Useless IMDB ratings | Rickard Andersson

Useless IMDB ratings

There was a time when the IMDB movie ratings were, well, maybe not reliable, but at least useful. You could glance quickly at the rating for a film and decide whether it was worth watching or not. Generally, my floor has been around 6.5. That might sound a bit low, but I watch a lot of movies and there are a few gems at around 6.5. Unrelated: I took a gamble the other day with The X Files: I Want to Believe, which was rated 6.3. Turns out it was more like a 5.0.

During the last few years, something has gone awfully wrong with the ratings. I don’t know if they have updated their algorithm or if IMDB is the victim of “rating spam” or whatever, but some of the ratings are completely off the wall. Just have a look at the IMDB Top 250.

The latest Batman movie is the third greatest movie ever? Give me a break. It was a good flick, but anything above 8.0 is ridiculous.

All three Lord of the Rings movies are in the top 30? Jesus Christ! I fell asleep in at least two of them.

Iron Man is rated 8.1?! More like 6.1.

What’s Sin City doing in the top 250?

And last but definitely not least, what the hell is Blade Runner doing at #103? It should be at least in the top 20. People actually think Braveheart is better than Blade Runner?

41 comments

  1. Anton
    Posted September 8, 2008 at 08:16 | Permalink

    Because people are morons and not critics – but I must say that Lord of the Rings and especially Sin City is a great cinematic experience. They deserve their place. Sin City should maybe even be even higher up.

    The superhero-craze has gone to far though. I agree with you on that.

  2. Posted September 8, 2008 at 08:26 | Permalink

    While I agree that the Lord of the Rings movies and Sin City were great cinematic experiences, that’s just one aspect of a good movie. Just being pretty isn’t enough.

  3. Posted September 8, 2008 at 15:55 | Permalink

    Besides the general “bad taste of the crowd”, the “average” ratings seem to me incorrect because a very few fans of one movie may pull it up by their several high votes.
    It seems to me more correct a -10 to +10 system and the resulting rating should be a simple sum of all the votes. So the high score will really be an achievement. Referring to IMDB the movie rating should be SUM(vote – 5.5).

    Blade Runner will rise again then :-)

  4. Posted September 8, 2008 at 15:59 | Permalink

    Lets hope so :)

  5. gardner
    Posted October 4, 2009 at 01:10 | Permalink

    I have a sneaking suspicion that interested parties drive up the ratings at IMBD. If you look at ratings’ breakdowns there’s just too many 10s to be realistic. As I know companies employ people to effect other opinions on the net it seems reasonable that people in the employ of production companies are bending the numbers. While I use IMDB to scan the specs of a film I trust Rotten Tomatoes or Yahoo Movies more for the ratings.

  6. Posted March 5, 2010 at 02:04 | Permalink

    only the people who rate on a normal basis count for the top 250. If anything your wrong because certain movies are rated by tens to hundreds of thousands…thats like not agreeing with everybody. you lost

  7. raul
    Posted March 19, 2010 at 21:04 | Permalink

    i believe there might be two reasons for such unnatural ratings..

    1. the increase in the social marketing( people actually pay for increasing the brand image and public talk in social networking forums(myspace, facebook etc).. so why not imdb)
    2. casual movie reviewers rate their favourite movie 10 or close to that.( it is very unlikely that they think twise about relative rating as in.. 10 being the best movie ever and so on )

  8. Posted July 28, 2010 at 03:42 | Permalink

    comes down to personal taste, personally I loved Sin City. I think ratings may have a boost during the screening stage because people that enjoyed it will rate it right away but this is usually scaled down in the later stages IMO.

  9. rashid
    Posted December 13, 2010 at 10:29 | Permalink

    i dont like IMDb , they rated Skyline by 4.7. I think it should be somewhere around 8.5. It’s the best sci-fi movie of the 2010.

  10. rcv
    Posted December 21, 2010 at 14:53 | Permalink

    ha! I’ve been annoyed by IMDB’s rating for a while and decided to google it… I totally agree with you! I use to go there before I got the movie. Now I go after just to check how far off they are.
    But looking at the vote statistics it seems I could be off the general curve. Thank you.

