This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
One aside in a recent piece I penned at this site questioned whether films such as The Shawshank Redemption – for some time ranked as the best film of all time by popular vote at the IMDB – were favored amongst those who’d seen it more than one time. I was questioning whether the films we tend to salute as the greatest – rather than our favorites – are the ones we tend to watch time and time again.
In the same article, for instance, I highlighted Schindler’s List, an excellent film, but not one I see too many people watching on six monthly rotation. That doesn’t make it a lesser film, rather, it’s the kind of movie that I’d imagine most have seen once or twice at best, with no plans to do so again at the weekend.
In fact, there’s a good chunk of the annual awards-season fare that I’d argue rarely gets revisited outside of gong time. Sure, there’s a lot of us who make sure we watch, for instance, all of the Best Picture Oscar nominees. But watching them twice? I’d suggest less so. I’ve yet to meet the person, for example, who’s watched August: Osage County more than twice (for non-work reasons).
Which is a long-winded way of getting to the question that I posed in the earlier post: what’s the highest rated movie of all time, when the criteria is that you must have seen the movie in question five times or more?
It’s a question that IMDB voting can’t answer – we saw how easily IMDB data could be excessively swung during the Ghostbusters release window last year – but, to a degree, the movie social network service Letterboxd can.
If you’ve not had the pleasure, Letterboxd is a service whereby you can record your views on films, create lists, share views with other film lovers, and other such features. And one of those features of Letterboxd is allowing its users to rate the films that they’ve seen, and also to repeat rate when they watch the film again. As such, the database behind all of this knows what its users think of a movie, and how many times they’ve seen it. Or at least an approximation of
Letterboxd inevitably attracts more hardened movie fans than IMDB, and there are levels of registration to go through before you can vote on or rate a film. As such, a more generally popular film such as the aforementioned The Shawshank Redemption (and that’s no slight on Frank Darabont’s superb movie) would struggle to top a Letterboxd chart.
It turns out that’s the case, too. For in response to our earlier article, Letterboxd took up the challenge: which are the most obsessively rewatched films?
To determine this, it isolated the films in its database that had been watched five times or more by at least 25 different members. That’s quite a small sample, granted, and it also can’t factor in those who choose to only log a film once. As such, that puts a skew on the results. But it doesn’t make them any less interesting. For what Letterboxd has discovered is that many favorites don’t make its top 100. No The Shawshank Redemption at all, no Godfather movies, no spaghetti westerns, no Citizen Kane, no Gone With The Wind. The list inevitably has a contemporary feel, albeit with some real quirks – the short film World Of Tomorrow pops up at number 27, while we’d never have predicted number one if you’d given us a week (no slight on the film incidentally).
Letterboxd also notes that the list is further skewed by seasonal films that get rewatched every year, and by franchise movies, where people are likely to rewatch the whole series, or regularly dip into their boxsets.
The top 25, then…
2. La La Land
3. Back To The Future
4. The Thing
7. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
10. It’s A Wonderful Life
11. Pulp Fiction
12. Star Wars: A New Hope
13. 2001: A Space Odyssey
16. Jurassic Park
17. The Social Network
19. Inside Out
20. Die Hard
21. The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King
22. Moonrise Kingdom
23. Mad Max: Fury Road
25. Groundhog Day
The full top 100 list can be found right here. What you won’t find if you scroll down is a single subtitled movie. What you will find is a core of directors represented. Christopher Nolan has five films in the top 100, Quentin Tarantino, Peter Jackson, and Edgar Wright have four apiece.
Inevitably, then, I throw this over to you. What are your top five films, where you’ve watched the movie in question at least five times? Leave your choices in the comments, and let’s see how it all compares…