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The Film-Lover's Check List

Page Instructions

These instructions will help you create your own page in The Film-Lover's Check List. By default, only you will be "subscribed" to the new page you create, but your page will become available for other users to subscribe to, too, to track which movies on the new page they've seen.

The rules for creating a new page are relatively simple: you enter a name for the page, which is the name that will be provided to you as a link for you to click on when you want to view the page. Then you enter the movies that will appear on the page, along with some formatting instructions, into the "contents" box.

Each line in the contents box is either a movie or a directive with formatting information in it. In the simplest case, you have no directives in the page contents at all, only movie titles, but this would simply cause the titles to be displayed in one unbroken list -- not very visually pleasing. By using some directives, you can organize the movie titles into rows and columns and supply column headings, footnotes, annotations, etc, if desired.

Listing Movies

Each title appears on its own line in your page. The surest way to add a title to your page is to enter its IMDb code. (What's an IMDb code?) For example:


If you are unsure of the IMDb code, you can either look it up at, or you can specify the movie by title and year. To use title and year, enter the year first, then a space, and then the title. Some examples:

1915 The Birth of a Nation
1920 The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
1924 Greed
1928 The Passion of Joan of Arc

When using title and year in this manner, The Film-Lover's Check List will attempt to figure out its IMDb code on its own. If it is unable to do so, you will receive an error message when you submit the page. In this event, you will have to look up the IMDb code yourself (the error message may or may not include suggestions about what you might have meant) and use the code instead. This step will only be necessary in the event of (1) a misspelled title, (2) cases of ambiguity, such as more than one movie in the same year having the same title, (3) a new title that has never been used by The Film-Lover's Check List before. In this last case, you may also be prompted to add the title to the check list's database; in this event, simply press the "Load Information" button when prompted.

Listing TV Shows

Television shows can be listed in any of four different ways:

  1. To list a single episode of a TV show, simply follow the same procedure described above for movies. Specify either the episode's IMDb code, or its title and year. The title may be prefixed by the TV show's name but doesn't have to be. The following examples are all valid ways to list the pilot of The Mary Tyler Moore Show:

    1970 Love Is All Around
    1970 The Mary Tyler Moore Show: Love Is All Around

  2. To list a multi-part episode of a TV show as a single entity, you can add a "+" (plus sign) to the IMDb code of any one part of the episode, or, when using title and year, leave the "Part 1", "Part 2", etc, off the title. The following examples are all valid ways to list Little House On the Prairie's episodes The Lord Is My Shepherd, Part 1 and The Lord Is My Shepherd, Part 2 as a single item:

    1974 The Lord Is My Shepherd
    1974 Little House On the Prairie: The Lord Is My Shepherd

  3. To list a whole season of a show as a single entry, either add the season number after the IMDb code or append "Season N" to the name of the show. (Note that the year can be either the year the show began or the year of the specified season.) The following examples are all valid ways to list season 5 of Lost as a single item:

    0411008 5
    2004 Lost: Season 5
    2008 Lost: Season 5

  4. To list a whole show as a single item, simply specify its IMDb code or use the title and the year of its first episode. The following examples are both valid ways to list Columbo as a single item:

    1971 Columbo

(Note that when you list television shows, seasons, or multi-part episodes as single items on a page, you still only check off individual episodes as titles that you've seen, not seen, or need to see again. In such cases, the item will be regarded as "not seen" if you have any one or more episodes within that grouping marked as "not seen.")


The use of macros can help you add lists of TV show episodes without having to manually enter each one. To use a macro, simply use the syntax described in any of items 2, 3, or 4 above in []s (square brackets). When you submit the form, the macro will be expanded into multiple entries, one per episode. For example, suppose you wanted to put every individual episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season 1 on your page. You could type each one in manually, but it would be much easier simply to enter the following:

[1955 Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season 1]

Alternatively, you could use the IMDb code syntax instead:

[0047708 1]

You can also use a macro to expand multi-part episodes into their component episodes, if you wish. For example, you could list out all three episodes of Doctor Who: The Two Doctors simply by entering either of the following lines:

[1985 Doctor Who: The Two Doctors]

Macros are at their most powerful when you want to list out every episode of an entire series. Either of these two lines, for example, will allow you to list every single episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show, complete with formatting and season headings, on your page:

[1961 The Dick Van Dyke Show]

This is particularly useful if you want to create a page entirely devoted to episodes of a television show.

Disallowed Titles

Only movies or TV shows listed in the IMDb are permitted on The Film-Lover's Check List pages. Furthermore, video games, adult movies, and titles still in production are also disallowed from appearing on pages of The Film-Lover's Check List.

