Pulitzer Prize winner and exemplary film critic.

Pulitzer Prize winner and exemplary film critic.

I grew up with Siskel and Ebert in my living room.  While watching the show, I almost always sided with Siskel over Ebert.  I felt that Siskel looked more at a film as a whole while Ebert picked things he liked or didn’t like and focused on those.

But as I grew to read more about film, I realized how important Ebert was as a film critic.  Not just that he won the Pulitzer Prize in 1975 for criticism.  But that he wrote so much about film, that he cared about it so passionately.

I have so many of his books.  I have looked at them countless times.  The first CD-ROM on film I ever bought had copies of all of his reviews up to that point.  When the Sun-Times went back and put all of his reviews online, all the way back to his start as a film critic there in 1967, I was ecstatic.

In every year for the History of the Academy Awards: Best Picture series that I have spent the last three years writing, if there was an Ebert review of the film, I linked to it.  In my Year in Film series, one of the categories was Ebert’s Great Films.

You didn’t have to agree with him.  A lot of the time I didn’t.  But, like Pauline Kael, you needed to read him.  And his reviews, right up until today, were always the first thing I checked when new films came out.

You can find all 46 years of his reviews here.  Or you can find his books here.  Start with the Great Movies books.  Then his book of 4 star reviews.  Then go to his collections of terrible films – they’re great fun to read.  The first is I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie, followed by Your Movie Sucks and finally A Horrible Experience of Unbearable Length.  And then there is Awake in the Dark, his best-of collection that spans his career.