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Have You Seen . . . ?

3.99  ·  Rating Details  ·  303 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
In 1975, David Thomson published his Biographical Dictionary of Film, and few film books have enjoyed better press or such steady sales.

Now, thirty-three years later, we have the companion volume, a second book of more than 1,000 pages in one voice—that of our most provocative contemporary film critic and historian.

Juxtaposing the fanciful and the fabulous, the old favorit
ebook, 1024 pages
Published October 14th 2008 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2008)
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Thomson blogs. It's like reading GR, which is both good, bad and that's enough for now.

I did not finish reading 1,000 reviews, but I did abt 200. So far. Thomson has written film revs for The Guardian and The New Republic that I've admired, so his effort to rival The Kael (and her "5001 Nights at the Movies," 1982), intrigued me. Plus his tome, 2008, takes us into the 21st century. But it's disappointing. The essays, all about 1,200 words each, read like humdrum "homework." Or improv bloggery.

Charles Matthews
Everybody loves a list. The American Film Institute, for example, gets a couple of TV specials every year out of listing the 100 best movies in some genre or other. And every film critic in the country is annually obligated to come up with a list of the top ten movies of the year.

But a list of 1,000 films? The vastness of such a project betrays its absurdity: No one's critical sensibility is so fine-tuned as to allow a convincing distinction in quality between the thousandth film on the list and
Feb 20, 2011 Lize rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: film, 2011
I own Thomson's "New Biographical Dictionary of Film", which is excellent, so I picked this one up from the library to 'audition' it and see if I wanted to buy it (I did). It's a monster of a book, covering 1,000 films, one per page, with Thomson's personal thoughts on each one, which, being nowhere near as objective as a review might be expected to be, are fascinating and often great fun to read. And Thomson's encyclopedic knowledge of detail always tells me something I didn't know, even about ...more
Robert Beveridge
David Thomson, Have You Seen...?: A Personal Introduction to 1,000 Films (Knopf, 2008)

I am enough of a film geek that I have a favorite critic, Jonathan Rosenbaum. He's witty, acerbic, and all too clear-eyed (enough to make an amateur like me wonder where I, or he, has gone so horribly wrong on certain movies). But after reading David Thomson's capsule notes on a thousand movies ranging from stuff everyone's written column inches on to movies even you have never heard of, Rosenbaum has some comp
Lewis Martin
Mar 25, 2012 Lewis Martin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful reference book for film fans. It consists of one page reviews of 1,000 films selected by Mr Thomson from the many thousands that he must have watched. They have been chosen either because they are personal favourites or because they are have particular significance in the history the cinema. Also included are the occasional TV series (The Sopranos) or TV drama (A Question of Attribution).
It is the perfect coffee table book. It can be picked up for 2 minutes or 20 - the hard part is
Jul 03, 2014 Patrick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This makes for fascinating reading. I stumbled upon this compendium of reviews at an Exclusive Book sale, picked it up, and it was not long before I was hooked. At first I simply wanted to check Thomson's views against my own on many of my favourite movies; now I'm using it to guide me through my own classic film curriculum. I love this man's erudite turn of phrase and the compact manner in which he delivers his extensive knowledge and expertise.
Derek Baldwin
May 22, 2014 Derek Baldwin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
By and large a good selection and certainly a lot more open minded than Leslie Halliwell was, for example. Excellent for dipping into.
Oct 25, 2012 Todd rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: film
Twenty years ago this book would have been an amazing read, but with the advent of websites like the Internet Movie Database it becomes less unique. With that said, this book is still a wonderful reference for all those moviegoers who do not have internet access/literacy and want a text that introduces them to a number of films across multiple genres.

Thomson affords each movie a page of introduction that is informative, anecdotal, and witty (at times even snarky). This is a great book to keep o
Dec 14, 2008 Dave rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: eventually
I mentioned that reading this was like eating potato chips--but how many potato chips can you eat in one sitting? After the second bag (the Ds), it got a bit much. I'll get back to it.

He is fun to read because he's seen Everything, and so has a comprehensive view of the whole film tradition of most of the world. Of course, just because you have experience and a consistent view and a critical vision doesn't mean you're right. Very similar to reading Edmund Wilson, Robert Christgau, others who thi
John Kennedy
Jul 05, 2016 John Kennedy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are many entries in this book that I'll never watch because of their unavailability, primarily silent and foreign films. Yet Thomson has several suggestions of hidden gems from the 1930s through the 1950s to watch. He has an appreciation for Golden Age of Hollywood stars such as Joel McCrea and Jean Arthur that many modern critics have forgotten. Beware that Thomson has multiple listings for his favorite directors, Nicholas Ray, Otto Preminger, Anthony Mann, George Cukor, Fritz Lang, and K ...more
Apr 06, 2016 StevenF rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: film
Whether agree with him or disagree, his way with words is always is undeniable. He is interesting and entertaining.
Dec 02, 2008 Hope rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An interesting catalog of movies. I don't know anything about Thomson, but he seems to suffer from the same disease as most film reviewers: that of believing the darkest and oldest movies are the most interesting. His writing style is rather cryptic and he never tells you much about the plot or the movie in general. It is not really for people who are trying to find something to read on a Saturday night, but might be more interesting to the serious movie buff or scholar of cinema.
Apr 21, 2009 Bert rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not intended to be a book about the best 1,000 films; it’s Thomson’s thoughts on films that are worth seeing for a variety of reasons. All the write-ups are one page or less. Like Pauline Kael, Thomson has his own unique perspective on films -- the “Personal” in the title should be taken seriously – so I often don’t enjoy films I’ve watched on his recommendation but his observations are worth reading.
May 05, 2014 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting!

