Throwback Thursday: Siskel And Ebert Stand Up for Star Wars

For this week’s Throwback Thursday post we are traveling back to 1983 for one of my favorite clips ever. Some context: In May of 1983, Return of the Jedi was released, concluding the original Star Wars trilogy and raking in millions of dollars in movie tickets and merchandising. As successful as the film was, it still had some detractors. And so on an episode of ABC’s Nightline legendary film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert (who were both firmly in the pro-Star Wars camp) defended the space saga against New York critic John Simon — who ridiculously suggests that parents take their kids to see the Robert Duvall downer Tender Mercies instead. Watch this and be amazed. I mean, Return of the Jedi is most definitely not without its problems, but it hardly deserves the scorn that Simon thrusts upon it here. I give this clip two thumbs up, and I think you will too.

We originally ran this post in 2017, and are reprinting it as this week’s Throwback Thursday post.

  • Quiggy

    There’s a reason Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert had a long running and successful TV show and this other dweeb didn’t. I think this piece says more about that than I could say. But I will quote Roger Ebert from his book “Life Itself”. “I feel repugnance for the critic John Simon, who made it a specialty to attack the way actors look. They can’t help how they look, any more than John Simon can help looking like a rat.”

  • Butch Knouse

    Mr. Simon must be one of those asshat reviewers who go to a movie, find somebody in the audience who doesn’t have a PhD in English Literature. If the person likes the movie, they trash it.

  • Emperor Nero

    John Simon was one of those distinguished snobs that always made a point that he understood and agreed with. Not so much for many others.

  • Alf Messina

    I’m with John Simon. After all the hype, “Star Wars” was one of my biggest movie disappointments. “CE3K”, released shortly after, really hit the spot.