Gerald Peary (born October 30, 1944) is an American film critic, who was a reviewer and columnist for the Boston Phoenix from 1996 until its demise in 2012. He is now a critic-at-large for The Arts Fuse, a Boston-based online arts magazine. He was from 1998 to 1999 the Acting Curator of the Harvard Film Archive and is now the General Editor of the University Press of Mississippi Conversations with Filmmakers Series. Since 1997, he has been the programmer/curator of the BU Cinematheque at Boston University's College of Communication, bringing independent filmmakers to show their works. He has programmed for the Institute of Contemporary Art-Boston, the Vancouver International Film Festival, and helped choose films for the Edinburgh International Film Festival.
His cinema articles have appeared in many newspapers, including the Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, Toronto Globe and Mail, Chicago Tribune, and The Real Paper. Peary has also contributed to numerous magazines, including Positif, Film Comment, Cineaste, Sight & Sound, the Boston Review, Flare, and Maclean's. His reviews can be read on Rotten Tomatoes.
Peary is a member of the Boston Society of Film Critics, the National Society of Film Critics, and FIPRESCI (the International Film Critics Association). He has frequently served as president of international critics' juries at film festivals including Rotterdam, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Karlovy Vary, San Francisco, and Mar del Plata. Peary has taught film studies and screenwriting classes at many universities, including The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Livingston College-Rutgers University, Boston University, Concordia University (Montreal), and Simon Fraser University (Vancouver). Since 1981, he has taught journalism and film studies courses at Suffolk University, Boston, where he is professor of communication and journalism.
Peary graduated from Rider University in 1964, went on to earn an MA in drama from New York University in 1966, and received a Ph.D. in Communications at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1977 with the dissertation, The Rise of the American Gangster Film, 1913-1930. Peary was a 1986 Fulbright Fellow in Belgrade, studying Yugoslavian film comedy.
Peary moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1978 to become first-string critic for the legendary alternative weekly, The Real Paper, which folded in 1981. He is married to producer Amy Geller, former Artistic Director of the Boston Jewish Film Festival who, earlier, among her credits, produced For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism, a 2009 feature documentary which Peary wrote and directed. Gerald Peary is the brother of American film critic and sports writer Danny Peary.
Peary also made the feature documentary Archie’s Betty (2015). He made his acting debut playing a chess champion in Andrew Bujalski’s acclaimed independent feature, Computer Chess (2013).
Upon being asked "What drew you to film criticism?", Peary replied, "I’m a film critic for my love of film. I want other people to see the same films that I saw and love. From the age of four, I was going to movies all the time."Rita Hayworth: A Pyramid Illustrated History of the Movies (1976). ISBN 978-0-515-04116-3.
Women and the Cinema: A Critical Anthology, edited by Karyn Kay and Gerald Peary (1977). ISBN 978-0-525-47459-3.
The Classic American Novel and the Movies, edited by Gerald Peary and Roger Shatzkin (1977). ISBN 978-0-8044-2681-7.
The Modern American Novel and the Movies, edited by Gerald Peary and Roger Shatzkin (1978). ISBN 978-0-8044-2682-4.
The American Animated Cartoon: A Critical Anthology, edited by Danny Peary and Gerald Peary (1980). ISBN 978-0-525-47639-9.
Little Caesar (Wisconsin/Warner Brothers Screenplays series) edited by Gerald Peary (1981). ISBN 978-0-299-08450-9.
Quentin Tarantino: Interviews (Conversations With Filmmakers Series) (1998). ISBN 978-1-57806-051-1.
John Ford: Interviews (Conversations With Filmmakers Series) (2001). ISBN 978-1-57806-398-7.
Samuel Fuller: Interviews (Conversations With Filmmakers Series) (2012). ISBN 978-1-61703-306-3.
Twist (documentary, 1992) [story editor]
Old Warrior (documentary short, 1994) [project consultant]
Spanish Fly (comedy, 1998) [story editor, script consultant]
Little Caesar: End of Rico, Beginning of the Antihero (video documentary short, 2005) [appeared as himself]
For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism (documentary, 2009) [director and writer]
Computer Chess (comedy, 2013) [actor]
Archie's Betty (documentary, 2015) [director and writer]