How Does Rotten Tomatoes Work?


Have you been curious about how movies get rated, and just exactly how does Rotten Tomatoes Work? We give the full details on the site,, while explaining how it can help you to improve the recommendations that you get for Netflix.

Why is the site named Rotten Tomatoes?

One of the reasons why Rotten Tomatoes is a popular site to find out information about shows is not just the accuracy of its ratings. Many users are curious about how the site got its name. The site’s name is refers to a common practice in ancient times, and as recently as the age of vaudeville, when members of the audience would throw rotten produce items, such as tomatoes, to express their dissatisfaction with plays and other performances.

The site uses the icon of a rotten, green tomato for programs that are generally panned by viewers, and good reviews are expressed with an icon of a red, ripe tomato. To receive a Fresh rating, the title must have received good reviews from at least 60 percent of the site’s reviewers, who are also known as “Approved Tomatometer Critics.”

How Does Rotten Tomatoes Work?

The site provides several ways for users to search for movies and shows to watch. When viewers first open the site, they will see several tabs across the top of the screen. These tabs are for convenient categories such as Movies, DVDS, TV, News and Critics.

Opening the Movies tab allows users to see the top new movies that are opening in theaters soon, as well as the “Top of the Box Office” movies and which ones are “Coming Soon.” Opening the DVDs tab allows users to see which titles are now available for DVD, as well as see which are the top rentals for the week.

The TV tab allows readers to instantly see what will be on in a given day, and also provides links to forums where they can discuss specific shows and broadcasts. The News tab provides helpful guides, such as top movies releasing for summer 2014, as well as helpful links to recaps, reviews and podcasts.

The Critics tab provides links to the latest reviews in movies, DVDs and TV shows. Most of the site’s tabs also provide users an easy way to access film trailers, so that they can preview clips of the show to help them make a more informed viewing decision.

Rotten Tomatoes & Netflix

Users are not confined to searching for great programs to watch by selecting tabs and scrolling through the offered links and selections. There are dedicated apps and extensions that allow users to use the Rotten Tomatoes ranking in conjunction with Netflix. Users can also do customized searches for movies and shows based on genre, tomatometer ranking, MPAA rating, or customized searches with the names of the author, director, or keywords in the movie title. The results can also be further sorted by release date and tomatometer rank.

Since the site allows users to fully customize their search, and also has a dedicated app, many users turn to Rotton Tomatoes for Netflix recommendations. While Netflix does offer it’s own reviews of titles and has an algorithm that makes viewer recommendations, some users complain that it can still be difficult to find something great to watch on Netflix. For many users, it can be easier to search for a recommendation based on its scale of freshness, and then check to see if it is available for streaming rather than using Netflix’s own recommendations.

Of course, there are several additional sites that provide ratings and make recommendations for TV Shows and Movies. Popular recommendation sites that also work with Netflix include Instant Watcher, and A popular site to receive a random movie or TV show recommendation is Netflix Roulette.

Do you use Rotten Tomatoes to find out what you should watch when you go to the movie theater? Have you used it to find Netflix recommendations? Please share your experiences with us in the comments section below. While you are on our site, check out our helpful articles on related topics, such as the 11 Best Sites for Netflix Recommendations or read to discover the Top 16 New Titles on Netflix that are streaming now.