  11. mei chan
    Posted April 1, 2011 at 14:47 | Permalink

    i can use imdb rating for movie…but not drama series…some drama that i expected in range 8.5~9 were turning out to be somewhere between 6.6 to 7,5..
    instead some drama that i hate so much seem to achieve high rating point…so it really depends to individual opinion afterall..
    most important is u stick to what you stand for and believing for what u think!

  12. idenq
    Posted April 19, 2011 at 23:33 | Permalink

    In my life I have seen thousands of movies, starting with vintage film projectors and cinemas, after that famous VHS, and then digital media. Up to 2008 I became partially dependable on IMDB ratings – using them as reference to separate useless garbage and mediocrity from good movies.
    People have different tastes and I respect that. Me myself – I like to see good movies from all genres, sometimes I like Amarcord, sometimes I just relax myself watching Rambo, lately I’ve seen couple of manga movies,…

    I was and I am so annoyed by IMDB that I had to write here, I have even searched Google for “don’t believe imdb ratings”. All I can see for past two years are mostly fake-commercial reviews and unfairly good ratings for moronic movies. I have abandoned IMDB and will never ever use their service again for anything else but to see trailer or actor names or episode list and release dates.

  13. bharath
    Posted April 25, 2011 at 12:24 | Permalink

    hey you son of a …ch,you don’t have the maturity yet to watch LOTR movies and The Dark Knight….i have seen that movies more than 50 times than any other godfather and redemption craps…

  14. James
    Posted May 13, 2011 at 10:41 | Permalink

    I agree with you that is why I visit Rotten Tomatoes also. BTW, why do we have these Indians abusing in every forum. You can put your point in a nice decent way if you disagree but please learn some manners.

  15. StanleyKubrick
    Posted June 3, 2011 at 23:14 | Permalink

    Hollywood industry has taken over, and now runs, the IMDB ratings. Unreliable? Understatement. Watch what you want. When you want and don;t forget that the film industry is not about what other people tell you to watch but what you want to watch.

  16. Posted June 22, 2011 at 12:29 | Permalink

    If someone wants to Search for movies based on IMDB ratings Better to look for Between point 6 & 7 above 7.5 films are really shits.

  17. Posted October 16, 2011 at 03:03 | Permalink

    i also dnt take imdb as a totally reliable source but your point about dark knight was not at all worth..it was a flawless movie not becuase of superhero stuff and all that but because the of incredible direction of christopher nolan and performance of actors like heath ledger,morgan freeman and christian bell but i agree with the point imdb is not on which u can completely rely thats why i searched this thread when i got frustated by low ratings of movies like never back down and paycheck they are great but even though are rated too low equally to some of the worst movie u have ever seen like priest..awfull movie man

  18. Posted October 16, 2011 at 03:12 | Permalink

    @ james
    you will have person posting spams in every thread from any country so if a person here is abusing and if he is indian then dont say discriminating stuff like indian abusing and all that because that makes u no less than abuser too…u dont know anything about indians so dont dare to say it..coz something that u dnt know,u will never understand..

  19. Posted October 16, 2011 at 05:13 | Permalink

    and @bharat
    yes james is correct..there is no need to use such offensive language to express your disagreement..

  20. Manendra
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 13:31 | Permalink

    Every movie you think above deserves to be where they are. And for BATMAN – Nolan redifened how superheroes are seen. And regrding LOTR , everyone seems to have a different taste. The fact that among 100 people if 90 like a film and 10 do not , you find yourself in those 10.

  21. Mike
    Posted October 27, 2012 at 03:54 | Permalink

    IMDB is owned by Amazon.com.

    Is there a connection, perhaps????

    $$$$$$$$$$$

  22. Chris
    Posted March 19, 2013 at 04:37 | Permalink

    Every rating is static and is correctly assigned to its film based on its structure.

    Most people DO NOT understand that there is a difference between a good movie and an enjoyable movie.

    Good movie: Follows the formula needed to create a film. That is, plot, conflict, character, and so on and so forth. Good movies score higher on imdb.

