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 and “Have You Seen…?”: A Personal Introduction to 1,000 Films. 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.

Online articles

#Howard Hawks: Slim and the silver fox Feature

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. From S&S February 2011

#The mark of Kane
The best films ever made?

With S&S’s once-in-a-decade Greatest Film of All Time poll looming in 2012, David Thomson launches a series of occasional debates on the canon, here wondering whether Citizen Kane will – or should – retain its top spot. From S&S January 2011

#One for the road: Bob Rafelson and ‘Five Easy Pieces’ Feature

Forty years ago, ‘Five Easy Pieces’ made Jack Nicholson a star, and seemed to promise a new era of thoughtful American film-making. David Thomson looks back at a masterpiece, and talks to its director, Bob Rafelson.
From S&S September 2010

#Sam Peckinpah Feature

Taking a walk through the director’s bloody flick Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, David Thomson explores Peckinpah’s love/hate relationship with Mexico.
From S&S February 2009

#Popcorn Patter Feature

Terrence Malick’s Badlands now seems less a study of alienated youth and more like a screwball western, argues David Thomson. From S&S September 2008

#The killer inside Feature

Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Conformist is a movie that refuses to court its audience with easy offers of comfort or compassion. David Thomson explores its cold heart. From S&S March 2008

#Sound and the fury: Terence Davies Feature

The Long Day Closes captures the sounds of a postwar Liverpool childhood and the redeeming power of the picturehouse. But why can’t its director keep in regular work, asks David Thompson? From S&S April 2007

#Giant steps Feature

US cinema in the early 1970s is a story of filmmakers who refused to sell out. David Thomson celebrates a programme of their work at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. From S&S September 2006

#Impulse Feature

The best films of Otto Preminger are like Renoir crossed with Fritz Lang. With the rerelease of Anatomy of a Murder David Thomson rehabilitates a neglected genius. From S&S May 2005

#Shock around the clock Feature

The second series of 24 understands the fears that drove America to war in Iraq, claims David Thomson, as he re-imagines the show directed by David Lynch and Tarantino. From S&S August 2003

The greatest films of all timeThe greatest films of all time Poll

How David Thomson voted in our 2002 poll.
From S&S September 2002

Last Updated: 10 May 2012