(Photo by Touchstone)

All World War I Movies Ranked By Tomatometer

The 2020 Golden Globes pick for Best Motion Picture – Drama: 1917, a dramatic thriller presented as a single continuous shot, and a tale of valor and sacrifice during World War I. The Sam Mendes film arrives in a moment of peak WWI interest, seen from 15-million seller video game Battlefield 1 and Peter Jackson’s incomparably vivid They Shall Not Grow Old documentary. With that, we’ve collected and ranked every World War I movie by Tomatometer.

Not only did the First World War plunge our planet in death, plague, and turmoil, it would become a sort of stress test for filmmaking, which was still in its early years. World War 1 (1914-1918) was humanity’s first shared cataclysm that the movies had been around for. There would be books and there would be songs written about the War – now it was time to see what movies were capable of expressing. This new medium, with its filmmakers just beginning to create feature-length stories, found its power in resurrecting recent history on-screen to transportive life. Movies became how we process trauma, looking back on the things we have experienced with honor, anger, regret, and romance.

So how fitting that at the first Academy Awards ever, World War I epic Wings (1927) would win Best Picture, partially on the strength of its inventive camerawork that swept audiences into the love triangle and aerial dogfights. WWI movies became prestige events, featuring big-budget casts and production values, seen in enduring classics like A Farewell to Arms, All Quiet on the Western Front, and Grand Illusion. But the regular production of WWI movies dried up in the 1940s. Hmmm, wonder what happened!

After World War II, audiences got a major WWI movie once a decade. Paths of Glory came out in 1957. Lawrence of Arabia was in the ’60s. Johnny Got His Gun for the cynical ’70s. It was Gallipoli in the ’80s. Then in the ’90s, Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, and Medal of Honor made WWII the guerre du jour for a long time. All three projects were shepherded by Steven Spielberg, so naturally he would be the one to give World War I its biggest spectacle movie in decades: the 2011 Certified Fresh War Horse.

A quick note on our selection criteria: We picked only movies that were set squarely in the War, instead of just using the War as a backdrop, like Hitchcock’s Secret Agent, The African Queen, or The White Ribbon. And only movies whose subject is the War. Multi-decade stories that happened to include WWI were not considered, leaving off movies like The Great Dictator, Legends of the Fall, and The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp.

Revisit a turning point in human history with our guide to every World War I movie ranked by Tomatometer!

#34

In Love and War (1996)
11%

#34
Adjusted Score: 11390%
Critics Consensus: Formulaic and trite, In Love and War unconvincingly recreates Ernest Hemingway's early life with all the stuffy tropes that the author would have excised in a second draft.
Synopsis: In 1918, 18-year-old Ernest Hemingway (Chris O'Donnell) signs up for service in World War I. After a bomb goes off... [More]
Directed By: Richard Attenborough

#33

The Red Baron (2008)
20%

#33
Adjusted Score: 20061%
Critics Consensus: It doesn't lack ambition, and it boasts undeniably thrilling source material, but The Red Baron is brought down by its overly sentimental script and a number of historical inaccuracies.
Synopsis: Though a national hero to the Germans for his efforts in World War I, Baron Manfred von Richthofen (Matthias Schweighöfer)... [More]
Directed By: Nikolai Müllerschön

#32

Flyboys (2006)
33%

#32
Adjusted Score: 37145%
Critics Consensus: A poorly scripted history-rewriting exercise with mediocre acting and unconvincing CGI battle scenes.
Synopsis: Before the United States enters World War I, some American youths volunteer for the French military. Subsequently, they become the... [More]
Directed By: Tony Bill

#31

Darling Lili (1970)
40%

#31
Adjusted Score: 24111%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In World War I London, half-British, half-German Lili Smith (Julie Andrews) lets her German "uncle" -- a foreign agent and... [More]
Directed By: Blake Edwards

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 17923%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: American ex-military man Col. Flynn O'Flynn (Lee Marvin) and wealthy Sebastian Oldsmith (Roger Moore) are unlikely partners in the East... [More]
Directed By: Peter R. Hunt

#29
#29
Adjusted Score: 62287%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Longtime rivals in the Marines, Capt. Flagg (James Cagney) and Sgt. Quirt (Dan Dailey) are stationed together in France during... [More]
Directed By: John Ford

#28

Mata Hari (1931)
63%

#28
Adjusted Score: 62342%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In Paris during World War II, Dutch exotic dancer Mata Hari (Greta Garbo) secretly moonlights as a German spy. Using... [More]
Directed By: George Fitzmaurice

#27
#27
Adjusted Score: 19151%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Baron von Richthoven (John Phillip Law), better known as the Red Baron, is a highly skilled German fighter pilot and... [More]
Directed By: Roger Corman

#26

Private Peaceful (2012)
63%

#26
Adjusted Score: 62209%
Critics Consensus: Private Peaceful's deliberate pace will test the patience of many viewers, but its lush visuals and moving screenplay may offer sufficient compensation.
Synopsis: During World War I two brothers fall in love with the same woman as they contend with the pressures of... [More]
Directed By: Pat O'Connor

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 67488%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: War has plunged Army soldier Joe Bonham (Timothy Bottoms) into an unending nightmare. Hit by an artillery shell in World... [More]
Directed By: Dalton Trumbo

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 47776%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: World War I Australian cavalrymen (Jon Blake, Peter Phelps) fight the Germans and the Turks, ending in a charge at... [More]
Directed By: Simon Wincer

