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Philip French (born 1933, Liverpoolmarker) is a Britishmarker film critic and former radio producer.

French, the son of an insurance salesman, was educated at Bristol Grammar Schoolmarker, read Law at Oxford Universitymarker. and post graduate study in Journalism at Indiana University, Bloomingtonmarker on a scholarship.

He has been film critic of The Observer since 1978. Before that, he was deputy film critic to David Robinson at The Times for some years. He has also written for Sight and Sound, and his books include The Movie Moguls: An Informal History of the Hollywood Tycoons (1969) and Westerns, which reappeared in a revised version in 2005. He also wrote the book Cult Movies (1999) together with Karl French.

From 1959 to 1990, when he took early retirement, he was a BBC Radio producer. In the 1960s he produced The Critics on the BBC Home Service and from 1974 to 1990 he produced its successor programme Critics' Forum on BBC Radio 3. French's appointment as film critic of The Observer was opposed by the then Controller of Radio 3, Stephen Hearst, who felt that it would be impossible for French to be an impartial producer while also working as a regular film critic, but he was overruled by his superior, Howard Newby.

His Swedish-born wife Kersti is a translator and their son, Sean French, is one half of the Nicci French writing team.


  1. Philip French "My own cinema paradiso", The Observer, 13 April 2008
  2. "Honorary degrees for film critic and scientist", Lancaster University News, January 2007
  3. Philip French "We saw the light, but too late for some", The Observer, 24 June 2007
  4. Humphrey Carpenter The Envy of the World: Fifty years of the BBC Third Programme and Radio 3, 1996, Weidenfeld and Nicolson [Phoenix pbk, ISBN 0-7538-0250-3], p324

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