How I Use Lists in IMDb

I started using IMDb as soon as I discovered it in 1998, shortly before its acquisition by Amazon. It seemed exactly the type or resource for which the internet was designed. A huge database of movies with everything you might want to know about each one. Although the site has slowly become a promotional platform for Amazon, I remain an active user. One of my favourite features is the ability to create lists. In this article I’ll outline how and why I do this.

In early 2008 I discovered that with a free IMDb user account I could save lists of movies on the site. It’s a versatile way of grouping movies in almost any way you want. At the time I was still a member of Lovefilm, an online DVD rental service also purchased by Amazon. All the DVDs I’d rented were saved in a list I’d exported from the Lovefilm site. So I thought it would be good to create a list for each year and add the films I’d seen. This habit has continued and at the time of writing I have 17 years of movie watching captured on IMDB.

Adding films to a list is simple. In iOS navigate to the movie’s page in the IMDb app, select the ellipsis at the top right then choose “Add to List”. If you have created lists before you will be presented with these and you can choose the one to which you want to add this movie. Alternatively you can also “create a list” from here.

As well as lists of years containing the movies I’ve watched, I have a few other lists. My all time top 10 movies has its own list. I also track films I see at the cinema using my Odeon Limitless ticket. This helps me ensure I’m getting value from this monthly subscription. From time to time I might track films in the IMDb top 250 currently available on specific streaming service, or films we have recorded on our TiVo box. There are many other ways I could use lists but like most things the time consumed has to be evaluated against the value of doing it. For me the list of years is the single most useful feature.

IMDb also has a default list – the watchlist. You can see my watchlist here. Similar to streaming services this is a place where you can save films you’d like to see. The movie pages for films on your watchlist are visible in several locations. The watchlist appears within your lists page, accessible from the “You” button on the bottom right of the iOS app. You can also see a black tick on a yellow bookmark icon in the top left of the thumbnail for movies in search returns. On the movie’s page in the app, you’ll see a yellow “Add to Watchlist” button beneath the movie’s description. Adding the movie turns the button black and updates the text to “Added to Watchlist”.

Like most movie websites IMDb has the option to rate and review films. I first started using the rating feature in 2018 when I went through all of the films in each of my lists and added a rating retrospectively. It’s obviously much better to rate a film just after you’ve seen it but it was still a worthwhile exercise.

At the time of writing I’ve rated 1033 movies. Now whenever I watch a film I rate it and add it to the list for that year (and any others that are relevant). As with all cataloguing the value of the habit grows through time. It’s interesting to be able to check when I watched any particular film, or to watch something again and re-evaluate its rating.

Paul McCafferty @paulmccafferty