#23

Merry Christmas (2005)
74%

#23
Adjusted Score: 78335%
Critics Consensus: The poignant humanity on display in Joyeux Noel makes its sentimentality forgivable.
Synopsis: With the advent of World War I, Europe is thrown into a brutal and vicious chaos as men are forced... [More]
Directed By: Christian Carion

#22

War Horse (2011)
74%

#22
Adjusted Score: 83296%
Critics Consensus: Technically superb, proudly sentimental, and unabashedly old-fashioned, War Horse is an emotional drama that tugs the heartstrings with Spielberg's customary flair.
Synopsis: Albert (Jeremy Irvine) and his beloved horse, Joey, live on a farm in the British countryside. At the outbreak of... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#21

Hell's Angels (1930)
76%

#21
Adjusted Score: 77763%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: As World War I breaks out in Europe, Roy (James Hall) and Monte (Ben Lyon), two brothers studying at Oxford... [More]
Directed By: Howard Hughes

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 83114%
Critics Consensus: A well-crafted and visually arresting drama with a touch of whimsy.
Synopsis: Mathilde (Audrey Tautou) is told that her fiancé (Gaspard Ulliel) has been killed in World War I. She refuses to... [More]
Directed By: Jean-Pierre Jeunet

#19

Waterloo Bridge (1940)
80%

#19
Adjusted Score: 51255%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: At the onset of World War I, British officer Roy Cronin (Robert Taylor) and ballerina Myra (Vivien Leigh) meet and... [More]
Directed By: Mervyn LeRoy

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 88775%
Critics Consensus: Testament of Youth is well-acted and beautifully filmed, adding up to an enriching if not adventurous experience for fans of British period dramas.
Synopsis: During World War I, Oxford University student Vera Brittain (Alicia Vikander) postpones her studies to serve as a nurse while... [More]
Directed By: James Kent

#17

Beneath Hill 60 (2010)
86%

#17
Adjusted Score: 50515%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: During World War I a mining engineer (Brendan Cowell) and his team dig a network of tunnels beneath German lines... [More]
Directed By: Jeremy Sims

#16

Sergeant York (1941)
88%

#16
Adjusted Score: 89501%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Prize-winning Tennessee marksman Alvin York (Gary Cooper), a recent convert to Christianity, finds himself torn between his non-violent beliefs and... [More]
Directed By: Howard Hawks

#15

King and Country (1964)
86%

#15
Adjusted Score: 26364%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this World War I drama, English army private Arthur Hamp (Tom Courtenay) is accused of deserting his company while... [More]
Directed By: Joseph Losey

#14

1917 (2019)
89%

#14
Adjusted Score: 117279%
Critics Consensus: Hard-hitting, immersive, and an impressive technical achievement, 1917 captures the trench warfare of World War I with raw, startling immediacy.
Synopsis: During World War I, two British soldiers -- Lance Cpl. Schofield and Lance Cpl. Blake -- receive seemingly impossible orders.... [More]
Directed By: Sam Mendes

#13

Gallipoli (1981)
91%

#13
Adjusted Score: 94307%
Critics Consensus: Peter Weir's devastating anti-war film features a low-key but emotionally wrenching performance from Mel Gibson as a young soldier fighting in one of World War I's most deadly and horrifying battles.
Synopsis: Archy (Mark Lee) and Frank (Mel Gibson) are two young Australian sprinters who want to join the army to fulfill... [More]
Directed By: Peter Weir

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 94683%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Frederic Henry (Gary Cooper), an American driving ambulances for the Italian Army during World War I, falls for British Red... [More]
Directed By: Frank Borzage

#11

Journey's End (2017)
91%

#11
Adjusted Score: 96554%
Critics Consensus: Journey's End brings R.C. Sherriff's 90-year-old play to the screen with thrilling power, thanks to director Saul Dibb's hard-hitting urgency and brilliant work from a talented cast.
Synopsis: Led by an officer whose mental health is rapidly disintegrating, a group of British soldiers await their fate in an... [More]
Directed By: Saul Dibb

#10

Wings (1927)
93%

#10
Adjusted Score: 98321%
Critics Consensus: Subsequent war epics may have borrowed heavily from the original Best Picture winner, but they've all lacked Clara Bow's luminous screen presence and William Wellman's deft direction.
Synopsis: With World War I afoot, David Armstrong (Richard Arlen) and Jack Powell (Charles "Buddy" Rogers) join the military with an... [More]
Directed By: William A. Wellman

#9

See You up There (2017)
94%

#9
Adjusted Score: 94116%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In 1918, just days before the Armistice, a tragic act of war intrinsically links two soldiers.... [More]
Directed By: Albert Dupontel

#8

Paths of Glory (1957)
96%

#8
Adjusted Score: 103245%
Critics Consensus: Paths of Glory is a transcendentally humane war movie from Stanley Kubrick, with impressive, protracted battle sequences and a knock-out ending.
Synopsis: During World War I, commanding officer General Broulard (Adolphe Menjou) orders his subordinate, General Mireau (George Macready), to attack a... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Kubrick

#7

Grand Illusion (1937)
97%

#7
Adjusted Score: 111387%
Critics Consensus: Jean Renoir's Grand Illusion is a masterful anti-war statement, bringing humane insight and an undercurrent of ironic humor to an unusual relationship between captor and captive.
Synopsis: A group of French soldiers, including the patrician Captain de Boeldieu (Pierre Fresnay) and the working-class Lieutenant Maréchal (Jean Gabin),... [More]
Directed By: Jean Renoir

