What is Letterboxd?
Letterboxd is a social network for sharing your taste in film. Use it as a diary to record your opinion about films as you watch them, or just to keep track of films you’ve seen in the past. Showcase your favorite films on your profile page. Rate, review and tag films as you add them. Find and follow your friends to see what they’re enjoying. Keep a watchlist of films you’d like to see, and create lists/collections on any given topic, for example: favorite heist films. We’ve been described as “like GoodReads for movies”.
What’s in a name?
Wikipedia defines letterboxing as the practice of transferring film shot in a widescreen aspect ratio to standard-width video formats while preserving the original aspect ratio. Generally this is accomplished by adding mattes (or “black bars”) above and below the picture area. Letterboxd is named for our love of the widescreen format, and has nothing whatsoever to do with orienteering or that thing in Stand By Me. Here’s some history.
Does it cost to use this site?
No. Letterboxd will always remain free to use. Some features are only available by upgrading to a Pro account.
How do I become a member?
Create an account — there is no requirement to be invited by another member.
Do you have a community policy?
How should I use this site?
Short answer: however you like. The easiest interaction is to mark films you’ve seen (or liked) using the icons on each poster. You can rate films and perform other actions from the Actions menu on the film’s poster as well. This builds up a record in your profile of the kind of films you like, and allows us to optionally hide films you’ve seen when browsing some pages.
Use the ‘Add a Film’ button to review a film, or to record the date you watched it — do this as you watch films (to populate your Diary page) or to retrospectively share your opinion of a film you’ve seen in the past. When reviewing/logging a film, you can optionally rate and/or like it, and add tags (for the film itself or to remind you how/with whom you watched it). Letterboxd also provides easy tools for making and sharing lists/collections of films.
What’s the difference between marking a film ‘watched’ and logging a film?
Marking a film as ‘watched’ (using the ‘eye’ icon on the film’s poster, or from the Actions panel on its page) tells Letterboxd you’ve seen the film at some point in the past. It’s the best way to back-fill films on the site, without having to recall exactly when you watched them. Marking films ‘watched’ adds to your overall tally of films, is useful when browsing lists (we show the percentage of each list you’ve watched) and allows you to optionally hide the films you’ve seen when browsing some listing pages.
Logging a film (via the ‘Add a Film’ button) allows you to record that you watched a film on a particular date. Adding films in this manner builds up your Diary (a record of when you saw each film) and the Recently Watched section of your Profile page. Many members keep an up-to-date Diary only from the time they join the site.
What’s the difference between liking and rating a film?
Letterboxd doesn’t mind which of these you use. You can “like” a film any time to show you enjoyed it, which builds up your Profile and Likes pages, or rate films via the Actions menu on any poster to give your friends a better idea of how much you loved (or hated) it, and they’ll see this on your Ratings page. It’s no problem to use both (or none).
When I rate a film, do all my ratings for it change?
No. Ratings attached to diary entries and reviews are not updated. This allows your rating to change over time, should you log or review a film multiple times, rather than enforcing a single rating for a film for all time.
Can I log a film and review it later?
Yes. You can edit a diary entry and/or add a review at any point after logging a film. Simply go to the diary entry page from the Diary tab in your Films section, and find the option to Add a Review. Your review will show in your friends’ activity as soon as you save it (if this is the first time you’ve added it), even if they already saw activity when you first logged the film.
How do I apply formatting in my reviews?
Letterboxd supports a limited set of HTML tags for formatting and linking to other content. These are: <strong> or <b> tags for bold text, <em> or <i> tags for italics, <a href="[URL]"> for links and <blockquote> tags for quoting others.
For all of these tags, place an opening tag (eg. <strong>) and its corresponding closing tag (eg. </strong>) on either side of the content you’d like to format.
Why do my reviews sometimes not appear in Activity?
When logging diary entries for films you watched more than three weeks in the past, we show your followers a maximum of one item per hour, to prevent this activity from saturating their feeds. To avoid followers missing your updates, log watched films in a timely fashion, and add your review later — your review will show in your friends’ activity the first time you save the diary entry with review text.
Can I review a trailer?
We’d prefer you didn’t. Letterboxd is for reviews of films you’ve seen, not those you want to see. Feel free to use the Report function to alert us to trailer (or other pre-release) reviews, which we’ll remove at our discretion.
What are lists for?
With lists, you can collect and share groups of films (or keep private lists for yourself). All Letterboxd users have a “Watchlist” to collect films they’d like to see. Create as many curated lists as you wish, for favorite genre films, your collection of physical discs, or your favourite heist films.
Can I work on a list without other users seeing it?
Yes! Deselect the “Public” option when you first save a new list. When you’re ready for others to see it, select the “Public” option and save the list. Your followers will be notified that you’ve published a new list if this is the first time you’ve made it public.
Is there a maximum list size?
Due to a limitation in one of our frameworks, the editing page for a list is only able to support 3,300 items. You can create larger lists by adding films directly from their own page, however you won’t be able to open such lists for editing.
What’s the difference between lists and my watchlist?
