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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Critic Reviews

  1. Variety
    Reviewed by: Staff [Not Credited]
    Mar 5, 2013
    Badlands is a unique American fairy tale...and it's an impressive debut.
  2. Reviewed by: Dave Kehr
    Mar 4, 2013
    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. Boston Globe
    Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    Mar 4, 2013
    Badlands is one of the great banality-of-evil films. [29 May 1998, p.C9]
  4. Reviewed by: Michael Wilmington
    Mar 4, 2013
    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
    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
    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
    Among the great American crime movies, 1973's Badlands stands alone. [13 Feb. 1998]
  8. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Mar 3, 2013
    An unmissable, transcendentally beautiful classic. [28 Aug. 1998]
  9. Reviewed by: Vincent Canby
    Mar 3, 2013
    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
    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]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 97 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 5
  2. Negative: 1 out of 5
  1. Nov 10, 2013
    Great movie, with amazing performancesGreat movie, with amazing performances Full Review »
  2. Jun 29, 2016
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. Every character in this film is an idiot! Everyone who gets shot acts the same way like instead screaming in pain they're like "Meh, it's not that bad". The girl is retarded not only is she ok with her father getting murdered by Martin Sheen's character but everyone else...and she's sometimes like "Hmm I think my boyfriend may be a bit crazy" NO ****ING **IT YOU DUMB **NT!!! Then they send one thing out to get them first a few bounty hunters oops didn't work, then a chopper oh **it didn't work then one...ONE POLICE CAR THAT BARELY GOT MARTIN SHEEN!!! UGH THIS IS SO STUPID AND BORING!!! And then when he's talking to them all they're like "Huh this guy is cool" HE'S A MURDERER AND A PSYCHOPATH YOU DUMB MORONS!!! This movie is terrible...and don't give me that "Oh you just don't understand" is boring and stupid...But then again what do I know...98% on RT and 90 on MC... Full Review »
  3. May 30, 2016
    1974's Badlands will go down in the history books as one of the best first feature films by a director, alongside Citizen Kane, Reservoir1974's Badlands will go down in the history books as one of the best first feature films by a director, alongside Citizen Kane, Reservoir Dogs, District 9, Dances with Wolves, The Maltese Falcon, etc, etc. This movie is made with such precision and confidence, it's impeccable
    One word summarizes the whole movie. Simple. Simple characters, although messed up. Simple dialogue, Simple incidents. Kinda reminds me of Fargo. Also Kit is one of the most interesting characters ever, how he's portrayed by newcomer Martin Sheen, is brilliant. This movie put Sheen on the map, Apocalypse Now made him a star, although this performance is superior.
    Full Review »