Yet what’s ironic is the way this great British success story is so ignored at home. “It’s been kind of odd that the UK media doesn’t pay much attention,” sighs Needham.
He works in his upstairs office, hemmed in by bookshelves groaning under the weight of volumes on Hitchcock (his favourite director) and film noir (his favourite genre).
Despite the carefully arranged collections of UK film mags, no publication has ever given Needham or the IMDb its due. (Until now).
As well as offering millions of technical credits, goofs and star ratings, IMDb has also revolutionised film culture in other ways.
Barraclough suggests it’s become “one of the main bridgeheads between the public and the industry”, giving ordinary film fans access to the kind of information (who’s hot and who’s not; what actors are doing next; what directors are attached to future productions) that they never used to get, far beyond a small clique of industry pros.
It’s an essential marketing tool, too: eager movie fans now get access to trailers and in-production details in ways they never could before, when the only chance of seeing what the new Bond film would look like was sneaking into your local Odeon to watch the pre-feature trailer reel.
While some may miss the thrill of those pre-internet days, when films arrived with no hype and fewer expectations, the sheer number of IMDb users suggests they’re in a minority.