Title

Tracking Mass Ideology through IMDb's Top 250

Presenter Information

Mackenzie Shields

Department

History and Political Science

Major

History

Research Advisor

Tohline, Andrew Max

Advisor's Department

Arts, Languages, and Philosophy

Funding Source

First Year Research Experience Program

Abstract

In 1947, film scholar Siegfried Kracauer famously argued in his book "From Caligari to Hitler" that the films of Weimar Germany provided clues as to the “inner life” of a culture undergoing seismic ideological changes. Now in 2019, an era of mass data collection, there is a more concrete way to quantify the relationship between a culture’s art and beliefs beyond looking at films being released.

The IMDb Top 250 movies, a list compiled with ratings collected from users, tracks attitudes towards the movies even after their release. For this project, we collected snapshots of Top 250 lists preserved on the Wayback Machine to examine changes in users’ opinions between 2004 and 2019. Most films’ rankings rose or fell according to identifiable patterns. However, films that behave atypically may indicate underlying ideological shifts, and preliminary data analysis suggests trends relating to fantasy and wish fulfillment.

Biography

Mackenzie Shields is a freshman pursing a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Bachelor of Science in Technical Communication. She intends to attend graduate school and aspires to work in museum archiving and curation. Mackenzie serves as the Traditions Committee Chair of the Thomas Jefferson Hall Association, Member-At-Large of the Residence Hall Association, and Secretary of History Club.

Research Category

Arts and Humanities

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Document Type

Poster

Award

Arts and humanities poster session: Second place

Location

Upper Atrium

Presentation Date

16 Apr 2019, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

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Apr 16th, 9:00 AM Apr 16th, 3:00 PM

Tracking Mass Ideology through IMDb's Top 250

Upper Atrium

In 1947, film scholar Siegfried Kracauer famously argued in his book "From Caligari to Hitler" that the films of Weimar Germany provided clues as to the “inner life” of a culture undergoing seismic ideological changes. Now in 2019, an era of mass data collection, there is a more concrete way to quantify the relationship between a culture’s art and beliefs beyond looking at films being released.

The IMDb Top 250 movies, a list compiled with ratings collected from users, tracks attitudes towards the movies even after their release. For this project, we collected snapshots of Top 250 lists preserved on the Wayback Machine to examine changes in users’ opinions between 2004 and 2019. Most films’ rankings rose or fell according to identifiable patterns. However, films that behave atypically may indicate underlying ideological shifts, and preliminary data analysis suggests trends relating to fantasy and wish fulfillment.