Apollo 13 1995

Critics score:
95 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Ted Fry, Seattle Times: If you thought Tom Hanks was just an ordinary big-screen star, wait until you've seen him eight stories tall. Read more

Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune: Apollo 13, one of the most exciting adventure movies of the year, proves that science history can be just as thrilling as science fiction. Read more

Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune: Major, rousing, thoroughly professional Hollywood entertainment that will dazzle you with its re-creations of historical events, take you inside the space capsule and the Houston command center, and leave you wondering where our heroes [have gone]. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: Self-conscious about its heroism with portrayals that lean toward the glib and the professionally uplifting, the film milks our sympathies too readily to be emotionally convincing. Read more

Jay Boyar, Orlando Sentinel: Hanks is a terrific choice for the lead because he can appear strong and military without slipping over into Sgt. Rock corniness. Read more

Desmond Ryan, Philadelphia Inquirer: Howard is not above pushing buttons of his own and milking the big moments. But they are indeed big moments, and the manipulation is not intrusive. He has made a can-do movie for our can't-do age. Read more

Doug Thomas, Seattle Times: Ron Howard's pop-entertainment you-are-there space thriller is easily the most rousing film of the year. And it might make real spaceflight just as nifty as Star Wars for youngsters. Read more

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: From lift-off to splashdown, Apollo 13 gives one hell of a ride. Read more

Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper: It's a great American adventure and a wonderful film to bring to IMAX. Read more

Janet Maslin, New York Times: Playing the tough, commanding Jim Lovell is a substantial stretch for Mr. Hanks, but as usual his seeming ingenuousness overshadows all else about the role. There's not a false move to anything he does on screen. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: The film succeeds brilliantly at organizing great gobs of information into powerful drama. Read more

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader: This meticulous but ultimately rather pedestrian drama gradually won me over as a minor if watchable example of the "victory through defeat" brand of military heroism that John Ford specialized in. Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: It chronicles one of the most dramatic of all spaceflights, an American catastrophe that became an American victory, and it does this in a way that's so authentic, so brilliant in its technical details, that it succeeds in putting us on that ship. Read more

Jane Sumner, Dallas Morning News: Blowing up some 35mm films to an image 10 times larger could magnify their plot faults and performance shortcomings. But Apollo 13, with its taut cast, script and direction, profits from the process. Read more

David Chute, L.A. Weekly: On a purely pictorial level, this is one of the best-looking IMAX movies ever. Read more

Terrence Rafferty, New Yorker: The film, despite its raggedness, is stirring. In the end, this failed mission seems like the most impressive achievement of the entire space program: a triumph not of planning but of inspired improvisation. Read more

Dave Kehr, New York Daily News: Tom Hanks is on his way to becoming the American Everyman, an exemplar of boyish goodwill and quiet moral force. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: While the events of this motion picture may depict NASA's finest hour, the release of Apollo 13 represents Ron Howard's. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: A powerful story, one of the year's best films, told with great clarity and remarkable technical detail, and acted without pumped-up histrionics. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: It's easily Howard's best film. Read more

Edward Guthmann, San Francisco Chronicle: I just wish that Apollo 13 worked better as a movie, and that Howard's threshold for corn, mush and twinkly sentiment weren't so darn wide. Read more

Wally Hammond, Time Out: For a 'space movie', both the special effects and photography are surprisingly pedestrian. Where it scores is in subtly restating traditional notions of male heroism. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Variety: This engrossing account of the nation's most perilous moon shot embodies what many people consider to be old-fashioned American virtues in a virtually pristine state. Read more

Rita Kempley, Washington Post: Apollo 13, Ron Howard's soaring salute to space exploration, lifts off with a payload of the right stuff-courage, can-do, grace under pressure and other qualities derided as machismo by some and applauded as old-fashioned values by others. Read more

Joe Brown, Washington Post: Even if you know how it all turned out (and you should), this amazing journey is harrowing and exhilarating. Read more