Below are the highly rated movies that differ the most between the sexes in Internet Movie DataBase rankings.
Earlier this year, commenter Lex posted some tables from Reddit of movies female vs. male taste differences in movies, based on Internet Movie DataBase rankings on a 10 point scale.
IMDB ratings are based on up two million votes each, and they are reasonably reliable: e.g., to pick two neo-sword & sandal movies, Ridley Scott’s Gladiator is an 8.5 overall (both sexes) while Oliver Stone’s Alexander is only a 5.6. I would guess that over 95% of viewers of both would say that the former is objectively a movie that works better than the latter.
Men and women mostly are pretty much in agreement on IMDB ratings (e.g., The Shawshank Redemption is #1 with both sexes, which I don’t really get, but whatever). But when you look at where they disagree most, it’s hardly surprising.
The male vs. female difference results are quite plausible, although I don’t quite understand how the ranks and scores line up. Also, I have various various quibbles about the methodology:
- Far more males than females rate movies on IMDB; ranking cultural products is just kind of a guy thing to do (e.g., High Fidelity).
- Presumably, women who go on IMDB to share their movie ratings have tastes more like men who go on IMDB to share their movie rating than to the women who don’t see much of point in doing this.
- The methodology of looking at size of differences in ratings selects for mid-ranked movies, whereas movies near the top are less likely to show up and consensus bad movies are considered at all. For example, to take two David Lean war epics that appeal more to men than to women, The Bridge on the River Kwai was ranked the 581st best movie of all time by IMDB women and the 180th best movie of all time by men, for a difference of 401. In contrast, Lawrence of Arabia was rated 396th and 105th for a difference of 291. Does this really mean that ratings of The Bridge over the River Kwai is more sex divergent than Lawrence of Arabia or just that the latter was rated somewhat higher by both sexes? If you divided the rankings, then the gap for the former is 3.22 and for the latter is 3.77. I think all you can really say definitively is that both are fine movies and unsurprisingly appeal more to men than to women.
Most of the movies that women like a lot more than men are ones that men think are pretty good but not so great (male ratings of 7.2 to 7.8). The movies that women don’t like as much as men tend to be ones that men think are terrific.