    Enjoyable movie: A movie that you enjoy. It varies between everyone. Imdb films are not based on this philosophy. If it were, Twilight would be one of the top movies of the year.

    It’s rare to get a good movie and an enjoyable movie paired together. I fell asleep during Casablanca. Sure, it wasn’t an enjoyable movie for me, but I know the reasons why it scored an 8.6 on imdb.

  23. jim holythone
    Posted May 19, 2013 at 08:44 | Permalink

    The mainstream internet has become a complete sellout. Of course IMDB has mostly fake reviews. Its not their complete fault as I am sure the movie studios pay lots of people to pump up the ratings for garbage movies. I now check out the “I hated it” reviews first, as the most accurate reviews are usually there, if of course, they are intelligently written. If it has a rating of 1 because someone hated it because of its liberal bias that usually means its a great intelligent movie some meathead doesn’t get. Read the bad reviews on Avatar for example. The reason I got to this web site is because of just how bad Imdb has gotten lately. We rented ARGO and could not believe how bad a movie it was. A movie made for the Ben Affleck closeup. Maybe I wouldn’t have noticed how completely bad ARGO was, but luckily we had watched the documentary about the real ARGO a few days earlier. It should have gotten the academy award, it was a great movie. How did this Ben Affleck pile get an Academy award? You know they bought it, what a shame, just like Slumdog millionaire and black swan. How about Pans Labyrinth, the worst movie I have ever seen; it is a disgusting, horrible, recklessly violent movie people raved about on IMDB. It seems cleverness in writing, creative filming and compelling stories have been replaced by simplistic stories with needless violence or disgusting acts and disinterested acting. If you have any question IMDB has gone to hell, read the reviews of “hot tub time machine”, how any one could have given it a 10 is beyond me….or maybe the movie got really good after I turned it off, having seen Rob Corddry with a face full of a black man’s jizz.

  24. David D
    Posted June 16, 2013 at 23:25 | Permalink

    Totally agree with Jim Holythone. The Internet of the 1990’s promised so much but fast-forward 15 odd years and we’ve reached Jim’s conclusion: it’s a complete sellout, dominated by maybe a dozen main Websites controlled by mega-corporations. IMDB has either been infected with fake reviews or by recentism (the bane of Wikipedia) where films of the last couple of years get a disproportionately high rating by I’m guessing younger reviewers where originality isn’t a problem (i.e. it’s all new to them).

    I also second Jim’s suggestion of going straight to “hated it” reviews. I too have been doing this for the last few months. I recently started watching District 9 and within ten minutes I could tell it was going to be a dud. Zapping up IMDB and it got predictably high ratings by either impressionable youngsters or the film crews family or both. I got a much more honest opinion of the film by going straight to “hated it”.

    IMDB what the hell happened to you? You were great in the 90’s, a trailblazing Future Boy flipping the bird to film magazines and film review shows but now you’re nothing but a fat middle-aged slob seduced by big business, fame and your own deluded self-importance. Goodbye IMDB & good riddance!

  25. Jona
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 08:00 | Permalink

    As many guys mentioned, IMDB rating is useless like Amazon rating. I can tell you the reality. There are score bombers. They rate 1 on the independent films or competitor’s films randomly and pump up their client rating. Their accounts need history to pretend to the real accounts. So they hire cheap labor and input tons of meaningless data.
    Do you know “Top 1000 voters”? It’s “power voter” on IMDB. They have huge rating power on IMDB. If they vote huge number of rating, they will be “Top 1000 voters”. So people(voter) putting meaningless score to be “Top 1000 voters”. This is the reality of rotten rating system.

  26. Posted June 21, 2013 at 17:51 | Permalink

    Lord of the rings trilogy not in the top 30? im starting to see why imdb ratings are so poor a ref guide if you feel that the lor trilogy doesnt deserve its place in the top 30, Blade runner was is a classic but wouldnt even appear on personal top 250 all time greats. instead of an imdb rating next to a film i want to see the budget used to make the film, it would save me a tonne of time and frustration. You always get what you pay for.

  27. lee
    Posted July 11, 2013 at 04:33 | Permalink

    Bunch of phucken kids!

