Letterboxd logo

Letterboxd is an online social networking service co-founded by Matthew Buchanan and Karl von Randow in 2011. It was launched as a social app focused on sharing opinions about, and love of, film, and is maintained by a small team in Auckland, New Zealand. The site is meant for sharing its members' tastes in films. Members can use it as a diary to record their opinions about films, keep track of films they have seen in the past, write reviews or make lists of films and showcase their favorite films, as well as meet and interact with others cinephiles.

Quick Fact


  • Ranked #2,076th worldwide
  • Active users 3 M
  • Type Interest-Based networks
  • Launched date Oct 2011
  • Employees 11
  • Headquarters Auckland, New Zealand.
  • Parent company Amazon


Matthew Buchanan
Karlvon Randow


  • Brand value In 2020 N/A
  • Revenue in 2020 $391,6 K
  • Net loss In 2020 N/A

The Problem Happened

The Problem HappenedKarl von Randow left, and Matthew Buchanan, co-founders

of Letterboxd, in Auckland, New Zealand. (via bdnews24.com)

While the site is constantly growing, its backend team is small and not immune to controversy.

The Ringer reports that in 2019, a Letterboxd moderator decided to remove a review of Quentin Tarantino’s 2009 WWII epic “Inglorious Basterds” because it suggested the movie’s violent protagonists’ time travel to the present and kill Nazis living in the U.S. today.

In a Tweet that is now deleted, Letterboxd attempted to explain why it took down the review. That explanation was met with backlash. For Letterboxd’s managers, the incident proved to be an invaluable lesson on how difficult it is to monitor an online community.

Before the incident, Letterboxd users didn’t have the power to remove hateful comments on their posts. All they could do was flag it and hope a site moderator would see it and take it down.

Letterboxd is expanding, but its progress hasn’t come without a few growing pains.

Original Idea

original ideaoriginal idea

It mostly grew out of frustration that no one had built a good, social movie experience. They knew they had to do it ourselves. This was circa 2010. Essentially what they wanted was the follower model from Twitter and Tumblr combined with a cast-crew database and film diary. Lists were also in the thinking from the start.

Letterboxd was launched as a social app focused on sharing opinions about, and love of, film, and is maintained by a small team in Auckland, New Zealand. The site is meant for sharing its members' tastes in films.

Brief History

Oct The site was launched at Brooklyn Beta.
Apr Attracted more than 17,000 beta testers over.

Transitioned from private to public beta.

Feb Membership was opened for public use.
May The 100 millionth movie is marked as watched on this site, six years after its release.
Sep Partnered with Justwatch.com to include online viewing options for films.
Sep Announced a new membership tier for film-related organizations.
Jan The user base nearly doubles since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Feb Members have marked more than 600 million movies watched.

Network Features

Anyone can read content on the site. An account is required for users who want to participate. All members can rate films, review films and tag them with relevant keywords.

They may also maintain lists of films they have watched or want to watch, and interact with other members. Lists can be made public or private to the user. Ratings follow the five-star system, with half-stars also allowed. A follower model enables members to follow along with the activity of others on the site.

Free Features


																	Diary feature. (via theperfectboredom.com)

When someone asks “seen anything good lately?” the automatic response is to pull up Letterboxd diary to see what have watched. Letterboxd makes it easy to log movies as you watch them, and you can quickly specify the date, rating (out of five stars), whether it is a rewatch or your first time, and add a review.

All of those are optional, so if you want to forgo all that, you can also just click “watched” so that you can track what you’ve seen without having to note all the other specifics. So simple, so easy, and so essential.


																	Search feature. (via theperfectboredom.com)

On Letterboxd, in addition to the basic information like cast and crew, release year, and runtime, at a single glance, you can see not just the average user rating and your own rating, but, crucially, the distribution of those ratings. In other words, you can see whether that three-star film is actually rated three stars by everyone, or half of them rated it 5 stars and the other half 1 star.

You can also see how popular the movie is – how many members have watched it, how many likes it’s gotten, and how many lists it appears on. On the left-hand side, it also lists all the streaming services where the movie is available.


ReviewsReviews feature. (via theperfectboredom.com)

Letterboxd is a pretty low-key site, but if it’s known for one thing, it’s for the pithy, quippy, meme-worthy reviews. There are entire Twitter accounts devoted to this. You’ll rarely find full-length pretentious reviews here, but the tendency is towards pure entertainment. Any Letterboxd user knows the feeling of finishing a movie, logging it on your Letterboxd diary, and then facing the eternal struggle of having to decide between writing a witty, snarky review or a meaningful one (especially if it’s a good film).

There is also an extremely helpful click-through option for spoiler-filled reviews.


ListsSearch feature. (via theperfectboredom.com)

We aren’t just in the age of memes, we’re in a time where lists and listicles reign supreme. Lists are an incredibly effective way to group movies and search for movies. Are you watching a movie with your parents and want to avoid uncomfortable sex scenes? Looking for movies directed by women? Or good animated films? Letterboxd has got your back. Each list will also show you exactly how many movies on that list you’ve already seen, and the ones you haven’t seen will pop out as the rest are darkened.

You can browse through lists that others have made, or put together your own. Even better, you can filter each list by a number of variables such as date, genre, rating, length, and popularity.


																	Socialize feature. (via theperfectboredom.com)

Letterboxd is social media, just without the infinite baby pictures posted by your college friends whose names you’ve forgotten. It’s a fun way to share what you’re watching, or what you’re interested in seeing. It’s also easy to give and get recommendations from others. The only thing I love as much as watching movies is talking about movies.

Letterboxd provides a great conversation starter with your friends, as well as an easy way to follow your favorite film critics, podcasters, or even bloggers (hell, it could even replace your favorite dating app). It is arguably the most versatile and inclusive space for film discussions today.

Letterboxd Pro Features

There are plenty of worthwhile features on the free version of Letterboxd that will streamline your movie watching and give you options that you’ve never had before. If you’re enjoying Letterboxd after a few months, it may be worth upgrading to a Letterboxd Pro membership for just $19.00 a year. You get a bevy of additional features, including no ads.


																Stats feature. (via theperfectboredom.com)

Countless stats (provided in graphs, charts, and other easily digestible formats) are provided to you based on each calendar year as well as your all-time statistics. It makes for great fun for statheads to pore over, but it also reveals your own watching habits and patterns and allows you to share those with others as well.

Filter By Streaming Service

Filter By Streaming Service
																Filter by streaming service feature. (via theperfectboredom.com)

Your “watchlist” is available at the free level, and like many other websites and apps out there, you can easily add movies that you want to watch so that you aren’t scrolling Netflix endlessly while your food gets cold. The real game-changer here is that the Pro level lets you filter your watchlist, as well as any other list on Letterboxd, by your favorite streaming services. In other words, you can add all the streaming services that you have, and then automatically sort lists to see what’s currently available to you all on one platform.

This is seamlessly integrated with Just Watch, and for someone who averages a movie a day, this is a life-changing feature. As an added bonus, you’ll even get notifications whenever movies on your watchlist become available to stream!

Patron Membership

  • Includes all Pro features.
  • The Patron's profile page includes a backdrop of their favorite film (the first one listed, if available).
  • Priority access to test new features including beta versions and iPhone app by request.
  • Patron's name appears on the Patrons Page.
  • Account upgrade fee: USD $49.00/per year.


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