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Halliwell's Filmgoer's Companion [Paperback]

John Walker
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

22 May 1995
This companion is full of biographical profiles of film actors and actresses, directors, producers, editors and other key personnel, as well as notes on the major studios, foreign cinema, cinematic themes and definitions of technical terms. This edition also contains a history of the cinema from 1894 to 1995, lists of Oscar winners and nominations through the years and details of all the major film festival awards, as well as over 1000 new entries on the famous - and not so famous - names in the film industry.

Product details

  • Paperback: 730 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Revised edition edition (22 May 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006383904
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006383901
  • Product Dimensions: 24.4 x 19 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,628,994 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

Halliwell's Film and Video Guide gets better with each passing year. Though original editor Leslie Halliwell died in 1989, John Walker has continued to edit the book in the Halliwell tradition. Halliwell and Walker don't comment at length upon the films, but they provide an enormous amount of indispensable information. This tome contains more than 20,000 movie reviews and provides a full list of credits for each. Running time, director, cast, and availability on video are documented, as well as the writer, photographer, studio, country of origin, film editor, production designer, and composer of music. The authors also note whether the film is suitable for family viewing and tell if it was nominated for, or if it won, an Oscar or a British Academy of Film and Television Arts award. If a film contains classic lines of dialogue, or received particularly interesting comments from the critics, Halliwell and Walker are sure to transcribe them. Halliwell's Film and Video Guide is a treasure no movie lover will want to be without. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


‘Often imitated, never bettered’, The Guardian

‘The indispensable reference guide for the avid moviegoer’s bookshelf’, Empire

‘The King Kong of movie reference works’, Mail on Sunday

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The new halliwells 25 Oct 2002
By A Customer
The new halliwells - a comprehensive guide to nearly every film ever. for each film, it has information on it, cast and crew members, a rating (0 to 4 stars) and a short description of the summary. For lots of films, a quote from a review is added. A very useful guide.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars average at best 4 Feb 2002
By A Customer
as most movie books go, this one isn't so bad. it is very comprehensive and gives plenty of info on each film it reviews. however, it does seem to be a bit harsh when rating films, so i wouldn't 'not watch' a film based on what was said. if you add an extra star onto the rating the book gives it, you get a better idea of how good the film is. not bad for the price either.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The most intelligent film guide 27 Sep 2002
By "grayo"
The reviews here have missed the point. Yes Halliweell is a very fussy and often mistifying guide but it is the opinion of a few as opposed to many. It is one of the few guides to give top rating's to films such as Star Wars, Picnic at Hanging Rock, Fargo and American Beauty to name a few. A good feature of Halliwell's is to offer opinions from other guides or critics below his own reviews. Where he gives a film four out of four there are usually other contradictory reviews below and vice versa where hew does not like a film. This gives one the chance to develop their own opinion and to find out that not every living and dead critic thinks or thought that (for example) Casablanca is the best film of all time. It also rates documentaries and early comedy shorts which are ignored by other guides. Having said this it is best to have another guide as well as Halliwell as no one is ever going to agree on all films. In particular the films that Halliwell gives four stars to from the 1970's are more thoughtful than most and he is not a snob as he rates 1984's This is Spinal Tap (correctly) as a Masterpiece.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed 18 Jan 2001
A fine guide to film, notable for its extreme size - only the IMDB beats it. But it's not perfect. After reading it for a while, flicking through entries, you find an odd, date-related malaise. Titles from before 1960 tend to garner quite favourable reviews. Titles after 1992, when Halliwell himself died, also tend to gather quite favourable reviews, or at least reviews that don't disagree with your own perspective too much. The problem is that Halliwell seemed to detest films made from the 60s onwards. Action and sci-fi films get particularly short shrift. Which gets annoying after a while. In particular, the abovementioned review of Alien, from when Halliwell was still alive, had one star, and that only for technical effort - its sequel had none. Luckily the book seems to have been reworked and edited, although if you're reading this there isn't anything here than the IMDB doesn't offer, as the writing style is extremely sparce and you have no way of cross-referencing anything.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
From film-noir of the 30's/40's to the blockbusters of recent years, Halliwells Guide can be relied upon to give a brief, impartial view. The new edition keeps up the standard set in the years before. A must for all film buffs.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flawed but indispensable 11 Mar 2002
By g_bu
Halliwell's is widely renowned as the King of Film Guides. The reputation is deserved insofar as it is extremely comprehensive and generally very accurate, with a user-friendly format.
The reviews of individual films can leave something to be desired, however. The rating system of 0-4 stars is an excellent idea, but is, for example, Autobus (Aux Yeux du Monde), a fairly average drama, really worthy of a higher rating than François Truffaut's genre-defining Les Quatre Cents Coups? The appraisal of Bill Forsyth's wonderful Gregory's Girl claims the film to be "handicapped by impenetrable accents", a statement which would be offensive to the people of Scotland if it weren't so patently incorrect. And the quotes selected from other sources to accompany reviews often disagree with the reviews themselves: for instance, Luchino Visconti's Death in Venice is awarded a creditable three stars, but accompanied by the quote from Time Out, "a prime contender for the title of Most Overrated Film of All Time".
In short, the opinions voiced in Halliwell's are often questionable and on occasion self-contradictory, but the guide is nevertheless essential, if only for its thoroughness.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Unique reference book for just one penny! 6 Jun 2011
I bought this splendid reference book a few years ago, and finally have succeeded in tearing it to sheds.

No, not because of an attack of rage, but simply because it is one of the reference books I most like to have at hand. It just fell to pieces (not that that's a good thing!). The reviews are short but not too short, and I love the italics, ans the lists, etc., as mentioned elsewhere here.

Having said this, if you are prepared to shell out a few more shillings, go for the 2007 edition, with all of the virtues of this edition and more recent films included. That's John Walker's last version, and probably the best you'll ever get from this series. Go for it, but I recommend you combine it with other sources, Maltin being one, but several are very good. This is from a man who has over 1500 films on DVD and video, many of them purchased right here on Amazon UK.
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