David Thomson (born 1941) is a British film critic and historian based in the United States and the author of more than 20 books. His reference works in particular — Have You Seen...?: A Personal Introduction to 1,000 Films (2008) and The New Biographical Dictionary of Film (6th edition, 2014) — have been praised as works of high literary merit and eccentricity. Benjamin Schwarz, writing in the Atlantic Monthly, called him "probably the greatest living film critic and historian" who "writes the most fun and enthralling prose about the movies since Pauline Kael". John Banville called him “the greatest living writer on the movies”.
Thomson was born in London. He taught film studies at Dartmouth College and has been a regular contributor to The New York Times, Film Comment, Movieline, The New Republic, and Salon. Thomson has served on the selection committee for the New York Film Festival and scripted an award-winning documentary, The Making of a Legend: Gone with the Wind.
Thomson has written several biographies (see below), novels (Suspects, Silver Light) and unproduced screenplays, including Fierce Heat, which was to be produced by Martin Scorsese and directed by Stephen Frears.
He has confessed that he prefers writing books to film writing.
Thomson lives in San Francisco with his wife and their two sons. On April 1, 2014, the San Francisco International Film Festival announced that Thomson would receive the Mel Novikoff Award at the 57th annual SFIFF.
Personal top 10 films
In the 2012 Sight & Sound poll, Thomson revealed his ten favourite films of all time:
- Blue Velvet (1986)
- Céline and Julie Go Boating (1974)
- Citizen Kane (1941)
- The Conformist (1970)
- Hiroshima mon amour (1959)
- His Girl Friday (1940)
- Pierrot le Fou (1965)
- The Rules of the Game (1939)
- The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
- Ugetsu Monogatari (1953)