The Great Movies
America’s most trusted and best-known film critic Roger Ebert presents one hundred brilliant essays on some of the best movies ever made.  For the past five years Roger Ebert, the famed film writer and critic, has been writing biweekly essays for a feature called "The Great Movies," in which he offers a fresh and fervent appreciation of a great film. The Great Movies collects one hundred of these essays, each one of them a gem of critical appreciation and an amalgam of love, analysis, and history that will send readers back to that film with a fresh set of eyes and renewed enthusiasm–or perhaps to an avid first-time viewing. Ebert’s selections range widely across genres, periods, and nationalities, and from the highest achievements in film art to justly beloved and wildly successful popular entertainments. Roger Ebert manages in these essays to combine a truly populist appreciation for our most important form of popular art with a scholar’s erudition and depth of knowledge and a sure aesthetic sense. Wonderfully enhanced by stills selected by Mary Corliss, film curator at the Museum of Modern Art, The Great Movies is a treasure trove for film lovers of all persuasions, an unrivaled guide for viewers, and a book to return to again and again.The Great Movies includes: All About Eve • Bonnie and Clyde • Casablanca • Citizen Kane • The Godfather • Jaws • La Dolce Vita • Metropolis • On the Waterfront • Psycho • The Seventh Seal • Sweet Smell of Success • Taxi Driver • The Third Man • The Wizard of Oz • and eighty-five more films.From the Hardcover edition.

The Great Movies Details

TitleThe Great Movies
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 9th, 2002
PublisherCrown Archetype
Rating
GenreCulture, Film, Nonfiction, Media Tie In, Movies, Writing, Essays, Reference

The Great Movies Review

  • Julie Davis
    January 1, 1970
    I miss Roger Ebert. Even when I disagreed with his online personal journal entries, which happened fairly frequently, I still loved reading him.Most importantly, of course, I miss reading his movie reviews every Friday. They were the anchor against which I measured all other critical opinions of a film. Again, I might disagree with him because his range and experience and desires when watching a film were often different from mine. Again, it didn't matter. I loved his way with words, the way he I miss Roger Ebert. Even when I disagreed with his online personal journal entries, which happened fairly frequently, I still loved reading him.Most importantly, of course, I miss reading his movie reviews every Friday. They were the anchor against which I measured all other critical opinions of a film. Again, I might disagree with him because his range and experience and desires when watching a film were often different from mine. Again, it didn't matter. I loved his way with words, the way he made you understand that his point of view was very valid even if you did disagree, and the way he was unafraid to champion movies others despised. He began this with early support of 2001: A Space Odyssey and later won my heart with his embrace of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. This is something few movie critics achieve.The Great Movies collects a series of Ebert's of critical appreciations of movies which deserved a deeper look than a simple review. It ranges across time and genres to choose the best of the best, movies which make you want to grab your friends and force them to watch.This is one of those books not to read from beginning to end but to flip open and see what catches your eye. Or to pick and choose from the table of contents, either the films you love or the films you never heard of. No matter your method, you will come away both missing Roger Ebert and grateful that his "voice" is still with us in print.This book makes me appreciate the movies I love even more, makes me realize some movies that I never want to watch, and ... yet ... also makes me appreciate that both sorts can be connected in a way that makes my own viewing richer. This just happened in reading Ebert's comparison between the noir masterpiece Sunset Boulevard (much loved by me) and the Japanese existentialist film The Woman in the Dune (in which simply reading the description was enough, thank you very much). There are some reviews which I won't read now because those movies, such as Jean Renoir's The Grand Illusion, are on my list to watch. Ebert can't fully discuss these as "great movies" without giving spoilers, so I will deny myself the pleasure of knowing his reasons for recommendation. It is enough to know that I can come back to his discussion when I am ready. Above all it makes me want to watch some of these great movies again ... or for the first time. Surely that was Ebert's goal and he hits the target with sureness and grace. If you love movies, if you love intelligent and insightful writing, and, above all, if you miss Roger Ebert, then you owe it to yourself to read this collection.
