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David Thomson

David Thomson is a critic and author, best known for his A Biographical Dictionary of Film, now in its fifth edition, which won Sight & Sound’s 2010 poll of the best film books ever written. He is a regular contributor to S&S, the New York Times, the Guardian, the Independent on Sunday, Film Comment, Movieline, the New Republic and Salon.

His other film books include Showman: The Life of David O. Selznick, Rosebud: The Story of Orson Welles, Beneath Mulholland: Thoughts on Hollywood and Its Ghosts, The Whole Equation: A History of Hollywood, “Have You Seen…?”: A Personal Introduction to 1,000 Films and The Big Screen. His fiction writing includes the novels Suspects and Silver Light.

He has served on the selection committee for the New York Film Festival and scripted the documentary The Making of a Legend: Gone with the Wind.

Articles by David Thomson

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  • From the Magazine

    Journey to the end of the beach: Godard, Karina and Pierrot le fou

    Six months after divorcing his muse Anna Karina, Jean-Luc Godard cast her in the story of the breakdown of a love affair. In tribute to Karina, who has died aged 79, we revisit David Thomson’s 2009 reflection on the film as valedictory autobiography.

    Monday, December 16, 2019


  • Free Solo: our love affair with the lone hero

    An astonishing new documentary records one man’s death-defying climb in Yosemite, California. Isolated on the rock, he embodies the solitary hero of a classic western, writes David Thomson.

    Sunday, December 23, 2018


  • Richard Schickel obituary: the critic who knew enough

    Time magazine’s film critic for 45 years, Richard Schickel was also a cinema historian, lecturer and prolific author of books, movies and DVD commentaries about pedigree Hollywood. David Thomson hails a gruff friend and colleague.

    Friday, February 24, 2017


  • Out-ward bound: Jacques Rivette’s Out 1 in the Arctic circle

    Flying back from presenting Jacques Rivette’s “profound, dormant monster” Out 1 to an audience of 12 in a wintry Tromsø, Norway, David Thomson ponders the lifelikeness of a film that is boring – in the best sense.

    Sunday, January 31, 2016


  • From the Magazine

    Left-handed cinema

    Can even small, apparently insignificant, details – such as whether a character is left-handed – affect how we read a film? By David Thomson.

    Wednesday, August 13, 2014


  • From the Magazine

    Andrew Sarris, 1928-2012

    from our August 2012 issue

    Thursday, February 7, 2013


  • Yekaterina Golubeva, 1966-2011

    David Thompson remembers the face of Pola X, Twentynine Palms and two films for Claire Denis.

    Tuesday, March 20, 2012


  • From the Magazine

    Howard Hawks: Slim and the silver fox

    The years Howard Hawks spent with his second wife Nancy – aka ‘Slim’ – were the richest of his film-directing career, as her style and influence inspired him to live out a recurring dream of their relationship on film. By David Thomson.

    Thursday, February 3, 2011


  • From the Magazine

    The best film books, by 51 critics

    Which are the most inspirational five books about film ever written? This was the question we asked 51 leading critics and writers, and their answers are printed here in full.

    Thursday, June 3, 2010

    Polls and surveys

  • Big Sleep

    Howard Hawks’s famously baffling adaptation of Raymond Chandler reunited Bogart and Bacall and signalled a change in Hollywood cinema.

    Thursday, February 1, 2007

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