Richard Schickel (1933–2021) was an American film critic, author, documentary filmmaker, and historian. He was one of the most influential and respected film critics of the 20th century, writing for TIME magazine for almost four decades and authoring numerous books on film and television.
Schickel was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1933, the son of a Jewish family. He attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he received his B.A. in English and journalism. After college, he worked as an editor at Esquire magazine and later as a film critic for LIFE Magazine.
Schickel went on to become a prominent film critic, writing for TIME magazine from 1969 to 2009. In that time, he wrote over 500 reviews, and was known for his thoughtful, nuanced approach to film criticism. He was the author of many books on film and television, including "The Men Who Made the Movies," "D.W. Griffith: An American Life," and "A Life in Movies: Memoirs of a Film Critic."
Schickel was also a noted documentary filmmaker. His most acclaimed film was "Woody Allen: A Life in Film" (2002), which won the Emmy for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special. He also directed "The Compound Eye," a documentary about the life of photographer Edward Weston, and "The Wildest Dream," a documentary about the last great climb of George Mallory.
In addition to his work as a critic, author, and filmmaker, Schickel was also a noted historian. He wrote extensively about Hollywood's Golden Age, and was an active member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Schickel passed away in 2021, leaving behind a legacy of criticism and scholarship that will continue to influence film culture for years to come. He will also be remembered for his wit, insight, and passion for film.