Think you like movies? Try dedicating your life to them. That’s what Leonard Maltin has done for the past 50 years; maintaining his status as a go-to film critic and historian. He is best known for his widely used reference work Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and its companion volume Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide.

Maltin is going to be a special guest at this year’s Traverse City Film Festival. He’ll be doing a special Open Space introduction of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on July 27 (movie starts at 8 p.m.), and he’ll be recording his popular Nerdist Podcast, Maltin on Movies, with co-host Jessie Maltin and special festival guests, on July 30 at 9:30 am.

You’ve had an incredible career, even starting your own “fanzine” when you were just 15 years old. Where does your love for movies come from?
When I was 12, I read a coffee table book called The Movies by Richard Griffith and Arthur Mayer (a classic history of American motion pictures), and that is what ignited the flame.

What is your all-time favorite movie?
Has to be Casablanca.

What’s your favorite thing about film festivals like this?
Discovering films I haven’t heard or read about before and meeting movie lovers, whether they’re filmmakers, journalists or just enthusiasts. Good conversation is a prime ingredient for a great film festival.

What are you looking forward to doing in Traverse City?
This will be our first time in Traverse City, and we have heard such wonderful things about your city. A friend recommended Don’s Drive-In hamburgers and pies.

If you had more time, what would you like to do/see while in Traverse City?
I am still learning about Traverse City, but I’ve been told by reliable sources that I must try various versions of cherry pie during my stay, as well as the local fudge. I don’t know what else my family and I will be able to take in, but we see this as an adventure and can’t wait to be there.

Find Maltin’s movie reviews on, and listen to his weekly podcast: Maltin on Movies.

Photo(s) by Leonard Maltin