Mixed or average reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 32
  2. Negative: 8 out of 32
  1. Reviewed by: Steve Simels
    Stone handles his huge ensemble cast extremely well.
  2. 75
    It's a close call here. I guess I recommend the movie because the dramatic scenes are worth it. But if some studio executive came along and made Stone cut his movie down to two hours, I have the strangest feeling it wouldn't lose much of substance and might even play better.
  3. The characters are hardly original...but Stone puts them into play with his usual fever-pitch gusto, producing what's probably the most heart-pounding gridiron movie ever made.
  4. Features convincing, often soaring, performances by a savvy cast that must have gotten adrenaline shots administered by Stone himself.
  5. While the football sequences are carefully constructed, the sensation we get from the blizzard of images and teeth-jarring sound effects is of having our head used as the football.
  6. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    Far too long, but its rambunctiousness is engaging, propelled by Stone's virtuosic quick-cutting.
  7. A football epic on performance enhancers that may be more flagrantly flawed, more shockingly predictable and just plain cornier than its rickety predecessors.
  8. 30
    Just watching the trailer for Oliver Stone's new football epic a few weeks back left me with a grating headache; watching the whole sweaty film practically put me in the ICU.
  9. The film's cumulative effect is as exhausting as it is exciting.
  10. As always with Stone, the film has some gritty performances and a certain likable audacity.
  11. 70
    The director has created a slick, newer-than-new, faster-than-fast entertainment to end all entertainments.
  12. Reviewed by: Sean Means
    Big, bold, brash and occasionally brilliant.
  13. Reviewed by: Tom Keogh
    The kind of minor work that may very well speak greater volumes about (Stone's) thoughts and feelings right now than another masterpiece would.
  14. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    (Stone's) most accessible and purely enjoyable film in years.
  15. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Stone creates such a sizzling, raunchy, vital world that the cliches almost seem new.
  16. Stone is an undeniably stylish director, and his talent for conveying intense emotion is well put to use here. But more often Stone's in-your-face technique is as exhausting as his steroid-enhanced players.
  17. This energetic and diverting sports soap opera throws a few head fakes in the direction of an iconoclastic examination of the dark side of professional football.
  18. 30
    Like a visual concussion.
  19. For much of the movie, the kinetic furor of the game sequences helps camouflage the weaknesses of a screenplay that is a mechanically contrived series of power struggles.
  20. It's about as deep as electronic white noise.
  21. 30
    By the time the manic camera slows down to reveal the back stories of the characters, everyone's motives are either moot or redundant.
  22. A football film made by a man who apparently has seen little of the game outside of movies, and not very good ones at that.
  23. 45
    Crammed with interesting ideas, visuals, and people, but Stone buries it all in a s--tstorm of technique.
  24. There's scarcely a scene in which the actors, action and sound track aren't cranked up to maximum intensity.
  25. 75
    If this rousing, technically dazzling movie doesn't get you going, then you probably didn't like football to being with.
  26. A turbocharged and pungently enjoyable take on the sport so many observers see - Stone, of course, included - as a reflection of the darker side of American life.
  27. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Though there are helmets deeper than this movie, you do have to admire the level of screen showmanship .
  28. 75
    A kinetically charged gridiron drama that is enormous fun to watch.
  29. 63
    A testosterone- and cliché-fueled epic that will have some hoping for sudden death as it stumbles toward the three-hour mark.
  30. 58
    Though intermittently entertaining, it's too long and rarely insightful in new or meaningful ways.
  31. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    Ends up less than the sum of its many, often interesting parts.
  32. 30
    Oliver Stone must learn that edgy photography does not substitute for a story with substance.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 43 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 16
  2. Negative: 2 out of 16
  1. May 1, 2013
    Very good sports movie! I like the struggle between new and old players. Al Pacino and Jamie Foxx did an amazing job. This movie is definitely worth watching. Full Review »
  2. Jun 8, 2011
    Al Pacino is the highlight, but it rises about the majority of American Football movies. Some of the Oliver Stone overwork is present, but overall a very enjoyable movie. Stay around for the credits. Full Review »