18. Vincent Canby
Publications: Variety, The New York Times
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During his 24-year run as the chief film critic for The New York Times, Vincent Canby's (1924-2000) words wielded the power of mighty swords. If he chastised a foreign or independent movie, which he so often did, said film didn't stand a chance of catching on in the Big Apple. Take British director Terence Davies, for example, who made two pictures that Canby ridiculed in print and inadvertently prevented from receiving healthy American distribution.
His reviews didn't read like scholarly texts; rather, Canby's writing favored whip-smart humor. When covering a young, seriously bulked-up Arnold Schwarzenegger, he described the Austrian bodybuilder as ""something the actor might want to shed in order to slip into something more comfortable."