Pearl Harbor 2001

Critics score:
25 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times: Bay, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and the entire cast and crew have given us a Pearl Harbor to remember. Read more

Jay Boyar, Orlando Sentinel: When no one's fighting, it's mostly a blindingly tedious soap opera, complete with an unexciting love triangle, a pushy musical score, a miraculous feat by a disabled character and an equally miraculous revival of one of the heroes. Read more

Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer: A script with the most underdeveloped characters and spectacularly realized visuals since Titanic. Read more

Paul Clinton (, Bay's overdirection... makes Hallmark-card images of the young lovers against backgrounds of lush vegetation and fiery explosions, and the end results are oddly remote, lacking any real emotion. Read more

Paul Tatara, A lot of people will rightfully be crowing about the technically astonishing battle scenes that take up over an hour of screen time. But getting there is a cliche-ridden, often laughable chore. Read more

John Zebrowski, Seattle Times: Bay takes the easy way out with this movie, shunning the real pain of the attack to concentrate on the shallow feelings of his stars. Read more

Susan Stark, Detroit News: The attack sequence in Pearl Harbor shows technical smarts to spare. Where matters of emotional and political truth are concerned, it's crude and jingoistic beyond compare. Read more

Philip Wuntch, Dallas Morning News: Surprise attacks should be swift and penetrating. Neither adjective applies to Pearl Harbor. Read more

A.O. Scott, New York Times: Nearly every line of the script drops from the actors' mouths with the leaden clank of exposition, timed with bad sitcom beats. Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: The bulk of the three-hour epic is third-rate schmaltz that pays only lip service to history. Read more

Andrew Sarris, New York Observer: The best way to see the movie is as I did: expecting nothing and being pleasantly surprised, and strangely moved, by Mr. Bay's audacity in filming his lovers in end-of-the-world close-ups, however briefly. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: Brawny but brainless, Pearl Harbor is another bloated, irresponsible example of history according to Disney-a lame juggernaut that falsifies the facts, assaults the senses and leaves you blind, deaf and soulless. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: Pearl Harbor is a blockheaded, hollow-hearted industrial enterprise. Read more

Geoff Pevere, Toronto Star: It blows up as good as anything movie technology has yet detonated, and it leaves you feeling absolutely, incontrovertibly numb. Read more

Mike Clark, USA Today: Ships, planes and water combust and collide in Pearl Harbor, but nothing else does in one of the wimpiest wartime romances ever filmed. Read more

Nathan Rabin, AV Club: Leave it to Bay and Bruckheimer to reduce one of America's biggest military tragedies into a three-hour avalanche of Kodak moments, and one of America's defining crises into a facile exercise in fake uplift. Read more

David Germain, Associated Press: For all the 118 actors listed, the movie offers almost no sense of authentic humanity. The faces the filmmakers plaster on their characters are as flat and stereotyped as those on war-recruitment posters. Read more

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader: Three hours and three minutes of guff and goo about the nobility of killing and/or being killed for arbitrary reasons. Read more

Eric Harrison, Houston Chronicle: Strangely, though, after all of the movie's manipulations and the big events, we don't get a sense at the end that we've accompanied the characters through a journey. Read more

Steven Rosen, Denver Post: Wins at war but loses at love. Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: An indulgently paced three hours, the picture is nearly painstaking in its traditionalism. Read more

Rick Groen, Globe and Mail: The date that will live in infamy has been reduced to a movie that is mired in mediocrity. Read more

Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune: Unfortunately, pasted around that stunning [action] sequence is a story so clogged with cliches of every description, so overblown, bombastic and agonizingly sentimental that it's hard to watch it with a straight face. Read more

Ella Taylor, L.A. Weekly: There's no dismissing the film, if only because it offers another long, loud example of how Hollywood remains the hagiographic spinmeister of American war history. Read more

Gene Seymour, Newsday: A starchy, overpowering helping of red, whiete and blue kitsch served up with piping-hot bombast. Read more

David Ansen, Newsweek: Superbly marketed, Pearl Harbor is the very model of a modern blockbuster. Will it matter that almost nothing about its human drama rings true? Read more

Anthony Lane, New Yorker: The effect of watching a Michael Bay film is indistinguishable from having a large, pointy lump of rock drop on your head. His new picture, Pearl Harbor, maintains the mood. Read more

Peter Rainer, New York Magazine/Vulture: The woe and horror of the event is steamrolled by a surplus of special and digitized effects. Read more

Jami Bernard, New York Daily News: Pearl Harbor is a bomb, make no mistake. But the movie is such a noisy, persistent bomb that it is guaranteed to draw a crowd. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: Better to wait until it's available on video and you have the option of using a fast-forward button. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: An unremarkable action movie; Pearl Harbor supplies the subject, but not the inspiration. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: From its opening calendar-art sunrise to the There You'll Be love theme that Faith Hill sings over the final credits, Pearl Harbor is deep-down phony. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Such a bloodless picture that it neither insults nor honors the memory of these soldiers. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: It gets the job done. Read more

David Edelstein, Slate: Pearl Harbor is essentially Top Gun with period costumes and the campy homoeroticism in check. Read more

Jeff Strickler, Minneapolis Star Tribune: The centerpiece is the attack. For 50 minutes, the filmmakers unleash nonstop eye candy. Read more

Richard Schickel, TIME Magazine: The net result of this mighty effort is perhaps predictable: near total inconsequence. Read more

Wally Hammond, Time Out: This bunk is history. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Variety: The bombs explode brilliantly but the story is a bust in "Pearl Harbor." Read more

J. Hoberman, Village Voice: The filmmakers are incapable of infusing history with soap opera immediacy. Read more

Desson Thomson, Washington Post: Perhaps they should have called this 'Bore-a, Bore-a, Bore-a.' Read more

Stephen Hunter, Washington Post: For my money a much better heartbreaker, thrillmaker and tear-tweaker than Titanic. Read more