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 105717%
Critics Consensus: The epic of all epics, Lawrence of Arabia cements director David Lean's status in the filmmaking pantheon with nearly four hours of grand scope, brilliant performances, and beautiful cinematography.
Synopsis: Due to his knowledge of the native Bedouin tribes, British Lieutenant T.E. Lawrence (Peter O'Toole) is sent to Arabia to... [More]
Directed By: David Lean

#5

Dishonored (1931)
90%

#5
Adjusted Score: 42346%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A streetwalker (Marlene Dietrich) in World War I Vienna becomes spy X-27, opposite Russian spy H-14 (Victor McLaglen).... [More]
Directed By: Josef von Sternberg

#4

The Big Parade (1925)
100%

#4
Adjusted Score: 101472%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Wealthy young idler Jim Apperson (John Gilbert) enlists during the early days of World War I, to the worry of... [More]
Directed By: King Vidor

#3

The Lost Patrol (1934)
100%

#3
Adjusted Score: 100181%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A British patrol is crossing the deserts of Mesopotamia during World War I when the commanding officer is suddenly struck... [More]
Directed By: John Ford

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 108022%
Critics Consensus: An impressive technical achievement with a walloping emotional impact, They Shall Not Grow Old pays brilliant cinematic tribute to the sacrifice of a generation.
Synopsis: Using state-of-the-art technology and materials from the BBC and Imperial War Museum, filmmaker Peter Jackson allows the story of World... [More]
Starring: Peter Jackson
Directed By: Peter Jackson

#1
Adjusted Score: 109166%
Critics Consensus: Director Lewis Milestone's brilliant anti-war polemic, headlined by an unforgettable performance from Lew Ayres, lays bare the tragic foolishness at the heart of war.
Synopsis: The film follows a group of German schoolboys, talked into enlisting at the beginning of World War I by their... [More]
Directed By: Lewis Milestone


Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.

100 Best War Movies of All Time

From peacetime to frontlines, from coming home to left behind: Rotten Tomatoes presents the 100 best-reviewed war movies of all time, ranked by Adjusted Tomatometer with at least 20 reviews each.

#100

Che: Part Two (2008)
79%

#100
Adjusted Score: 80412%
Critics Consensus: The second part of Soderbergh's biopic is a dark, hypnotic and sometimes frustrating portrait of a warrior in decline, with a terrific central performance from Del Toro.
Synopsis: Seven years after his triumph in Cuba, Che (Benicio Del Toro) winds up in Bolivia, where he tries to ignite... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#99
Adjusted Score: 75645%
Critics Consensus: Worthy themes and strong performances across the board make Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence an impactful story about bridging cultural divides.
Synopsis: During World War II, British soldier Jack Celliers (David Bowie) is captured by Japanese forces and held in a prison... [More]
Directed By: Nagisa Ôshima

#98

Black Hawk Down (2001)
76%

#98
Adjusted Score: 82790%
Critics Consensus: Though it's light on character development and cultural empathy, Black Hawk Down is a visceral, pulse-pounding portrait of war, elevated by Ridley Scott's superb technical skill.
Synopsis: The film takes place in 1993 when the U.S. sent special forces into Somalia to destabilize the government and bring... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#97

The Tin Drum (1979)
84%

#97
Adjusted Score: 85676%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Oskar Matzerath (David Bennent) is a very unusual boy. Refusing to leave the womb until promised a tin drum by... [More]
Directed By: Volker Schlöndorff

#96
#96
Adjusted Score: 83114%
Critics Consensus: A well-crafted and visually arresting drama with a touch of whimsy.
Synopsis: Mathilde (Audrey Tautou) is told that her fiancé (Gaspard Ulliel) has been killed in World War I. She refuses to... [More]
Directed By: Jean-Pierre Jeunet

#95

American Sniper (2014)
72%

#95
Adjusted Score: 84386%
Critics Consensus: Powered by Clint Eastwood's sure-handed direction and a gripping central performance from Bradley Cooper, American Sniper delivers a tense, vivid tribute to its real-life subject.
Synopsis: U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) takes his sole mission -- protect his comrades -- to heart and becomes... [More]
Directed By: Clint Eastwood

#94

Kelly's Heroes (1970)
78%

#94
Adjusted Score: 79773%
Critics Consensus: Kelly's Heroes subverts its World War II setting with pointed satirical commentary on modern military efforts, offering an entertaining hybrid of heist caper and battlefield action.
Synopsis: In the midst of World War II, an array of colorful American soldiers gets inside information from a drunk German... [More]
Directed By: Brian G. Hutton

#93

Braveheart (1995)
79%

#93
Adjusted Score: 83525%
Critics Consensus: Distractingly violent and historically dodgy, Mel Gibson's Braveheart justifies its epic length by delivering enough sweeping action, drama, and romance to match its ambition.
Synopsis: Tells the story of the legendary thirteenth century Scottish hero named William Wallace (Mel Gibson). Wallace rallies the Scottish against... [More]
Directed By: Mel Gibson

#92

War Horse (2011)
74%

#92
Adjusted Score: 83296%
Critics Consensus: Technically superb, proudly sentimental, and unabashedly old-fashioned, War Horse is an emotional drama that tugs the heartstrings with Spielberg's customary flair.
Synopsis: Albert (Jeremy Irvine) and his beloved horse, Joey, live on a farm in the British countryside. At the outbreak of... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#91

Coming Home (1978)
85%

#91
Adjusted Score: 87127%
Critics Consensus: Coming Home's stellar cast elevates the love triangle in the center of its story - and adds a necessary human component to its none-too-subtle political message.
Synopsis: The wife of a Marine serving in Vietnam, Sally Hyde (Jane Fonda) decides to volunteer at a local veterans hospital... [More]
Directed By: Hal Ashby

