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What If Online Movie Ratings Weren’t Based Almost Entirely On What Men Think?

Pretend I’m the owner of a polling company that surveys political races. I prominently advertise my results: According to a Walt Hickey Polling Inc. survey of 600 likely voters, John Doe is beating Jane Doe 58 percent to 40 percent — John Doe will likely win the election. (Let’s say it’s a race for the U.S. Senate.)

But then you keep reading and you notice that the sample on which my poll is based consists of 400 men and 200 women. You can’t really tell whether I’m adjusting the numbers, and if so, how. Would you trust that number? Unless there’s some state I don’t know about where men outnumber women 2-to-1, you shouldn’t.

So why aren’t we more skeptical of movie ratings that do the same thing?

It’s a worthwhile question, and lately it’s made it pretty hard for us to take the ratings provided on IMDb, the largest and most popular movie site on the internet, at face value. The Academy Awards rightly get criticized for reflecting the preferences of a small, unrepresentative sample of the population, but online ratings have the same problem. Even the vaunted IMDb Top 250 — nominally the best-liked films ever — is worth taking with 250 grains of salt. Women accounted for 52 percent of moviegoers in the U.S. and Canada in 2016, according to the most recent annual study by the Motion Picture Association of America. But on the internet, and on ratings sites, they’re a much smaller percentage.

“If you see any number that is a rating number or a number with a percentage sign, it may be compelling or meaningful and it may not be,” said Gary Langer, the president of Langer Research Associates, the polling firm that has long conducted surveys for ABC News. “And what we need to do rather than be seduced by the number is to subject it to meaningful inquiry as to how it was obtained.”

OK, but how skeptical should we be? To figure that out, I wanted to see how strong the male skew of raters is on IMDb and how big an effect that skew has on movies’ scores.

We’ll start with every film that’s eligible for IMDb’s Top 250 list. A film needs 25,000 ratings from regular IMDb voters to qualify for the list. As of Feb. 14, that was 4,377 titles. Of those movies, only 97 had more ratings from women than men. The other 4,280 films were mostly rated by men, and it wasn’t even close for all but a few films. In 3,942 cases (90 percent of all eligible films), the men outnumbered the women by at least 2-to-1. In 2,212 cases (51 percent), men outnumbered women more than 5-to-1. And in 513 cases (12 percent), the men outnumbered the women by at least 10-to-1.

Looking strictly at IMDb’s weighted average — IMDb adjusts the raw ratings it gets “in order to eliminate and reduce attempts at vote stuffing,” but it does not disclose how — the male skew of raters has a pretty significant effect. In 17 percent of cases, the weighted average of the male and female voters was equal, and in another 26 percent of cases, the votes of the men and women were within 0.1 points of one another. But when there was bigger disagreement — i.e. men and women rated a movie differently by 0.2 points or more, on average — the overall score overwhelmingly broke closer to the men’s rating than the women’s rating. The score was closer to the men’s rating more than 48 percent of the time and closer to the women’s rating less than 9 percent of the time, meaning that when there was disagreement, the male preference won out about 85 percent of the time.

That male skew of raters is also apparent in the 250 movies that make IMDb’s top list, which we pulled on Feb. 16:

So, what’s the issue here? If IMDb is content with its ratings being intended almost solely for men, then there isn’t one. (We reached out to IMDb for comment and for more information on how the site adjusts its ratings, but we received no response. So we don’t know, for example, if IMDb is already doing something to the data that accounts for the gender disparity in raters.) But if IMDb seeks to reflect the opinions of the actual movie-going population, the situation is grave.

Can we fix that? Langer is skeptical. Mainly, besides how simple it is for a dedicated individual or group to “manufacture” results, online data from a self-selected group of people is so inherently dubious that any reweighting of that data is also inherently dubious. You can’t just adjust troublesome data to make it reflect the world, he said.

“The notion that you can take bad data and weight it to be OK is … hazardous to your health,” Langer cautioned.

That said, since the scores of the most popular movie site on the internet are already being calculated based on an entirely self-selected sample, would it destroy the IMDb Top 250 to try to mimic actual movie audiences more? I don’t really think so. As a thought experiment, I used everything we know about IMDb’s rating adjustments — which is far from the full picture — and ran them on the ratings of the 4,377 eligible films after I adjusted the raw ratings to weight men’s and women’s views equally.

