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James Berardinelli (born September 1967) is an Americamarker online film critic.


Berardinelli was born in New Brunswick, New Jerseymarker, and spent his early childhood in Morristownmarker. At the age of nine, he moved to Cherry Hillmarker. He attended the University of Pennsylvaniamarker from 1985 through 1990, obtaining both a BS and MS in Electrical Engineering. After graduating he worked at Bellcore, now Telcordia Technologies, and spent the next 15 years working "in a variety of fields, including fiber optics, video testing, and software systems." In 2004, he married one of his longtime readers.

Film critic

Berardinelli admits that, as a child, he did not spend much time in theaters, and as a teenager saw only five or six movies a year. He did not get interested in film until he was in college. In 1991, the year before he started reviewing, he saw about 30 films. The number jumped up to 180 in 1992, when he wrote reviews for his own use. Starting in 1993, the year in which he started publishing his reviews in Usenet, he began seeing between 220 and 250 theatrical releases per year. In 1997 he became an accredited film critic and now estimates that he has seen over 7000 films in total.

Berardinelli has over 3,300 full-length movie reviews posted on his own ReelViews website, as well as being a prominent contributor to such sites as Rotten Tomatoes. He has established an average of roughly 300 reviews a year since the site was inaugurated in January 1996. According to Berardinelli, his website receives 70,000-80,000 hits per day.

Fellow film critic Roger Ebert has written positive comments about Berardinelli, even going so far as to write forewords for the ReelViews books. In Ebert's review of Saving Silverman, he called Berardinelli "the best of the Web-based critics."

Berardinelli also writes ReelThoughts, a blog in which he muses on issues of the day or whatever is on his mind. While there is no publication schedule per se, he usually finds time to write a few entries a week. Frequent topics of his columns include DVD technology, the film industry, film piracy, and censorship, but he doesn't shy away from such issues as politics and society. He frequently criticizes the Motion Picture Association of America's ratings board and the inconsistency of the ratings system, deriding them for, among other things, affixing "R" ratings to films for arguably mild artistic nudity, while simultaneously deeming blood-soaked violence to be PG or PG-13 material.

Berardinelli rates films for his website on a star basis, between zero and four stars. In addition, the use of the half-star rating is also applied. Several films, to date, have received no stars.

Berardinelli's favorite directors include Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Akira Kurosawa and Alfred Hitchcock. His all-time favorite film is Patton. Recent films which made it to his top 100 films include The Departed, currently at #82, The Dark Knight at #85, and Munich at #91.


  1. ReelThoughts
  2. ReelThoughts
  3. ReelThoughts
  4. Ebert's Review
  5. Ebert's review of Saving Silverman
  • James Berardinelli (2003), "ReelViews : The Ultimate Guide to the Best 1,000 Modern Movies on DVD and Video" ISBN 1-932112-06-5
  • James Berardinelli (2005), "ReelViews 2: The Ultimate Guide to the Best 1,000 Modern Movies on DVD and Video, 2005 Edition" ISBN 1-932112-40-5

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