#90
#90
Adjusted Score: 85662%
Critics Consensus: The Thin Red Line is a daringly philosophical World War II film with an enormous cast of eager stars.
Synopsis: In 1942, Private Witt (Jim Caviezel) is a U.S. Army absconder living peacefully with the locals of a small South... [More]
Directed By: Terrence Malick

#89

Lone Survivor (2013)
75%

#89
Adjusted Score: 83667%
Critics Consensus: A true account of military courage and survival, Lone Survivor wields enough visceral power to mitigate its heavy-handed jingoism.
Synopsis: In 2005 Afghanistan, Navy SEALs Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg), Michael Murphy (Taylor Kitsch), Danny Dietz (Emile Hirsch) and Matthew "Axe"... [More]
Directed By: Peter Berg

#88

Private Benjamin (1980)
82%

#88
Adjusted Score: 84639%
Critics Consensus: Private Benjamin proves a potent showcase for its Oscar-nominated star, with Hawn making the most of a story that rests almost completely on her daffily irresistible charm.
Synopsis: A Jewish-American princess, Judy Benjamin (Goldie Hawn), is devastated when her husband (Albert Brooks) drops dead on their wedding night.... [More]
Directed By: Howard Zieff

#87
#87
Adjusted Score: 84627%
Critics Consensus: Benigni's earnest charm, when not overstepping its bounds into the unnecessarily treacly, offers the possibility of hope in the face of unflinching horror.
Synopsis: A gentle Jewish-Italian waiter, Guido Orefice (Roberto Benigni), meets Dora (Nicoletta Braschi), a pretty schoolteacher, and wins her over with... [More]
Directed By: Roberto Benigni

#86

Fury (2014)
76%

#86
Adjusted Score: 87218%
Critics Consensus: Overall, Fury is a well-acted, suitably raw depiction of the horrors of war that offers visceral battle scenes but doesn't quite live up to its larger ambitions.
Synopsis: In April 1945, the Allies are making their final push in the European theater. A battle-hardened Army sergeant named Don... [More]
Directed By: David Ayer

Benedict Cumberbatch shoulders the weight of a Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise with this weekend’s Doctor Strange — a critical winner whose box-office ascension seems all but certain to complete its leading man’s journey from arthouse dramas to full-fledged blockbusters. To celebrate Mr. Cumberbatch’s latest feat, we decided to dedicate this feature to a fond look back at some of the brightest critical highlights from a distinguished (and still growing) filmography. You know what that means: by the hoary hosts of Hoggoth, it’s time for Total Recall!


10. Amazing Grace (2006) 67%

Before he started taking roles in blockbusters like Star Trek Into Darkness, The Hobbit, and Doctor Strange, if you thought about Benedict Cumberbatch, you were probably thinking of a movie like 2007’s Amazing Grace. Directed by Michael Apted, this historical drama recounts the anti-slavery efforts of British parliament member William Wilberforce (Ioan Gruffudd), whose long campaign to introduce legislation outlawing human trafficking made him a political pariah — and an inspiration to friends and contemporaries like William Pitt the Younger (Cumberbatch). “As square as this movie is,” argued David Denby for the New Yorker, “it has been made with eloquence and jaunty high spirits, and it tells a good story that is virtually unknown here.”

Watch Trailer


9. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013) 74%

Peter Jackson set a new standard for epic fantasies when he adapted The Lord of the Rings into a blockbuster trilogy, leaving himself some big shoes to fill when he set about turning The Hobbit into a three-film saga of its own. It stands to reason that critics and audiences weren’t quite as enchanted the second time around, but this saga — in which Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) joins the wizard Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen) on a quest to help reclaim a mountain from a dragon named Smaug (a mo-capped Cumberbatch) — held up reasonably well in its own right, particularly the second installment that focused on Bilbo’s confrontation with Smaug himself. “For many,” warned the Arizona Republic’s Kerry Lengel, “Jackson’s Hobbit will look like an overly long amusement-park attraction. But for fantasy fans who have dreamed all their lives of spending time inside Tolkien’s dazzling alternative reality, it’s a ride well worth taking.”

Watch Trailer


8. Black Mass (2015) 73%

He was born in London, which wouldn’t seem to make him the most natural fit to play the brother of an infamous Boston gangster — but if you’ve watched Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance as Billy Bulger in Black Mass, you know he can pull it off. In fact, although there’s really no shortage of movies about or inspired by the criminal exploits of Whitey Bulger, this relatively late arrival managed to hold its own, thanks in no small part to the efforts of a starry ensemble cast led by Johnny Depp and rounded out by a roster that included Joel Edgerton, Kevin Bacon, and Dakota Johnson. “The acting here is much stronger and more soulful than I would have expected,” admitted Grantland’s Wesley Morris, “and not only from Depp.”

Watch Trailer


7. War Horse (2011) 74%

He wasn’t exactly a neophyte by 2011, but that’s the year his Hollywood star really started to rise, with appearances in front of American audiences courtesy of his roles in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Steven Spielberg’s War Horse. As reflected by its name, the entire human cast essentially played second fiddle to its equine lead — but this adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s 1982 children’s novel still lined up some pretty spectacular stars. Exactly the sort of beautifully filmed period drama you’d expect given its behind-the-scenes pedigree and Christmas Day release date, War Horse follows the astonishing WWI adventures of a Bay Thoroughbred named Joey (during which he serves under Cumberbatch’s command), as well as the equally stirring tale of his young trainer (Jeremy Irvine). While some critics dismissed the results as glossy awards bait, it proved sufficiently moving for the majority; as Steven Rea wrote for the Philadelphia Inquirer, “War Horse is sugary, to be sure — but it is sugar cut with cannon fire and barbed wire and the horrors of war.”

