15.5. Studio: Movie SQLs

In this studio, you will use space in MySQL Workbench to practice writing SQL queries to retrieve or modify information stored in an established database. You will also explore the parallels between Java objects and database tables.

15.5.1. Walkthrough

Let’s relate what you’ve learned about SQL to interact with a database called movie-buff that contains two tables—movies and directors.

Just as you did in the exercises create the new movie-buff schema.

Before we create the movies and directors tables, let’s think about what kind of columns we want in each one. Movies Table

For the movies table, it makes sense to have columns for the title of the movie, the year_released, and the director. We’re also going to want to have a unique movie_id column as the primary key, since there can be more than one movie with the same title.

Take the time now to think about what data types you might use for these columns (INTEGER, VARCHAR, DATE, etc.), then go ahead and write (or type) the SQL statement to create this table.

As you consider which data types to use for your movies columns, you might find yourself thinking, If this were a property of a Java object, what data type would I use?

For example, if the movie object has a title and a director field, you would expect both of these data types to be String. Similarly, the year the movie was released would be stored as an integer. This conceptual overlap between databases and Java objects is very useful, and we will explore this further in the class on Object-Relational Mapping (ORM).

Here’s how our movies table could be created:

   title VARCHAR(120),
   year_released INTEGER,
   director VARCHAR(80)

Take a moment to discuss with a partner:

  1. Why the two VARCHAR parameters differ in lines 3 and 5.
  2. The purpose behind PRIMARY KEY AUTO_INCREMENT in line 2. If necessary, review the table setup for the chapter exercises. Directors Table

Next, let’s consider the properties we’d want for a director object in Java. These could include a first_name, a last_name, and maybe the country where the director was born.

Once we identify the data types for these properties, we can write the SQL command to create the directors table. Also, we should include a director_id column in order to create a valid primary key.

CREATE TABLE directors (
   first_name VARCHAR(40),
   last_name VARCHAR(40),
   country VARCHAR(80)
); Relating the Tables

Before we go further, let’s take a moment to think about how these two tables relate to each other, and whether we may want to modify the column director in the movies table. A director can work on multiple movies, but each movie may only have one director. Rather than store multiple copies of the same name in the director column, we can instead reference a single value stored elsewhere.

Our goal is to keep our table design clean. This means putting data specific to directors in the directors table, and placing data specific to each movie in the movies table. To follow this structure, we should NOT store the director’s name in the movies table.

Similarly, the director’s country is NOT an attribute of a movie, so there is no need to clutter a movie object or the movies table with that information. Instead, a name and country are attributes of the director, which means the data must be stored in the directors table.

However, we might want to know that information for a given movie (e.g. we may want to find all the movies since 2010 that have French directors). So we need a way to filter the movies based on attributes from directors. Solving this challenge is why relational databases exist.

In order to link the two tables to each other, let’s modify the director column in movies to become director_id. It should therefore be an INTEGER instead of the VARCHAR we used earlier when we thought the director column would hold the name of a person.

Note that with the new format, both tables contain a director_id column, and we will use this match to relate movies with directors. The tool to establish the link is called a foreign key.

  1. Go ahead and use SQL to delete the old movies table:

    DROP TABLE movies;
  2. Now you need to create a new movies table that relates to data stored in the directors table. The code sample below shows how to define the director_id column in movies as a Foreign Key. Doing this links that column in movies to the director_id column in the directors table.

  3. Use this SQL command to create a new movies table.

    CREATE TABLE movies (
       title VARCHAR(120),
       year_released INTEGER,
       director_id INTEGER,
       FOREIGN KEY (director_id) REFERENCES directors(director_id)

Line 6 matches every entry in the movies table to the ONE entry in the directors table that has the same value for director_id. Thus, multiple rows in movies can reference the same row in directors, and a single director can connect to many movies.


If needed, here is a set of helpful articles:

  1. SQL Create Table,
  2. SQL Drop Table,
  3. SQL Foreign Key.

Follow the MySQL syntax instructions when there is a syntax variation between the major databases. INSERT Data From File

Rather than adding entries line by line, you will use a prepared SQL file to speed up the process.

  1. Follow this link to the movie-buff data repository.

  2. Click the Download Zip button to save a copy of the file to your machine.

  3. Double-click the zip file icon to extract the movie-buff-data.sql file (it will be inside a folder).

  4. In MySQL Workbench, click the Open SQL button, and select the movie-buff-data.sql file.

    Click "Open SQL" button.
  5. Double-click the movie-buff schema, then click the leftmost lightning bolt icon to run the SQL script. This will populate the directors and movies tables.

    Click the leftmost lightning bolt icon.
  6. Confirm that the tables contain data by clicking on the table icon next to each name.

    Select table contents button.

OK! Your model is ready to accept queries.

15.5.2. Your Assignment

For this studio, you’ll practice writing SQL queries to perform various data retrieval and manipulation tasks. You will be using the movies and directors tables described above, so if you still need to CREATE them, please do so now. Task List

Open up a new Query tab in MySQL Workbench. In that tab, write the SQL commands to carry out each of the queries described below. As you complete each step, compare your SQL code and the output with a partner.

  1. List just the titles of all the movies in the database.

  2. List the title and year of each movie in the database in DESCENDING order of the year released. (Hint: Combine the SELECT command with the ORDER BY keywords).

  3. List all columns for all records of the directors table in ASCENDING alphabetical order based on the director’s country of origin.

  4. ORDER BY can also consider multiple columns. List all columns for all records of the directors table in ASCENDING alphabetical order first by the director’s country of origin and then by the director’s last name.

  5. Insert a new record into the directors table for Rob Reiner, an American film director.


    Recall that the column for director_id is auto incremented, so you don’t need to put in a value for that column.

  6. Combine the SELECT and WHERE keywords to list the last_name and director_id for Rob Reiner.

  7. Insert a new record into the movies table for The Princess Bride, which was released in 1987 and directed by Rob Reiner.


    movie_id is also auto incremented, so you don’t need to put in a value for that column. However, you will need to provide a value for the foreign key, director_id, to link the movie to the proper director.

  8. If you list all of the data from the movies table (SELECT * FROM movies;), you will see a column of director ID numbers. This data is not particularly helpful to a user, since they probably want to see the director names instead. Use an INNER JOIN in your SQL command to display a list of movie titles, years released, and director last names.

  9. List all the movies in the database along with the first and last name of the director. Order the list alphabetically by the director’s last name.

  10. List the first and last name for the director of The Incredibles. You can do this with either a join or a WHERE command, but for this step please use WHERE.

  11. List the last name and country of origin for the director of Roma. You can do this with either a join or a WHERE command, but for this step please use a join.


    For more join practice, take advantage of these resources at W3 Schools:

    1. Inner joins,
    2. Joins.
  12. Delete a row from the movies table. What consequence does this have on directors? List the contents of both tables to find out.

  13. Try to delete one person from the directors table. What error results from trying to remove a director?

15.5.3. Bonus Missions

  1. Note that SQL aliases give a table or column a temporary name. Assign aliases in at least 3 of the items above to make the columns names different and/or more readable in the output.
  2. List all of the movies in the database directed by Peter Jackson.
  3. a. Add another column to the movies table that holds the amount of money earned by each film.
    1. Use UPDATE to enter these values for each movie in the database.
    2. Generate a list that ranks the movie titles based on earnings.
    3. Generate a list that only shows films that earned above (or below) a certain amount.