Ian's Movie Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

Confessions of a Blu-ray Collector: Collecting Philosophy


I am starting up a new series of blog posts which will revolve around the idea of movie collecting.  I encourage any readers to please debate my points and give their opinions in the comments section.  So I start by discussing the mindset of the “collector”.

The urge to collect is probably existent in all humans, but the strength of that urge likely runs across a wide spectrum.  And so those on the lower end of the spectrum will look at us on the other end with mocking smirks.   But wherever you are on the gamut of collecting, why do we do it?  The National Psychologist gives a list of motivations, including:

– for investment

– for enjoyment

– for social interaction (through meeting other like-minded collectors)

– to preserve the past

– for the quest of the pursuit

– to arrange, rearrange, and classify

So which do YOU fall under?

I would say for enjoyment, to be sure.  However, I also think I strongly fall under the latter category or arranging and classifying.  I have a very categorical mind which I need to arrange many various things in my head in particular orders or segments, and collecting things like blurays, board games, and NES games helps me to channel this need.

There is a danger in collecting as well, and this comes when it starts interfering with our everyday lives.  The extreme of this notion is the idea of hoarding of course.  So its good to remember to keep your collecting habits in check.

*This information is pulled from The Psychology of Collecting by Mark B. McKinley.

Okay, enough background, lets get into movie collecting in particular.


I have a bluray collection of 145 movies.  To those who don’t collect movies, this is going to see really high.  To others who do, this is going to seem very low.  Why the discrepancy in viewpoints?

When building a movie collection, there are generally two camps which you can fall into.  The first is that you collect only a select number of movies which you find to be great films.  This is the selective collecting philosophy, or qualitative collection..  This is the category which I fall into.

The second camp is the inclusive or quantitative collecting philosophy.  This means that you are more worried about increasing the size of your collection that what actually goes into the collection.  Collectors with this philosophy, like Frank from the Filmjunk podcast or Fogs from Fog’s Movie Reviews, seem to buy any movie they deem slightly interesting.  Therefore, their collections can get very large.  I’m talking 800-1000 movies, or in some extreme cases even higher I am sure.

So why do I fall in the first camp?  Its because I see my collection as a reflection of who I am as a movie fan.  This selection of movies that I have chosen speak to my tastes in film and are a statement of what I believe to be great cinema.  Just because I see lesser movies  in the 2 for 10 bin at Best Buy doesn’t mean I’m going to automatically buy them just because they’re cheap.  Hell, I’ve even ejected films from my collection after further reflection of whether or not they are actually worthy of being in there.

People in the second camp also have a much higher likelihood of “blind buying”, or buying blurays of movies they have never seen before.  This makes no sense to a collector like myself, unless you have a system in place for selling off those movies again if they do not meet your standards.

So which type of collector are you?  What are your motivations for collecting movies, if you are also a movie collector?  And if you are, which general philosophy do you fall under?  Do you buy as many movies as you can, or only a select few?  How large is your bluray collection?


27 Responses to “Confessions of a Blu-ray Collector: Collecting Philosophy”

  1. I’m a blu-ray colector too, and I like how you wrote about this. I’m a part of the second block you described, but just because the blind buying.

    Generally, I buy movies I’ve never seen because I’d like to see them or because there are very affordable discounts (when blockbuster closed here in italy, i bought 10 blurays for 60 dollars… you see that this was convenient, no?). My collection that you can see here (http://oc.mymovies.dk/Kok93) is formed by 371 titles standing on what mymovies says, but considering some of them are multimovie packages (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Alien, LOTR, Rambo, etc), probably I pass the 400 movies.

    But, generally, I collect them as some persons collects books for a library. That’s why, if possible, I buy special edition with a different packages such as steelbook, digipack or digibook.

    • Yeah, I understand that financially it may make sense to buy cheap movies in order to see them, but with services like Netflix and even with criminally underused public library services, I’m not sure buying movies to see them is all too necessary.

  2. I’ve gotten to the point where every movie I buy is on blu-ray. I don’t know how many blu-ray copies I have, but I know I must have at least a couple hundred movies. I always try to keep them organized by genre.

    • Organization is definitely something I’m going to be talking about in another post.
      So with a couple hundred, you are probably in the same camp as me I’d assume?

  3. I definitely collect for my own enjoyment and I have a system for what I buy. Basically any film I give an A- to or higher I put on my list of films to eventually own. I also have a rule with directors. I also collect the entire works of directors who have at least three A- or higher ranked films. There are exceptions to these rules in my collection, but in general that’s how I work.

