Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 42
  2. Negative: 18 out of 42
  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. If, as the Virgil quote that starts the film claims, fortune favors the bold, Alexander has not been nearly bold enough.
  6. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Makes for a long, lumpy trip with a charismatic guide and some brilliant detours.
  7. 63
    What Alexander lacks in narrative clarity, it makes up for with pomp and pageantry.
  8. 63
    The best there is to say is that it's better than ''Troy."
  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. 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.
  12. 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.
  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. Call it "Alexander the Grate," because, over the marathon of its three-hour running time, this wonky epic really does get on your nerves.
  15. 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.
  16. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Sometimes stunning, ultimately stupefying epic .
  17. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    Forget Alexander: The film is a pedestal to Angelina the great.
  18. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    At best an honorable failure, an intelligent and ambitious picture that crucially lacks dramatic flair and emotional involvement.
  19. 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.
  20. An exhausted epic, one that Stone has directed with an almost startling lack of personality or vision.
  21. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    There are two stunning battle sequences, and that rose-tinted bloodbath is a stroke of the eccentric genius for which Stone is famous.
  22. 40
    Never have a great historical hero's accomplishments seemed so inconsequential, or so damned hard to figure out.
  23. Enjoyable in some places, but dreadful in others. It's boring here and exciting there. And it's almost always goofy.
  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. 38
    As huge a travesty and a bore as 1956's "Alexander the Great," in which Richard Burton looked equally uncomfortable as a blond.
  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. 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.
  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. 30
    A movie celebrating the life of the greatest military conqueror the world has ever known should feature a bit more conquering.
  30. 30
    Stone has made an excruciating disaster for the ages.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. Like every other second of more than 10,000 seconds in Alexander, it doesn't engage in the least.
  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. 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.
  38. 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.
  39. 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.
  40. 25
    The movie is a monument to egomania - and I don't mean Alexander's.
  41. 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.
  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 208 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 49 out of 128
  2. Negative: 69 out of 128
  1. julienc.
    Sep 7, 2005
    Bad movie, boring, flat.
  2. 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 »
  3. Apr 1, 2014
    One of the greatest movies i have ever seen! I can't udnerstand why some many people disliked this film. It was masterpiece! I think peopleOne of the greatest movies i have ever seen! I can't udnerstand why some many people disliked this film. It was masterpiece! I think people just don't understand the full meaning of this film. They just care about the action **** Full Review »