"Big money and its way of life is exciting; the vulgarity of the powerful is ugly, but not boring. This, you begin to feel, is how people behave when they're strong enough to act out their fantasies of wealth. In this environment, if you're not making it in a big way, you're worse than nothing -- you're a failure." (I Lost it at the Movies)
"Never give them the excuse to stay home if there's anything there on the screen." (Conversations with Pauline Kael)
"There are so few movies that really offer you anything that's fresh, that's different, that's exciting." (Conversations with Pauline Kael)
"When Shoeshine opened in 1947, I went to see it alone after one of those terrible lovers' quarrels that leave one in a state of incomprehensible despair. I came out of the theater, tears streaming, and overheard the petulant voice of a college girl complaining to her boyfriend, "Well, I don't see what was so special about that movie." I walked up the street, crying blindly, no longer certain whether my tears were for the tragedy on the screen, the hopelessness I felt for myself, or the alienation I felt from those who could not experience the radiance of Shoeshine. For if people cannot feel Shoeshine what can they feel?" (Conversations with Pauline Kael)
"Movies are so rarely great art that if we cannot appreciate great trash we have very little reason to be interested in them."
"In the arts, the critic is the only independent source of information. The rest is advertising."