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  • N.N. Light
    January 1, 1970
    I've been a huge fan of Roger Ebert ever since I was a little girl. I would watch his show every weekend to see what movies were good and what movies to skip. Yes, Virginia, there wasn't an internet or social media then. Anyway, this book is filled with Ebert's view on 100 great movies ever made. A must read and own for any film buff! Highly recommend!My Rating: 5++ stars
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  • Mmyoung
    January 1, 1970
    The word that sprang to mind as I finished this book is anodyne. This is a competent and thoroughly unexceptional survey of 'great movies.' Ebert's opinions range from main stream to routine / within the normal range of deviation / acceptably eccentric. Not one of the reviews in the book made me stop of think 'wow, what a fascinating new way to look at that movie.' Nor did any of them illuminate to me why I liked, or failed to be moved by, or disliked a movie. I came out of the book knowing no m The word that sprang to mind as I finished this book is anodyne. This is a competent and thoroughly unexceptional survey of 'great movies.' Ebert's opinions range from main stream to routine / within the normal range of deviation / acceptably eccentric. Not one of the reviews in the book made me stop of think 'wow, what a fascinating new way to look at that movie.' Nor did any of them illuminate to me why I liked, or failed to be moved by, or disliked a movie. I came out of the book knowing no more about movies nor about my own responses to movies than I did going in. On a more technical level there are times when Ebert is simply wrong about the facts surrounding a movie. For example he writes of the first Star Wars film "Two Lucas inspirations started the story with a tease: He set the action not in the future, but "long ago," and jumped into the middle of it with "Chapter 4: A New Hope." These seemingly innocent touches were actually rather powerful. They gave the saga the aura of an ancient tale and an ongoing one." Of course this is incorrect. When the film was first released it was simply titled "Star Wars." I am of an age to have seen it when it was initially released and remember that first opening crawl. I also remember the gasp of confusion in the theater when the sequel's open title crawl began "Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back." (This was back in the days when it was the norm to see a film without having been completely spoiled as to its details in advance.)This 'mistake' is important because of the material with which it is surrounded. Ebert is writing about what it felt like to watch the first Star Wars film at the time it was initially released and yet it is clear that he is confounding the feelings of later viewings with those of his initial experience. In other words, he is not recalling the actual experience of first watching the film he is overwriting those memories with later opinions and encounters.This undermines many of his discussions about other movies since he often begins by writing about how he felt when he first saw them and contrasting those feelings with the way in which he experienced the same movies in later years. This reader wonders if this projection and overwriting of later experiences and feelings onto vague initial memories is a frequent occurrence.Finally it should be pointed out that this is not a survey of 'great movies.' Ebert himself writes "The movies in this book have three thoughts or more. They not 'the' 100 greatest films of all time, because all lists of great movies are a foolish attempt to codify works which must stand alone. But it's fair to say: If you want to make a tour of the landmarks of the first century of cinema, start here." However this is a thoroughly mainstream, middle of the road introduction to 'great' films which guides the reader along in such a way that there is an illusion of a range of cultures and genres and yet the writing does so in such a way that there is not a single film included that doesn't fall within the standard 'canon.' For example, where are the great films of 'Black Cinema?' Ebert may not have seen those as a boy or as a young man but those films were seen by succeeding generations of African-American actors, writers and directors and thus by influencing some of the greatest artists of the cinema continue, if only at a remove, to have an impact on all American cinema today. Where are the films that came out of China and India? Where are the films made by indigenous North and South Americans? Where are the films made by actors and directors from Mexico, Argentina and Brazil? This is a thoroughly middle of the road, Eurocentric, safe, unadventurous and timid exploration of the 'great films.' And that is why it is filed in my mind under the word anodyne.
