simply amazing. Not only does it let you export to PDF, HTML, XML, CSV, or iPod formats, but it lets you fine-tune exactly what data you want to include. Personally, I would want to use the HTML export function the most, and when I selected this option I was amazed at the control Griffith gives you over the output:

Theme griffith HTML output

Griffith HTML Export Example

Not only can you select various themes for your HTML movie list, but you can choose which information to include, and what you want to leave out. You can also set how you want Griffith to split the entries, how titles should be sorted, and which movies you want to leave out altogether.


Movie buffs as well as casual collectors will love Griffith’s ability to generate an entire, well-documented database simply from knowing the title of a movie, and the single push of a button.

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2 Responses to “Manage your Movie Collection with Griffith”

  1. Lord_UW says:

    hey, this is a amazing blog. I’m gonna bookmark it.

  2. John Hunt says:

    Ah, nice tip!! I’ve been considering writing something like this, but as usual it’s already there!


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