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Life Itself (2014)

2:13 | Trailer
The life and career of the renowned film critic and social commentator, Roger Ebert.


Steve James
25 wins & 33 nominations. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Martin Scorsese ... Self
Werner Herzog ... Self
Ava DuVernay ... Self
Ramin Bahrani ... Self
Stephen Stanton ... Roger Ebert (voice)
Errol Morris ... Self
Roger Ebert ... Self
Steve James ... Self
Gene Siskel ... Self (archive footage)
Gregory Nava ... Self
Chaz Ebert ... Self
Donna La Pietra Donna La Pietra ... Self (as Donna LaPietra)
Sonia Evans ... Self
Jonathan Rosenbaum Jonathan Rosenbaum ... Self
Marlene Siskel Marlene Siskel ... Self (as Marlene Iglitzen)


'Life Itself' recounts the surprising and entertaining life of world-renowned film critic and social commentator Roger Ebert - a story that's by turns personal, wistful, funny, painful, and transcendent. The film explores the impact and legacy of Roger Ebert's life: from his Pulitzer Prize-winning film criticism and his nearly quarter-century run with Gene Siskel on their review show, to becoming one of the country's most influential cultural voices, and finally to Roger's inspiring battles with cancer and the resulting physical disability - how he literally and symbolically put a new face on the disease and continued to be a cultural force despite it. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The only thing Roger loved more than movies

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brief sexual images/nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


According to director Steve James, Chaz Ebert objected to filming Roger Ebert's daily throat suction procedure, while Roger wanted it filmed. They filmed it on a day that Chaz was not present. See more »


Roger Ebert: Look at a movie that a lot of people love and you'll find something profound no matter how silly the film may seem.
See more »


References The Sound of Music (1965) See more »


Tired Of Crying
Written by Howlin' Wolf
performed by Howlin' Wolf
See more »

User Reviews

Wonderful with some flaws...
1 January 2015 | by stevepat99See all my reviews

PROS: Marvelous view of a man most of us cinema buffs grew to love even as we sometime scowled in disagreement. Director Steve James did well marking the journey from childhood on forward. I was pleased to see appropriate time spent on that part of his journey most near and dear to our hearts... Siskel and Ebert at The Movies. This was also the most entertaining aspect of the film. Roger's late in life love tale which included his new extended family was heart warming on many levels. Who knew his love of kids and especially his instant grand children. How wonderful that he took the time to travel the world with his new family in two. His life's work and contributions from those who knew him was top notch. Overall a truly satisfying look back at Roger's life and the 'gifts' he bestowed to us over many years.

CONS: While director James gives short shrift to the many destructive years of Roger's alcoholism, a horrid disease, he was determined to dwell on Rogers final illness. One reviewer notes correctly: James dwells excessively on Ebert's terminal illness – close-ups of his chin-less face are omnipresent. Another also gets it right noting: (James) camera brings us – oftentimes relentlessly – into the final months of his life James shows us the famous Esquire front page photo Roger selected at the 'height' of his illness...to basically bare it all. The photo showed Roger's 'dignity' at the worst of medical time of his life. It is an astounding insight into the man and what he choose to reveal. On the other hand Roger did NOT choose to use photos of a suffering, bed ridden man with the camera staring through the void that was once his mouth/jaw. Nor did he choose a close-up of a nurse shoving a tube down his throat as he sat squirming. I am thinking Roger got it right and James relentless, in your face, fascination with the final months of Roger's life got it wrong.

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Release Date:

4 July 2014 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Life Itself See more »


Box Office


$153,875 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$131,411, 6 July 2014

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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