Watch Trailer


6. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) 84%

Few novelists have ever been able to match the cerebral layers that John le Carré applied to his take on the spy thriller, and adapting his work for the screen has always been a daunting task, particularly given that he operated in a genre that’s tended to prize action over intelligence. But director Tomas Alfredson (working from an adaptation written by Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan) proved himself more than up to the task with this 2011 version of the author’s 1974 classic Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, starring Gary Oldman as a retired spy brought back into active duty to investigate some troubling claims made by a defected MI6 operative (Tom Hardy) with the aid of a trustworthy colleague (Cumberbatch). Cool-tempered and whip-smart, this Tailor brought the book satisfyingly to life for critics like NPR’s Ella Taylor, who wrote, “Alfredson offers no concessions to hindsight, no lessons for today. Instead, he’s kept faith with le Carré’s bleak, romantically elegiac vision of a moment in 20th century history at once glorious and doomed.”

Watch Trailer


5. Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) 84%

It’d take an awful lot of rich Corinthian leather for any actor to try and one-up Ricardo Montalban’s definitive performance as Khan Noonien Singh in the original Star Trek franchise. To his credit, Cumberbatch offered a decidedly different take on the role in J.J. Abrams’ rebooted series timeline, bringing the character back to life in 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness in his own inimitably villainous way. Although not a few reviews openly lamented the loss of the O.G. Trek‘s cerebral sci-fi at the expense of a heavier focus on action, most critics were hard-pressed to argue against Abrams’ good old-fashioned popcorn fun — or the talented cast. “What this movie does with a not-unfamiliar-to-some story is pretty clever,” admitted MSN Movies’ Glenn Kenny, “and the incarnation of a classic villain by British cheekbone virtuoso Benedict Cumberbatch is vivid and engaging.”

Watch Trailer


4. Starter for 10 (2006) 90%

Cumberbatch’s first significant big-screen appearance came courtesy of Starter for 10, a dramedy about a college freshman (James McAvoy) who joins his campus quiz team and becomes embroiled in the squad’s interpersonal dynamics — including dealing with their snobby captain (Cumberbatch), who looks down on the new arrival despite not offering much in the way of value to the team. With a cast rounded out by Rebecca Hall, Dominic Cooper, and Alice Eve, Starter offered an early glimpse at a number of rising stars, as well as a fair bit of entertainment; as Claudia Puig wrote for USA Today, “The writing is nimble, the performances engaging and the story of a working-class boy who yearns to distinguish himself by acquiring knowledge is witty and intelligent.”

Watch Trailer


3. Doctor Strange (2016) 89%

Ten years ago, the idea of a guy from London playing Marvel’s favorite Greenwich Village sorcerer seemed about as likely as the studio ever managing to make a big-screen Doctor Strange feature in the first place, but times have definitely changed. Cumberbatch donned the good Doctor’s Cloak of Levitation for what ended up becoming Marvel’s 14th consecutive No. 1 release, bringing his dramatic chops to bear on an effects-fueled adventure that repaid the audience’s patience for yet another origin story with mind-bending visuals and a storyline that brought the magical multiverse to the MCU. Hewing faithfully to the studio’s blockbuster formula while still finding refreshing ways to scribble outside the lines, the results earned overwhelmingly positive reviews — and were even intoxicating enough to win over critics who’d long since grown numb to the superhero genre’s appeal, like the New York Times’ Manohla Dargis, who described the spectacle as “so visually transfixing, so beautiful and nimble that you may even briefly forget the brand.”

Watch Trailer


2. The Imitation Game (2014) 89%

Alan Turing was a brilliant man whose work laid the foundation for theoretical computer science — and helped shorten World War II, saving countless lives in the process. He was also prosecuted for homosexual behavior at a time when the U.K. criminal code classified it as gross indecency, sentenced to chemical castration, and died of cyanide poisoning just shy of his 42nd birthday. A fascinating, influential, and painful life, in other words, all brought brilliantly to life in the Oscar-winning The Imitation Game, starring Cumberbatch as Turing in a role that brought him fresh accolades during a busy year that also included The Penguins of Madagascar and the final Hobbit film. “Cumberbatch is moviedom’s man of the moment,” observed Joe Williams for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “and with this painfully human performance, the actor who has specialized in difficult geniuses finally cracks the code of compassion.”

Watch Trailer


1. 12 Years a Slave (2013) 95%

Before they shared the screen as Doctor Strange and Baron Mordo in Doctor Strange, Cumberbatch and Chiwetel Ejiofor met under very different circumstances in 12 Years a Slave — Ejiofor as kidnapped free man-turned-slave Solomon Northup, and Cumberbatch as William Ford, the first plantation owner to purchase him. Northup’s journey to Ford was decidedly unpleasant, but it was unfortunately a mere prelude to more than a decade of brutal misery suffered at the hands of others after Ford felt forced to sell him — immortalized on the screen in a grueling yet searingly compelling Best Picture winner. “12 Years a Slave isn’t easy to watch, and it shouldn’t be,” wrote Moira MacDonald for the Seattle Times. “It’s one man’s tragedy, but it’s also the tragedy of countless thousands of souls beaten down, literally and metaphorically.”