We can’t do an adjustment that allows us to perfectly replicate the top 250again, we don’t know what’s in the black box, so we can’t re-create it — but to approximate it, I excluded any film that didn’t either a) make the IMDb top 1,000 movies list or b) have a rating from the site’s top 1,000 users within 0.87 points1 of the rating from its users overall. This allows us to sidestep films that would have made the top 250 through vote-stuffing.

My main point is that overall, the naive reweighting didn’t destroy the general look of the 250, and if anything, it elevated films that may have been overlooked because one gender is vastly outnumbered.2

What if IMDb adjusted ratings toward gender parity?

Estimated highest-ranking films on IMDb if the men’s and women’s ratings were weighted toward 50-50 vs. IMDb’s actual rank as of Feb. 16, 2018

Rankings
Year
Film
Actual
Women only
Men only
Gender- weighted
1994 The Shawshank Redemption 1 1 1 1
1972 The Godfather 2 10 2 2
2008 The Dark Knight 4 3 3 3
2003 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King 8 2 4 4
1993 Schindler’s List 6 6 11 5
1999 Fight Club 10 5 8 6
2001 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring 11 7 10 7
1957 12 Angry Men 5 27 7 8
1974 The Godfather: Part II 3 22 5 9
2010 Inception 14 8 6 10
1994 Forrest Gump 12 9 13 11
2002 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers 15 11 14 12
1994 The Lion King 47 4 29 13
1994 Pulp Fiction 7 15 9 14
2014 Interstellar 30 25 15 15
1999 The Green Mile 32 12 28 16
1975 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest 16 24 19 17
1966 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly 9 115 12 18
2006 The Prestige 48 26 16 19
1998 American History X 31 17 27 20
2012 The Dark Knight Rises 65 23 22 21
1997 Life Is Beautiful 25 16 41 22
1980 Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back 13 41 17 23
1994 Leon: The Professional 27 21 37 24
2002 City of God 21 64 20 25
1995 Se7en 22 28 23 26
2001 Spirited Away 28 13 56 27
1991 The Silence of the Lambs 23 20 33 28
2006 The Departed 40 35 26 29
1990 Goodfellas 17 71 18 30
2011 The Intouchables 37 19 52 31
2014 Whiplash 45 54 30 32
2000 Gladiator 46 44 24 33
2012 Django Unchained 60 29 31 34
2002 The Pianist 39 31 53 35
1946 It’s a Wonderful Life 24 56 51 36
1960 Psycho 34 55 40 37
1977 Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope 20 48 32 38
2009 Inglourious Basterds 97 32 43 39
1998 Saving Private Ryan 29 70 25 40
1995 The Usual Suspects 26 58 36 41
1999 The Matrix 18 62 21 42
2000 Memento 49 57 34 43
1942 Casablanca 36 73 42 44
1999 American Beauty 63 51 35 45
1985 Back to the Future 44 49 46 46
2001 A Beautiful Mind 144 34 68 47
1954 Rear Window 43 80 60 48
2000 Requiem for a Dream 80 50 49 49
2011 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 218 14 126 50
2006 The Lives of Others 58 86 78 51
2010 Shutter Island 177 39 59 52
2008 WALL-E 62 42 62 53
2004 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 87 38 66 54
1980 The Shining 61 61 47 55
1997 Good Will Hunting 102 60 48 56
1971 A Clockwork Orange 84 79 50 57
2001 Amelie 82 30 90 58
1954 Seven Samurai 19 336 39 59
1983 Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi 76 87 63 60
1992 Reservoir Dogs 77 94 64 61
2017 Coco 51 209 166 62
1988 Cinema Paradiso 54 165 97 63
1979 Apocalypse Now 50 219 38 64
1940 The Great Dictator 53 262 101 65
1950 Sunset Boulevard 55 190 108 66
1931 City Lights 35 294 92 67
1997 Princess Mononoke 64 118 100 68
2015 Room 143 82 139 69
2003 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl > 250 36 113 70
2004 Howl’s Moving Castle 137 43 216 71