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  • Jim Dooley
    January 1, 1970
    Roger Ebert introduces this collection of his reviews by pointing out these are what he considers to be GREAT movies … not the GREATEST movies. He found a GREATEST list to be virtually meaningless as it is difficult to argue merits beyond GREAT. I would be on pretty safe ground if I told you that I’m providing a list of my Favorite Films, but Greatest Films is an entirely different situation and will immediately be headed to disagreement. So, these are films that he believes stand out as major a Roger Ebert introduces this collection of his reviews by pointing out these are what he considers to be GREAT movies … not the GREATEST movies. He found a GREATEST list to be virtually meaningless as it is difficult to argue merits beyond GREAT. I would be on pretty safe ground if I told you that I’m providing a list of my Favorite Films, but Greatest Films is an entirely different situation and will immediately be headed to disagreement. So, these are films that he believes stand out as major artistic achievements and/or are especially thought-provoking.He includes the films that almost everyone considers to be wonderful, such as:· 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY· CASABLANCA· CITIZEN KANE· THE WIZARD OF OZThere were also those films that I haven’t seen, but that I’ve added to my viewing list, such as:· THE DECALOGUE· FLOATING WEEDS· L’AVVENTURA· MR. HULOT’S HOLIDAYOf course, there were those that I haven’t seen and have absolutely no intention of ever seeing, such as:· HOOP DREAMS (Not much of a sports film fan)· LE SAMOURAI· PICKPOCKET· WRITTEN ON THE WIND (If I never see another movie directed by Douglas Sirk, it will be too soon)And there were those that caused me to scratch my head at their inclusion, such as:· LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD (I made it through to the end … barely.)· UN CHIEN ANDALOU (Challenging, yes. Unusual, yes. Great … well, it has no story line and the shots aren’t connected to one another … so, no.)I was actually surprised that I had seen most of the films, and that I agreed with his choices most of the time. Even when I disagreed, his reasoning provided a great deal of insight. Most of all, it generated a strong interest in me to go and view many of these either again or for the first time. In some cases, I’ll want to see a few that I didn’t like initially, but his argument caused me to wonder if my opinion will change. (So, TAXI DRIVER, here I come.)I found this side note interesting. Roger Ebert had been working as a film critic for only 6-months when BONNIE AND CLYDE was released. The film was roundly panned by most critics at the time … to the point that the studio considered pulling it from release. He said that when he saw it, he realized he had seen his first masterpiece since working for a newspaper and he sang the film’s praises. Of course, public acceptance and … later … revisits by many of those same critics supported his belief. (I think it is a GREAT film, too.)At the end of the book was a listing for THE GREAT MOVIES II, so maybe the films I thought should have been included and weren’t will finally make an appearance.This one gets a “Thumbs Up. Way Up.”
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  • Leslie
    January 1, 1970
    I have a friend who explains she judges Chinese restaurants by cold sesame noodles. If they make good cold sesame noodles they can make anything. I judge movie review books by The Godfather. So the first review I read in this book was the Godfather and it was brilliant (view spoiler)[ In response to the question what was Mama Coreleone's first name it is Carmela (hide spoiler)]In the introduction Ebert says these are 100 of 140+ reviews he wrote over a period of time. These are not a top 100 lis I have a friend who explains she judges Chinese restaurants by cold sesame noodles. If they make good cold sesame noodles they can make anything. I judge movie review books by The Godfather. So the first review I read in this book was the Godfather and it was brilliant (view spoiler)[ In response to the question what was Mama Coreleone's first name it is Carmela (hide spoiler)]In the introduction Ebert says these are 100 of 140+ reviews he wrote over a period of time. These are not a top 100 list, just 100 films he really appreciated. I am going to straight up admit I didn't read all 100 essays. I am not a film student and I never was, I did take one film class and I worked in a pretty awesome video store back in the day but I am not and have never been a big fan of foreign films. So I will admit I willingly skipped over some of these movies; regardless of his praise I am never going to watch them. Never, ever,ever. But the ones I did read were great; even the ones for movies I hadn't seen.And I love this quote. "It is a truism that Hollywood trailers advertise not the movie that has been made, but the movie that the studio wishes had been made."
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  • Bryce
    January 1, 1970
    Reading Ebert’s collection of essays was like revisiting the highlights from film school. The films are taken from the tried-and-true list of greats, but all of them are actually pretty great. Ebert writes in a way that is accessible to the film layman but also includes enough about the technical and creative processes that give more experienced readers insight. My favorite essay was on E.T.; Ebert broke from his usual formula there, crafting the review as a letter to his grandchildren after the Reading Ebert’s collection of essays was like revisiting the highlights from film school. The films are taken from the tried-and-true list of greats, but all of them are actually pretty great. Ebert writes in a way that is accessible to the film layman but also includes enough about the technical and creative processes that give more experienced readers insight. My favorite essay was on E.T.; Ebert broke from his usual formula there, crafting the review as a letter to his grandchildren after their first viewing of the film. It was witty and sweet, but also made excellent points about the film’s perspective and craftsmanship.
