March 25, 2023

Joel Siegel: The Iconic Film Critic Who Brought Heart to Hollywood


Joel Siegel was a legendary film critic who won the hearts of millions of movie enthusiasts with his unique style. He had an extraordinary ability to explain complex movies in simple terms that anybody could understand. He brought heart to Hollywood with his storytelling approach and captured the essence of a movie in a way that nobody else could. In this blog post, we will explore the life and works of Joel Siegel, his impact on the film industry, and his legacy that still lives on.

Early Life and Career

Joel Siegel was born in Los Angeles on July 7, 1943. He graduated with a degree in English Literature from UCLA and started his career as a journalist for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. He later worked for WCBS-TV, ABC, and Good Morning America. Siegel joined ABC in 1976 as a reporter, then as a film critic in 1981, where he continued until his passing in 2007.

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Unique Style

What made Joel Siegel stand out from other film critics was his storytelling approach. He had a way of explaining movies in a simple, straightforward way that made them accessible to everyone. He used humor and wit to convey the essence of a movie, and he was never afraid to share his personal opinions about a film. His reviews were more like conversations with the audience than critiques written for scholars.

Impact on the Film Industry

Joel Siegel’s impact on the film industry cannot be overstated. He did not just review movies; he helped to shape the way people thought about films. His reviews were influential, and movie studios would anxiously await his critical response. He was not afraid to pan a movie that everyone else thought would be a hit, and his positive reviews could make a small indie film into a sleeper hit.

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Joel Siegel’s legacy lives on today, even after he passed away in 2007. He inspired a new generation of film critics who have adopted his style of storytelling to make movies more accessible to the public. He was also a true humanitarian who cared deeply about social issues, and he used his platform to raise awareness about important causes.


Q. What was Joel Siegel’s most memorable review?

A. One of Joel Siegel’s most memorable reviews was his scathing critique of “North” in 1994. He famously said, “I hated this movie. Hated, hated, hated, hated, hated this movie.” The review became so well-known that it was parodied in the movie “A Prairie Home Companion.”

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Q. Did Joel Siegel ever win any awards for his work?

A. Yes, Joel Siegel won numerous awards for his work, including a George Foster Peabody Award in 1989 and a Documentary Emmy for “Reds” in 1981.

Q. How did Joel Siegel inspire other film critics?

A. Joel Siegel inspired other film critics through his unique style of storytelling. He showed them that it was possible to write about movies in a way that was accessible to everyone, not just scholars.

Q. What social causes was Joel Siegel passionate about?

A. Joel Siegel was passionate about a variety of social causes, including cancer research, organ donation, and animal rights.

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Q. Did Joel Siegel ever work as a screenwriter or actor?

A. No, Joel Siegel never worked as a screenwriter or actor, but he did make cameo appearances in several movies, including “Dave” and “The Bonfire of the Vanities.”

Q. What is Joel Siegel’s most significant contribution to the film industry?

A. Joel Siegel’s most significant contribution to the film industry was his ability to make movies accessible to the public. He showed that movies were more than just entertainment; they could be art that touched people’s hearts.

Q. What was Joel Siegel’s favorite movie of all time?

A. Joel Siegel’s favorite movie of all time was “The Third Man,” a 1949 film noir directed by Carol Reed.

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Joel Siegel was a remarkable film critic who brought heart to Hollywood with his storytelling approach. He was not afraid to be himself, and his reviews were more like conversations with the audience than critiques. He inspired a new generation of film critics, and his legacy lives on today. Joel Siegel will always be remembered as an icon who changed the way people thought about movies.

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