Do IMDb Ratings Influence Your Movie Viewing?

Because we all use the darn thing, whether we want to or not.

For movie lovers everywhere - and let's be frank, for pretty much everyone who even enjoys movies on a basic level - the Internet Movie Database provides us with an essential tool. Where else would we be able to find such filmic information at the drop of a hat? Who directed that movie? How long was the runtime? What year was it made? Yes, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has long served film fanatics as an endless well of invaluable information. Its reputation as a trivia source aside, though, it's also renowned as a valuable reference for movie ratings. For as far back as we remember, the IMDb has offered movie lovers the chance to rate each and every one of the titles held within its database - as a result, movie titles are offered up with scores, which reflect the collective ratings that each member of the website has branded it with. Which means that a quick search of The Godfather tells us that it's received an overwhelmingly high rating of 9.2, which makes it the second highest title on the whole site. For anybody unsure as to whether or not The Godfather is worth their time, the rating pretty much speaks for itself. Which got us thinking: how do IMDb ratings influence your own movie viewing habits? Say a friend suggests that you check out The Descendants, for example, but you notice that on IMDb it has a rating of just 7.4? Is that enough to deter you from checking it out, or is 7.4 a good enough score to warrant a watch? Maybe you prefer to skip IMDb ratings all together, and opt instead to judge a movie without having any preconceived notions about its quality. Or perhaps you'll only watch a film if it's included on IMDb's prestigious and constantly shifting Top 250 list? Does IMDb effect how you watch movies? Are you a sucker for the ratings, or don't you bother at all? Let us know in the comments section below.

Sam Hill is an ardent cinephile and has been writing about film professionally since 2008. He harbours a particular fondness for western and sci-fi movies.