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  • Jessie
    January 1, 1970
    Fantastic read, recommended for anyone who loves movies.
  • Lara
    January 1, 1970
    Reading anything by the late Roger Ebert is to experience a mini master class in film criticism. Through his prose, his adoration of film shines through every word, whether he likes a film or not. Cinema - GOOD cinema - is the alter before which he worshiped, and which he analyzed like no other critic living today.That said, Ebert wrote three books with the same title: "The Great Movies" (the first merely goes by that title but the second and third are II and III, respectively, on their covers). Reading anything by the late Roger Ebert is to experience a mini master class in film criticism. Through his prose, his adoration of film shines through every word, whether he likes a film or not. Cinema - GOOD cinema - is the alter before which he worshiped, and which he analyzed like no other critic living today.That said, Ebert wrote three books with the same title: "The Great Movies" (the first merely goes by that title but the second and third are II and III, respectively, on their covers). Reading just one Roger Ebert review/analyzation is satisfying enough. But when 100 films, ranging from Werner Herzog's "Aguirre, the Wrath of God" to "The Godfather", "A Hard Day's Night", Japanese films such as Akira Kurosawa's haunting "Ikiru" (which I watched immediately after reading Ebert's chapter on it) to the great silent films like "M" and "Metropolis" and some masterworks of directors Bergman, Goddard and Renoir are all put together in chapter after chapter ... well, if you are a film lover of just about any ilk, you are not going to want to put this book down. The reader just learns and learns. Even reading about the films in this book that I haven't seen, I lapped up the words like a kitten before a bowl of cream, perhaps even more eagerly than I would have now that we no longer have his voice to turn to. Each film is described and discussed thoroughly and, frankly, the best praise I can give "The Great Movies" is that reading only a few pages made me want to shut myself away in a darkened theatre, all alone, having my meal brought to me and surrounded by my cats (they always watch movies with me because at those moments, I'm a captive lap). I want to just watch and watch and gorge myself on all the films Ebert writes of, one right after the other.I cannot wait to get to Volumes II and III. Actually, I've got II right here on my desk, so I'll just close this review saying while we no longer have the man to enjoy, he wrote a lot of words that still exist and resonate, and his love of film will never die but will transmit itself through "The Great Movies" and all the other volumes of criticism he has left with us to enjoy and savor.
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  • Robert
    January 1, 1970
    It's hard to imagine criticism as being something that everyone isn't good at. I'm being critical right now; your snide Facebook comment from earlier today is criticism. Given how much our thoughts and feelings end up public affairs in the modern world, everyone is a critic, yet few of us do it well. How often do we gush about some movie, restaurant, or book to our friends only to realize later that our words had little to no effect in altering their behavior? Reading a book of criticism which c It's hard to imagine criticism as being something that everyone isn't good at. I'm being critical right now; your snide Facebook comment from earlier today is criticism. Given how much our thoughts and feelings end up public affairs in the modern world, everyone is a critic, yet few of us do it well. How often do we gush about some movie, restaurant, or book to our friends only to realize later that our words had little to no effect in altering their behavior? Reading a book of criticism which convinced me I had to see one movie is no mean feat: what if a critic convinced you to see 25 movies? Maybe more?Roger Ebert's passing was a great loss to those of us who enjoy discussing the things we love. His writing style was knowledgeable, convincing, and purely entertaining. The books chosen in this volume were clearly loved by Ebert, watched multiple times without adulterating his experience. While I may not watch all of the movies discussed in this book, I've certainly spent a good deal of time thinking about my own writing style and my own favorite flicks. Though first glance at the list of movies may leave the potential reader fearing for a pretentious trip down Cannes lane, every entry left me at least mildly interested in renting a copy for my own viewing pleasure. Even the movies Ebert himself called out as pretentious. Truly special are the entries--none of these can be considered movie reviews even though reviews are what we would expect from Ebert--in which Ebert takes liberties with his writing style such as a formatting his discussion of "E.T." into a letter to his grandchildren, with whom he had just watched the film. Like any book that consists of dozens of chapters all on a similar subject, "The Great Movies" is enjoyed best in smaller chunks to avoid a sense of repetition. You could happily read about a movie a day for months or take in three or four at a time, like I did.All writers learn to write better by reading great authors. If everyone's a critic, everyone should make a point to read this.
