Andrew Sarris

Publication: Emeritus

Andrew Sarris has been a film critic for The New York Observer since 1989. He was a finalist for the 2000 Pulitzer prize in criticism and has been an active member of the New York Film Critics Circle for over four decades.

Sarris is perhaps best known for explaining and popularizing the so-called “auteur” theory in the English speaking world. First advanced in the French journal Cahiers du Cinema in the 1950s, the auteur theory holds that a director is the “author” of a motion picture, expressing his personality and preoccupations through his choice of subject matter and style. Although this theory was greeted with skepticism at first, it ultimately came to dominate film criticism and film history in the second half of this century.

Before joining The New York Observer, Sarris was a film critic for The Village Voice from 1960-89. He has edited Cahiers du Cinema (1965-67) and served on the editorial board of The Journal of Popular Film and Television. He was a founding member and past chairman of the National Society of Film Critics and has been a member of the Society of Cinema Studies, a member of the American Film Institute and a juror for the New York Film Festival.

Sarris books include, The American Cinema: Directors and Directions, 1925-1968, The Films of Josef von Sternberg, The St. James Film Director’s Encyclopedia, Hollywood Voices: Interviews with Film Directors and You Ain’t Heard Nothing Yet: The American Talking Film, History and Memory 1927-1949.

He was a consultant for When it Was a Game, Part 2, the producer, writer and narrator of The Metaphysics of Buster Keaton and the screenwriter of A Promise at Dawn and Justine. From 1955-65, he was a story consultant for 20th Century Fox.

Sarris recieved an M.A. from from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1998. He has taught at Columbia, Julliard, Yale and New York University. He lives in New York City with his wife, the essayist, feminist and film scholar Molly Haskell, author of From Reverence to Rape: The Treatment of Women in the Movies.