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The Great Movies (Great Movies)

4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  1,193 ratings  ·  71 reviews
Presents a collection of essays that combine history, analysis, and love for movies covering such films as All About Eve, Casablanca, Lawrence of Arabia, and Schindler's List..
Paperback, 511 pages
Published November 11th 2003 by Broadway Books (first published 2002)
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Easy Riders, Raging Bulls by Peter BiskindPictures at a Revolution by Mark  HarrisHitchcock by François TruffautThe Great Movies by Roger EbertAdventures in the Screen Trade by William Goldman
Books ABOUT Movies
4th out of 385 books — 143 voters
The Great Movies by Roger EbertThe Twilight Zone Companion by Marc Scott ZicreeThe Alfred Hitchcock Presents Companion by Martin Grams Jr.The Cinema of Sidney Poitier by Lester J. KeyserLive from New York by Tom Shales
Books About Films and TV Shows
1st out of 233 books — 43 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,669)
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Julie Davis
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
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).
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 ...more
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 ...more
Roger Ebert is a better writer than movie reviewer. By that, I mean he doesn't always match my subjective tastes in movies--I only read his review of new releases after I've seen them, so that I won't constantly be judging my opinions to his. I think it's important for everyone to find a review whose taste mirrors his or her own--there's enough out there that someone (for me, often David Edelstein) who can screen out the garbage and highlight the great.
That said, Ebert's a wonderful cheerleader
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 ...more
Aug 17, 2014 Alexis rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
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.
ACTION: This book made me miss the availability of movies at Blockbuster Video Stores. Yes, it's old school but I don't have Netflix and Redbox doesn't carry The Classics, although they do have Hot Tub Time Machine 2! So I can't just drop by and pick up Bonnie and Clyde or 2001 for like $8 for two nights. (Bite Me says Blockbuster) I really wanted to see some of Ebert's picks immediately, particularly some of these foreign films he mentions. There are some obvious choices here like the obligator ...more
Bonnie McDaniel
I own Roger Ebert's autobiography, and that book, along with this one, reminded me of what a treasure we lost when he died. That made reading this book bittersweet, to say the least. I think Roger's voice fully flowered after his cancer treatment and the loss of his ability to speak; his mastery of prose and emotion is there in every entry to his blog, which remains online. However, glimpses of the greatness to come are here in this collection of his movie reviews.

There are 100 movies reviewed
Todd Stockslager
Volume 1 of a pair (see The Great Movies II which I reviewed earlier) of collected extended critical reviews of the most important movies of all time. This book includes all the expected, including some of my all time favorites like "Casablanca", "Chinatown", and "Citizen Kane", and some of the more obscure critic's-picks type of movies like "Woman in the Dunes" and 'Un Chien Andalou"--most of which I find are available on Netfllix, the modern movie maven's mecca.

Ebert's Great Movies wraps up my
In the early 90s I was looking for a film critic who could better link the worlds of European and Hollywood films, who could see the positive points in well-made studio fare, while also perceiving the groundbreaking moments from the films striking new visual and atmospheric notes in European and Asian cinema. In Siskel and Ebert, the then-double act at the Chicago-Sun Times, I felt like I'd found perhaps the closest thing to that Grail.

After Siskel's death, as the internet made its inroads, Roge
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 ...more
For a former movie watcher (although always selective) I’m almost surprised I’ve only seen 64 out of 100 movies listed.

I would certainly *not* include the films 2001: A Space Odyssey [yawwwwwn:], Chinatown [horrible script, Nicholson sucks, etc:] Dr. Strangelove [Peter Sellers, as always, is 100% annoying, hardly funny[George C Scott WAS funny though:]], A Hard Days Night [ok, I haven’t seen that one, but I can’t think of any category where “great” and “Beatles” could ever be combined:], E.T, or
Dankwa Brooks
Not only do I like watching great films, but I like reading about them too. As a filmmaker people are always surprised that I haven’t seen some “classics”. Generally, I haven’t seen too many films before I was born (70s) and I really have no interest in several genres like war/military films and westerns. I have to say though that as a filmmaker I will watch ANY film when recommended.