1962 To Kill a Mockingbird 89 102 135 72
2009 Up 115 37 117 73
2014 Gone Girl 179 81 70 74
2010 Toy Story 3 98 66 82 75
1936 Modern Times 38 248 96 76
1988 Grave of the Fireflies 57 159 133 77
2006 Pan’s Labyrinth 130 74 91 78
2016 Hacksaw Ridge 175 161 124 79
1968 2001: A Space Odyssey 91 195 54 80
2007 Into the Wild 181 84 95 81
1958 Vertigo 72 154 87 82
2015 Inside Out 140 78 107 83
2005 Batman Begins 116 106 58 84
1975 Monty Python and the Holy Grail 103 123 104 85
2009 3 Idiots 93 203 93 86
2003 Oldeuboi 67 171 73 87
1964 Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb 56 236 57 88
1991 Terminator 2 42 178 44 89
1959 North by Northwest 74 205 99 90
1968 Once Upon a Time in the West 33 447 55 91
1981 Raiders of the Lost Ark 41 131 65 92
1995 Toy Story 94 85 80 93
1952 Singin’ in the Rain 90 110 170 94
2016 La La Land 207 122 86 95
1979 Alien 52 151 67 96
1941 Citizen Kane 71 188 74 97
2002 Catch Me if You Can 219 97 81 98
1983 Scarface 105 181 69 99
1976 Taxi Driver 88 164 71 100
2014 The Grand Budapest Hotel 194 65 128 101
1987 Full Metal Jacket 92 177 83 102
2010 How to Train Your Dragon 176 47 165 103
1984 Amadeus 83 128 121 104
2007 There Will Be Blood 165 212 72 105
2012 The Avengers > 250 52 144 106
1984 Once Upon a Time in America 69 337 88 107
2013 The Wolf of Wall Street 150 158 45 108
2005 V for Vendetta 151 76 112 109
1939 Gone With the Wind 157 46 279 110
2003 Kill Bill: Vol. 1 174 89 114 111
1995 Braveheart 75 141 61 112
2003 Finding Nemo 166 53 151 113
1999 The Sixth Sense 160 75 116 114
2011 The Help 241 33 245 115
2015 Star Wars: The Force Awakens > 250 92 154 116
2015 Mad Max: Fury Road 204 135 79 117
2000 Snatch 100 144 76 118
2016 Dangal 73 649 195 119
2016 Zootopia > 250 95 187 120
2001 Donnie Darko 226 91 122 121
2008 Gran Torino 158 121 120 122
1989 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade 112 156 84 123
2012 Jagten 101 183 141 124
1988 My Neighbor Totoro 132 112 183 125
1996 Trainspotting 156 107 127 126
2013 12 Years a Slave 201 100 131 127
1959 Some Like It Hot 118 124 186 128
1973 The Sting 95 284 143 129
2013 Prisoners 215 148 98 130
2017 Logan 202 193 103 131
2016 Your Name 79 399 190 132
2007 Taare Zameen Par 81 448 138 133
2011 A Separation 109 242 125 134
1997 Titanic > 250 45 188 135
2011 Warrior 154 213 134 136
2017 Dunkirk 236 192 145 137
2015 Spotlight 205 155 152 138
1986 Stand by Me 192 125 184 139
2014 X-Men: Days of Future Past > 250 113 159 140
2004 Kill Bill: Vol. 2 > 250 116 157 141
2014 The Imitation Game > 250 69 209 142
2010 The King’s Speech > 250 59 206 143
1986 Aliens 68 217 85 144
2004 Downfall 121 288 115 145
1998 Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels 142 199 130 146
1997 L.A. Confidential 106 225 94 147
2016 Arrival > 250 169 137 148
1957 Paths of Glory 59 704 109 149
2017 Blade Runner 2049 147 368 102 150
1991 Beauty and the Beast 247 40 379 151
2014 Guardians of the Galaxy > 250 111 147 152
1962 Lawrence of Arabia 85 396 105 153
1993 Jurassic Park 198 150 118 154
1927 Metropolis 108 331 182 155
2016 Deadpool > 250 126 155 156
2012 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey > 250 90 192 157
2001 Monsters, Inc. 224 77 196 158
1988 Die Hard 122 220 77 159
1989 Dead Poets Society 238 103 239 160
2010 Black Swan > 250 98 161 161
2015 The Martian > 250 134 160 162
1957 Witness for the Prosecution 66 476 229 163
2004 Hotel Rwanda 190 176 181 164
2009 Star Trek > 250 117 199 165
2013 The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug > 250 109 205 166
2009 Hachi: A Dog’s Tale 212 127 288 167
2017 Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri 111 351 204 168
