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5001 Nights at the Movies, first published in 1982,[1] is a book compiling passages of film critic Pauline Kael's reviews from the silent era to the 1980s. They were originally written for The New Yorker’s 'Goings On About Town' section.

In her regular New Yorker column Kael wrote long, thoughtful critiques of the latest films. 5001 Nights is made up of abbreviated reviews of those longer articles and capsule critiques of dozens of other movies made throughout the 20th century. In a single paragraph Kael recaps American and foreign films. In a sentence or even a phrase she captures the film’s essence.

On Cavalcade (1933): “An orgy of British self-congratulation in the restrained, clipped style of Noel Coward.”

On The Godfather (1972): “A wide, startlingly vivid view of a Mafia dynasty, in which organized crime becomes an obscene nightmare image of American free enterprise.”

Each review includes basic information about the film, including director, year made and whether the movie is black and white or color.


  1. ^ Kael, Pauline (2011). 5001 Nights at the Movies. Front: Henry Holt and Company. ISBN 978-1-250-03357-4.