I found the cause of the sql error.
fieldnames should have back ticks around them instead of single quotes. (the back tick is the key to the left of the 1 key in the upper left corner.... in case you were wondering). Single quotes are fine for the values....but back ticks for field names.
The corrected code looks like this :
$sql = "UPDATE
`movie_name` = '".$_POST['movie_name']."',
`movie_year` = '".$_POST['movie_year']."',
`movie_type` = '".$_POST['movie_type']."',
`movie_leadactor` = '".$_POST['movie_leadactor']."',
`movie_director` = '".$_POST['movie_director']."'
`movie_id` = ".$_GET['id'];
They look similar, but can be the difference between an updated table and a sql error.
Hope this helps someone.