500 Films

You may know that I have a spreadsheet where I log every movie I watch. The first one was James Cameron’s “Avatar” on January 10, 2010. On August 9, 2012, I’ve watched 500 films since I started the sheet. (#500 was Ingmar Bergman’s “Persona.”) That’s 2 years, 6 months and 30 days. One movie every 1.885 days, on average.

You may also know that I’m a stats nerd and have an almost obsessive compulsive urge to sort and measure and chart things. So that’s what I did. I don’t think these lists and graphics necessarily mean anything, but that’s not the point, really.


This list took forever to compile, and it’s maybe the most meaningless of them all. During one week in the middle of 2011 I’ve watched all but the first two “Harry Potter” films, which explains most of these names. Michael Bennet is interesting, he’s an extra who appeared in only 25 films, 9 of which happened to be in my last 500. Rainer Bock is the only non-English speaking actor to get a top spot.

1. Alan Rickman (9 films)
1. Michael Bennett (9 films)
1. Michael Gambon (8 films, 2 watched twice)
2. Timothy Spall (8 films, 1 watched twice)
3. Kristen Wiig (8 films)
3. George Clooney (7 films, 1 watched twice)
3. Helena Bonham Carter (7 films, 1 watched twice)
3. Mickie McGowan (7 films, 1 watched twice)
3. Bill Hader (6 films, 2 watched twice)
4. Tom Felton (7 films)
4. Jason Bateman (7 films)
4. Sigourney Weaver (7 films)
4. Sherry Lynn (6 films, 1 watched twice)
4. William Melling (6 films, 1 watched twice)
4. Rainer Bock (5 films, 2 watched twice)

And because you’re all dying to know: Michael Fassbender (and about thirty other actors) comes in at no. 5 with six movies.


1. Alfred Hitchcock (7 films)
1. Billy Wilder (7 films)
2. Pedro Almodóvar (6 films)
3. Christopher Nolan (4 films, 1 watched twice)
4. David Yates (4 films)
4. Gus Van Sant (4 films)
4. Sidney Lumet (4 films)
4. Steven Soderbergh (4 films)
4. Werner Herzog (4 films)
4. Woody Allen (4 films)
3. Ethan and Joel Coen (4 films, 1 watched twice)
4. Abbas Kiarostami (3 films, 1 watched twice)
4. Jonathan Demme (2 films, 1 watched three times)

(Resolution for the next 500: More films directed by women.)

I’ve watched two films three times: “Rachel Getting Married” and “Pina,” the latter twice in 3D in a theater.


From 1998 to 2009, I bought a lot (a lot!) of DVDs (and some BDs in later years). Starting in 2010, that changed. I’d rent more often than buy, especially once rental flat rates came along. And now with services like Netflix most of what I watch is streaming online.

You can see that I borrow a lot of what I watch from friends (who still buy DVDs). I don’t see movies in the theater as much as I’d like, but you all know why that is.


The oldest film I’ve watched is “Sherlock Jr.” (Buster Keaton, 1924). The most recent year I haven’t seen a single film from (in these last 500) is 1997. (Coincidentally, 1997 is also the average year of all 500 films.) Years without films before that are 1983, 1981, 1952, 1945-47, 1938, 1935-36, 1932, 1928-30, 1926 and everything before 1924. So I’ve seen at least one film from every year of the twenty-tens (well, so far), the yet-to-be-named decade before that, the seventies and the sixties.

Yes, I’ve watched a lot (a lot!) more new films than old ones. And that’s a shame. BUT, things are getting better. Excuse my crude photoshop efforts, but here’s a chart of the average year of the films (by 10-film-blocks) overlaid on top of the graph from earlier, showing that I’ve started to watch a lot more older films once I got access to online-streaming:


Almost 75% (368/500) of the films are in English. I know that’s not very multicultural of me, but, hey, I like to watch movies, and those are the ones that are available.

But I do try to mix it up. Taking English out of the equation, here are the other languages I’ve watched films in:

That “/” stands for silent films, which I know are not without language but that’s the way I counted them. “s:de” are films dubbed into German. There were sixteen of those, but it looks like they’re a thing of the past – the last one I saw was the 3D-re-release of “The Lion King” on November 6, 2011.

Other statistics

Don’t know what it is about Wednesdays…

Pretty, colorful lines! Make of them what you will…

The shortest film of the 500 is “Le ballon rouge” (Albert Lamorisse, 1956) with 34 minutes, the longest “Woodstock” (Director’s Cut, Michael Wadleigh, 1970) with 224. The average length is 105 minutes.

That’s all I got for now. To the next 500!


2 thoughts on “500 Films

  1. Also mehr alte, nicht englischsprachige Filme von Frauen. Hmmm … Da fallen mir nur zwei mittelmäßig passende Namen ein (Agnès Varda, Margarethe von Trotta) und einige Stummfilmregisseurinnen (Germaine Dulac, Lotte Reininger, Leni Riefenstahl).
    Die Verteilung ist jedenfalls ganz und gar nicht verwunderlich und deshalb auch nicht so verwerflich. Zeitgenössische Filme sind uns nun mal bewusster, gegenwärtiger, die englischsprachigen Länder bieten ein dichteres und leichter zugängliches Angebot und leider gibt es nur wenige Regisseurinnen.

    Jetzt ist mir aber ein Film eingefallen, den ich dir urplötzlich unbedingt empfehlen möchte: “Orlando” von Sally Potter (nach Virginia Woolf) mit der bezauberndsten Tilda Swinton aller Zeiten (tatsächlich hätte niemand sonst Orlando spielen können, niemand!).

    Übrigens würde ich wohl auch unendlich viele Statistiken machen … wäre ich nur nicht so faul …

  2. Impressive! Ich wollte auch schon immer mal ein ausführliches Statistik-Excel-File anlegen, doch war ich bisher immer zu faul. So dient einzig mein Blog zum Festhalten meiner Sichtungen, in das ich immerhin auch jeden Film und jede Serie eintrage. Ist eben nur bedeutend weniger als bei dir… ;)

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