“Go to All the Good Movies You Can”: Ebert’s Letter to a Young Dana Stevens

Reviews of the latest films.
April 4 2013 6:07 PM

“Go to All the Good Movies You Can”

Roger Ebert’s letter to a young Dana Stevens.

I’m not sure how old I was when I wrote Roger Ebert a letter asking for his advice on how to become a film critic, but judging from the other documents in the manila envelope where I’ve kept his response ever since, I must have been somewhere between 11 and 13. Ebert’s prompt and kind answer, typed on Chicago Sun-Times stationery using a typewriter with a wonky T key, took my query more seriously than it deserved, suggesting colleges with strong film programs I might consider, advising me to “see all the good movies you can,” and most of all encouraging me to “write-write-write for anyplace that will print your stuff.”

I’m in the midst of writing a longer reflection on Ebert’s life—not an easy task to carry out while refreshing Twitter and crying—but since so many people are exchanging stories about how he touched their lives, I thought I’d share a copy of his warm and generous note to a preteen movie geek in Texas. Thank you for writing back, Roger.

Letter from Roger Ebert to Dana Stevens.
Letter from Roger Ebert to Dana Stevens

Courtesy of Dana Stevens

  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Nov. 25 2014 3:21 PM Listen to Our November Music Roundup Hot tracks for our fall playlist, exclusively for Slate Plus members.