Roger Ebert will forever be remembered as an emblem of film criticism, a man whose appreciation and critical analysis of the medium defined his life. He wrote many books that compiled thousands of movie reviews, and opened the eyes of millions of Americans in looking at more than just the face value of a film. In 1987 Ebert and fellow critic Gene Siskel’s PBS series caught the eye of Buena Vista Entertainment, Disney’s formerly-named television division, when they syndicated the show to mass audiences.
Ebert’s relationship with Disney would continue for two decades as co-host of the series, which went through many names including Siskel and Ebert and the Movies and later Ebert & Roeper. Though having a show essentially owned by Disney could have clouded many a critic’s judgment, Ebert was never one to shy away from the truth. He loved some movies. He hated others. But no matter the review, Ebert always shared an informed, well-reasoned opinion that viewers could relate to, as if he was just another friend sharing his thoughts.
Ebert even entered the Disney theme parks, in film form at least. He and Richard Roeper hosted a movie theater-themed exhibit at Epcot’s Innoventions in the early 2000s, discussing the visual quality of movies like Pearl Harbor and Atlantis: The Lost Empire.
Here are some of clips of Ebert reviewing some of his favorite Disney films, as well as a few he could not stand. Let us celebrate Ebert by re-watching his silver screen evaluation in full force as he examines a handful of Disney’s cinematic crop.
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