Backing up your Netflix Ratings

August 2, 2007 | 8:11 p.m. CDT

If you have a Netflix account and you’re like me then you’ve probably rated a few movies since you started your account with Netflix. Personally, I’ve rated 256 movies. That’s not nearly as many as some people but it’s still enough that it would be a lot of work to type them all into an excel spreadsheet or something.

My wife and I haven’t been renting very many movies lately because lately the new releases coming out on DVD haven’t been ones that we wanted to watch for either one reason or another. This is why we decided to cancel our Netflix account.

I decided that I would like to backup the ratings that I have made so that I could keep them for my own personal information or so that I could import them into another movie service sometime in the future. No sense in having to do that hard work of rating my movies all over again.

I started my Netflix movie backup quest by searching google for things like “Netflix API.” After 10 or more minutes of searching I discovered much to my disappointment that Netflix doesn’t have any kind of an open API for the movies that you’ve rented.

However, in my search I discovered some code written by Tony Lieuallen that uses his greasmonkey script to parse out your ratings and then send them to his PHP script that he wrote. There wasn’t really any documentation that I could find, however just buy looking at his code I was able to figure it out.

The following are my instructions based on how I did it several weeks ago.

  • Download the zip archive, getflix.zip.
  • Use the schema.sql file to create your database in MySQL.
  • Copy the files included in getflix.zip to your web server.
  • Install greasmonkey if you don’t already have it installed.
  • Change the myBaseUrl variable in getflix-grabber.user.js so it points to the directory on your web server where you put the getflix.zip files.
  • Sign into your netflix account and then right click on the monkey in the bottom status bar in Firefox and then click on “User Script Commands” and then “Start GetFlix.”
  • Give it awhile to run and if you have a Firebug installed you can watch the console as it runs. When the script is finished you’ll know because all activity will have stopped.
  • If all went well you should be able to look at your database and see all of your ratings.

I hope this helps the next person trying to find a way to backup their Netflix ratings. I also hope that Netflix considers developing an API so that developers and individuals can use their ratings more easily.

Related tags: Netflix


Chris Charlton
1.   At 1:09 a.m. CST on Jan. 4, 2008, Chris Charlton wrote:

Dope, thanks.

2.   At 8:53 p.m. CST on Jan. 18, 2009, Alan wrote:

Hey Brent, Thought you might be interested to hear about a service we created on SaveMyRatings.com to allow you to copy your movie ratings between different websites or download a CSV of your ratings.

For example you can copy your movie ratings from Netflix to Amazon, Netflix, RottenTomatoes…etc.. Or vis-versa. It's still a work in progress, but seeing as you've worked on this problem before I'd appreciate any feedback you might have.

Check it out: http://www.SaveMyRatings.com


Brent O'Connor
3.   At 8:29 a.m. CST on Jan. 19, 2009, Brent O'Connor wrote:

@Alan, Sounds cool. Not sure I would have a use for it since I only use one service these days. I pretty much just use the flixster app in Facebook.

4.   At 9:31 p.m. CST on Feb. 9, 2009, Alan wrote:

Brent, That's cool, did you give up DVD rentals all together? Flixster is a good app for sharing movies with your friends, I use it too. Save My Ratings also supports Flixster; so if you ever signup for Netflix again you can import your ratings from Flixster.



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