A lot of people use their friends or other people they know to get advice on what movie to watch. Others look through the newspapers or watch TV to get some recommendations. But, there is a critical mass of people who consult the Internet and find online reviews that tell them what to expect from a movie. There are lots of sites full of reviews. Some of them are more prominent and feature well-known film critics, while others are genre-specific or just lesser known.
In today’s article, we are going to bring you a list of the 16 most prominent and reliable movie review sites on the Internet. Some of them are specialized sites, while others are just sections within a larger site. They’ll be ordered by personal preference so you don’t have to agree with our order but we do think you won’t have any major issues with the list itself.
1. Internet Movie Database
Description: “IMDb (an acronym for Internet Movie Database) is an online database of information related to films, television programs, home videos, video games, and streaming content online – including cast, production crew and personal biographies, plot summaries, trivia, ratings, and fan and critical reviews. The movie and talent pages of IMDb are accessible to all internet users, but a registration process is necessary to contribute information to the site. Most data in the database is provided by volunteer contributors.
The site enables registered users to submit new material and edits to existing entries. Users with a proven track record of submitting data are given instant approval for additions or corrections to cast, credits, and other demographics of media product and personalities.
If a registered user or visitor is in the entertainment industry and has an IMDb page, then that user / visitor can add photos to that page by enrolling in IMDbPRO. There is no single index of contributors, no index on each profile page of the items contributed, and (except for plot synopses and biographies) no identification of contributors to each product’s or person’s data pages. Users are also invited to rate any film on a scale of 1 to 10, and the totals are converted into a weighted mean-rating that is displayed beside each title, with online filters employed to deter ballot-stuffing.” (from Wikipedia)
Rationale: By far the most popular site on our list, the legendary IMDb is the ultimate reference point for most Internet users. It has the largest movie database on the internet and while the ratings are user-generated, it also links official reviews and has a section for external reviewers. IMDb is by far the most commonly used reference point when movie reviews are concerned.
2. Rotten Tomatoes
Description: “Rotten Tomatoes and the Tomatometer score are the world’s most trusted recommendation resources for quality entertainment. As the leading online aggregator of movie and TV show reviews from critics, we provide fans with a comprehensive guide to what’s Fresh – and what’s Rotten – in theaters and at home.
And the Tomatometer is just the beginning. We also serve movie and TV fans with original editorial content on our site and through social channels, produce fun and informative video series, and hold live events for fans across the country, with our ‘Your Opinion Sucks’ live shows. If you’re an entertainment fan looking for a recommendation, or to share an opinion, you’ve come to the right place.
Rotten Tomatoes has assembled a team of curators whose job it is to read thousands of movie and TV reviews weekly. The team collects movie and TV reviews from Tomatometer-approved critics and publications every day, generating Tomatometer scores. Our curators carefully read these reviews, noting if the reviews are Fresh or Rotten, and choose a representative pull-quote. Tomatometer-approved critics can also self-submit their reviews.” (from rottetomatoes.com)
Rationale: Rotten Tomatoes, although not as popular as IMDb, has become a major player in the review industry. Unlike IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes is a review aggregator that bases its scores on certified reviews gathered around the Internet, but it also has a user score section. The main issue with Rotten Tomatoes compared to IMDb is that it has a much smaller database.
Description: “It began as a simple idea back in the summer of 1999: a single score could summarize the many entertainment reviews available for a movie or a video game. Metacritic’s three founding members—all former attorneys who were happy to find a more constructive but less profitable use of their time—launched the site in January 2001 and Metacritic has evolved over the last decade to reflect their experience distilling many critics’ voices into the single Metascore, a weighted average of the most respected critics writing reviews online and in print.
Metacritic’s mission is to help consumers make an informed decision about how to spend their time and money on entertainment. We believe that multiple opinions are better than one, user voices can be as important as critics, and opinions must be scored to be easy to use.” (from metacritic.com)
Rationale: Metacritic functions on the same basis as Rotten Tomatoes – it aggregates reviews from different sources and then calculates its scores, but also has user scores as well. Its database is about the same size when movies are concerned, but unlike Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic also has a section dedicated to music and video games.