When it comes to movies, no one knows them better than Roger Ebert. Forget the movie side; he is one of the best
Niklas Pivic
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
Jeroen Berndsen
Roger Ebert is zonder twijfel de bekendste filmcriticus ter wereld, en niet zonder reden. Hij was de eerste filmcriticus die een Pulitzerprijs heeft gewonnen voor zijn werk en de enige die een eigen ster op de Hollywood 'walk of fame' heeft. Hij schrijft vanaf 1967 tot op heden filmrecensies voor de Chicago Sun-Times en zijn eigen website,[return][return]In 'The Great Movies' zijn 100 essays samengebracht over 100 'Geweldige Films', vaak voortgekomen uit recensies die hij eer ...more
Rosemarie Short
Roger Ebert came to my attention through Wikipedia. In most cases I often scroll straight past the synopsis when I'm unsure as to whether to bother with a film, instead resorting to the Critical Response section. In almost every instance of these sections pre late 2013 you will find some sort of quote from Ebert. He was a critic who was always fair whilst being sharply, intensively critical and appreciated film like no other. Reading this book was a delight, with each movie getting two to three ...more
Although his choices are generally predictable and non-controversial (and maybe that’s part of the point), one can’t fault Ebert’s worthy attempt to briing some attention to the great films of the past that are so often unseen by today’s audiences. Ebert’s love of film is wonderfully apparent and contagious. This is a great guide for anyone who is starting out as a “film buff” but probably contains no surprises for old-time film enthusiasts.
An excellent collection of essays by one of America's greatest movie critics. The reviews are lucid, informative, and discuss not only the movie involved, but often its contributors and its place in the pantheon of great films. Each essay is accompanied by a black-and-white film still chosen by Mary Corliss from the Museum of Modern Art's collection. Essential for any lover of film and film criticism.
Henry Sturcke
New hobby for us - we watch one of the films Ebert writes on in the evening, then read his essay aloud over coffee the next morning and discuss. It's a bit like attending a film seminar. First we form our own opinion, then we let Ebert tell us what he thinks made the movie under discussion great. Most of the time we would feel it was a great film without his input, a few times he was able to convince us. Once in a while, he doesn't convince us, but we can understand why he thinks so. In one case ...more
Andrew Pierce
Ebert's collections of essays are short, but still manage to hit the nail on the head. They are poignant reminders of the greatest films of all time, usually pinpointing a specific part of the film that really stood out to him, and usually it is something I had never thought of. A great read for film buffs.
Guitar Chick
Roger and I may not share the same opinions on all of the movies in his books, but it is difficult to find someone who manages to capture the magic of film in writing. He has a wonderful way with words in how they relate to film.
James Piper
Everybody knows Ebert writes film reviews for the Chicago Tribune of currently released movies or movies he's seen at film festivals (some never getting distribution). But he convinced his editors to allow him to write reviews of films he considers great (e.g., City Lights with Charlie Chaplin).

These reviews appeared in the paper and online and eventually collected into books--so far three volumes. If you use the IMDB web site, you'll find a link to the review as it appears in the books. Along w
I loved this book. It's the first book of movie reviews I have read and I thought it'd be a book that I'd keep about and pick up and read from time to time. The 4-page reviews are perfect for that. But I ended up reading it straight through, like a novel. I suppose I have seen around half of the 100 movies reviewed by Ebert here and it was fun to get his take on them. Even more interesting to me were his reviews of movies I hadn't seen, especially some of the more esoteric ones like Detour, Writ ...more
Must admit that I didn't actually finish this or read them all (it was due back at the library), but Ebert's reviews are always phenomenal. I did read about 2 dozen of the ones in this book, focusing on the films that I had seen. Ebert was almost always able to judge a film on its own merits, and offer at least a few novel and interesting factoids or perspectives on each and every one. The man truly loved movies, and has immense respect for the vision and skill behind some of the greatest every ...more
Kevin Duvall
Few were ever as passionate about their work as Ebert, and that passion is on its fullest display in his Great Movies essays.
One of the reasons Roger Ebert is such a beloved critic is that he so thoroughly loves movies -- and that love runs through this book. It is a genuine pleasure to revisit, or be introduced to, some of the greatest movies ever made in the company of someone who doesn't just comment on their technical or creative achievements, but evokes their emotional content and significance as well.

Knowing him only as a tv personality, I was suprised by his writing ability. His love of cinema is infectious and I now have a list of films I need to see or watch again with adult eyes.

Ebert does, however, annoyingly disparage contemporary film and filmgoers in general many times in the book, mentioning how today's audience wouldn't go for such and such example of subtlety or plot ambiguity. He's half right and clearly comes from a generation when the qualities of a 'hollywood epic' and an 'ar
Joe Faust
(review missing from archives)
Been picking my way through this one for a couple months. A $1.99 Kindle read. Ebert was always a better writer than he was a critic (and that's not knocking him as a critic...he's actually pretty stout...). Decent read, and a good primer on some classic flicks....
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Roger Joseph Ebert was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American film critic and screenwriter.

He was known for his weekly review column (appearing in the Chicago Sun-Times since 1967, and later online) and for the television program Siskel & Ebert at the Movies, which he co-hosted for 23 years with Gene Siskel. After Siskel's death in 1999, he auditioned several potential replacements, ultimately choo
More about Roger Ebert...

Other Books in the Series

Great Movies (3 books)
  • The Great Movies II
  • The Great Movies III
Life Itself Your Movie Sucks I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie The Great Movies II Awake in the Dark: The Best of Roger Ebert

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“As a child I simply did not notice whether a movie was in color or not. The movies themselves were such an overwhelming mystery that if they wanted to be in black and white, that was their business.” 4 likes
“2001: A Space Odyssey is not about a goal, but about a quest, a need.” 4 likes
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