Watch Trailer

Steven Spielberg’s first family movie since 1991’s Hook is in theaters this week: The BFG, adaptation of the beloved Roald Dahl children’s book. The cross-pollination of two talented storytelling titans inspires this week’s gallery: 24 Certified Fresh children’s book movie adaptations!

There wasn’t a whole lot going on in the world of home video this week, so we’ve got a shorter list today. If you scour the release lists, you’ll find some TV shows, some direct-to-DVD stuff, and a couple of reissues (like Cleopatra), but it won’t be long before you start running up against the yoga videos and Guys Gone Wild. So, with that out of the way, let’s just move on. This week brings us one of last year’s Best Picture nominees, a critically acclaimed documentary, a lukewarm drama from Cameron Crowe, and a Certified Fresh UK import. Then, to close out the set, we’ve got a Miyazaki Blu-ray import and an HD reissue of a bona fide classic. See below for the full list!



War Horse

74%

Moviegoers of a certain age may always remember Steven Spielberg for the indelible fingerprint he left on the 1980s, both as producer (Gremlins, the Back to the Future trilogy) and director (E.T., the Indiana Jones movies), and many say last year’s War Horse recalls some of the best elements of that era. Based on the 1982 children’s novel of the same name, which also inspired a stage production, War Horse follows the travails of a spirited horse named Joey during World War I as he is raised by a farmboy, sold off to a soldier, and marched into the middle of battle. Joey endures various hardships but endures through it all, inspiring those around him to greater things. Characterized by polished filmmaking, old-fashioned storytelling, and a certain trademark sentimentality, War Horse won many fans when it opened during the holiday season, earning a Certified Fresh 77% and six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. Definitely worth a look for anyone hankering for a dash of Spielbergian magic.



We Bought a Zoo

65%

After the 2000s yielded the first Rotten scores of Cameron Crowe’s (Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous) career, the writer-director released two films in 2011 to generally positive reviews: the rock doc Pearl Jam Twenty and the family drama We Bought a Zoo, which hits store shelves this week. We Bought a Zoo is based on the memoirs of Benjamin Mee, who, after the death of his wife, purchased a struggling zoo and moved his family onto the property in hopes of reopening the facility to the public. With Crowe behind the camera and working decidedly within his wheelhouse of character-driven drama, as well as a cast that included Matt Damon (as Mee), Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church, and more, some thought Zoo might find itself in Oscar contention. Unfortunately, while critics found the performances noteworthy and the film overall pleasant, most also felt it was too predictable and overly sentimental, with sweet spots that weren’t entirely earned. It’s not the best we’ve seen from Cameron Crowe, but it might suffice for anyone looking for a safe, harmless little yarn.



Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey

95%

If you’ve been with us for a few years now, you know that, without fail, many of the highest rated movies on RT every year are documentaries. That said, one of the true gems of 2011 that few moviegoers got to see was about a puppeteer and the wildly popular character he brought to life. Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey is about as accurate as a title can be: director Constance Marks profiles one Kevin Clash, the man who grew up crafting his own puppets, dreamt of meeting Jim Henson, eventually landed a gig on Sesame Street, and reinvented a furry red muppet to become one of the most widely beloved of them all. Not surprisingly, critics found the film sweet and charming, not least because Clash himself is such an endearing character, and its upbeat narrative left most feeling a little inspired. At a Certified Fresh 92%, Being Elmo is a fascinating feel-good story about a man who followed his dreams without compromise and almost inadvertently created a cultural icon.



Tyrannosaur

83%

Another small, critically acclaimed film that flashed in and out of theaters quickly (it only earned $22k in US box office receipts) came to us from the UK, where audiences are more familiar with its first-time director (actor Paddy Considine, who also wrote the script) and star (Peter Mullan). Tyrannosaur follows the story of Joseph (Mullan), an unemployed alcoholic with crippling anger issues who decides to turn his life around after he accidentally kills his dog. As he develops a relationship with a local charity shop employee (Olivia Colman), he finds that her husband has violent tendencies of his own, and confrontation appears inevitable. Based on the same kind of environment Considine observed around him growing up in public housing, Tyrannosaur is brutal and unflinching, but critics found the performances outstanding and the story of redemption rewarding. It’s Certified Fresh at 82%, for those of you looking for a bit of hard-hitting drama.



Chinatown – Blu-Ray

99%

Roman Polanski completed one last film on US soil before his legal troubles compelled him to flee to Europe, and that film was 1974’s Chinatown, now regarded as one of the best noir mysteries — and, indeed, one of the best films period — ever to be made. In one of his most memorable roles, Jack Nicholson plays Jake Gittes, an LA private eye who is hired for a seemingly routine “matrimonial” surveillance job, only to be pulled into a vast conspiracy involving political corruption, incest, and murder, all set against the historically inspired 1930s backdrop of a local water rights conflict. Working from an Oscar-winning script by Robert Towne, Polanski’s film benefitted from exceptional performances by Nicholson and co-star Faye Dunaway, earning a whopping eleven Academy Award nominations (alas, Towne’s trophy was the only one it took home), and it’s currently Certified Fresh at 100%. This week, Paramount releases its first Blu-ray of Chinatown, with special features collected from the previously released Centennial Collection and Special Collector’s Edition DVDs. If you own either of those, there won’t be much new to see here, but if you’d like to own the film in HD, now’s your chance.



