What's the Job Description and Salary of a Movie Critic?

Explore the job duties of a movie critic, and find out what education and experience is required for this position. Read about potential degree programs for aspiring movie critics. Check the typical salary and employment outlook for this job. Schools offering Acting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Occupation Description

Film critics and reviewers write essays or articles describing a movie's content and plot, analyzing its theme and evaluating how enjoyable the viewing experience was. They might also interview actors and actresses or other individuals involved in making a film. To perform their job, they usually take notes or create outlines during a film so that they can thoroughly and accurately write their reviews. They might also research a subject or the technical details of a film.

Film critics and reviewers generally work for print or online magazines, journals, television networks, radio stations, or newspapers. Some might work as freelance reviewers, submitting their work to multiple publications, while others might establish film review websites to publish their work. Many reviewers are not employed in their jobs full-time, but rather supplement their reviewing career with a job in journalism or a related field.

Important Facts About Movie Critics

Job Outlook (2016-2026) -9% decline (for all reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts)
On-the-Job Training Not provided directly, but acquired through work experience
Key Skills Excellent command of the language, good memory, critical thinking, researching acumen, reading comprehension, time management, problem-solving
Similar Occupations Announcers; editors; photographers; teachers; writers and authors; public relations specialists

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


There is no specific education or training required to become a film critic or reviewer. Skills helpful to working in the field include being able to effectively communicate thoughts and opinions and write in multiple tones, such as humorous or thought-provoking. Interpersonal and listening skills are also important. Reviewers might also need to be familiar with film history, genres, ideology, and terminology.

Bachelor's degree programs in film studies or media studies with a concentration in film and culture are available. In these programs, you can learn film terminology, and how to analyze films according to their style and write critical pieces discussing movies. You also learn about the impact of films on culture and society, historical perspectives on film, and character development. Classes may discuss topics like film aesthetics, the history of film, film theory and criticism, film genre studies, and the history of television. Some programs may include internship opportunities.

Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) places movie critics within the category of reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts. In May 2018, the BLS reported that there were about 37,140 reporters and correspondents in the nation who earned a median annual salary of $41,260, while broadcast news analysts earned a median wage of $66,880 in that same year, per BLS.

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