Brow Beat

Roger Ebert Expounds on the Importance of Ego in This Animated Interview

An animated Ebert.

Still from YouTube

Roger Ebert was a compassionate critic, but a stubborn one. His bullishness served him well on At the Movies, the squabble-filled show he hosted with Gene Siskel, but the quality could also chafe, as in his reductive critique of videogames. Still, there’s more to Ebert’s self-confidence than mere bluster, and in Blank on Blank’s latest video the critic explains why he thinks ego matters in both art and criticism.

The discussion is from 1990, when Ebert sat down with writer Lawrence Grobel for a few interview sessions, and Ebert is keen to distinguish between a healthy ego—defined by a “highly developed sense of self”—and a sick one. The former, he claims, is what makes good filmmakers: people like Ingmar Bergman and Woody Allen, who “felt something had to be said, and said it.” Thoughts on his own ego? “I have innate confidence that I am right. Partially out of conviction and partially as a pose.”

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