Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. 100
    Ron Howard's film of this mission is directed with a single-mindedness and attention to detail that makes it riveting.
  2. It's a nail-biter and knuckle whitener of the first rank: a super real life techno thriller that reduces the fantasies of Tom Clancy and his clones to ground zero.
  3. Reviewed by: Barbara Shulgasser
    With no frills and no commentary, Howard and company have made the kind of absorbing thriller we have in mind when we wistfully sigh, "They don't make movies like they used to."
  4. 100
    "The Right Stuff" will endure as the more ambitious movie, but this book-faithful, 2-hour team effort shrewdly keeps its eye on the ball.
  5. 100
    Perhaps the most impressive feat of this film is sustaining white-knuckle tension even though the chain of events is well-known.
  6. You can know every glitch that made this such a dangerous mission, and Apollo 13 will still have you by the throat. [30 June 1995]
  7. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    The result is that rare Hollywood achievement, an adventure of the intelligent spirit. From lift-off to splashdown, Apollo 13 gives one hell of a ride. [3 July 1995]
  8. 90
    Howard lays off the manipulation to tell the true story of the near-fatal 1970 Apollo 13 mission in painstaking and lively detail. It's easily Howard's best film.
  9. Reviewed by: Jack Kroll
    By sticking resolutely to the facts of the most amazing rescue mission of all time, the movie builds tremendous suspense, even though most people will know how it came out.
  10. 90
    Apollo 13 is humanized by Hanks's reassuring portrait in courage, by Harris's nicotine-stained fingers and Quinlan's lacquered French twist.
  11. The direction may not be flashy, but it is controlled and confident; the frames unfold with a no-nonsense, nuts-and-bolts realism that, in this era of laser-blazing Batplanes, seems downright welcome.
  12. Reviewed by: Terrence Rafferty
    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.
  13. 78
    It's a riveting, nail-biting, two-buckets-of-popcorn return to form for Howard.
  14. Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, and Kevin Bacon try to get inside the skins of these space-age pilot jocks, but the roles, as written, don't give them enough to work with.
  15. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    Curiously empty and instantly forgettable.
  16. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    It's exceedingly linear structure, while unavoidable, renders it rather methodical and shallow in characterization.
  17. Reviewed by: Joe Brown
    The lean and efficient screenplay, based on the book "Lost Moon," by Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger, is full of the terse poetry and dry humor of people in crisis.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Howard spins the story with enough gusto and gumption to make it reasonably entertaining.
  21. 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.
  22. And as film, Apollo 13 is dull… Partly it's because there are no characters, no room for any substantive character development… Apollo 13 is staffed with human puppets. [31 July 1995]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 101 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. Sep 15, 2011
    Ron Howard's "Apollo 13" may be boring as hell with some cheesy moments, but the realistic direction and the powerful lead by Tom Hanks makes this space movie a movie you must watch. Full Review »
  2. Nov 28, 2012
    A cast of remarkable actors do some of their absolute best in a story well crafted by the directorial expertise of Ron Howard. "Apollo 13" is a solid, rousing, and beautiful historical drama. Full Review »
  3. Dec 21, 2010
    Based on a very dramatic event that got the globe coming together at the time praying that the astronauts would be okay, Apollo 13's realistic story and strong performances made it not-better-but-as-good-as the real event. Apollo 13 was supposed to be the third shuttle to land on the moon but an oxygen tank exploded and the astronauts found themselves in a real situation. Going through hell to get back to Earth, the guys finally made it and the world was happy. An interesting story but very simple. Thanks to writers William Broyles Jr. and Al Reinert, the story became a complex challenge of life or death situation. Also helped by strong performances particularly from Ed Harris and Kathleen Quinlan, Apollo 13 became an instant classic when it came out in 1994. Full Review »