Your watchlist doesn’t have an edit/settings page, but it does have a single-click add/remove feature from the “More Options” menu on any film poster. As well, films in your watchlist are automatically removed when you mark them as watched, or log/review them. Just like curated lists, you can set your watchlist to be visible to other users or private.
Can I import films, ratings or lists from other services?
Importing is a Pro feature, and there are three ways to import:
- Use the ‘Import your data’ link in Settings (also available here) to import films, ratings, diary entries, reviews and more into your account using the Letterboxd CSV format. This import is compatible with the export format used by IMDb, and can easily be made to work with other export files by matching the appropriate column headers in those files.
- Import directly to a list using the above CSV approach, with support for both IMDb and Delicious Library formats (you’ll need to use their export functions first, see below for details).
- Import directly to your watchlist using the above CSV approach.
When performing an import, you’ll be able to check and fix any mis-matched titles before confirming the changes, and to select relevant options depending upon import type, such as whether you’d like all titles marked as watched as part of the process.
To export a list from IMDb, go to your Lists page, find and open the specific list, scroll to the bottom and click “Export this list”. You’ll receive a CSV file which you can import via the edit page of an existing list, or as part of creating a new list.
To export from Delicious Library (version 2 or 3), use the File > Export > Export to Another Application… option. Select the shelf or library to export, select the “XML” output format, and click “Export…” to select the output file name and location. You’ll receive an XML file which you can import via the edit page of an existing list, or when creating a new list.
Netflix no longer provides an API to directly import your viewing history, but there are user scripts like this one that could be made to work with the CSV import facility described above.
If you use Flixster, there’s a handy guide to exporting your ratings via its API.
I can’t import very large files. What should I do?
How do I keep track of films I own?
We do not plan to add a specific “ownership” flag to Letterboxd. The entertainment industry is moving away from ownership as a concept, and because we list films rather than box sets, regionalized and format-specific versions, the one-to-one relationship for ownership is more tenuous.
Instead of a specific ownership option, we encourage users to keep lists of their physical or digital collections. Lists can be made public or private, and you can add any film to a specific list directly from the “More Options” menu on the film’s poster.
Can I change my username?
We are testing this feature with Pro members at present. During this period, how the feature works may be changed at any time. Once we’re satisfied with how it works, we will consider making it available to all members.
What happens when I follow people?
Letterboxd works like Twitter: when you follow other people, you’ll see the films they add or review, the stuff they like, and the comments they make on your other friends’ stuff, appear in your Activity timeline and elsewhere.
How do I find people to follow?
In the People section, directly from review (and other) pages, via the Following and Follower pages of other users, or by using Find Friends on Twitter or Facebook from your Settings page (you’ll need to authorize read-only access to these services first).
What happens when I connect my Twitter account?
We request read-only access to your Twitter account for three reasons: to fetch your avatar, to make it harder to impersonate other users, and so that we can show a list of your Twitter friends who also have Letterboxd accounts. We never tweet on your behalf (it’s impossible with read-only access).
What happens when I connect my Facebook account?
We request read-only access to your Facebook account so that we can show a list of your Facebook friends who also have Letterboxd accounts. We never post on your behalf unless you enable activity sharing (see below).
With Facebook connected, each time you publish (or update) a review or list, you can optionally tell Letterboxd to publish this content to your main Facebook timeline. Letterboxd remembers the setting each time you publish, so it’s simple to auto-publish all (or none) or this content. If you wish, you may additionally activate the auto-publish option in the Connections tab within Settings. This will publish “secondary” activity such as ratings, likes and Watchlist additions to the appropriate activity views in Facebook (but not to your main timeline).
Can I publish my Letterboxd Facebook activity to my main Movies box?
Yes. Once you have connected your Facebook account to Letterboxd, go to Facebook and find your Movies panel (Films in the UK) on your profile page. Click its title to open the full version of this panel (the URL should look like this: http://www.facebook.com/[username]/movies). If the Letterboxd app is correctly installed, you will see an option to “Add movies from Letterboxd and other apps”. Select this option and your relevant Letterboxd activity will start populating your main Movies panel as well.
What’s the deal with connecting my Netflix account?
Sadly, Netflix has closed its public API, and we’ll be removing the connection/availablility options from the site as a result of this.
We previously offered the ability to import your viewing history, but Netflix also retired its API for that data. See the section on importing above for alternative solutions.
Can I automatically publish my reviews to other sites?
You can auto-publish to Facebook from within Letterboxd. We don’t support any other services natively at this time, but using IFTTT it’s possible to publish content from your profile’s RSS feed to third-party services. There are example recipes for Twitter, Tumblr, WordPress and others.
How do I add an avatar to my account?
If you connect your Twitter account to Letterboxd, we import your avatar directly from that service. If you don’t have a Twitter account, you can use the Gravatar service to attach an image to the email address on your Letterboxd account. To update your avatar, either change the selected Gravatar for your matched email address, or use the ‘Refresh Avatar’ option in Settings to update your Twitter avatar.
Are my profile, reviews and lists publicly visible?
Yes (with the exception of any list or Watchlist you’ve set as private). Since the launch of our public beta, all content (excluding private lists) is visible by any visitor to the site, and to search engines.
Does the site have protected accounts?
