Joe Morgenstern (born October 3, 1932) is a film critic for The Wall Street Journal. He has won a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.
Morgenstern graduated from Lehigh University in 1953 with a bachelor's degree in English magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. His first journalism experience was as news clerk at The New York Times. He then became foreign correspondent for the Times, based in Switzerland and France.
Morgenstern became an entertainment reporter for the New York Herald Tribune in 1959, later advancing to theater/music critic.
From 1965 to 1983 Morgenstern was film critic for Newsweek. During this time, his most famous review was when he panned Bonnie and Clyde and then reconsidered his opinion seriously enough to retract it in the next issue. That proved a golden marketing opportunity for Warner Brothers to attract interest in the film by noting it made a major film critic change his mind about its virtues. From 1983 to 1988 he wrote a column for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner.
Morgenstern has written movie reviews for the Wall Street Journal since May 1995. His movie reviews appear each Friday in the "Weekend & Leisure" section of the newspaper, and he covers the movie industry in a column which appears every other Saturday. He also writes movie reviews for CNBC. Morgenstern is based in Santa Monica, California, and does movie reviews for the local public radio station KCRW, which are released as a weekly podcast.
Morgenstern's writings have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Esquire, the Columbia Journalism Review and the Los Angeles Times Magazine. He has written several scripts for television.
Morgenstern co-founded the National Society of Film Critics. He is renowned for his use of vocabulary and humor.
He received a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 2005, making him only the third film critic to win a Pulitzer for criticism, after Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times and Stephen Hunter of The Washington Post.
Morgenstern lives in Santa Monica, California. He was to married actress Piper Laurie from 1962 to their divorce in 1982. They had one child, Anna Grace Morgenstern.