For me, the collected writings of Pauline Kael are the Bible and I don’t need or even recognize other film critics, so I’ve never read much of Andrew Sarris. But these reminiscences always make me smile:
He took his place among a handful of stylish and congenitally disputatious critics: Pauline Kael, Stanley Kauffmann, John Simon and Manny Farber. They agreed on just a single point: that film was art worthy of sustained thought and argumentation.
“We were so gloriously contentious, everyone bitching at everyone,” Mr. Sarris recalled in a 2009 interview with The New York Times. “We all said some stupid things, but film seemed to matter so much.
“Urgency” — his smile on this point was wistful — “seemed unavoidable.”
It’s become fashionable to trash critics of all sorts, but I never would have seen all those great Altman, Truffaut, Peckinpah, Kurowsawa others-I’m-forgetting movies if I hadn’t read film critic(s) when I was in my teens. So I think all those crazy 60s and 70s critics made a difference, at least for me.