  28. Jees
    Posted July 25, 2013 at 14:42 | Permalink

    I Agree that some IMDB ratings are complete shit, however your examples are invalid. I hate the fact that they gave superman a high rating, that was shit

  29. CompuLOL
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 11:51 | Permalink

    LotR saga is obv hyped and overrated. Just like Sin City, Iron Man, etc. Another more apt contrasting examples would be Cloverfield, Lady in the Water, and Jay & Silent Bob. And the only other explanation I can think for Blade Runner not scoring higher is some form of troll evening; ie, downvote good films and do the opposite for the bad ones; just for the lulz. I remember reading somewhere in the site that their staff, no-life users, and pay accounts have higher vote weight than normal, regular users. And to make matter worse, reviews take an eternity to be approved; at least mine. IMDB is nowadays the obv word-of-mouth marketing front of Amazon’s disc and streaming media sales anyhow. And BTW, Rotten Tomatoes is also getting less accurate by the day, sadly…

  30. Jack
    Posted January 22, 2014 at 09:31 | Permalink

    Yea, Ive noticed fake accounts, most likely studio accounts on imdb posting nonstop trying to sell their movies over and over. The other day I looked up one dudes posting history, this guy posted 30+ times a day for 6 months straight on the same movie thread trying to boost YOURE NEXT the movies rating.
    This guy posted on the movie thread every single hour possible, he never slept. To me, this means its a studio account where someone else logs in and keeps posting more and more bs so they could sell more dvds for their movie.

    IMDB is just littered with these bogus accounts trying to sell tickets and dvds to movies that completely suck. Look up the movie YOURE NEXT, its the worst offender of the this. Its the worst movie in the world, yet theres about 6 or 7 accounts posting like crazy every single day advertising, not only on the movies thread, but on other threads as well.

  31. Badr
    Posted September 8, 2014 at 09:37 | Permalink

    IMDb ratings has completely lost credibility now, the only way -I think- to redeem their reputation is to change the algorithms they use to calculate the ratings. There should be a multiple rating system for each title; there should be a rating from members who have already written a certain (large) amount of reviews during a certain (long) period of time, another rating by the audience who are long time members but with no significant reviewing history, another rating by those bystanders who do not have any significant activity on IMDb plus another rating that takes in concern the sex and age groups of raters.
    Also, newly registered members should not have the right to vote right away after registration and in the case of a following inactivity period their voting should be ignored.

    For example, I can make a more informed decision about a movie title that has the following ratings: a “6.5” rating by “Critic Members”, a rating of “7” by the non-reviewing long time members, a rating of “5” by bystanders, a rating of 8.5 by women and a lowest rating in the age group of 18-25.

  32. ET
    Posted September 23, 2014 at 02:27 | Permalink

    IMDB Rating Really SUCKS!

  33. Bettyd
    Posted December 20, 2014 at 03:44 | Permalink

    I totally agree with Chris and Jim. I have my personal favorite movies that I know in my mind which aren’t the all time top movies. However, I can see what makes a great movie, a really great movie. However, when I see ratings like Jim was saying for Argo, it just makes me sick. Saturation, dark schemes, violence, “serious acting” does not make a film. And this is what the new generation is starting to think. Kids are watching Maze Runner, Looper, ect. Rather than movies appropriate with age. It’s okay to watch bright films that over saturated; for instance, Forrest Gump or old movies that are classics. The younger generation will not watch any movie past ten years old. Why? Because the mainstream of the internet. This younger generation is also the one that is trying to make Television like movies. Shows are soooo overrated on IMDB, it’s ridiculous. Once Upon A Time gets an 8.0?! That show is basically a fairy tale soap opera that is over saturated and over done in tones and contrasts. And has mediocre actors and actresses. Most “acclaimed” television shows have these horrible actors, especially if you look in their past films they worked on. I hate television shows because everyone overhyped the crap out of it.