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  • Spiderorchid
    January 1, 1970
    Very entertaining collection of short essays. I haven't read all 100 of them (only the ones about movies I've seen or want to see in the future, perhaps 3/4 of the book) and I don't always share Ebert's opinion but it's well written and fun for movie fans.
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  • Muzzlehatch
    January 1, 1970
    I have very mixed feelings about Roger Ebert, and this book is full of perfect examples of why that is. On the one hand, he communicates an enthusiasm that is hard to ignore, and his writing is always lucid and entertaining; on the other, he is sloppy and sometimes dead wrong in his facts -- somehow ignoring that Ozu's "Floating Weeds" is a remake of an earlier film BY THE SAME DIRECTOR; making a snide comment about the failed "futuristic city" in Albert Brooks' "Defending Your Life" -- actually I have very mixed feelings about Roger Ebert, and this book is full of perfect examples of why that is. On the one hand, he communicates an enthusiasm that is hard to ignore, and his writing is always lucid and entertaining; on the other, he is sloppy and sometimes dead wrong in his facts -- somehow ignoring that Ozu's "Floating Weeds" is a remake of an earlier film BY THE SAME DIRECTOR; making a snide comment about the failed "futuristic city" in Albert Brooks' "Defending Your Life" -- actually a vision of the afterlife. Did Ebert even see the film? He could have picked a more accurate example to throw a line about in his otherwise decent discussion of "Metropolis". His choices generally are very conservative, films that anyone with a smidgeon of knowledge of film will know -- though they're all great films, it would have been nice to see him point his way towards directors and films that need the exposure more than "Singin' in the Rain", "Vertigo" and Frank Capra.
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  • Diane
    January 1, 1970
    This is a book of Roger Ebert's reviews about classic films from "2001: A Space Odyssey" to "A Woman Under the Influence." Fascinating, fun, and a pretty quick read. Don't judge it by how long it took me - I kept having to read it in small doses, stealing time here and there in between work, family, gardening, and some pretty demanding pets. I don't always agree with Ebert - I enjoyed the endings to "Red River" and "Psycho" and have never liked "Citizen Kane" - but I share his love of great movi This is a book of Roger Ebert's reviews about classic films from "2001: A Space Odyssey" to "A Woman Under the Influence." Fascinating, fun, and a pretty quick read. Don't judge it by how long it took me - I kept having to read it in small doses, stealing time here and there in between work, family, gardening, and some pretty demanding pets. I don't always agree with Ebert - I enjoyed the endings to "Red River" and "Psycho" and have never liked "Citizen Kane" - but I share his love of great movies, both the oldies and the more recent ones. His love for the movies comes through, and he really makes you want to watch them. He also makes you look at familiar movies in a different light.Very recommended.
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  • Robert James
    January 1, 1970
    Wth very few exceptions, I find movies made today to be extremely boring. Much like a lot of crime fiction today, everything is formula driven and it becomes tedious to read and watch. So I thought I would read a book that is full of essays regarding what one man believes are 100 of the very best. I've seen many of the American movies but might take a second look based upon Mr. Ebert's recommendations but I've seen almost none of the foreign films. I guess I'll be watching for some of these to a Wth very few exceptions, I find movies made today to be extremely boring. Much like a lot of crime fiction today, everything is formula driven and it becomes tedious to read and watch. So I thought I would read a book that is full of essays regarding what one man believes are 100 of the very best. I've seen many of the American movies but might take a second look based upon Mr. Ebert's recommendations but I've seen almost none of the foreign films. I guess I'll be watching for some of these to appear on TCM.
