Dave Kehr

Dave Kehr
Dave Kehr
Born 1953
United States
Occupation Author, journalist, film historian, film critic
Nationality American
Subjects Film


Dave Kehr (b. c. 1950) is an American film critic[citation needed]. A critic at the Chicago Reader and the Chicago Tribune for many years, he writes a weekly column for The New York Times on DVD releases, in addition to contributing occasional pieces on individual films or filmmakers.


Early life and education

Dave Kehr did his undergraduate work at the University of Chicago, where he studied English, and learned French in part to read the Cahiers pieces on film. At the time the university did not have a film studies curriculum. He started writing on film for ''The Maroon, the student newspaper, when he was president of the film society, Doc Films.[1]


From 1974–1985, Kehr wrote for the Chicago Reader, where he established a reputation for independent thinking and an understanding of visual style.[1] Until 1978 he edited the Reader's question and answer column, The Straight Dope.[2]

He next wrote as a film critic for the Chicago Tribune (1986–1992.He moved to the East Coast to become film critic for the New York Daily News (1993–1998).[1] In 1994, he was a member of the jury at the 44th Berlin International Film Festival.[3]. He is a past chairman of the National Society of Film Critics, and a member of the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress.

Since 1999, Kehr has written a weekly column for The New York Times on DVD releases. He also contributes occasional pieces on individual filmmakers or films. Kehr also maintains a film blog, with reviews of films and occasional comment pieces.

Kehr is known for disliking some generally well-reviewed movies, examples including Apocalypse Now,[4] Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back,[5] Dog Day Afternoon[6] and Alien,[7] all of which, according to Rotten Tomatoes, currently hold a 96% or larger approval rating among movie critics.[8][9][10][11]

At the same time, he is known for being an early supporter of many filmmakers who went on to achieve an international reputation, including Terrence Malick, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Raul Ruiz, Jonathan Demme, John Carpenter, Walter Hill, Paul Brickman, Clint Eastwood, Albert Brooks, George Romero and Alan Rudolph. Kehr's reviews of early films by these directors and others can be found in a collection of his "Chicago Reader" pieces published in 2011 by the University of Chicago Press, "When Movies Mattered." Reviewing the collection for "Sight and Sound," the critic Philip French described Kehr as "one of the most gifted film critics to come out of America, the peer of James Agee and Pauline Kael." Roger Ebert has also called him "one of the most gifted film critics in America."



  1. ^ a b c Steve Erickson, "Interview with Dave Kehr", Senses of Cinema, June 2001, accessed 4 May 2010
  2. ^ From the forward by Zotti, Ed in Adams, Cecil (1984). The Straight Dope: A Compendium of Human Knowledge. New York: Random House
  3. ^ "Berlinale: 1994 Juries". berlinale.de. http://www.berlinale.de/en/archiv/jahresarchive/1994/04_jury_1994/04_Jury_1994.html. Retrieved 2011-06-09. 
  4. ^ "Apocalypse Now – Review Comments". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/apocalypse_now/comments.php?reviewid=249559. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  5. ^ "Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back – Review Comments". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/empire_strikes_back/comments.php?reviewid=1635662. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  6. ^ "Dog Day Afternoon – Review Comments". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/dog_day_afternoon/comments.php?reviewid=1816299. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  7. ^ "Alien – Review Comments". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/alien/comments.php?reviewid=1636989. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  8. ^ "Apocalypse Now". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/apocalypse_now/. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  9. ^ "Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/empire_strikes_back/. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  10. ^ "Dog Day Afternoon". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/dog_day_afternoon/. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  11. ^ "Alien". Rotten Tomatoes. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/alien/. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 

External links

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