Description: “Welcome to the newly refreshed RogerEbert.com, the world’s preeminent destination for movie criticism, commentary and community. Ever since the passing of the site’s co-founder and namesake, Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Roger Ebert, in 2013, it has been run by his wife, Chaz Ebert. Chaz has been guiding the current redesign in conjunction with celebrated web developer Table XI, IT consultant, Myrin New, Ebert Company executive, Sonia Evans, and Managing Editor, Brian Tallerico to ensure that Roger’s passion for movies, decades of essential reviews, and ability to connect with readers serve as the site’s foundation.
Chaz with her team of professional editors (Brian Tallerico, Matt Zoller Seitz, Nick Allen, Matt Fagerholm and Nell Minow), continues to maintain Roger’s high standards for providing timeless insights in cinematic discourse, while exploring the latest releases with coverage penned by a diverse array of esteemed writers.
We will continue to bring not only current reviews of films from major studios, but one of the most comprehensive coverages of reviews from independent and documentary filmmakers, as well as reviews of leading television or cable series and shows from various streaming platforms.
In this new and improved iteration of RogerEbert.com, you will find more user-friendly features, faster loading with improved search engine optimization, a Collections section of movies by genre, cleaner more aesthetically pleasing graphics, and many other delights. Interviews with noted filmmakers will be enhanced by more video and print features, as well as features paying tribute to events in the world of cinema, and even life itself.” (from rogerebert.com)
Rationale: The legacy of the legendary Roger Ebert, arguably the best film critic to ever write a review anywhere in the world, is continued on the site that bears his name. Ebert himself was the main editor of the site until his death, but his legacy still continues as his former collaborators decided to keep it up and running, adding new content daily. This is a specialized review site written by certified critics and contains only those movies reviewed by the site’s writers and has no user content.
Description: “Since launching on July 15, 1996, IndieWire has grown into the leading news, information and networking site for independent-minded filmmakers, the industry and moviegoers alike. Originally conceived as an online forum and newsletter for filmmakers and festivals, IndieWire has grown over the last two decades into a preeminent source for film and television news, reviews, interviews, global festival coverage and more.
Our mission has always been to create a platform to deliver news, information and other resources to creators and movie lovers, while facilitating a greater appreciation of independent filmmaking to the masses.” (from. indiewire.com)
Rationale: IndieWire has been an industry pillar for independent moviemakers for more than 20 years now and is the best reference point when the American indie scene is concerned. The reviews are written by professionals and there is no user content, but there are several sections that cover a lot of different aspects of the indie movie scene.
6. The Guardian
Description: “The Guardian is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as The Manchester Guardian, and changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers The Observer and The Guardian Weekly, The Guardian is part of the Guardian Media Group, owned by the Scott Trust.
The trust was created in 1936 to “secure the financial and editorial independence of The Guardian in perpetuity and to safeguard the journalistic freedom and liberal values of The Guardian free from commercial or political interference”. As of February 2020, its print edition had a daily circulation of 126,879. The newspaper has an online edition, TheGuardian.com, as well as two international websites, Guardian Australia (founded in 2013) and Guardian US (founded in 2011).
The paper’s readership is generally on the mainstream left of British political opinion, and its reputation as a platform for social liberal and left-wing editorial has led to the use of the “Guardian reader” and “Guardianista” as often-pejorative epithets for those of left-leaning or “politically correct” tendencies. Frequent typographical errors during the age of manual typesetting led Private Eye magazine to dub the paper the “Grauniad” in the 1960s, a nickname still used occasionally by the editors for self-mockery.
While The Guardian’s print circulation is in decline, the report indicated that news from The Guardian, including that reported online, reaches more than 23 million UK adults each month.” (from Wikipedia)
Rationale: The Guardian is a reliable source of information from all fields, as it is a real news portal (and a newspaper), but it’s also noted for its film review section, which we have linked. Guardian’s professional reviewer cover a lot of movies and you won’t find a relevant contemporary title that’s not on the site. There is no user content.