1981 Das Boot 70 603 111 169
1995 Heat 123 332 89 170
1978 The Deer Hunter 159 346 153 171
1980 The Elephant Man 148 261 177 172
1931 M 78 465 167 173
1950 All About Eve 114 227 302 174
1921 The Kid 99 459 249 175
1944 Double Indemnity 86 433 169 176
2013 Her > 250 194 106 177
2009 Mary and Max 178 175 274 178
2017 Thor: Ragnarok > 250 200 260 179
2013 Dallas Buyers Club > 250 146 175 180
1960 The Apartment 107 322 189 181
2008 In Bruges > 250 239 140 182
1998 The Truman Show 206 132 149 183
2010 Incendies 131 300 253 184
1939 The Wizard of Oz 232 119 241 185
2008 Slumdog Millionaire > 250 99 191 186
2007 No Country for Old Men 162 244 75 187
1999 The Boondock Saints > 250 254 250 188
2009 The Secret in Their Eyes 135 265 198 189
2016 Lion > 250 170 332 190
2017 Baahubali 2: The Conclusion > 250 1170 343 191
2015 The Revenant > 250 214 129 192
2004 Million Dollar Baby 203 163 162 193
2005 Babam ve Oglum 117 526 291 194
1963 The Great Escape 126 479 174 195
1948 Bicycle Thieves 96 458 202 196
2004 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban > 250 72 339 197
2006 Blood Diamond > 250 172 212 198
1993 The Nightmare Before Christmas > 250 105 318 199
1974 Chinatown 129 360 158 200
2012 The Perks of Being a Wallflower > 250 108 232 201
1990 Edward Scissorhands > 250 67 357 202
1949 The Third Man 127 484 224 203
2003 Big Fish > 250 133 226 204
2013 Rush 193 252 172 205
1954 Dial M for Murder 155 352 233 206
1995 Before Sunrise 211 179 228 207
1940 Rebecca 173 250 350 208
1992 Unforgiven 120 543 110 209
1979 Life of Brian 183 266 179 210
1998 The Big Lebowski 167 256 123 211
1992 Aladdin > 250 120 308 212
2000 Amores Perros 209 260 225 213
2007 The Bourne Ultimatum 234 235 156 214
2007 Ratatouille > 250 138 211 215
1996 Fargo 161 230 164 216
1995 Twelve Monkeys 245 238 163 217
1965 For a Few Dollars More 104 792 142 218
1980 Raging Bull 124 599 119 219
2005 Serenity > 250 208 295 220
1967 Cool Hand Luke 172 539 215 221
1969 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid 210 421 231 222
1957 The Bridge on the River Kwai 138 581 180 223
1988 Rain Man > 250 182 217 224
1965 The Sound of Music > 250 101 516 225
1957 The Seventh Seal 141 462 223 226
1993 In the Name of the Father 188 408 268 227
2014 Wild Tales 185 323 282 228
1939 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington 145 466 297 229
2006 The Pursuit of Happyness > 250 185 220 230
1995 Casino 146 419 136 231
1987 The Princess Bride 214 136 298 232
1950 Rashomon 110 626 185 233
2008 Iron Man > 250 140 244 234
1975 Dog Day Afternoon > 250 417 252 235
2014 PK > 250 646 246 236
2005 Sin City > 250 231 148 237
1954 On the Waterfront 139 546 237 238
1982 Gandhi 227 370 221 239
2017 Call Me by Your Name 186 347 528 240
2011 X: First Class > 250 157 248 241
1948 The Treasure of the Sierra Madre 119 786 230 242
2014 Kingsman: The Secret Service > 250 174 259 243
2012 Life of Pi > 250 152 257 244
2016 Captain America: Civil War > 250 215 265 245
2005 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire > 250 96 431 246
2004 The Notebook > 250 63 452 247
1976 Rocky 220 442 132 248
2013 About Time > 250 189 269 249
1977 Annie Hall 233 289 218 250
2003 Mystic River > 250 245 219 251
2011 The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo > 250 216 222 252
1992 Scent of a Woman > 250 276 255 253
2007 Atonement > 250 139 366 254
2011 The Artist > 250 197 325 255
2014 Big Hero 6 > 250 129 462 256
1986 Platoon 187 490 176 257
1984 Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind 213 378 301 258
1973 The Exorcist > 250 309 178 259
1925 The Gold Rush 136 684 306 260
