The New Biographical Dictionary of Film

  • Share this:
Share with a friend
Sign into your email account to send this page to a friend:
Outlook or Apple Mail
or other default program
Walmart Gift Card
Put the fun of shopping in their hands with Walmart Gift Cards! Ship to Home or Send via email.

The New Biographical Dictionary of Film

Format:  Hardcover,

1076 pages

Edition: Completely Upda

Publisher: Random House Inc

Publish Date: Mar 2013

ISBN-13: 9781479881345

ISBN-10: 1479881341

Buy from Walmart

Shipping & Pickup

In stock for:

  • Store information not available.

 Buy from Marketplace

Shipping & Additional Information

Book Information

The following content was provided by the publisher.
David Thomson's "New Biographical Dictionary of Film "topped "Sight & Sound" magazine's 2010 poll of international critics and writers as the best film book of all time.
Now in its fifth edition, updated, and with more than 130 new entries--from Judd Apatow to Lena Horne--the classic, beloved film book is better than ever.
For thirty-five years, David Thomson's "Biographical Dictionary of Film" has been "fiendishly seductive" (Greil Marcus, "Rolling Stone"), "the finest reference book ever written about movies" (Graham Fuller, "Interview"), and "not only an indispensable book about cinema, but one of the most absurdly ambitious literary achievements of our time" (Geoff Dyer, "The Guardian"). For this edition, Thomson has brought up to date and in some case recast the biographies, and has added new ones (Clive Owen, Scarlett Johansson, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Marion Cotillard, for example). The book now includes almost 1,500 entries, some of them just a pungent paragraph, some of them several thousand words long, every one a gem.
Here is a great, rare book that encompasses the chaos of art, entertainment, money, vulgarity, and nonsense that we call the movies. Personal, opinionated, funny, daring, provocative, and passionate, it is the one book that every filmmaker and film buff must own, from the man David Hare called "the most stimulating and thoughtful film critic now writing."


Publisher: Random House Inc
Publish Date: Oct 2010
ISBN-13: 9780307271747
ISBN-10: 0307271749
Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 1076
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 3.5
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 7.25 x 9.75 x 2.0


Review by Library Journal (2004-10-01)

This dictionary by outspoken film critic Thomson first appeared in 1975. The current edition, which features 1300 entries, appeared in hardcover two years ago; 30 new entries have been added to the paperback edition. Although wide-ranging, Thomson's selection of Hollywood heavyweights and newcomers is highly personal, and his comments about them are even more personal-even blunt. If you agree, for example, that Good Will Hunting was "deplorable" compared with the underrated The Talented Mr. Ripley (found in the entry on Matt Damon), you will surely enjoy this book. On the other hand, if you want nothing but facts, you may find it useful but far from inclusive or up-to-date.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Library Journal (2002-10-01)

First published in 1975 and updated in 1981 and 1994, this dictionary returns with 300 new entries, mostly on emerging actors and directors from the last decade (e.g., Luc Besson and Reese Witherspoon), bringing the total to 1300. Film scholar Thomson (Showman: The Life of David O. Selznick) offers extensive but not comprehensive coverage, with entries ranging from a couple of paragraphs to several pages. He seems to write about whoever interests him, leaving some unexplained gaps.

For example, he profiles Jeff Bridges but not father Lloyd or brother Beau and includes a fine tribute to the late critic Pauline Kael but ignores Roger Ebert. The book contains a lengthy appreciation of TV talk show master Johnny Carson that probably doesn't belong here. Like other serious film writers his age, Thomson admits that he no longer finds movie-going the "transforming experience" it once was, adding "I think I have learned that I love books more than films". This probably shapes some of his outspoken opinions.

For example, writing about Tommy Lee Jones's recent career, he says, "He became coarse or was it depressed? and you felt he had lost faith in the business as his checks grew bigger". Halliwell's Who's Who in the Movies covers far more figures, in less detail than Thomson, though Thomson seems to value opinions as much as facts. Some readers may resent Thomson's dismissal of Paul Newman or John Ford's "appallingly hollow" Grapes of Wrath and How Green Was My Valley ("a monstrous slurry of tears and coal dust"). Halliwell's remains the first choice for a ready reference in film biography collections. If budget permits, large public libraries and college film collections should consider Thomson's book as a browsing title owing to its trenchant, sometimes witty, prose and its up-to-date coverage. Stephen Rees, Levittown Regional Lib., PA

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Customer Product Reviews


Gifting Plans

Financing Offers

Make the most of your shopping experience with the Walmart® MasterCard® or Walmart Credit Card.

Save $25 when you open a Walmart® Credit Card and spend $75 today.*

*Offer subject to credit approval

Learn More or Apply Now