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The Great Movies

(Great Movies)

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  2,004 ratings  ·  124 reviews
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 colle
Paperback, 544 pages
Published November 11th 2003 by Three Rivers Press (first published 2002)
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Average rating 4.25  · 
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 ·  2,004 ratings  ·  124 reviews

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Julie Davis
Oct 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
N.N. Light
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 13, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jim Dooley
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
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 the introduction Ebert says these are 100 of 140+ reviews he wrote over a period of time. These are not a top 100 lis
Sep 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Jessie Drew
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fantastic read, recommended for anyone who loves movies.
Feb 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
A really fun read, and super inspiring: I want to re/watch all the films, now.
Aug 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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).
Oct 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Hajir Almahdi
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor, non-fiction
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 ...more
Apr 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Ryan Hatch
Apr 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
It takes amazing talent to make a great movie, in some ways it takes just as much talent to put perfectly into words what makes that movie great. Roger Ebert does that better than almost anyone. So often reading these essays I would get the "that's exactly how I felt" moment. The other thing I love about Roger was that he knew what he liked. Only he could include movies like "Gates of Heaven," a documentary about an absurd pet cemetery, and put it with the likes of "The Godfather" and "Cit
Aug 28, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: film
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
May 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: entertainment
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
Robert James
Mar 04, 2016 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Dave Hartl
May 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
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.
Leonard Pierce
Oct 19, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: film
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.
Aug 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: music-movies-tv
I confess that I’m not a big fan of movies or other forms of visual art. It’s not that I really have anything against the medium, it just seems that my time is so limited, that I rarely want to devote several hours of my frugal day to sit still and stare at a moving picture. I only mention this in my review because if someone such as myself can really enjoy this type of book, I would think that those who actually love going to the movies would find such a companion essential.

Roger Ebert first be
Niklas Pivic
Apr 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
May 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
While I agreed with a few of the reviews in the book, I found my attention wandering during the whole of the book. Roger Ebert writes as if he were a college professor of film which makes for a boring book. He makes even the most exciting movie sound boring. He talks quite a bit about the technical details of the movies that he lists when I would rather hear about why he appreciated the plot and acting abilities of the actors/actresses. He does mention those things but sense I am not nor have I ...more
S Prakash
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Daniel Keohane
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a really good collection of short essays by my absolute favorite film reviewer, Roger Ebert. I say essays because these don't seem to be reviews but rather revisits to his favorite films. He rewatched all of them and wrote his thoughts, so it gives some insight into his tastes and dislikes, and opens up new films for us to see which we haven't. There are some spoilers in them, so when I began to read and found myself wanting to see a movie Ihadn't yet seen, I'd stop reading and go back t ...more
Judy Goodnight
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
I always enjoyed watching Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel's show, At the Movies, for their movie reviews and film criticism. In Ebert's book, The Great Movies, are collected his essays about 100 movies that he considers great from cinema world-wide and from the beginnings of film up to the time of publication. I wasn't familiar with all the films and didn't always agree with the awarding of "great" to all the movies he selected. But, in each case, I enjoyed reading what he had to say about each of t ...more
Zach Franz
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the second of Ebert's "Great Movies" anthologies I've read. Both have been superb. I enjoy his take on nearly all of the films, even if I have no interest in ever seeing particular entries. His perspective is rich, but the true highlight is the quality of his prose. Every word is weighted, every sentence considered. I also appreciate that he doesn't try to label these films as "the best ever" or rank them in any specific order. A great film is a great film; sometimes--perhaps often--we d ...more
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love Roger Ebert's takes on movies. I don't always agree with him, but I can see that his approaches are generally thoughtful. This collection is full of some of the "best" movies he saw, and is a great primer for understanding some of the most famous movies of all time. I used it as a primer to understand what I was watching and what made it special.
David Keep
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The 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
Charlie Newfell
Feb 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
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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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

Other books in the series

Great Movies (3 books)
  • The Great Movies II
  • The Great Movies III
“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.” 7 likes
“Of all the arts, movies are the most powerful aid to empathy, and good ones make us into better people.” 5 likes
More quotes…