Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert were journalists, film reviewers, TV personalities and friends. They disliked each other and loved each other. They needled each other on the air and put on a great show, but it was always in the service of film criticism and education, a means of exciting viewers and drawing them in. Their decades long partnership produced some of the finest televised film criticism of our era; their contentious relationship inspired all of America to think more deeply about lovely images that pass before us, the characters that populate our culture, and the cinematic artists that define our lives.
This video essay doesn’t attempt to evaluate their important critical legacies. It zeros in on the magic itself, that remarkable chemistry that kept America watching for decades — a relationship copied but never equaled, serious but irreverent, respectable but never respectful.
They worked together until Gene Siskel’s untimely death in 1999. The title sums up their unique place in American culture and their lasting legacy of inspiration: “Siskel and Ebert: Screen Fighting Men.”