1953 Roman Holiday > 250 206 426 261
1982 The Thing 163 528 146 262
1984 The Terminator 229 318 150 263
1985 The Breakfast Club > 250 137 391 264
2007 Persepolis > 250 291 477 265
2004 Before Sunset > 250 263 240 266
1959 Ben-Hur 195 481 227 267
1961 Judgment at Nuremberg 134 752 375 268
2013 The Hunger Games: Catching Fire > 250 83 525 269
2004 The Incredibles > 250 222 208 270
2000 Remember the Titans > 250 312 346 271
2001 Shrek > 250 143 323 272
1934 It Happened One Night 184 366 424 273
2001 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone > 250 88 530 274
2006 Casino Royale > 250 282 200 275
2014 Edge of Tomorrow > 250 293 203 276
2014 How to Train Your Dragon 2 > 250 186 395 277
1941 The Maltese Falcon 216 541 271 278
2014 Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) > 250 299 168 279
1974 Young Frankenstein > 250 443 334 280
1957 Wild Strawberries 152 609 329 281
2001 Ocean’s Eleven > 250 221 262 282
2004 Shaun of the Dead > 250 233 261 283
1967 The Graduate > 250 285 254 284
2006 The Fall > 250 223 594 285
1995 La Haine 231 561 276 286
2006 Little Miss Sunshine > 250 149 349 287
2003 Dogville > 250 328 365 288
2015 The Hateful Eight > 250 411 171 289
2005 Pride & Prejudice > 250 68 754 290
2014 Nightcrawler > 250 380 173 291
1990 Dances With Wolves > 250 375 264 292
1986 Castle in the Sky 250 379 310 293
2010 Tangled > 250 93 599 294
1999 The Iron Giant > 250 418 312 295
2000 In the Mood for Love 240 358 423 296
2016 Hidden Figures > 250 180 651 297
2008 Yip Man > 250 744 214 298
1951 Strangers on a Train > 250 478 371 299
1948 Rope > 250 503 369 300
2009 Moon > 250 350 284 301
2016 Manchester by the Sea > 250 427 243 302
1951 A Streetcar Named Desire > 250 348 448 303
1986 Ferris Bueller’s Day Off > 250 255 303 304
2001 Mulholland Drive > 250 349 242 305
2014 Captain America: The Winter Soldier > 250 204 316 306
2009 District 9 > 250 324 193 307
1982 Blade Runner 149 341 197 308
1999 Magnolia > 250 444 194 309
1985 Brazil > 250 554 287 310
2002 The Bourne Identity > 250 298 256 311
2002 Hero > 250 492 355 312
2005 Cinderella Man > 250 495 286 313
2000 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon > 250 354 313 314
1999 Toy Story 2 > 250 249 266 315
2013 Star Trek: Into Darkness > 250 191 417 316
1968 Rosemary’s Baby > 250 343 304 317
1946 Notorious > 250 500 450 318
1976 Network 191 720 273 319
2016 Rogue One > 250 283 337 320
1997 Children of Heaven 128 678 519 321
2007 Hot Fuzz > 250 259 331 322
1983 A Christmas Story > 250 415 377 323
2004 Crash > 250 226 336 324
2010 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 > 250 104 696 325
1995 Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge > 250 902 437 326
2013 Captain Phillips > 250 270 340 327
2005 Walk the Line > 250 224 418 328
2017 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 > 250 241 446 329
2007 Elite Squad > 250 974 307 330
1982 E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial > 250 246 370 331
2000 Dancer in the Dark > 250 400 447 332
1966 Persona 196 548 400 333
2009 The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo > 250 269 412 334
2008 Let the Right One In > 250 384 270 335
2014 Boyhood > 250 335 238 336
2012 Barfi! > 250 877 440 337
2009 Mr. Nobody > 250 253 434 338
1993 True Romance > 250 557 280 339
2010 My Name Is Khan > 250 535 517 340
2009 The Hangover > 250 258 247 341
1926 The General 153 891 381 342
2012 Moonrise Kingdom > 250 232 386 343
2012 Les Miserables > 250 168 499 344
1979 Stalker 197 767 347 345
2017 Baby Driver > 250 389 305 346
2012 Silver Linings Playbook > 250 237 251 347
2016 Contratiempo > 250 589 561 348