  34. Jack
    Posted January 12, 2015 at 18:15 | Permalink

    That’s what you get when you have one billion Indians with Internet connection

  35. xxx
    Posted April 20, 2015 at 22:49 | Permalink

    IMDb is a useless website but the reasons you give aren’t that good. You’re basically complaining about you not getting your way. Most of your points are subjective. For example…

    “The latest Batman movie is the third greatest movie ever? Give me a break. It was a good flick, but anything above 8.0 is ridiculous”.

    I agree with The Dark Knight being overrated but that’s not a good or valid point. So in your subjective opinion, The Dark Knight is automatically overrated and that makes IMDb useless. Nothing can be a “true” overrated movie. Objectivity is impossible. The closest we can come is inter-subjectivity. That means that a community as a whole agrees to it being overrated (although someone could easily disagree). You could say that for any review site. But that doesn’t mean it’s unreliable. That just means you disagree with the mass opinion.

    IMDb is a useless site but you had the wrong points. This is a better reason why IMDb is useless.

    IMDb is useless because you don’t know who’s reviewing the movies. It could be a very reliable person but you don’t know that. The people who rate films could be ignorant trolls or fanboys. Many people make extra accounts to skew the results also. Also, people sometimes instantly rate all the movies in IMDb’s top 250 just to get the awards IMDb has on their profile. But most importantly, people who are not interested in learning about the history of film. People whose movies knowledge barely expands further then the past 10-15 years. Those people constantly claim that mediocre movies like Interstellar are one of the greatest movies ever made and they’ve barely watched any movies that came out in 1999 or earlier.

    IMDb is useless and rotten tomatoes is better but next time, try to focus on less points based on your own personal taste.

  36. Yannick
    Posted August 11, 2015 at 15:15 | Permalink

    I agree. They rated True Grit (2010) a 7.7/10. It’s more like a 8.7 or 9.7

  37. Fat Max
    Posted August 23, 2015 at 16:23 | Permalink

    Spending marketing dollars, pumping up hype. Only the sheeples falling for it, but it is enough for bad industry.

    There was one example of some bs Resident Evil movie opening in theaters and getting fast IMDB score of 8.6 – to be later deteriorated to around 6.

    My focus started with Mad Max Fury Road. IMDB score being overrated by hundreds of tons. Reading the reviews it was clear that on opening day some mass monster brigade invaded IMDB wrote hundred positive reviews and pissed on moviegoers rating the film with 9 to 10. More recent reviews are disappointed in film and there are way more bad reviews than the average score would suggest. It’s too easy to open account post a full 10/10 positive review being first and last review ever. And it is more easier to just rate the film 10 out of 10.

    Look at the average scores, look at the films, see how many ratings some of these films get. Too much, too fast for some. Comparing to those films that were seen much wider audiences on screen, on dvd/vhs/br and on television. Damn, IMDB has been there as long as I remember. But for recent years the rating numbers for specific Hollywood films have been pumped up.

    Bye bye IMDB and and reliability.

  38. Tone
    Posted August 2, 2016 at 17:45 | Permalink

    Well Amazon own IMDB and that is likely the cause. One crappy company running IMDB just so they can make more money. It’s all about the money.

  39. Spyan
    Posted November 30, 2016 at 11:51 | Permalink

    Because the internet is exploding with uneducated and idiotic fanboy kiddies who only watch post 2000 movies and fancy themselves as experts and movie critics.

  40. Yousir Areanidiot
    Posted March 17, 2017 at 23:58 | Permalink

    Your ratings are just as BAD as IMDB. You should just quit rating movies!!!

  41. Lexi
    Posted April 3, 2017 at 22:44 | Permalink

    Okay… saying that LOTR is overrated, is invalid. IMDb sucks because of the reviews they allow. This are your OPINIONS… you guys aren’t critics either. I also question why personal favorites of mine are rated low. I frankly believe race is a big factor into the ratings of movies. However, throwing an internet temper tantrum, just because some movies got rated higher than you wanted because they’re “overrated” or “boring”, isn’t going to convince me why you think IMDb sucks. I think it sucks because of the TYPE of reviews they allow on the site. The majority of you are just complaining about superhero movies and LOTR. I love both Batman and Iron Man. People really overuse the word “overrated”. The word itself is overrated. Stop using that word as an excuse to dislike something! God.

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