Actually, you can list these and other things in pages as well (see the .I directive below); it's just that these other items cannot be marked as seen or unseen by you or other users.

After You Submit Your Page

Once you've created your page, you will find that it looks different if you then view the source code, or if you go back later to edit it. That's because all movies -- even if you entered them by title and year -- will be listed by IMDb code. However, to help you tell one IMDb code from another, the title and year will be listed after a "#" symbol on the same line. The "#" symbol indicates a comment. It will be ignored if the page is resubmitted and regenerated if it is edited again later.

Here's an example of this. Let's say you submit a page that looks like this:

.H My Five Favorite Movies
1924 Greed
2004 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

If you save this, then go back and try to edit it, you'll see that it now looks like this:

.H My Five Favorite Movies
0015881     # Greed (1924)
0338013     # Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
0043014     # Sunset Boulevard (1950)
0047396     # Rear Window (1954)
0098333     # Sinbad of the Seven Seas (1989)

The information after the "#" symbols is for your benefit only: so you can tell at a glance which IMDb code refers to what title. It's not necessary to supply this information when entering new titles. If you omit it, it will be generated for you for next time. In fact, even if you do supply it manually, it will be regenerated after you submit it, so you really shouldn't bother.

Alternate Titles

Many movies are known by more than one title. The Film-Lover's Check List recognizes most alternate titles. For example, if enter this into a page:

1950 Deadly Is the Female will know that you mean the movie better known as Gun Crazy. Similarly, it recognizes that Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (as it is known in the USA) and Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (as it is known in the UK) are the same movie.

However, regardless of how you enter a movie into your page, it will always be displayed on the actual page by its "primary" title. The primary title is, usually, the title it is best known by in the United States. (Tip: If this is undesirable to you, you can specify an alternate title with a .a directive, as described further down this page.)

A special note about television show episodes: By default, they will be prefixed with the name of the TV show. However, in some circumstances this is undesirable. See the .ts and .te directives further down this page for how to change this.


There are a number of different directives you may use; they are documented here. All directives start with a period, followed by a letter. In some cases, a space comes after the letter, followed by some text.

Text Directives

These directives display text on the page other than actual movie titles.

.T text The .T directive sets the title of the page; that is, the text that will appear in your browser's title bar when you are viewing the page. .T Joe's Favorite Movies
.H text The .H directive will display header text. It will appear in large print. If the .H directive is placed inside a column (see the .C directive below) then the text will be contained within the column; otherwise the text will apply across the whole width of the page. Often it is a good idea to repeat your title (from the .T directive) in a .H directive at the top of the page. .H Alfred Hitchcock Films
.S text The .S directive will display subheader text. It will appear in small (but boldfaced) print. This should not normally be used unless you need to mark subsections within header (.H) sections. .H Claude Chabrol Films
.S Six Moral Tales
.N text The .N directive sets a footnote. It will appear as small, unobtrusive text on the page. Usually these go at the end of a page, but there's no reason you can't use them in other places, too. .N This list only contains short films.
.I text The .I directive formats text as if it were a movie title. This is useful for including films that do not have an IMDb code (because the IMDb does not list the title) or which are disallowed from the check list's database (because the title is a video game or an in-production title, for example). They can also be used to simulate subheaders (see the .S directive) without using up as much vertical spacing). The text will be prefixed by whatever prefix directive (see below) is active. For example, if you are formatting a numbered list, the .I text will be numbered, just as if it were a standard movie title. (This is not always the desired behavior; if it isn't, use the .b directive just beforehand to suppress the prefix.) .I 007: Nightfire (2002)

Positioning Directives

These directives let you specify how the text and movie titles will be positioned on the page.

.C Start a new column. To arrange movies into columns, simply supply a .C directive whenever you want to start a new column. See the AFI 100 page for an example of movie titles arranged into columns.

Optionally, a number between 1 and 99 can appear as an argument. If present, this will specify the width of the column as a percentage of the total width of the page. This is useful if you wish to have, say, four columns of equal width. (Without this number, the width of the column will be determined by the browser in such a way as to minimize word-wrapping.)

Also optionally, you can include a ">" symbol to say that this column should span into the next column as well (think of HTML's "colspan" attribute). Use multiple ">" symbols to span multiple extra columns.


.C 25


.C >


.C >> 75
.R Start a new row. If you want movie titles arranged in grid of lists, use a .C directive to start a new column and a .R directive to start a new row. After starting a new row, it is implied that you are also starting a new column -- that is, you should NOT use a .C directive immediately after a .R directive.