Howl’s Moving Castle – Blu-Ray

87%

For all you Hayao Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli fanatics out there in the US, here’s a little heads-up: the Blu-ray disc for the film officially goes on sale in the States tomorrow, but it appears to be the same one already available in a few other countries, selling as an import. That is, the cover design mirrors those of the Japanese, German, and Hong Kong versions, there is little information readily available on what extras it will contain, and its price point is a hefty-even-for-Blu-ray $60. We can’t imagine this will do well with anyone but the most diehard fans, but for the uninitiated: Howl’s Moving Castle is anime legend Hayao Miyazaki’s (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away) heartfelt adaptation of British author Diana Wynne Jones’s novel of the same name, in which a plucky 18-year-old named Sophie befriends Howl, an eccentric young wizard who lives in a (you guessed it!) moving castle. When a witch’s curse transforms Sophie into an old woman, she hides out in Howl’s castle and attempts to reverse its effects. If you haven’t already gotten your hands on one of the international Blu-rays of the film, it’ll be available this week.

Happy Holidays! This week at the movies, we’ve got a junior adventurer (The Adventures of Tintin, starring Jamie Bell and Andy Serkis); a punk hacker (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara); an animal house (We Bought a Zoo, starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson); a trusted steed (War Horse, starring Jeremy Irvine and Emily Watson); and an alien invasion (The Darkest Hour, starring Emile Hirsch and Olivia Thirlby). What do critics have to say?



The Adventures of Tintin

74%

Belgian comic book hero Tintin has a lot in common with Indiana Jones, so it’s no surprise that Steven Spielberg has brought the young reporter/adventurer to the big screen. And critics say The Adventures of Tintin is an action-packed, technically resplendent escapade that’s light on plot and character development but heavy on fun. This motion-captured adaptation of Herge’s red-headed hero finds Tintin (Jamie Bell), his faithful dog Snowy, and the slovenly Captain Haddock (Andy Serkis) on a globe-trotting mission to find ancient treasure, all the while tailed by the evil Ivanovich Sakharine (Daniel Craig). The pundits say the Certified Fresh Adventures of Tintin is a beautifully crafted, gleefully escapist affair that should please the whole family.



The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

86%

After being adapted in its native Swedish, Stieg Larsson’s international bestseller The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo gets a Hollywood reboot courtesy of David Fincher, and critics say it’s thrilling and stylishly sleek, with a star-making performance from Rooney Mara. Daniel Craig stars as Mikael Blomkvis, a disgraced journalist who’s asked by a wealthy industrialist to investigate an unsolved murder. With the help of the brilliant but troubled computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Mara), Mikael soon finds that this cold case is full of dangerous secrets. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is riveting — it’s briskly paced and darkly atmospheric, and Mara nails Lisbeth, one of recent fiction’s most memorable characters.



We Bought a Zoo

65%

Cameron Crowe makes movies about nice people, and critics say his latest, We Bought a Zoo, radiates good-natured charm. Based on a true story, it’s the tale of Benjamin (Matt Damon), a widower who moves his two children to a dilapidated zoological park. There, Benjamin works to restore the zoo to its former glory, and finds the cure for his soul sickness in the process. The pundits say that while We Bought a Zoo is clichéd and sappy, it’s also a lot of fun, with a warmhearted spirit that’s tough to resist. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Scarlett Johansson’s best-reviewed movies.



War Horse

74%

Spielberg’s busy this holiday season; critics say his other new movie, War Horse, is an old-fashioned movie, with all the good and bad that comes with such a characterization; in other words, it’s heartfelt and rousing, but also sometimes sentimental and schmaltzy. Jeremy Irvine stars as Albert, who trains and bonds with a horse named Joey; when World War I breaks out, Joey is taken off to battle, and as he moves across the war zone, he touches lives on both sides of the conflict. The pundits say War Horse is sometimes corny and melodramatic, but it’s also sweet, stirring, and beautifully photographed.



The Darkest Hour

12%

It looks like the folks behind The Darkest Hour have taken a cue from Ebenezer Scrooge — they’ve been miserly with critics’ screenings of The Darkest Hour. The movie follows a group of youngsters stranded in Moscow who must fight off an alien invasion. Kids, take time out from last minute shopping and guess the Tomatometer! (Also, check out star Emile Hirsch’s Five Favorite Films here).

Also opening this week in limited release:

And don’t forget — the Certified Fresh Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol expands into wide release this weekend.

The American Film Institute have announced their 10 favorite films of the year.


