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David Thomson

Esteemed writer and film critic

  • About David Thomson

    David Thomson, author of The New Biographical Dictionary of Film and The Big Screen: The Story of the Movies, among other works, is one of the foremost film writers of our time. He has been hailed as “the greatest living film critic and historian” by Benjamin Schwarz of The Atlantic. His breadth of knowledge, candor, insight, and devastating wit make learning about the cinema at least as much fun as watching the films he writes about.

    Born and raised in London, David Thomson won a scholarship to attend private school and after graduation enrolled in the London School of Film Technique—the only such school in Britain at that time. A risky move, certainly—while many urged him to go instead to Oxford, the expected choice—but Thomson’s choice led him to a remarkable career as a film historian and writer. In early 2011, The New Republic named David Thomson columnist for its new online section, “At the Movies,” where his reviews encompass both new releases and established classics. Thomson is also a contributor toThe New York TimesFilm CommentMovielineThe New Republic, and Salon. Additionally, Thomson taught film studies at Dartmouth College and served on the selection committee for the New York Film Festival.

    David Thomson’s work as a critic dovetails with his work as an author. He has been the biographer of Orson Welles and Nicole Kidman and has written a history of Hollywood titled The Whole Equation. Most notably, Thomson is the creator and compiler of The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, which is lauded as the first (and best) reference book of its kind for the film world, and praised by The New York Observer for being “as grand and eccentric as Samuel Johnson’s dictionary.”

  • Speaking Topics

    Film Criticism and the Shrinking Newspaper

    History of Hollywood

    Lives and Careers of the Great Stars

    Nevada and the U.S.

    Soccer as a World Language

    Being English and American

  • Video

  • Praise for David Thomson


    The evening went very well. We had about 85 people in attendance. David did a great job, was a pleasure to work with, and a delightful dinner companion. I consider myself lucky to have met him.

    Abigail Cheever, University of Richmond

    Praise for A Light in the Dark

    Compulsive reading: thoughtful and thought-provoking in equal measure. David Thomson’s knowledge is comprehensive and his response to all films humane and entirely uncorrupted by the conventional hagiography of so much writing about film. He’s engagingly unafraid of challenging received opinion.

    Richard Eyre, director

    David Thomson has spent his life thinking hard and deep about cinema, and so he’s uniquely placed to write this lovely, brutal book about the glory of being a film-maker and vainglory of being an auteur.

    David Hare, screenwriter and playwright

    A Light in the Dark took over my life for two days. It is a summary of cinema and a requiem. Love and sadness. A prodigious masterwork.

    John Boorman, director

    Praise for The New Biographical Dictionary of Film

    Delicious. One of the best and most useful books written about the movies.

    Edward Guthmann, San Francisco Chronicle
  • Books by David Thomson

  • Media About David Thomson

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  • 212 572-2013
  • David Thomson travels from San Francisco, CA

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