Unwritten rules of IMDb ratings

I don't remember when my love for movies begun, but it must have something to do with being a child and the amazement of seeing something moving on a screen. I remember the first movies I watched on a medium sized black and white TV that my grandma had and staying up till 2 AM, not being able to turn my attention away from the screen.

It was 1996, I was 6 years old and the only movie that I actually remember watching is Airplane!, hence my broken heart when Leslie Nielsen passed away.
6 to 12 years old is a blur, but I know the first time I went to a cinema was for Hannibal. I was 12 and looking back I feel it influenced my movie preferences later in life.

One year later (2003), while using a dial-up connection, I signed up for my IMDb and my data gathering journey began.

Years passed, the number of movies I watched and subsequently rated increased and I'm approaching 2.000 movies watched.
I already knew I have certain preferences for choosing what to watch and 9 times out of 10 I manage to avoid time wasters. How you ask?

It's actually quite easy to determine if a movie is worth watching based on its genre and IMDb rating. The following criteria assumes the title has at least 3.000-4.000 ratings received.
There's obviously more movie genres than the ones mentioned below, but I have a non-scientific idea that most of them fall under these 3 categories. A western is never just a western, a science fiction movie is never just about space etc.


  • lower than 5: Waste of time
  • between 5 and 6: Worth watching, could provide some good laughs
  • between 6 and 7: One of the better comedies there is
  • over 7: It's either a gem or is a Drama/Comedy and has its rating skewed by the emotional impact, not by its comedic effect

Thriller / Horror

  • lower than 4: Come on, let's be serious
  • between 4 and 5: 9 out of 10 times, it's really that bad. But if you dig the synopsis, might give it a shot.
  • between 5 and 6: You just can't know for sure. Generally, 5.5 and lower is worse than 5.6 to 6, but it's mostly a coin toss.
  • between 6 and 7: Pretty good one, go and watch it.
  • between 7 and 8: You're in very good movie territory here. It's more often for thrillers to end up with such a high rating. If there's a horror rated this high, you need to watch it now.
  • over 8: I don't even know why you're reading this post instead of figuring out a way to watch it.


  • lower than 6: The only reason to watch these is to laugh at the script, the actors or need some background noise.
  • 6 to 7: Ehh, you never know, it's a gamble.
  • 7 to 8: Probably a pretty good movie, but since it's a drama, it can either be to your liking or not. They're usually good movies but don't speak to all audiences.
  • over 8: Get some napkins or a handkerchief ready, you'll probably be bawling your eyes out.

There are obviously some exceptions, but there's a reason my wife married me - I sure know how to pick a good movie for us.

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