Films are arranged in alphabetical order. The date that the film was released is in ( ) after each title. Each film rates a 3/4 page "review". Of the 1000 movies in the book, I have seen approximately 200.

Some noteworthy absences: Chicago, A Chorus Line, Ghosts of Mississippi, Harry Potter, Laurence Olivier's MacBeth, Mississippi Burning, Philadelphia, Private Benjamin, Risky Business, Top Gun.
Jun 13, 2009 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Of course I skimmed this mammoth book, passing over the esoteric entries like Un Chien Andalou in favor of movies I love like Angel Face. David Thomson is such an idiosyncratic writer, even when he's writing about movies I know really well, I have no idea what he's talking about half the time. Which is kind of fun and kind of annoying. But, still, I ate it up like popcorn.
Ed Smiley
This is a very good book, encyclopedic in that he takes a great effort to include films that he thinks you ought to know about. His opinions are quirky (because he sometimes disagrees with me in ways I take violent exception to). However, he always voices coherent reasons for his positions.

I good book for a film buff.
Jan 04, 2009 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Michael, Mary
It's a big thick book, great stuff for a movie lover. I only read about movies I'd seen or were curious about. Honestly, I didn't know what he was talking about quite a bit of the time, but his is a quirky, opinionated voice I enjoyed. I also got a long list of movies to see or to watch again.
Gordon Howard
Mar 27, 2010 Gordon Howard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good reference book for 1,000 films selected by this critic. I took a History of Film class from David Thomson at Dartmouth in 1980 and I have a lot of respect for him as a film critic and author, as well as a teacher. Each film gets a page, and a review, good, bad, or conflicted.
Kristine (fezabel)
Nov 14, 2012 Kristine (fezabel) rated it really liked it
Shelves: reference, kindle
This is a really great book covering lots & lots of movies using short detailed bits. I liked the background & details about my favorites & added several movies to my to-watch list. I liked that the author didn't spoil the movies too much for the ones I haven't seen. Highly recommended!
Nov 02, 2009 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great fun to pick up and read randomly or to consult as a partial reference. Good writing and strong opinions -- or not depending on the review and the reason the film was chosen for the collection. It's the contrarian views that most light the imagination.
Jun 17, 2012 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I pick up this book whenever I see a movie mentioned in it or am looking for one to watch - as good to disagree with as to admire. Thomson grows tetchier with each book but he makes you appreciate that watching cinema is a form of dreaming.
Diana Duncan
Nov 03, 2012 Diana Duncan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: movies, read-2012
Very entertaining reviews of 1,000 films. He introduced me to many that I'd never heard of. Thomson is most entertaining when describing films that he included though he personally loathes them such as The Sound of Music.
stephanie borris
Apr 12, 2009 stephanie borris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, cinema, reference
I LOVE movie lists. I checked this book out from the library and reluctantly returned it three weeks later. A fantastic reference for anyone looking for an "education" in world cinema. If only it had some pictures.....
Jun 08, 2010 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
He's a mean one, that 'Dick' Thomson, but he is one talented and eloquent son of a bitch. Now at the very top of my list for that arbitrary "If you could have dinner with anyone in history who would it be?" list.
Neil McCrea
Jan 04, 2011 Neil McCrea rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: film
Personal essays on 1,000 + films. Thompson unearths rare gems and attacks sacred cows without succumbing to the tired notion that art of any sort can really be ranked in any sort of top ten style hierarchy.
I've got to Amazon this for my son's too late for Christmas, but his birthday is coming up in April! I'm going to wrap it up with a bag of microwave popcorn and a box of Milk Duds:)
Dec 14, 2015 Christine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: movies
Less a recommendation of what to see than critical reviews really...the reader is left wondering in some cases what the film is supposed to be all about....I wasted my time with this one!
Perversely leaves out important films by Woody Allen and Ingmar Bergman. He really doesn't like comedy. But he can write short essays about films better than just about anybody.
Vince Grey
Nov 14, 2014 Vince Grey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Massive book of film. Some you'll know many you won't. Great reference written in an accessible friendly style, and great for gaining something different to watch.
Dec 18, 2008 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: movie lovers
Recommended to Stephanie by: was in Book Pages
I do love movies, especially ones before 1970. This is an amazing book for the movie buff. He writes very engaging essays, giving you just enough plot information.
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David Thomson is the author of more than twenty books, including biographies of David O. Selznick and Orson Welles, and The New Biographical Dictionary of Film.
More about David Thomson...

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