  4. If you’re going to start a movie collection and you’re interested in the psychology behind it, then why not start with the perfect first film: the psychological thriller, The Collector (1965)!

  5. It is always good to hear from fellow movie collectors. The hobby seems to constantly be under-siege by streaming enthusiasts who love to demean physical media as some sort of caveman relic.

    I’m definitely a selective Blu-Ray collector and 100% relate to the urge to turn your collection into a reflection of personal taste and/or a sort of cannon of great films. At the moment I’m sitting at 300 Blu-Rays and I feel like all of them (well, most of them) are in my collection for a good reason.

    Of course a less than worthy title does slip through the cracks every once in a while and can lead to something of a dilemma. At the moment I have a cardboard box sitting on top of my shelf filled old DVDs that I no longer consider worthy of my collection. I didn’t want them in the collection proper anymore, they stuck out like a sore thumb and made the whole lot look suspect, but at the same time I couldn’t quite bring myself to throw them all out either. So now they sit in a sort of purgatory and I’m not sure what to do with them.

    • I’ve kicked out a few from my collection, including Spielberg’s War of the Worlds and the Matrix sequels. I had to re-evaluate how much I actually liked them or not. As I was already selling off DVDs which I ha converted to Blurays, I found it easy to just add those to the pile.

      As for the streaming enthusiasts, I hear your frustrations. I am planning on dedicating a post to it sometime in the near future.

  6. For the most part, I only buy movies that I love and think that I’ll watch many times. However, I do on occasion buy cheap used films that I haven’t seen but have heard good things about. My collecting philosophy is less concerned with the collection as some sort of canon and has more to do with my desire to see each movie.

  7. I am more of camp 1 movie collector. I collect movies more based on the value I deem they are worth when I buy them. I could be getting movies to just try out and not greats but it has to be something cheap. As I’m trying to minimize money on buying movies, I’m starting to become even more strict in my criteria for what goes into my collection. My bluray collection is small compared to my DVD one (few hundred). But I’d say that I have maybe around 120. I’m extremely picky with what I buy on Bluray so right now its mostly animation and CGI heavy or action. 🙂

  8. Funny thing is, I dont even think of myself as a movie “collector”. I have a comic book collection, where I actively attempt to fill holes in runs, get special issues for their value, preserve their condition, etc etc.

    Movies are just something to buy. Of course, I’ve wound up with over 500 blus and a couple hundred spare DVDs just sort of hanging around, so…

    Anyways, definitely in the second camp. 😉

    • Do you display your movies, or have them lying around haphazardly in piles? Cause if you display them, then sorry Fogs my man, you’re a collector.

      I didn’t realize you were such a comic nerd though.

  9. My movie collection (DVD and Bluray) is spartan compared to most film fans, so camp 1. Since Netflix, I only buy movies I feel I must have on hand at a moment’s notice and trilogy/saga collections. They are my essentials. If my copy of Psycho or Raiders of the Lost Ark busted, I’d have a heart attack until I found a proper replacement. My husband and I also collect movies we think will be important to show our future kids at an early age (Bambi, Fantasia, Star Wars, ect). We also have most of Tarantino’s films, because sometimes you just need to watch Pulp Fiction. 🙂

    • I have also been collecting movies for future kids, namely the Disney movies that end to go into “the vault”. But I keep those separate from the rest of my collection.

  10. Wow man, that’s quite a collection! I have no other reason to buy BD than for enjoyment as if I’m willing to buy something, that means I’d want to watch that given movie repeatedly. I’ve refrained from buying anything new lately though as we haven’t even been able to watch several of the BDs we bought even a year ago! 😀

  11. […] -Speak up for movie collectors all over the world in this digital day and age here: Happy-Hap#10 […]

  12. I’m probably more in the latter category in truth, but my collection more closely resembles the selective category right now. I would have more, but I’m short on space, and I usually have other things to spend money on.

  13. I have 1194 titles, 1900 discs according to Film Aficionado http://sculder.filmaf.com/owned plus few more that are not listed. I have DVDs from around the world cos I started out very picky. I had to have the best possible version of the film (picture quality, sound quality and directors/extended/uncut/uncensored cuts). But with time the standards relaxed a bit. 🙂
    With Bluray the differences between regions are rarer so that has made life easier too. And my BD player/recorder is region locked so that sets limitations too (No more Criterion for me 😦 )
    Another thing is that I used to buy only new dics, but now about 50-70% of my purchases are second-hand.
    Why I collect? Because I love films.

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