Doby Photography/NPR
Bob Mondello 2010
Doby Photography/NPR

Bob Mondello

Arts Critic

Bob Mondello, who jokes that he was a jinx at the beginning of his critical career, "hired to write for every small paper in Washington, D.C., just as it was about to fold," saw that jink broken in 1984, when he came to NPR.

For more than three decades, Mondello has reviewed movies and covered the arts for NPR News, seeing at least 250 films and 100 plays annually, then sharing critiques and commentaries about the most intriguing on NPR's award-winning newsmagazine All Things Considered. In 2005, he conceived and co-produced NPR's eight-part series "American Stages," exploring the history, reach, and accomplishments of the regional theater movement.

Mondello has also written about the arts for such diverse publications as USA Today, The Washington Post, and Preservation Magazine, as well as for commercial and public television stations. And he has been a lead theater critic for Washington City Paper, D.C.'s leading alternative weekly, since 1987.

Before becoming a professional critic, Mondello spent more than a decade in entertainment advertising, working in public relations for a chain of movie theaters, where he learned the ins and outs of the film industry, and for an independent repertory theater, where he reveled in film history.

Asked what NPR pieces he's proudest of, he points to commentaries on silent films – a bit of a trick on radio – and cultural features he's produced from Argentina, where he and his husband have a second home. An avid traveler, Mondello even spends his vacations watching movies and plays in other countries. "I see as many movies in a year," he says. "As most people see in a lifetime."

[+] read more[-] less

Story Archive

In 'Dunkirk,' Christopher Nolan Brings New Life To True World War II Story

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/538608421/538608422" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Step Inside A Movie Projection Booth To See What's Changed Since Film

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/537948549/537948550" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Katharine (Florence Pugh) is mesmerizing as she seethes in Lady Macbeth. Courtesy of Roadside Attractions hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of Roadside Attractions

'Lady Macbeth' Turns Sound And Fury Into Victorian Noir

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/537221360/537291331" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

A Ghost Story unfolds in long, static shots, most of them without faces to hang onto. Bret Curry/Courtesy of A24 hide caption

toggle caption
Bret Curry/Courtesy of A24

Grief Hangs Around At Home In 'A Ghost Story'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/535968071/536025837" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

In 'Spider-Man: Homecoming,' Tom Holland's Peter Parker Finally Comes Home

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/535823106/535823133" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

'Maudie' Paints Intimate Portrait Of Canadian Painter Maud Lewis

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/532916572/533556344" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Sally Hawkins stars in Maudie, the true story of Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis, who painted cheerful scenes on whatever materials she could find. Duncan Deyoung/Courtesy of Mongrel Media hide caption

toggle caption
Duncan Deyoung/Courtesy of Mongrel Media

Listen to the Story

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/532916596/533108989" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner arrived in theaters six months to the day after interracial marriage was legalized by the Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court decision in 1967. Above, Sidney Poitier, Katharine Houghton and Spencer Tracy. George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption
George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images

50 Years After 'Loving,' Hollywood Still Struggles With Interracial Romance

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/532580867/532646064" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

'Beatriz at Dinner' And 'Megan Leavey' Celebrate Women Warriors

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/532289061/532289062" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

'When Time Was New': 'Wonder Woman' Brings Sunlight To The DC Universe

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/531269060/531269061" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Summer Movie Preview: 'Wonder Woman,' 'Rough Night,' 'Transformers'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/530617230/530617231" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Dwayne Johnson, Ilfenesh Hadera and Kelly Rohrbach in the new guilty pleasure (until the story starts), Baywatch. Frank Masi/Courtesy of Paramount Pictures hide caption

toggle caption
Frank Masi/Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Beaches, Bathing Suits, And Finally On The Big Screen, 'Baywatch'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/530253861/530257564" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The Saint Before The Spy: Actor Roger Moore Dies At 89

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/529730712/529730719" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Danish Filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg Gets Deeply Personal In 'The Commune'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/529175751/529175752" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

An Iraqi Sniper Traps Two U.S. Soldiers In 'The Wall'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/528166360/528166361" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript