Philip French was born in Liverpool in 1933, and after service as an officer with the Parachute Regiment in the Middle East he read law and edited The Isis at Oxford before going on to study journalism at Indiana University. For over 30 years he was a producer for BBC Radio, specialising in programmes on the arts and American affairs. From the early 1960s he has been a regular contributor to numerous magazines and newspapers ranging from Sight & Sound to the TLS, and from the Financial Times to The Observer, where he's written a weekly film column since 1978. His books as author or editor include The Age of Austerity (1963), The Movie Moguls (1969), Westerns (1973), Three Honest Men: Edmund Wilson, F.R. Leavis, Lionel Trilling (1980), Malle on Malle (1992), The Faber Book of Movie Verse (1993), Cult Movies (1999), and Westerns and Westerns Revisited (2005). He was a Booker Prize judge in 1986, served on the jury at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival, was given a life achievement award by the Critics Circle in 2003, received an honorary doctorate from the University of Lancaster in 2006, became the first critic to be made a Lifetime Honorary Member of BAFTA in 2008, and in 2009 was named Critic of the Year in the National Press Awards.