2004 The Sea Inside > 250 428 507 349
2006 Apocalypto > 250 364 373 350
1959 The 400 Blows 200 637 374 351
2017 Get Out > 250 344 314 352
1988 Akira > 250 882 267 353
1964 Fistful of Dollars > 250 950 278 354
2009 The Blind Side > 250 198 488 355
2008 Taken > 250 257 315 356
2008 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button > 250 211 320 357
2007 The Diving Bell and the Butterfly > 250 432 397 358
2011 Drive > 250 361 207 359
2003 Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring > 250 572 416 360
1987 The Untouchables > 250 604 300 361
1944 Arsenic and Old Lace > 250 464 617 362
1996 Sling Blade > 250 715 464 363
2008 The Boy in the Striped Pajamas > 250 207 601 364
2002 Talk to Her > 250 394 430 365
1979 Manhattan > 250 508 359 366
2013 Short Term 12 > 250 474 529 367
2015 Straight Outta Compton > 250 513 459 368
2010 Despicable Me > 250 145 543 369
2000 Almost Famous > 250 320 322 370
1982 Pink Floyd: The Wall > 250 656 510 371
2006 Children of Men > 250 355 263 372
2014 Ex Machina > 250 362 272 373
1997 Boogie Nights > 250 660 213 374
2013 Queen > 250 1005 484 375
1973 Papillon > 250 831 354 376
2010 Elite Squad: The Enemy Within > 250 1116 352 377
2014 The Theory of Everything > 250 173 591 378
1940 The Philadelphia Story > 250 393 766 379
1940 The Grapes of Wrath 221 728 403 380
1971 Harold and Maude > 250 436 685 381
2016 Captain Fantastic > 250 363 505 382
1993 What’s Eating Gilbert Grape > 250 202 574 383
2003 Memories of Murder 199 916 330 384
2009 Avatar > 250 228 296 385
2002 Infernal Affairs 243 875 292 386
1994 Three Colors: Red > 250 644 415 387
1976 All the President’s Men > 250 755 420 388
2016 The Handmaiden 246 595 549 389
1955 The Night of the Hunter > 250 737 471 390
1995 Underground > 250 751 541 391
1990 The Godfather: Part III > 250 440 358 392
1984 Paris, Texas 244 736 455 393
2010 The Fighter > 250 452 283 394
1966 Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? > 250 537 565 395
2014 The Fault in Our Stars > 250 187 513 396
2005 Brokeback Mountain > 250 162 611 397
2007 Chak de! India > 250 1278 317 398
2006 Lucky Number Slevin > 250 416 363 399
1991 JFK > 250 847 324 400
1998 The Legend of 1900 242 608 607 401
2017 The Greatest Showman > 250 272 972 402
2000 O Brother, Where Art Thou? > 250 401 387 403
2010 The Social Network > 250 414 201 404
1997 Gattaca > 250 356 390 405
2012 Argo > 250 243 409 406
1993 Groundhog Day 230 457 210 407
1962 The Manchurian Candidate > 250 849 506 408
1984 This Is Spinal Tap > 250 762 348 409
2013 Frozen > 250 130 692 410
1990 Misery > 250 402 466 411
2007 The Man From Earth > 250 764 290 412
1968 Planet of the Apes > 250 789 294 413
2000 Cast Away > 250 314 328 414
1998 Black Cat, White Cat > 250 676 605 415
1971 Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory > 250 333 496 416
1985 Ran 133 1207 234 417
2008 Changeling > 250 296 405 418
2006 Rang De Basanti 180 1218 236 419
1989 Glory > 250 768 427 420
1989 Back to the Future Part II > 250 374 338 421
2004 The Bourne Supremacy > 250 413 333 422
2006 Letters From Iwo Jima > 250 791 364 423
1952 High Noon > 250 890 407 424
1997 The Fifth Element > 250 247 546 425
2017 Wonder Woman > 250 196 706 426
1995 Ghost in the Shell > 250 917 361 427
1961 Yojimbo 113 1281 235 428
2015 Bahubali: The Beginning > 250 1491 393 429
2007 Zodiac > 250 435 275 430
1990 Awakenings > 250 467 559 431
1993 Three Colors: Blue > 250 552 603 432
1950 Harvey > 250 645 680 433
2014 Fury > 250 449 341 434
1993 Philadelphia > 250 277 644 435
1998 The Celebration > 250 785 404 436
1946 The Big Sleep > 250 750 489 437
