May 20, 2024

Roger Ebert, a name synonymous with film criticism, left an indelible mark on the world of cinema. With his insightful reviews and passion for movies, Ebert became a household name, celebrated for his unique ability to dissect films and convey his thoughts eloquently. In this article, we delve into the life and work of Ebert, exploring the impact he had on the film industry and the enduring relevance of his reviews.

Who Was Roger Ebert?

Roger Joseph Ebert, born on June 18, 1942, in Urbana, Illinois, was a prolific film critic, journalist, and screenwriter. He gained fame as the film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times and later as a co-host of the television show Siskel & Ebert at the Movies, where he engaged in lively and informative debates about the latest releases alongside fellow critic Gene Siskel. Ebert’s accessible style and ability to connect with audiences made him a beloved figure in the world of film criticism.

Ebert’s Influence on Film Criticism

Roger Ebert’s influence on film criticism was profound and enduring. He had a knack for distilling complex cinematic concepts into easily understandable language, making his reviews accessible to both casual moviegoers and serious cinephiles. Ebert’s reviews were characterized by their insightful analysis, witty humor, and unwavering honesty.

Ebert’s reviews often went beyond mere critiques; they were insightful explorations of the themes, performances, and messages within films. He had a unique ability to highlight the nuances that made a movie memorable or forgettable. Ebert’s words carried weight in Hollywood, and filmmakers and actors valued his opinions.

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The Ebert Rating System

One of Roger Ebert’s enduring contributions to film criticism is his rating system. Ebert famously used a simple but effective four-star rating system to evaluate movies. These stars provided a quick and clear indicator of his opinion, with four stars signifying the highest praise and one star signalling a subpar film. Ebert’s ratings became a standard reference for moviegoers seeking guidance on what to watch.

Ebert’s Rating System:

  • ★☆☆☆☆ – Poor
  • ★★☆☆☆ – Fair
  • ★★★☆☆ – Good
  • ★★★★☆ – Excellent
  • ★★★★★ – Outstanding

Ebert’s Top Picks

Throughout his career, Roger Ebert championed a wide array of films, from blockbusters to independent gems. Some of his all-time favorite movies included classics like Citizen Kane, Casablanca, and Apocalypse Now, as well as contemporary masterpieces like Pulp Fiction and Goodfellas. Ebert’s recommendations often introduced viewers to cinematic treasures they might have otherwise overlooked.

Ebert’s Legacy and Impact

Roger Ebert’s impact on film criticism transcends his lifetime. Even after his passing in 2013, his reviews continue to be referenced and celebrated by film enthusiasts and professionals alike. His website,, remains a hub for movie reviews and essays, ensuring that his legacy endures in the digital age.


Roger Ebert’s contributions to the world of film criticism are immeasurable. His eloquent reviews, insightful critiques, and enduring legacy make him a true icon in the world of cinema. As we continue to enjoy and debate the merits of various films, we can’t help but wonder what Roger Ebert would have thought of them. His memory lives on through his words, guiding us through the ever-evolving landscape of cinema.

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For more insights into the world of film and entertainment, explore our Film Reviews section or learn about the History of Film Criticism.

Please note that this article is a tribute to Roger Ebert and is not affiliated with or any official Roger Ebert entity.

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