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The Great Movies (Great Movies)

4.24  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,442 Ratings  ·  88 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 collec
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Paperback, 544 pages
Published November 11th 2003 by Three Rivers Press (first published 2002)
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Easy Riders, Raging Bulls by Peter BiskindHitchcock by François TruffautPictures at a Revolution by Mark  HarrisThe Great Movies by Roger EbertAdventures in the Screen Trade by William Goldman
Books ABOUT Movies
4th out of 425 books — 168 voters
The Great Movies by Roger EbertThe Twilight Zone Companion by Marc Scott ZicreeSaturday Night by Doug HillLive from New York by James Andrew MillerThe Alfred Hitchcock Presents Companion by Martin Grams
Books About Films and TV Shows
1st out of 364 books — 50 voters


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Community Reviews

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Julie Davis
Oct 07, 2013 Julie Davis 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
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Mmyoung
Aug 13, 2013 Mmyoung 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
Bryce
Dec 09, 2015 Bryce 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
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Laura
Aug 28, 2014 Laura 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).
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Muzzlehatch
Aug 28, 2008 Muzzlehatch 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
Diane
May 23, 2015 Diane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: miscellaneous
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
Jul 26, 2014 Robert 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
Brad
Aug 06, 2010 Brad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Robert James
Mar 06, 2016 Robert James 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
Neri.
Feb 10, 2016 Neri. 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.
Alexis
Aug 17, 2014 Alexis 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.
Jim
Jun 25, 2015 Jim rated it liked it
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
Dec 20, 2014 Bonnie McDaniel rated it really liked it
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
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Todd Stockslager
Jun 15, 2015 Todd Stockslager rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pop-culture
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
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Rob
Oct 05, 2014 Rob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Amy
Dec 17, 2015 Amy rated it liked it
Siskel and Ebert taught me how to watch a movie back in the early 80's. Once I started reading Roger Ebert's reviews, I learned what a wonderful, lyrical writer he was. He doesn't move with a cold, analytical style. And while he had a finely trained eye, he wasn't out to nitpick. He loved movies and held them to a high standard. And when movie star delivered, he loved it. "Growing older was Bette Davis' greatest career move," is from his review of All About Eve, a film that just delighted him. I ...more
Dave Hartl
Jul 01, 2015 Dave Hartl 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.
Jill
Aug 08, 2015 Jill rated it it was amazing
Though I haven't yet read all 100 of Ebert's essays on the greatest movies, I've enjoyed each so far and have added quite a few movies to my queue for future watching. There are so many famous and predictable inclusions in the book, but some oldies-but-goodies that you probably haven't heard of. Ebert is so articulate about what appeals in each of these films that you will find yourself wanting to re watch your favorites and check out the rest. He was truly a great and very skillful reviewer of ...more
Lori
Jul 12, 2015 Lori rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
not sure which category to put this book in. I guess reference may be one. This is one of Roger Ebert's critic books. He writes some very lengthy reviews on movies that he considers "great". this is helpful to me since he goes in big detail why he likes a certain movie. Some of the movies I have seen myself and for the most part agree with the "thumbs up" some i have never seen. I put a few on the "try Out' list. this is helpful to me if i want to try a new movie. I did watch two of the movies h ...more
Lola
What makes a film great is fairly subjective. It depends on the viewer's tastes and preferences, and someone always finds something wrong with every film. That's just life. There are a handful of films the majority of people would agree are truly great: Citizen Kane, The Godfather, Gone with the Wind, etc. There are also films most people would agree are just universally bad: Grease 2, Catwoman, The Room, etc. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but if you really want to listen to someon ...more
j_ay
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
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Dankwa Brooks
Jun 01, 2011 Dankwa Brooks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Niklas Pivic
Apr 28, 2013 Niklas Pivic 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
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Jeroen Berndsen
Aug 13, 2012 Jeroen Berndsen rated it really liked it
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, www.rogerebert.com.[return][return]In 'The Great Movies' zijn 100 essays samengebracht over 100 'Geweldige Films', vaak voortgekomen uit recensies die hij eer ...more
Rosemarie Short
Dec 08, 2013 Rosemarie Short rated it it was amazing
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
Ken
Mar 16, 2014 Ken rated it really liked it
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.
Pat Lampe
Aug 14, 2015 Pat Lampe rated it really liked it
This was such an interesting look into what a great reviewer looks at in films. Lighting, camera angle, of course the plot and acting. His explanation of Vertigo is the first time I understood why this film is considered great. His explanation of Godfather as an insular world showed how we liked all of those really bad characters. Roger Ebert was really a genius at his art. And a very good writer as well.
Greg
Sep 24, 2014 Greg rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 12, 2014 Henry Sturcke rated it really liked it
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
Mar 20, 2014 Andrew Pierce rated it it was amazing
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.
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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
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More about Roger Ebert...

Other Books in the Series

Great Movies (3 books)
  • The Great Movies II
  • The Great Movies III

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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.” 5 likes
“2001: A Space Odyssey is not about a goal, but about a quest, a need.” 4 likes
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