AFI Top 10 of 2011


Bridesmaids

90%

The Descendants

87%
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

86%

The Help

76%

Hugo

93%

J. Edgar

43%
Midight in Paris

93%
Moneyball

94%
The Tree of Life

84%
War Horse

74%

Tag Cloud

MTV X-Men Adult Swim RT History television telelvision crime zero dark thirty 2017 Rocketman biopic Legendary Pop TV festivals italian The Walt Disney Company heist movie police drama Amazon Prime live action Hallmark Christmas movies Esquire fast and furious TCA Binge Guide The Witch 2015 Walt Disney Pictures Mindy Kaling President series movies HFPA cars Drama Fox Searchlight psycho Captain marvel quibi BET Awards universal monsters Marvel Studios YouTube Red TNT king kong nfl anthology adventure 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards screen actors guild south america Emmys Chernobyl Image Comics boxing TIFF 24 frames vs. CW Seed young adult high school spider-verse Music Crunchyroll archives TCA Awards Dark Horse Comics rt archives Star Wars BBC One toy story Disney Disney Plus DGA unscripted APB twilight Tomatazos Peacock video on demand Set visit name the review BBC teaser blockbuster spain Western adaptation Ghostbusters spinoff rom-coms Comedy Central cinemax animated best Baby Yoda crime thriller Thanksgiving YouTube Premium ABC Signature zombies Holiday Fantasy live event fresh The Walking Dead hist TBS vampires chucky Premiere Dates ID comic books game of thrones Super Bowl TruTV reviews casting comic dragons emmy awards Syfy Kids & Family venice Sundance Valentine's Day dogs The Academy game show Trivia rotten movies we love IFC blaxploitation suspense Pop Year in Review Cannes cartoon scorecard spy thriller TV Land Musicals Heroines gangster Sony Pictures Tumblr Chilling Adventures of Sabrina sag awards GIFs japan crossover Paramount Plus anime streaming Pride Month Tags: Comedy news Animation Podcast SDCC 72 Emmy Awards 90s franchise DC Universe comiccon Amazon Studios all-time black Interview LGBTQ laika streaming movies Opinion USA Network posters Stephen King HBO Max Nat Geo FXX aliens feel good doctor who Mary Poppins Returns San Diego Comic-Con Acorn TV Pacific Islander comics Mary Tyler Moore MSNBC Superheroe scary Mary poppins marvel cinematic universe ABC trophy technology CNN 21st Century Fox Film Festival mutant parents genre Ellie Kemper women Alien 2018 king arthur christmas movies cats cults social media Country renewed TV shows wonder woman canceled NBA Schedule PlayStation 45 sequel VICE screenings Masterpiece thriller superhero Disney streaming service Anna Paquin Netflix GLAAD 2016 psychological thriller book Film Sneak Peek discovery political drama Rocky dark zombie American Society of Cinematographers Biopics asian-american DC streaming service witnail target WarnerMedia die hard PBS free movies Tarantino Paramount Broadway monster movies docudrama AMC TCM dreamworks halloween tv Family ViacomCBS godzilla IFC Films stoner Warner Bros. golden globes Lucasfilm worst theme song El Rey History cancelled TV shows travel First Reviews basketball Shudder Oscars Calendar scary movies scene in color supernatural mcc hispanic heritage month Britbox international foreign Video Games critic resources Watching Series Elton John Hallmark CBS football National Geographic sitcom Summer jurassic park YouTube VOD binge singing competition Food Network nature french Lifetime marvel comics kids indiana jones war Rock justice league mockumentary period drama Quiz documentary Marvel Television Black Mirror Funimation Comics on TV cancelled rt labs Song of Ice and Fire Amazon Prime Video New York Comic Con Apple TV Plus Ovation A24 1990s dramedy Creative Arts Emmys Martial Arts sports space Horror pirates of the caribbean Mudbound Rom-Com halloween Writers Guild of America japanese Showtime child's play Sundance Now prank Spring TV hispanic Mystery Tubi A&E Vudu saw latino historical drama Hulu ESPN concert children's TV BAFTA Amazon 2020 critics hidden camera E! NBC black comedy 93rd Oscars sopranos mission: impossible Emmy Nominations adenture Box Office Prime Video 99% OneApp Universal nbcuniversal Superheroes know your critic award winner Instagram Live deadpool a nightmare on elm street docuseries Apple CMT Toys Pet Sematary YA disaster Wes Anderson independent cancelled TV series TV movies Bravo robots new star wars movies canceled TV shows Exclusive Video BBC America PaleyFest FOX natural history DirecTV composers Disney Channel WGN action-comedy ghosts TV One Character Guide book adaptation Avengers popular films Teen Lifetime Christmas movies remakes transformers indie Disney+ Disney Plus sequels Sundance TV Turner kong Nominations Marathons 2021 Winners Red Carpet E3 DC Comics Fall TV 007 SXSW documentaries australia mob video Star Trek Apple TV+ spanish USA richard e. Grant Countdown First Look talk show Women's History Month Starz ABC Family Neflix The Purge ITV RT21 romance tv talk Arrowverse strong female leads legend Trailer golden globe awards crime drama HBO Go Shondaland olympics Certified Fresh Marvel LGBT FX on Hulu Comedy Pirates Nickelodeon IMDb TV spider-man cancelled television Discovery Channel cooking rt labs critics edition Epix Hollywood Foreign Press Association slashers Classic Film Cosplay Reality Competition Columbia Pictures dc BET directors Fox News Endgame reboot Cartoon Network FX new york Hear Us Out batman art house Sci-Fi Tokyo Olympics green book criterion HBO Black History Month Reality serial killer Trophy Talk Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt lord of the rings dexter Crackle TCA Winter 2020 movie The Arrangement comedies hollywood Winter TV royal family new zealand what to watch Fargo Television Academy diversity Academy Awards leaderboard finale Extras miniseries NYCC VH1 kaiju stand-up comedy revenge Logo worst movies jamie lee curtis festival Freeform comic book movie Polls and Games AMC Plus Photos 79th Golden Globes Awards TCA 2017 Television Critics Association Lionsgate versus Comic-Con@Home 2021 See It Skip It 71st Emmy Awards classics OWN Awards Tour GoT Netflix Christmas movies based on movie SundanceTV cops 4/20 stop motion debate Pixar james bond Best and Worst dceu 73rd Emmy Awards MCU Awards spanish language Election The CW politics werewolf Spectrum Originals slasher obituary satire superman aapi science fiction 20th Century Fox facebook harry potter TV Musical Grammys 2019 Brie Larson Travel Channel Holidays blockbusters TV renewals CBS All Access ratings elevated horror Comic Book Christmas true crime Universal Pictures joker medical drama rotten razzies breaking bad TLC romantic comedy trailers Turner Classic Movies Infographic toronto comic book movies Spike Action boxoffice Paramount Network biography