Bob Mondello Bob Mondello reviews movies and covers the arts for NPR and shares critiques and commentaries on NPR's award-winning newsmagazine All Things Considered.
Bob Mondello 2010
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Bob Mondello

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 that ever folded in Washington, just as it was about to collapse — saw that jinx broken in 1984 when he came to NPR.

For more than three decades, Mondello has reviewed movies and covered the arts for NPR, seeing at least 300 films 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 USA Today, The Washington Post, Preservation Magazine, and other publications, and has appeared as an arts commentator on commercial and public television stations. He spent 25 years reviewing live theater for Washington City Paper, DC's leading alternative weekly, and to this day, he remains enamored of the stage.

Before becoming a professional critic, Mondello learned the ins and outs of the film industry by heading the public relations department for a chain of movie theaters, and he reveled in film history as advertising director for an independent repertory theater.

Asked what NPR pieces he's proudest of, he points to an April Fool's prank in which he invented a remake of Citizen Kane, 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."

Story Archive

Austin Butler brings the King's moves, mannerisms and voice in 'Elvis'

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Julie Andrews sang "The hills are alive" in the film version of The Sound of Music, but Hammerstein's letters reveal that a much bigger Hollywood star had lobbied hard to play Maria. Alamy Stock Photo hide caption

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Oh, what a beautiful archive: Oscar Hammerstein's letters reveal his many sides

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'Cha Cha Real Smooth' is a great calling card for actor-writer-director Cooper Raiff

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Life-lessons abound in 'Lightyear,' an origin story about Buzz from 'Toy Story'

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On Judy Garland's 100th birthday, a look at the classic 'Wizard of Oz'

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The only beast 'Jurassic World: Dominion' doesn't reference is a the-saurus

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Judy Garland in the 1954 film A Star Is Born. Hulton Archive/Getty Images hide caption

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Celebrating Judy Garland, beyond the 'Rainbow'

This Friday would have been Judy Garland's 100th birthday. Everyone of course knows her iconic portrayal of Dorothy Gale in the Wizard of Oz, but Garland delivered a variety of unforgettable performances over her variously triumphant, troubled and ultimately tragic life. If you're not familiar with her non-Oz-related work, here is a guide that speaks to her unique and enduring appeal. (Take our annual survey at npr.org/podcastsurvey)

Celebrating Judy Garland, beyond the 'Rainbow'

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'Top Gun: Maverick' boasted a record opening weekend. Where'd the numbers come from?

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'Goodfellas' actor Ray Liotta has died at age 67

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Tom Cruise returns to the danger zone in 'Top Gun: Maverick'

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