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  • Dave Hartl
    January 1, 1970
    This is a good guide to serious film watching. I've seen the vast majority of the picks Ebert gives here, but I'm glad for a list of undiscovered films that's backed up by the choices he's made that I've seen and loved. Ebert seemed incapable of enjoying David Lynch but otherwise I can agree with his favorites.
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  • Leonard Pierce
    January 1, 1970
    Spotty as usual, but when Ebert is really on, he can write truly memorable film criticism. He's no intellectual, but he has a pretty keen visual sensibility, and he really latches on to emotional themes that can escape other reviewers.
  • Neri.
    January 1, 1970
    It's a great encyclopedia on amazing movie, some of which I didn't enjoyed as much as the author did. He, though, talks about every movie in this book which such passion that it is a joy to read for movie fans and for those who have no idea what classic films are.
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  • Alexis
    January 1, 1970
    I've almost finished watching all the movies in this collection. Still a few more to watch. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves film or good writing.I'm a major Ebert fan.
  • Niklas Pivic
    January 1, 1970
    I must admit, I've only read the reviews of films that I haven't seen in here, which probably amounts to a third of the book in total.Ebert has really, really seen these films. Most of them, according to himself, several times, and an additional time in order to write this book. A lot of them are classics, and a few of them - e.g. "The Wizard of Oz" - aren't included in a lot of critics' tomes.He opens the book with an introduction where three paragraphs stood out to me:The ability of an audienc I must admit, I've only read the reviews of films that I haven't seen in here, which probably amounts to a third of the book in total.Ebert has really, really seen these films. Most of them, according to himself, several times, and an additional time in order to write this book. A lot of them are classics, and a few of them - e.g. "The Wizard of Oz" - aren't included in a lot of critics' tomes.He opens the book with an introduction where three paragraphs stood out to me:The ability of an audience to enter into the narrative arc of a movie is being lost; do today’s audiences have the patience to wait for Harry Lime in The Third Man?At Boulder and on other campuses, talking with the students, I found that certain names were no longer recognized. Even students majoring in film had never seen one by Buñuel, Bresson, or Ozu. They’d seen one or two titles by Ford and Wilder, knew a half-dozen Hitchcock classics, genuflected at Citizen Kane, knew the Star Wars pictures by heart, and sometimes uttered those words which marked them as irredeemably philistine: “I don’t like black and white.” Sixty of these films are in black and white, and three use b&w and color; you cannot know the history of the movies, or love them, unless you understand why b&w can give more, not less, than color.Today even the most popular subtitled films are ignored by the national distribution oligarchy, mainstream movies are pitched at the teenage male demographic group, and the lines outside theaters are for Hollywood’s new specialty, B movies with A budgets.While he may seem grumpy, there are obvious points to be made. Yes, most modern Hollywood flicks are crap, yes, the attention span of anybody today is Twitter and Reddit long (by which I mean that "too long, didn't read" is more of an axiom to some than a joke), but then again - his claims would be nothing if he didn't fess up and review with gusto, intelligence and terrific insight.And that, my friend, he delivers.From "The Big Sleep":Working from Chandler’s original words and adding spins of their own, the writers (William Faulkner, Jules Furthman, and Leigh Brackett) wrote one of the most quotable of screenplays: It’s unusual to find yourself laughing in a movie not because something is funny, but because it’s so wickedly clever. (Marlowe on the “nymphy” kid sister: “She tried to sit in my lap while I was standing up.”) Unlike modern crime movies which are loaded with action, The Big Sleep is heavy with dialogue. The characters talk and talk, just like in the Chandler novels; it’s as if there’s a competition to see who has the most verbal style.On "Ikiru":It is not so bad that he must die. What is worse is that he has never lived. “I just can’t die—I don’t know what I’ve been living for all these years,” he says to the stranger in the bar. He never drinks, but now he is drinking: “This expensive saki is a protest against my life up to now.”