Not at this time. If there’s sufficient demand, these may be added in future.
Can I block another member?
Yes. Use the flag icon on a member’s profile to block or report them. When you block a member, the follower relationship is terminated in both directions, comments they’ve posted on your reviews and lists are hidden for everyone who visits your pages, and comments they’ve posted elsewhere are hidden for you. The blocked member is also prevented from placing new comments on (or liking) any of your content, and you won’t see activity relating to them in your feed.
You may still see a blocked member’s content in areas of the site that we cache for all visitors (such as the main Films page), however if you feel that this content is generally inappropriate or otherwise contravenes our Community Policy, we encourage you to report the content using the relevant option.
How do tags work?
You can tag films (when adding them to your diary) and curated lists. Use tags as you would on a blog or Twitter, to add context to your content. Tags may reflect your own genre taxonomy, an occasion or festival, where/how/with whom you saw a film, the type or style of a list, or anything else you care to use them for. Each diary entry or curated list displays its list of keyword tags which you can use to cross-reference your own content, your friends’ content, or site-wide.
Can I use unicode tags?
Yes. We support unicode characters in tags and tag URLs. If you mix unicode and latin characters in a single tag, only the latin characters will be used to generate the tag URL, which may cause multiple tags to ‘collapse’ into a single tag for purposes of aggregation.
Where does Letterboxd get its film data from?
Letterboxd sources all film-related data from TMDb, a crowd-sourced database of film-related information. Read more on our film data page, and please report any duplicate or non-film content to us using the Report option on each film’s page.
How do I add a film to the Letterboxd database?
I see a film on TMDb, why isn’t it on Letterboxd?
We import all non-adult and non-video film titles from TMDb. If a film has not been imported, chances are it’s marked as “Adult” or “Video”. The Adult tag in TMDb is for pornographic material, and the Video tag is mostly for compilations (such as collections of exercise or music videos). If an entry has been mis-categorized according to TMDb’s guidelines, change the appropriate setting at TMDb and we’ll restore the film on our next scheduled import. If you find a non-adult or non-video film on TMDb that doesn’t appear on Letterboxd, please contact us to have it fixed manually.
Why is the release year for some films incorrect?
We display the earliest-known release date for each film (according to TMDb), the same approach used by IMDb. Prior to mid-2013 we showed the US release date, due to API limitations.
Why does a film on TMDb have a different poster?
To maintain a consistent user experience, we lock the posters of popular films from being updated after their US release date. If you spot a released film with an incorrect or inferior poster, please let us know and we’ll consider updating it. Posters for unreleased films are updated regularly.
Should I report duplicate films in your database?
Yes. Duplicate films are sometimes created in TMDb, which means they end up in Letterboxd as well. If/when the duplicate is removed from TMDb, we retain it in Letterboxd, as it may have been logged or reviewed by our users. If you spot a duplicate, use the Report function on the film page and we’ll merge the two (or more) films into a single entry in our database (we take care to move all user activity related to the duplicate film onto the correct entry).
Should I report non-film content?
Yes. Please use the Report function on a film’s page to report non-film content such as TV series (some exceptions are listed below). These will be removed at Letterboxd’s discretion. You may also use the Report function to report inappropriate content throughout the site, including reviews of trailers.
Does Letterboxd support TV shows?
No. We only support the small selection of television content that is allowed by TMDb (mini-series, TV movies, and MTV Unplugged). Although TMDb’s data occasionally includes other TV shows, they are not supported, and Letterboxd is designed for sharing opinion about feature films. We reserve the right to remove television-related content from Letterboxd at any time, without warning. If we remove content that you have reviewed, your review will disappear from the site, but such reviews are still included in the account export option in Settings.
What happened to the PPV and wrestling entries?
These were (mostly) removed from the site as the result of a policy change at TMDb. PPV and similar events are now classified as “Video” content (a designation that was previously used for compilations of content including music and exercise videos), and we do not import such entries. As stated above, your reviews for deleted content are still included in the account export option in Settings.
I can’t find a film I’ve seen, can I add it?
Because the source of Letterboxd’s film data (TMDb) is crowd-sourced, anyone can add missing films or metadata. You’ll need to create an account on their site, and follow the guidelines for adding data. Changes to TMDb’s data will become visible on Letterboxd within 30 hours, or you can use the shortcut described on our film data page.
Do you have mobile apps or an API?
We have an iPhone app that offers a subset of the website’s features. We are working towards the release of a public API and Android support.
Can I embed content from Letterboxd into my site?
Soon. We’re conducting a pilot program with a selection of partners to show a summary of Letterboxd activity related to a film. Our plan is to eventually make embedded content available to all members, but if you’d like to be considered for early access, please get in touch.
Why doesn’t Letterboxd support old browsers?
It takes time and effort to support legacy browsers, and we’d rather spend that time more constructively.
Can I use your logo on my site?
Yes, as long as you do so respectfully. You’ll find versions for download here.
Can I get my data out of your site?
Yes, there’s an Export option on your Settings page.
Letterboxd is missing a vital feature! Who should I tell?
Please direct your feedback here. We have lots of plans brewing and would welcome your thoughts on the site’s future direction.