Derek Malcolm
Malcolm in 2012
Derek Elliston Michael Malcolm

(1932-05-12)12 May 1932
London, England
Died15 July 2023(2023-07-15) (aged 91)
Deal, Kent, England
  • Film critic
  • historian
(m. 1994)

Derek Elliston Michael Malcolm (12 May 1932 – 15 July 2023) was an English film critic and historian.[1]

Early life

Derek Elliston Michael Malcolm was born on 12 May 1932.[2] He was the son of Douglas Malcolm (died 1967) and Dorothy Vera (died 1964; née Elliston-Taylor),[3]

Malcolm was educated at Eton College and Merton College, Oxford.[4] As a child, he expressed an interest in film, often going to the newsreel cinema on Victoria station.[5]


Malcolm worked for several decades as a film critic for The Guardian, having previously been an amateur National Hunt jockey, where he had 13 victories, then an actor, and the paper's first horse racing correspondent.[1][6] In 1977, he was a member of the jury at the 27th Berlin International Film Festival.[7]

Malcolm defended the "video nasty" Nightmare (1981) during an obscenity trial and expressed disappointment over the ruling against the distributors.[6][8] In the mid-1980s he was host of The Film Club on BBC2, which was dedicated to art house films,[1] and was director of the London Film Festival for several years.[6]

After leaving The Guardian in 2000, Malcolm published his final series of articles, The Century of Films, in which he discussed films he admired from his favourite directors from around the world. He became chief film critic for the Evening Standard, before being replaced in 2009 by novelist Andrew O'Hagan.[9] He still contributed film reviews for the newspaper, but it emerged in July 2013 that his contribution to the title was to be reduced further.[10]

In 2008, Malcolm was a member of the jury at the 30th Moscow International Film Festival.[11]

Malcolm was president of the British Federation of Film Societies and the International Film Critics' Circle and the honorary president of the International Federation of Film Critics. In 2003, he published an autobiographical book, Family Secrets, which recounts how in 1917 his father shot his mother's lover dead, but was found not guilty of murder.[6][12][13]

Personal life

Malcolm was married to the journalist and author Sarah Gristwood from 1994 until his death.[14]


Malcolm died from heart and lung failure at his home in Deal, Kent, on 15 July 2023, at the age of 91.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Shoard, Catherine (16 July 2023). "Derek Malcolm, longtime Guardian film critic, dies aged 91". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 July 2023.
  2. ^ "Malcolm, Derek Elliston Michael". : "Born 12 May 1932; s of J. Douglas Malcolm and Dorothy Taylor". Who's Who. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  3. ^ Debrett's People of Today, Debrett's Ltd, 2006, p. 1077
  4. ^ Levens, R.G.C., ed. (1964). Merton College Register 1900–1964. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. p. 416.
  5. ^ Malcolm, Derek (11 October 2018). "Tea and buns with Laurel and Hardy: Derek Malcolm on the day he met his comedy heroes". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d Derek Malcolm, 1932 to 2023, BFI
  7. ^ "Berlinale 1977: Juries". Retrieved 19 July 2010.
  8. ^ "Video nasty distributor jailed". Marylebone and Paddington Mercury. 10 February 1984. p. 3 – via
  9. ^ Stephen Brook, London Evening Standard appoints Andrew O'Hagan as film critic, The Guardian, Thursday 7 May 2009
  10. ^ Josh Halliday "Independent titles to cut back on arts coverage",, 29 July 2013
  11. ^ "30th Moscow International Film Festival (2008)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 21 April 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  12. ^ "Strange case of love and deceit". The Herald. 8 March 2003. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  13. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (16 July 2023). "Derek Malcolm: my predecessor was a mighty critic, film world darling and heir to a scandal". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 July 2023.
  14. ^ "Skeletons in the Closet". Evening Standard. 6 March 2003. Retrieved 3 August 2018.