IMDB vs. Rotten Tomatoes: Which is better?

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Difference between IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes

For movie buffs in search of reviews, two websites are the go-to sources of such information: IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes. Both are undisputed leaders in the movie review business–at least as far as the online world is concerned–and few can come close to these sites’ ease of use and wealth of information. You could certainly do no wrong with either one, although they do have their relative strengths and weaknesses, some of the most important of which we cover here.

Rotten Tomatoes


IMDb or the Internet Movie Database is a site that provides information on movies, television shows, actors, and even production crews. More recently, IMDb has begun to offer video game reviews as well. Rotten Tomatoes for its part also offers film reviews, in addition to information and news related to the film industry.


IMDb in the form that we know it as today actually started out as a two separate lists in the rec.arts.movies newsgroup on Usenet, namely, "The List" (which in itself grew out from a post titled "Those Eyes"), and the "Movie Ratings List" (later to be known as the "Movie Ratings Report"). Both these lists were later compiled into the "Combined LIST & Movie Ratings Report". Later lists such as the "Actors List", "Directors List", and the "Actress List" were gathered together under a common set of Unix search scripts, and this later evolved into IMDb. The company was bought out by Amazon in 1998.

As for Rotten Tomatoes, the review site began life as a personal project, in which the goal was to provide a site wherein movie reviews by noted critics in the United States were made available to the public. The version of the site in its current form was launched in April 1999, and it was bought by Flixster in 2010.

Sources Of Information

IMDb enjoys a reputation as one of the most comprehensive review sites in the world, which is interesting for the fact that its main sources of reviews are regular people who make submissions to the site. What this means is that the information provided on IMDb may not be as accurate as that which comes from recognized film reviewers.

The information on Rotten Tomatoes on the other hand is sourced from authors belonging to certified writing guilds or film criticism organizations. Along with submitted reviews for users, this forms the basis of a particular film’s ratings.



  • An online database of movie, actor, television, and production crew related information
  • Also covers video games, as well as fictional characters featured in video games
  • Was launched in October 1990
  • Owned by since 1998
  • Recognized as a comprehensive source of film information
  • Main source of information is contributor submissions
  • May carry erroneous information
  • Sometimes refuses contributions from knowledgeable sources

Rotten Tomatoes

  • Offers reviews, information, and news about films
  • Was launched on August 1998
  • Owned by Flixster since January 2010
  • Provides film reviews from recognized members of writing guilds or film critic groups
  • Also provides message forums wherein users can participate in discussions on movies, video games, music and more.
  • Allows users to submit their own ratings of movies


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