Metascore
90

Universal acclaim - based on 12 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 12
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 12
  3. Negative: 1 out of 12
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  1. Reviewed by: Staff [Not Credited]
    Mar 5, 2013
    100
    Badlands is a unique American fairy tale...and it's an impressive debut.
  2. Reviewed by: Dave Kehr
    Mar 4, 2013
    100
    A film so rich in ideas it hardly knows where to turn. Transcendent themes of love and death are fused with a pop-culture sensibility and played out against a midwestern background, which is breathtaking both in its sweep and in its banality.
  3. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    Mar 4, 2013
    100
    Badlands is one of the great banality-of-evil films. [29 May 1998, p.C9]
  4. Reviewed by: Michael Wilmington
    Mar 4, 2013
    100
    Badlands is about a landscape as much as the couple fleeing across it. Watching it, you sense that Malick finds his outlaw lovers beautiful and terrible, pathetic and monstrous, funny and overwhelmingly sad. [27 March 1998]
  5. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Mar 3, 2013
    100
    The movie makes no attempt to psychoanalyze its Kit Carruthers, and there are no symbols to note or lessons to learn. What comes through more than anything is the enormous loneliness of the lives these two characters lived, together and apart.
  6. Reviewed by:  Rob Fraser
    Mar 3, 2013
    100
    Achingly evocative of a time when Hollywood had the courage to invest in complex and morally ambiguous films and an indisputable masterpiece of American cinema. [26 May 2003]
  7. Reviewed by: Peter Stack
    Mar 3, 2013
    100
    Among the great American crime movies, 1973's Badlands stands alone. [13 Feb. 1998]
  8. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Mar 3, 2013
    100
    An unmissable, transcendentally beautiful classic. [28 Aug. 1998]
  9. Reviewed by: Vincent Canby
    Mar 3, 2013
    100
    One may legitimately debate the validity of Malick's vision, but not, I think, his immense talent. Badlands is a most important and exciting film.
  10. Reviewed by: Staff [Not Credited]
    Mar 3, 2013
    100
    Refracted through Holly’s naive, emotionally flat narration and Malick’s poetic visual style, this familiar tale is transformed into something strange and oddly beautiful. [29 Aug. 2008]
  11. 63
    For all its lazy beauty, the movie is rooted in the personalities of its lead characters and they, unfortunately, are bloodless, affectless, emotionless dopes who turn their considerable lack of scruples on the business of senseless killing, for which they seemingly have no remorse. [13 Feb. 1998]
  12. Reviewed by: Pauline Kael
    Mar 5, 2013
    30
    There's a basic flaw in Malick's method: he has perceived the movie--he's done our work instead of his. In place of people and action, with metaphor rising out of the story, he gives us a surface that is all conscious metaphor. Badlands is so preconceived that there's nothing left to respond to. [18 March 1974, p.135]
User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 60 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Nov 10, 2013
    10
    Great movie, with amazing performancesGreat movie, with amazing performances Full Review »
  2. Jun 12, 2015
    5
    This film is classic Terrence Malick. Exquisitely shot with a great premise and execution of that premise, Badlands is a film that suffersThis film is classic Terrence Malick. Exquisitely shot with a great premise and execution of that premise, Badlands is a film that suffers because of its writing. The acting is fine with Martin Sheen being the stronger of the two and completely embodying his character. Sissy Spacek was alright with moments of brilliance, but also moments where she struggled mightily. The costume design here is also quite good. However, back to the writing, the story is very good. It is well developed and interesting to watch unfold. Yet, the characters are terrible, as they act irrationally and nonsensically throughout the film. The dialogue is also horrendous and completely lacking any sense of reality. At no moment does this film feel authentic and that is due to the terrible dialogue and characters. While the story may be interesting, it suffers due to those two elements that really suck you out of the film. Badlands is probably Malick's strongest film that I have seen thus far, which is sad, because you can tell he is really brilliant, but he has no idea how to write a script. Full Review »