Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 42
  2. Negative: 18 out of 42

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Critic Reviews

  1. Vast, riveting, madly audacious movie biography.
  2. It's boldly acted, absorbing and satisfying as a history lesson and chock-full of extravagantly brutal battle sequences.
  3. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    Unwieldy and flawed, but Stone remains a tornado in an era of airless formula and -- to paraphrase our Ptolemy -- its failings are greater than most films’ successes.
  4. As one of the few movies around not pushing state-of-the-art animation or Jude Law, Alexander is a damn good date movie.
  5. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Makes for a long, lumpy trip with a charismatic guide and some brilliant detours.
  6. If, as the Virgil quote that starts the film claims, fortune favors the bold, Alexander has not been nearly bold enough.
  7. 63
    The best there is to say is that it's better than ''Troy."
  8. 63
    What Alexander lacks in narrative clarity, it makes up for with pomp and pageantry.
  9. Since the movie lacks a vision of what Alexander was really about as a man and a figure in history, it falls back all too frequently on movie spectacle.
  10. The creators of Alexander set out to make an epic, and they can't be faulted for the many elements that succeed on this scale; what's unfortunate is that they don't quite deliver a camp classic.
  11. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    At best an honorable failure, an intelligent and ambitious picture that crucially lacks dramatic flair and emotional involvement.
  12. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Sometimes stunning, ultimately stupefying epic .
  13. 50
    By de-mythologizing Alexander, Stone has turned him into an unbelievable individual. We accept great deeds from great people, not from sniveling whiners.
  14. 50
    What Stone has delivered instead is no folie de grandeur, but rather the last thing one would have expected from him: an honorable failure.
  15. 50
    Despite a three-hour running time Stone is too occupied with psychodrama to explore Alexander's innovations in battle, and Farrell, clearly out of his depth, seems less a leader of men than a Hellenistic James Dean.
  16. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    Forget Alexander: The film is a pedestal to Angelina the great.
  17. 50
    [Stone] gives us provocative notes and sketches but not a final draft. The film doesn't feel at ease with itself. It says too much, and yet leaves too much unsaid.
  18. Call it "Alexander the Grate," because, over the marathon of its three-hour running time, this wonky epic really does get on your nerves.
  19. Farrell plays all this as if he means it, but he seems slight in the role and without great physical presence. In a scene in which Alexander is roaring at his troops to rouse them to battle, he sounds like Mighty Mouse pretending to be Superman.
  20. An exhausted epic, one that Stone has directed with an almost startling lack of personality or vision.
  21. 40
    There are two stunning battle sequences, and that rose-tinted bloodbath is a stroke of the eccentric genius for which Stone is famous.
  22. Enjoyable in some places, but dreadful in others. It's boring here and exciting there. And it's almost always goofy.
  23. 40
    Never have a great historical hero's accomplishments seemed so inconsequential, or so damned hard to figure out.
  24. 40
    The happy couple (Farrell/Dawson) do enjoy one great scene together, and it's the high point of the movie-a naked tussle, in which she puts a knife to his throat. The whole sequence is quick, funny, and arousing, in sharp contrast to the rest of Alexander, which is sluggish, unsmiling.
  25. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    An ambitious disaster, Alexander is the rare historical portrait that leaves you feeling as though you know less about its subject than you did upon entering the theater.
  26. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    A movie that has neither dramatic focus nor a single memorable performance, aside from one or two that are memorable for the wrong reasons?
  27. 38
    As huge a travesty and a bore as 1956's "Alexander the Great," in which Richard Burton looked equally uncomfortable as a blond.
  28. 33
    A dreary, overlong and occasionally laughable classical epic about the great Macedonian world conqueror, it's guilty of a sin that no Stone film has ever committed: It's boring.
  29. Although inexplicable brogues and burrs appear and disappear, and although Stone post-produces the dickens of his movie trying to generate the maximum spit-fog of sound and fury, Alexander manages to be as dull as the Victor Mature films of the 1950s, which barely moved at all.
  30. 30
    Stone has made an excruciating disaster for the ages.
  31. This is the costliest, most logistically complex feature of the filmmaker's career, and it appears that the effort to wrangle so many beasts, from elephants to movie stars and money men, along with the headaches that come with sweeping period films, got the better of him.
  32. Like every other second of more than 10,000 seconds in Alexander, it doesn't engage in the least.
  33. 30
    A movie celebrating the life of the greatest military conqueror the world has ever known should feature a bit more conquering.
  34. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    There's no zest to the general depravity, no coherence to the script or the spectacle -- clarity is missing in some of the camera work -- and, most important, no character to give a Greek fig about.
  35. After the three hours--though it seemed longer--I was still bewildered. Stone is a unique and fiery talent. Why did he make this film?
  36. 25
    Alexander breaks the key rule that makes movies move: Show, don't tell.
  37. 25
    The movie is a monument to egomania - and I don't mean Alexander's.
  38. This movie is an act of hubris so huge that, in Alexander's time, it would draw lightning bolts from contemptuous gods. Today it will get sniggers from stunned critics and a collective yawn from a public unlikely to share Stone's egomania.
  39. Both the sex and the battle sequences here look like football plays drawn by an NFL coach and shot by the wide receiver's mother. Usually, even when I don't like a Stone film I admire its frenzied energy, but the editing here is as lethargic as the compositions are perfunctory.
  40. Stone tries to make us like Alexander because he's good, when he should have made us want to watch Alexander because he's amazing.
  41. It's astounding that the ingenious creator of "JFK" and "Wall Street" could make an epic on war and empire that's so utterly simplistic and unreflective.
  42. 11
    It is, in a word, boring, and that's the most un-Oliver Stone adjective I can think of.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 218 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 47 out of 131
  2. Negative: 70 out of 131
  1. Sep 12, 2014
    This review is based on Alexander Revisited, which is a longer, differently cut version, but still has just about the same stuff in it.This review is based on Alexander Revisited, which is a longer, differently cut version, but still has just about the same stuff in it.

    Before this movie, I knew practically nothing about Alexander the Great (what little I had learned in school was long forgotten). After seeing this, the loving bond was inevitable: not only did it have actors I enjoyed watching, but characters to fall in love with as well. This is the single most interesting piece of history I would ever want to study.

    People have a lot of different kind of opinions about this movie, and I understand that. For me, loving this movie comes from somewhere other than objectively judging its quality, and I have no way to actually defend my opinion (watching Colin Farrell make out with Jared Leto, just a bit, definitely would have won me over no matter what the content).

    The movie seems a bit dragged out, the battle scenes are too chaotic and long (not to mention the final battle in India which is always the one I hate most), but outside those, there are many good elements. A journey of a man with a vision, yet those who follow him eventually grow tired of chasing after something they do not want. And yet, Alexander the Great was loved by many, and he conquered more than anyone probably thought possible. This movie shows just that - and perhaps a bit more.

    The soundtrack of this movie is wonderful, within or without the movie. Vangelis did an amazing job on that.
    Full Review »
  2. Oct 4, 2011
    I found this movie to have great costume and action. I enjoyed watching the battle scene's the most. Very entertaining. I didn't like ColinI found this movie to have great costume and action. I enjoyed watching the battle scene's the most. Very entertaining. I didn't like Colin Farrell in this movie and Angelina is just a terrible actress but I still liked the movie overall. Full Review »
  3. julienc.
    Sep 7, 2005
    Bad movie, boring, flat.