Essential Movie Resources


AllMovie, by Rovi Corp., has detailed information on almost every movie ever released. For each movie, AllMovie displays a brief synopsis and typically one professional critic review, with an editor rating and an average user rating on a scale of 1 to 5 stars, in half-star increments. Movies are classified into genres, sub-genres, moods, and themes, linking to sortable pages listing other movies with those characteristics. Every AllMovie page includes a quick, incremental search box, where you can enter a movie title or name of an artist. Also you can browse through an expandable outline of genres and sub-genres. Links to associated celebrity pages are sprinkled throughout each movie’s description, and these lead to biographical and filmographic information, again including AllMovie ratings and sorting options. Additionally, AllMovie provides details about various DVD and Blu-ray releases that have been issued for each movie. AllMovie data is syndicated on the New York Times website. (On Wikipedia, see AllRovi and Rovi Corporation.)

EW – Movies

Entertainment Weekly (EW), a Time Warner publication, contains reviews of many movies, rated with academic-style letter grades, A(+/-) through F. EW also produces a variety of film-related feature articles, such as The 50 Greatest Directors and Their 100 Best Movies, Hidden Treasures – The 100 best movies you’ve never heard of, and Sci-Fi’s Top 100. There is a form to search the EW database of about 10,000 reviews, with optional filtering by title, genre, and reviewer, and sorting by title, rating, release date, or relevance. Also there is an index of EW reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, which links to useful lists for individual reviewers, and also there is a Metacritic index of EW reviews. (On Wikipedia, see Entertainment Weekly and Time Warner.)


IMDb – the Internet Movie Database, owned by Amazon, is undoubtedly the most extensive and detailed repository of movie information, with more than 2 million titles (including TV) and coverage of more than 5 million personalities. While the site includes links to external reviews, it relies mainly on its large user community to determine movie rankings on a 1 to 10 scale. The count of votes and average numerical user rating (with 1 digit after the decimal point) is displayed prominently on each movie page. When available (for more recent movies), Metacritic’s “Metascore” and count of critic reviews also are displayed. Every page on the site has in incremental search box, and there are also several advanced search forms, including a very powerful Advanced Title Search and a fascinating Movie Keyword Analyzer (MoKA) tool. IMDb Charts contain a number of handy lists, such as the Top 250, lists sorted by ranking for various genres, and lists of most popular films by year. In addition, IMDb has a large and ever-growing collection of sortable user lists, which can be found via links to related user lists on the movie pages to which they refer. With more than 40 million registered users, IMDb’s message boards are teeming with discussion about every conceivable film, video, and TV-related topic. (On Wikipedia, see Internet Movie Database and

Metacritic – Movies

Metacritic is a CBS Interactive site that grades and aggregates critic and user reviews of movies (as well as TV shows, music, and games). The site assigns a numerical grade between 0 and 100 to each published critic review, and from these it computes an overall “Metascore” (syndicated on IMDb). Listings of critic reviews also include excerpts, links to full reviews, and publication dates. User reviews have a grade of 0 – 10, and the average user score (with 1 digit after the decimal point) is displayed alongside the Metascore, with the review count. Metacritic’s coverage is limited to relatively recent films, including most since 1999, with only a small representation of titles going back as far as the 1970s. Every page includes a quick search box for titles and person names, and there is an advanced search page. In addition to rankings and filmographies for celebrities, Metacritic has sortable lists of reviews organized by critic and by publication, with statistics comparing each individual’s average review score to the overall average. Among the site’s regular features are DVD: What’s New and Now In Theaters: What’s Good.
(On Wikipedia, see Metacritic and CBS Interactive, a division of CBS Corporation.)


MRQE, The Movie Review Query Engine, created by Stewart M. Clamen, has the most extensive online index of movie reviews, with links to more than 900,000 reviews covering more than 100,000 titles, dating back to the 1890s. For many titles (especially more recent or popular films), the site displays numerical scores ranging from 0 to 100, the MRQE Metric, based on an average of critical reviews, and a separate score based on user reviews. Reviews for a given movie can be listed in a variety of orderings, including date of review or name of the source. Entertainment Weekly (EW) incorporates the MRQE Metric into their movie review pages. MRQE also has an assortment of featured lists and it maintains several lists of the most popular recent titles. (On Wikipedia, see Movie Review Query Engine.)