7. The New York Times
Description: “The New York Times (NYT or NY Times) is an American daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership. Founded in 1851, the Times has since won 130 Pulitzer Prizes (the most of any newspaper), and has long been regarded within the industry as a national “newspaper of record”. It is ranked 18th in the world by circulation and 3rd in the U.S. A Rasmussen Reports survey on perceptions of bias found that the Times is perceived as having a liberal bias.
The paper is owned by The New York Times Company, which is publicly traded. It has been governed by the Sulzberger family since 1896, through a dual-class share structure after its shares became publicly traded. A. G. Sulzberger and his father, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. — the paper’s publisher and the company’s chairman, respectively — are the fourth and fifth generation of the family to head the paper. Since the mid-1970s, The New York Times has expanded its layout and organization, adding special weekly sections on various topics supplementing the regular news, editorials, sports, and features.
Since 2008, the Times has been organized into the following sections: News, Editorials / Opinions-Columns / Op-Ed, New York (metropolitan), Business, Sports, Arts, Science, Styles, Home, Travel, and other features. On Sundays, the Times is supplemented by the Sunday Review (formerly the Week in Review), The New York Times Book Review, The New York Times Magazine, and T: The New York Times Style Magazine. The Times stayed with the broadsheet full-page set-up and an eight-column format for several years after most papers switched to six, and was one of the last newspapers to adopt color photography, especially on the front page. The paper’s motto, “All the News That’s Fit to Print”, appears in the upper left-hand corner of the front page.” (from Wikipedia)
Rationale: We all know that The New York Times is one of the most respectable newspapers around the world, and that it is responsible for some of the greatest examples of journalism in history. Still, the site also has a very strong movie reviews section which is up to date with all the newest movies and can be considered very reliable.
8. Chicago Sun-Times
Description: “The Chicago Sun-Times is a daily newspaper published in Chicago, Illinois, United States. It is the flagship paper of the Sun-Times Media Group, and has the second largest circulation among Chicago newspapers, after the Chicago Tribune. The modern paper grew out of the 1948 merger of the Chicago Sun and the Chicago Daily Times. Journalists at the paper have received eight Pulitzer prizes, mostly in the 1970s; one recipient was film critic Roger Ebert (1975), who worked at the paper from 1967 until his death in 2013.
Ownership of the paper has changed hands numerous times, including twice in the late 2010s. The Chicago Sun-Times claims to be the oldest continuously published daily newspaper in the city. That claim is based on the 1844 founding of the Chicago Daily Journal, which was also the first newspaper to publish the rumor, now believed false, that a cow owned by Catherine O’Leary was responsible for the Chicago fire.
The modern paper grew out of the 1948 merger of the Chicago Sun, founded by Marshall Field III on December 4, 1941, and the Chicago Daily Times (which had dropped the “Illustrated” from its title). The newspaper was owned by Field Enterprises, controlled by the Marshall Field family, which acquired the afternoon Chicago Daily News in 1959 and launched WFLD television in 1966.
When the Daily News ended its run in 1978, much of its staff, including Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Mike Royko, were moved to the Sun-Times. During the Field period, the newspaper had a populist, progressive character that leaned Democratic but was independent of the city’s Democratic establishment. Although the graphic style was urban tabloid, the paper was well regarded for journalistic quality and did not rely on sensational front-page stories. It typically ran articles from The Washington Post / Los Angeles Times wire service.” (from Wikipedia)
Rationale: Although another newspaper like the two we mentioned above, the Chicago Sun-Times has a very strong movie reviewing tradition, as its most famous writer ever was the legendary Roger Ebert. The reviews today are mostly written by Richard Roeper, one of Ebert’s collaborators, which is why we think that this site’s review section has some importance.