1987 Wings of Desire > 250 622 638 438
2016 Hunt for the Wilderpeople > 250 605 701 439
1994 Chungking Express > 250 712 600 440
2012 Kahaani > 250 1212 478 441
1958 Touch of Evil 228 1008 356 442
2004 Finding Neverland > 250 240 570 443
2004 The Machinist > 250 330 438 444
1987 Empire of the Sun > 250 530 668 445
2012 Wreck-It Ralph > 250 281 458 446
1968 Night of the Living Dead > 250 837 385 447
1993 Carlito’s Way > 250 876 326 448
1996 The Bandit 171 1181 362 449
1997 The Game > 250 441 367 450
1946 The Best Years of Our Lives 239 772 604 451
2004 Man on Fire > 250 406 444 452
2014 The Lego Movie > 250 397 380 453
1964 Mary Poppins > 250 234 806 454
1959 Anatomy of a Murder > 250 864 515 455
1999 Being John Malkovich > 250 392 383 456
2015 The Big Short > 250 515 299 457
2008 The Wrestler > 250 621 289 458
1954 La Strada > 250 748 623 459
1999 All About My Mother > 250 405 712 460
2007 3:10 to Yuma > 250 511 456 461
1975 Barry Lyndon 225 991 281 462
2009 Fantastic Mr. Fox > 250 423 445 463
1922 Nosferatu > 250 716 468 464
2017 Wonder > 250 577 862 465
2006 The Last King of Scotland > 250 455 535 466
1980 The Blues Brothers > 250 687 372 467
2012 Skyfall > 250 295 401 468
1997 As Good as It Gets > 250 367 396 469
1955 Diabolique 223 910 534 470
2016 Kubo and the Two Strings > 250 600 616 471
1972 Solaris > 250 996 429 472
2013 Before Midnight > 250 453 449 473
1989 Kiki’s Delivery Service > 250 357 674 474
1994 Ed Wood > 250 545 384 475
1960 La Dolce Vita > 250 793 512 476
1993 The Fugitive > 250 569 392 477
1967 Bonnie and Clyde > 250 648 501 478
1996 Primal Fear > 250 426 578 479
2002 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets > 250 142 831 480
1999 The Insider > 250 863 378 481
2004 3-Iron > 250 651 719 482
1965 Doctor Zhivago > 250 714 577 483
1927 Sunrise 164 995 633 484
2009 Zombieland > 250 329 414 485
2001 Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India 249 1190 293 486
1993 Tombstone > 250 794 526 487
2008 Departures > 250 731 613 488
2009 (500) Days of Summer > 250 310 345 489
1969 Midnight Cowboy > 250 818 502 490
1961 Breakfast at Tiffany’s > 250 210 802 491
2007 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix > 250 147 837 492
2004 The Butterfly Effect > 250 303 428 493
2003 21 Grams > 250 410 500 494
2016 Doctor Strange > 250 287 556 495
2009 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince > 250 160 846 496
1953 Stalag 17 > 250 1059 642 497
1962 What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? > 250 585 793 498
2007 Once > 250 463 487 499
2013 Mandariinid > 250 666 865 500

IMDb makes adjustments to its raw ratings but does not disclose its methodology. Therefore, these rankings — which start with the raw ratings — may not match a gender-weighted version of a list made by IMDb itself because we can’t re-create the site’s adjustments.

Source: IMDb

The top 100 largely includes films from the original list of 250, and the additions to the list — there are a lot of best picture winners among the newbies — appear mainly in the back half of the 250.

Attempting to reflect a target population is a common practice in many fields that use surveys. It’s not clear to me why movie rating sites don’t do it — or, at the least, why they don’t indicate that their scores are almost all based mostly on the opinions of male users.

Footnotes

  1. Or 2 standard deviations.

  2. Some movies may also shift for reasons other than gender; again, we can’t say for sure because we don’t know what’s in IMDb’s black box.

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.

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