4. Pauline Kael
Publications: City Lights, McCall's, The New Republic, The New Yorker
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It takes a lot of nerve to go against the popular consensus, no matter the contrarian's gender, but a female movie critic who doesn't fear pissing off her (male) contemporaries nor Hollywood's (male) elite? That's one tough person.
Widely regarded as one of the most influential film analysts ever, the late Pauline Kael filled her New Yorker reviews (published from 1968 through 1991) with fearless wit, often writing in the first-person to either attack or praise a motion picture. She thrived during times when jealous ones especially envied, weathering sexist insults and accusations of star-chasing favoritism.
Best of all, Kael championed genre filmmakers like Brian De Palma, Walter Hill, and Sam Peckinpah, artists who are revered now but initially released low-budget, unfairly B-pegged flicks. She was a rebel with a passionate cause.