9. Screen Rant
Description: “Screen Rant had a humble start back in 2003 and, in the years since, has grown into one of the largest and most-respected entertainment news sources in the world – serving over 232 million readers in 2018 alone. We don’t just report news, we editorialize it with unique insight that engages everyone from casual entertainment lovers to hardcore movie buffs. With television, film, and video game news, reviews, podcasts, and a YouTube channel with over 6.5 million subscribers, Screen Rant is the ultimate geek entertainment destination.
SR editors report from the pop culture events our readers (new and returning) love most. Passionate cinephiles, TV addicts, gamers, and comic book readers, the Screen Rant team comes from diverse backgrounds in film studies, creating writing, video production, and business management brought together by a passion for all things entertainment and a goal of providing the best , as well as most engaging, content possible for visitors to our site.” (from screenrant.com)
Rationale: Screen Rant is one of the industry’s biggest online players and a site dedicated to entertainment. It has a variety of sections and a lot of great writers, which more than makes up for its lack of user content. The reviews from Screen Rant are usually considered to be the most trustworthy around the web.
Description: “Empire is a British film magazine published monthly by Bauer Consumer Media. The first issue (June / July 1989) was published in May 1989. David Hepworth of Emap, the publisher of British music magazines Q and Smash Hits, among other titles, came up with the idea to publish a magazine similar to Q, but for films. They recruited Smash Hits editor, Barry McIlheney, to edit the new magazine, with Hepworth as Editorial Director. Hepworth produced a one-page document of what he wanted to achieve.
Among them, they planned to review and rate every film that was released in the cinema in the United Kingdom. It also said that “Empire believes that movies can sometimes be art, but they should always be fun.” The first edition (June / July 1989) was published in May 1989 with Dennis Quaid and Winona Ryder on the front cover from the film Great Balls of Fire !. The first issue reached its target of 50,000 copies sold. Film reviews were given a star rating between 1 and 5, with no half stars. A compilation of their film reviews was published in 2006 as the Empire Film Guide.” (from Wikipedia)
Rationale: Empire is a specialized British film magazine and is, in that aspect, one of the most trustworthy sources from the media industry. It has a lot of different sections covering a lot of fields from the world of media but is also known for its professional critics, who are among the most reliable in the field.
Description: “IGN (an abbreviation of its former name Imagine Games Network) is an American video game and entertainment media website operated by IGN Entertainment Inc., a subsidiary of Ziff Davis, itself wholly owned by j2 Global. The company is located in San Francisco’s SOMA district and is headed by its former editor-in-chief, Peer Schneider. The IGN website was the brainchild of media entrepreneur Chris Anderson and launched on September 29, 1996. It focuses on games, films, television, comics, technology, and other media.
Originally a network of desktop websites, IGN is now also distributed on mobile platforms, console programs on the Xbox and PlayStation, FireTV, Roku, and via YouTube, Twitch, Hulu, and Snapchat. Originally, IGN was the flagship website of IGN Entertainment, a website which owned and operated several other websites oriented towards players’ interests, games, and entertainment, such as Rotten Tomatoes, GameSpy, GameStats, VE3D, TeamXbox, Vault Network, FilePlanet, and AskMen, among others. IGN was sold to publishing company Ziff Davis in February 2013 and now operates as a J2 Global subsidiary.” (from Wikipedia)
Rationale: We couldn’t, of course, make a list without IGN, one of the largest players in the online industry. IGN covers everything from movies to video games, from news and exclusives to interviews and reviews, and is a respectable go-to if you need reliable information. There is no user content, but there is plenty of trustworthy reviews.
12. The Hollywood Reporter
Description: “The Hollywood Reporter (THR) is an American digital and print magazine, and website, which focuses on the Hollywood film, television, and entertainment industries. It was founded in 1930 as a daily trade paper, and in 2010 switched to a weekly large-format print magazine with a revamped website. Headquartered in Los Angeles, THR is part of the Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group, and is owned by MRC (formerly Valence Media), a holding company co-founded by Todd Boehly – an executive of its previous owners, Guggenheim Partners and Eldridge Industries .” (from Wikipedia)
Rationale: The Hollywood Reporter has been an industry brand for years and it its printed editions, as well as its online articles, are among the most reliable sources when it comes to the movie industry. The magazine has since expanded into other areas such as gaming but has retained its review section which is one of the better you’ll find out there.