As with the .C directive, a number from 1 to 99 can optionally appear as an argument. This will determine the width of the first column of the new row, as described for the .C directive above.

Also optionally, you can include a ">" symbol to say that this column should span into the next column as well (think of HTML's "colspan" attribute). Use multiple ">" symbols to span multiple extra columns.

See the Sight & Sound page for an example of movie titles arranged into rows and columns.


.R 25


.R >


.R >> 75
.E End the column and/or row you started previously. Normally it is not necessarily to explicitly end columns and rows -- it suffices simply to start a new column or a new row -- but if you want to break out of a column-based or grid-based layout and span the whole width of the page again, a .E directive will do it. For example, a .E directive was used just before the footnote at the end of the Oscars page to get the footnote to span across the whole page, rather than being confined to the width of just one of the columns. .E
.L number If you specify this, then the specified number will be the maximum number of columns allowed. When a .C directive is specified after that many columns have already been specified, it will be treated as a .R directive instead. This is useful if you want an even grid layout and don't want to bother trying to figure out which cells should be started with .C and which ones with .R. To cancel a previously specified column count, use the .L directive without specifying a number. .L 5
.B Display a blank line. (Note that you can also use .H, .S, or .N without any arguments to display a blank line of exactly the same size that a header, subheader, or footnote would normally take up.) .B

Prefix Directives

These directives let you specify how each movie title will be prefixed: for example, you can prefix each title with an incrementing number, as in the AFI 100 page, or the year, as in the Oscars page. By default, no prefix is given before movie titles.

.u Hereafter, do not display a prefix before each movie title. This is the default, so an explicit .u (which stands for "unnumbered") directive is not necessary unless you have previously specified that a prefix should be used. .u
.n Prefix the next movie with the number 1, then the movie after that with the number 2, then 3, and so on. A subsequent .n directive resets the counter back to 1. .n
.n number Prefix the next movie with the specified number, then count up from there. It's the same as using the .n directive without a number, except that you're specifying where to start counting from.

If the numerical argument to the .n directive is preceded by "+" or "-", however, then the current count is modified by this amount. (This is useful for lists with ties; for example, using ".n -1" after a previous ".n" will cause the previous prefix number to be repeated next time. (See the .b directive for further information on handling lists with ties.)
.n 5
.n -1
.y Hereafter, prefix each movie with the year of its release. Note that the year of release will also be displayed after the movie title, so it is rare to need this directive. See the Oscars page for a sample use. .y
.s text Hereafter, prefix movie titles with the given text string. This is rarely needed, but see the Best Picture winners from 1927-1933 on the Oscars page for a situation where this became handy. .s 1927-28
.e Hereafter, prefix titles of TV shows with their episode number (e.g., "0103" indicates Season 1, Episode 3). Titles that are not individual episodes of a TV show (e.g., "Titanic (1997)" or "The Sopranos: Season 1 (1999)") will not have a prefix. .e
.b Suppresses the prefix for only the next movie title (or .I directive). This is particularly useful for numbered lists that include ties, or multiple entries within one numbered entry. 2002 Sight & Sound Top 10
1941 Citizen Kane
1958 Vertigo
1939 The Rules of the Game
1972 The Godfather
1974 The Godfather, Part II
1953 Tokyo Story

Annotation Directives

These directives let you display other text next to a movie title.

.p text Prepend the next movie title with the specified text. .H Best Director Winners
.p Steven Spielberg
1993 Schindler's List
.a text Append the specified text to the next movie title. .a (short film)
1958 Les Mistons

.a (aka: Deadly Is the Female)
1950 Gun Crazy

TV Show Episode Directives

These directives let you specify how episodes of television shows should be displayed.

.ts Hereafter, all television show episode titles should be prefixed with the name of the television show. For example, "I Love Lucy: Lucy Does a TV Commercial" instead of just "Lucy Does a TV Commercial." This is the default behavior. .ts
.te Hereafter, all television show episode titles should NOT be prefixed with the name of the television show. For example, "Lucy Does a TV Commercial" instead of "I Love Lucy: Lucy Does a TV Commercial." This is useful when you have an entire page devoted to episodes of a single television show, in which case listing the name of the show in front of every episode title would be redundant. .te

Tip For Creating New Pages

You may find it easier to create a new page by copying the code for an existing page and modifying it. To do this, hit the Source link for an existing page from the Add/Remove Pages page when you login. That will display the code used for that page. Copy and paste the text into the entry box for your new page, then modify it to suit your own purposes.