Her death was confirmed by her son, Steven, the New York Times reported.
Crist, at her peak of influence in the 1960s and '70s, championed a new generation of American directors like Steven Spielberg, Sydney Pollack and Woody Allen and new actors like Robert De Niro and Faye Dunaway.
In her long career, she was the first woman to be made a full-time critic for a major American newspaper, the New York Herald Tribune; the founding film critic at New York magazine, and the "Today" show's first regular movie critic, a morning fixture on NBC from 1963 to 1973.
At TV Guide, Crist's reviews appeared for 22 years and reached a readership of more than 20 million. She also wrote for Saturday Review, Gourmet and Ladies' Home Journal. A Harris Poll of moviegoers in the 1960s cited her as their favorite critic.
Her putdowns could be lethal, the Times noted. In March 1965, she panned three major releases in a single "Today" appearance: "The Greatest Story Ever Told" ("A kind of dime-store holy picture"), "Lord Jim" ("A lot of heavy five-cent philosophy") and "The Sound of Music" ("Icky-sticky").
Of "The Sound of Music," a box-office smash in 1965 and one of the most popular films of all time, she said, "The movie is for the 5-to-7 set and their mommies who think the kids aren't up to the stinging sophistication and biting wit of 'Mary Poppins.'"
In reviewing "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb," Stanley Kubrick's satirical 1964 masterpiece, she called Kubrick a "boy genius." But four years later she said his film "2001: A Space Odyssey" would be "pithy and potent" - if it were cut in half.
In feisty manner and crisp prose, Crist modeled herself on Bette Davis, whom she called the ideal of the "forceful woman with a cigarette in her hand," the Washington Post noted.