NYTimes – Movies

The New York Times is the probably the most highly respected primary source of movie reviews, with tens of thousands of reviews dating back to the beginning of the 20th century. While NYTimes does not assign grades to its reviews, it does provide a way to search the critics’ picks. There is also a form to search the full NYTimes archive of 28,000 reviews, containing all reviews from 1960 – 2006 and a selection from earlier years, including all Best Picture Academy Award winners and titles from the NYTimes list of the Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made (through 2002). Metacritic’s index of NYTimes reviews, numbering almost 8,000, can be sorted by either Metascore or critic’s score (as assessed by Metacritic). The Rotten Tomatoes index of NYTimes reviews lists the names of associated critics, linking to a list of reviews for each critic, including both RT’s T-Meter rating and their assessment of the critic’s rating (on a scale of 0 – 5). (On Wikipedia, see The New York Times and The New York Times Company.)


Rotten Tomatoes (RT), a Flixster site, is a movie review aggregator with very broad coverage, syndicated by iTunes and Netflix. RT has a unique way of classifying movies as “Rotten” or “Fresh”, based on the consensus of negative or positive critic reviews. Its “Tomatometer” (aka “T-meter”) score reflects the proportion of positive to negative reviews, on a 0 – 100% scale. RT also shows an average score of user and critic reviews on 1 to 10 scale, and further refines its statistics to include only “top critics”. Each page has a quick, incremental search box for movie title or person name. There is also a movie search and browse form, with filtering on genre, decade or era, and ratings. The site lists new DVD releases, movies available for streaming on Netflix, and it maintains a large selection of sortable top movie lists, organized by year and by genre. RT provides biographies and filmographies for individual celebrities, sorted by year, T-meter rating, or title. RT also has pages on source publications, linking to summaries of reviews for each critic, comparing that critic’s rating against the T-meter rating. (On Wikipedia, see Rotten Tomatoes, Flixster, and parent company Warner Bros., a subsidiary of Time Warner.)


Total Film, a Future Publishing site, is the online counterpart to the UK-based film magazine of the same name, published 13 times per year. The site contains more than 10,000 movie reviews, graded 1 – 5 stars (no half-stars), and it includes filmographies for thousands of celebrities. Total Film also covers cinema news (syndicated on IMDb), and it has online discussion forums and a diverse assortment of feature articles, such as 100 Greatest Movies Of All Time and 50 Best Indie Films. Most pages include a search box, and there is a site search form with options as to the scope and ordering of results. There is a Rotten Tomatoes index of Total Film reviewers and their reviews, and also there is a smaller Metacritic index of Total Film reviews.
(On Wikipedia, see Total Film and Future plc.)

TVGuide – Movies

TV Guide, the weekly magazine now owned by Lionsgate, has a web site with very broad coverage of movies, TV programs, and related news. The site’s movie reviews (often unattributed) generally are scored 1 – 4 stars, but sometimes 1 – 5 stars, with half-stars. Every page includes a quick, incremental search box to find a movie by title or a celebrity by name. TV Guide maintains a list of its choice of 100 most popular movies and another short list with its choice of most popular celebrities. In addition to general TV listings, TV Guide provides concise listings of currently available movies on TV and movies on demand. There is an index of TV Guide reviews on Metacritic, and Rotten Tomatoes has an index of TV Guide movie reviews, covering thousands of reviews, broken down by critic. (On Wikipedia, see TV Guide and Lions Gate Entertainment.)

Variety – Film

Variety, the weekly entertainment trade magazine owned by Penske Media Corp. (PMC), has a website with news, feature articles, and thousands of film reviews dating back to 1907. Every page includes a basic search box, but Variety’s complete archive is available only by subscription. However, there is limited free access, and many Variety reviews are accessible through Google caching. There is a Metacritic index of recent Variety reviews, and the Rotten Tomatoes index of Variety reviews covers more that 20,000 reviews, broken down by critic. (On Wikipedia, see Variety (magazine) and PMC (company).)

Wikipedia – Film

Wikipedia has hundreds of editors participating in its Film WikiProject, actively maintaining and enlarging a collection of well over 100,000 film-related articles. As a matter of policy, Wikipedia does not provide movie reviews or extensive lists of references to reviews, but it usually has at least a link to the corresponding IMDb article. Wikipedia articles about movies typically give a synopsis of the plot and basic details such as running time, language, director, genre, principal cast members, etc. Wikipedia also includes a vast number of lists, categories, images, and other types of movie-related pages. See Wikipedia’s Film Category for an expandable outline of related sub-categories and pages.

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