[...]I saw Ikiru first in 1960 or 1961. I went to the movie because it was playing in a campus film series and cost only a quarter. I sat enveloped in the story of Watanabe for two and a half hours, and wrote about it in a class where the essay topic was Plato’s statement “the unexamined life is not worth living.”On "JFK", which indeed questions how films should be "truthful":Shortly after the film was released, I ran into Walter Cronkite and received a tongue-lashing, aimed at myself and my colleagues who had praised JFK. There was not, he said, a shred of truth in it. It was a mishmash of fabrications and paranoid fantasies. It did not reflect the most elementary principles of good journalism. We should all be ashamed of ourselves. I have no doubt Cronkite was correct, from his point of view. But I am a film critic and my assignment is different than his. He wants facts. I want moods, tones, fears, imaginings, whims, speculations, nightmares. As a general principle, I believe films are the wrong medium for fact. Fact belongs in print. Films are about emotions. My notion is that JFK is no more or less factual than Stone’s Nixon—or Gandhi, Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator, Amistad, Out of Africa, My Dog Skip, or any other movie based on “real life.” All we can reasonably ask is that it be skillfully made, and seem to approach some kind of emotional truth.Reviewing a film that is old could pose several problems, but if it's been remade a million times since, is harder; Ebert pulls this off with "Nosferatu":To watch F. W. Murnau’s Nosferatu (1922) is to see the vampire movie before it had really seen itself. Here is the story of Dracula before it was buried alive in clichés, jokes, TV skits, cartoons, and more than thirty other films. The film is in awe of its material. It seems to really believe in vampires. Max Schreck, who plays the vampire, avoids most of the theatrical touches that would distract from all the later performances, from Bela Lugosi to Christopher Lee to Frank Langella to Gary Oldman. The vampire should come across not like a flamboyant actor, but like a man suffering from a dread curse. Schreck plays the count more like an animal than like a human being; the art direction by Murnau’s collaborator, Albin Grau, gives him bat ears, clawlike nails, and fangs that are in the middle of his mouth like a rodent’s, instead of on the sides like a Halloween mask.Check out the insight on "Raging Bull", one of the best films ever made according to myself:Raging Bull is not a film about boxing, but about a man with paralyzing jealousy and sexual insecurity, for whom being punished in the ring serves as confession, penance, and absolution. It is no accident that the screenplay never concerns itself with fight strategy. For Jake LaMotta, what happens during a fight is controlled not by tactics, but by his fears and drives.Martin Scorsese’s 1980 film was voted in three polls as the greatest film of the decade, but when he was making it, he seriously wondered if it would ever be released: “We felt like we were making it for ourselves.” Scorsese and Robert De Niro had been reading the autobiography of Jake LaMotta, the middleweight champion whose duels with Sugar Ray Robinson were a legend in the 1940s. They asked Paul Schrader, who wrote Taxi Driver (1976), to do a screenplay. The project languished while Scorsese and De Niro made the ambitious but unfocused musical New York, New York (1977) and then languished some more as Scorsese’s drug use led to a crisis. De Niro visited his friend in the hospital, threw the book on his bed, and said, “I think we should make this.” And the making of Raging Bull, with a screenplay further sculpted by Mardik Martin (Mean Streets [1973]), became therapy and rebirth for the filmmaker.Raging Bull is the most painful and heart-rending portrait of jealousy in the cinema—an Othello for our times. It’s the best film I’ve seen about the low self-esteem, sexual inadequacy, and fear that lead some men to abuse women. Boxing is the arena, not the subject. LaMotta was famous for never being knocked down in the ring. There are scenes where he stands passively, his hands at his side, allowing himself to be hammered. We sense why he didn’t go down. He hurt too much to allow the pain to stop.All in all: very insightful, almost a little too much for me, who's not a film critic or someone who's that deep into film. Still, Ebert a perfect juxtaposition to Anthony Lane's brilliant collection of his own reviews, titled "Nobody's Perfect".