13. The Rolling Stone
Description: “Rolling Stone is an American monthly magazine that focuses on popular culture. It was founded in San Francisco, California, in 1967 by Jann Wenner, and the music critic Ralph J. Gleason. It was first known for its coverage of rock music and for political reporting by Hunter S. Thompson. In the 1990s, the magazine broadened and shifted its focus to a younger readership interested in youth-oriented television shows, film actors, and popular music. It has since returned to its traditional mix of content, including music, entertainment, and politics.
The first magazine was released in 1967 and featured John Lennon on the cover and was published every two weeks. It is known for provocative photography and its cover photos, featuring musicians, politicians, athletes, and actors. In addition to its print version in the United States, it publishes content through Rollingstone.com and numerous international editions.” (from Wikipedia)
Rationale: Like most magazines on our list, The Rolling Stone has a firm reputation as one of the most reliable media sources out there. It covers a wide array of artistic fields, including music and movies, and has a series of high-quality writers and reviewers who regularly contribute to the site. The magazine’s reviews are among the most reliable ones.
Description: “Variety is an American media company owned by Penske Media Corporation. The company was founded by Sime Silverman in New York City in 1905 as a weekly newspaper reporting on theater and vaudeville. In 1933 it added Daily Variety, based in Los Angeles, to cover the motion-picture industry. Variety.com features breaking entertainment news, reviews, box office results, cover stories, videos, photo galleries and features, plus a credits database, production charts and calendar, with archive content dating back to 1905.” (from Wikipedia)
Rationale: Variety is another big player on the media scene and a magazine that is not specialized for cinema, but has a strong movie coverage. Variety’s reviews are often cited around the web and its professional reviewers are considered to be among the best you can find, which is why we highly recommend it as a source.
15. Vanity Fair
Description: “Vanity Fair is an American magazine published since 1983 by Condé Nast Publications. The magazine took its current form from the 1980s thanks to a relaunch promoted by the owner of Condè Nast himself, the famous Si Newhouse, and thanks to the direction of British journalists Tina Brown and Graydon Carter.
In addition to some controversial photo cases, the magazine is also known for its quality articles. In 1996, journalist Marie Brenner wrote a denunciation article about the tobacco industry entitled “The Man Who Knew Too Much”; the article was then made into the film Insider – Behind the truth (1999). Also, the magazine revealed, in May 2005, after more than thirty years of mystery, the name of the person who informed The Washington Post of the Watergate scandal, W. Mark Felt. Many celebrity interviews have been published.
Seeking to keep the connection with Hollywood and American pop culture, Vanity Fair throws an exclusive Academy Awards party at Morton’s restaurant. Additionally, the annual Hollywood issue collects photos of Academy Award nominations. The magazine’s success became a case study for Toby Young’s book, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People.” (from Wikipedia)
Rationale: Vanity Fair is much more than just a movie magazine and although it is probably better known for its fashion and lifestyle editorials, it has a strong cinema section and we thought it deserved a spot on our list. The magazine’s professional critics are often quoted on different sites and we thought it would be fitting to close our list with this site.
16. Film Companion
Description: Film Companion is a celebration of the movies. It’s a platform that is committed to quality journalism, which is well-researched and balanced, and isn’t paid news. We bring you engaging and informative content on movies that include, reviews of films and web shows, interviews, film festival news, features and masterclasses.
Unlike other sites on this list, Film Companion not only brings you big-budget Hollywood reviews, but it also brings you Bollywood, Malayalam, Telugu and movie reviews from other territories (not that well known to western culture) for you to explore.
They also review short movies, and that is also something not many websites on this list can boast about.
Rationale: Film Companion offers a lot of new movie reviews that not many sites on this list even bother to look at. If you are someone willing to explore new cultures, you should go and take a look at their unbiased high-quality movie reviews.
And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!