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  • S Prakash
    January 1, 1970
    Anything remotely pertaining to movies gets me hooked like a kid to the candy. There were 100 reviews in all in this epoch work and I had read almost 90 of them in two days flat. The writing was so powerful and graphic that though I hadn't seen many of the classics reviewed over there, yet it was as though the movie was running in the form of words seamlessly moving from page to page. Bicycle thief; Psycho; Citizen Kane; Godfather.. the list of those quintessential names of Hollywood which I use Anything remotely pertaining to movies gets me hooked like a kid to the candy. There were 100 reviews in all in this epoch work and I had read almost 90 of them in two days flat. The writing was so powerful and graphic that though I hadn't seen many of the classics reviewed over there, yet it was as though the movie was running in the form of words seamlessly moving from page to page. Bicycle thief; Psycho; Citizen Kane; Godfather.. the list of those quintessential names of Hollywood which I used to come across innumerable times reading some article on the best of the movies ever made; during discussions in film clubs; some of which I had painstakingly collected the original/pirated copies of DVD's at Burmah Bazar in Chennai etc, getting detailed by one of the best of the reviewers is like sipping pure elixir.It was great to see Appu's trilogy also figuring in this list of 100 best movies. Would get on to reading the Part II of Great Movies shortly.
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  • Hajir Almahdi
    January 1, 1970
    Like rest of human population I enjoy watching films but lately I've developed this passion for film critique, I no longer just enjoy watching a "movie", I try to see everything else I might have missed, re-watch, read articles about it, be critical, specially if its something that I enjoyed. What I loved the most reading this book (even though it took me a lot of time to watch all the films reviewed that I haven't seen before and I did manage to see most of them) is Roger Ebert's passion when t Like rest of human population I enjoy watching films but lately I've developed this passion for film critique, I no longer just enjoy watching a "movie", I try to see everything else I might have missed, re-watch, read articles about it, be critical, specially if its something that I enjoyed. What I loved the most reading this book (even though it took me a lot of time to watch all the films reviewed that I haven't seen before and I did manage to see most of them) is Roger Ebert's passion when talking about the films he love, he's genuine and honest, his understanding and love of Cinema and film is captivating. This collection of reviews servers as a great guide to classic films you might have missed watching and great read to both film and reading lovers alike.
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  • Charlie Newfell
    January 1, 1970
    What's not to like? Roger Ebert is probably THE preeminent movie critic. His long reviews are insightful and bring an interesting viewpoint and depth to the movies considered. Here is assembled a collection of his great movies-- not the greatest movies of all time (though many could be argued to be) but movies that he feels that he feels changed the medium.
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  • Darshika
    January 1, 1970
    Buy this book and read it slowly overtime. Try to watch the movie first and then the review. Or read review, watch movie, read again. Read in one it feels like a repetition. I also felt that a lot of movies were added to fit categories such as popular, noir, rule breakers. I think more in terms of movie making techniques instead of praise and trivia could have been added.
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  • Peter DeSilvey
    January 1, 1970
    A great collection of short essays on some great films some I have seen and I agree some I haven't so I have no opinion but I have to say Ebert had a passion about films and you can gain an appreciation of that by reading this book. I'm sure I don't see eye to eye with him everything here. But he definitely had an interesting perspective to share with the world.
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  • David Keep
    January 1, 1970
    LovingThe world misses Roger Ebert. In an age where the business has overtaken the show, it is so wonderful to read the words of an intelligent man whose love of film is based on the heart and not the box office. Loving, intelligent and insightful, this is exactly what film criticism should be
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  • Carol
    January 1, 1970
    I do miss Roger so much. :) This is a wonderful book of essays of the best movies ever (in his opinion). He has four of these compilations, and I intend to read all of them. He was insightful, challenging, and unique in his views of cinema. I plan to watch or rewatch a number of his choices. RIP, you master of film.
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  • Vaisakh Krishnan
    January 1, 1970
    Started with reading every movie, even if I hadnt seen it. But then I realised it wasnt adding much value. For the movies I had seen, it was a new perspective. Ebert is def one of the finest observers of cinema!
  • Jack
    January 1, 1970
    I'm a sucker for a good movie review. It's true not all of the essays in this book are terribly insightful, or even more than Ebert's fanboy gushing, but still it was fun to get insight into some really great movies. I now have a list of nearly 50 movies to visit (or revisit).
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  • Matt
    January 1, 1970
    Really well written, I just don’t have a passion for “classic” cinema I guess!
  • Bill Hopkins
    January 1, 1970
    Useful reference
  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I didn’t always agree with the choices, but I enjoyed reading each essay, revisiting old favorites, and discovering new gems.
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