User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 17 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 17
  2. Negative: 1 out of 17

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  1. Nov 18, 2012
    7
    The film is about the chinise village of Natking during world war 2 and the shocking truth of one of the jappanse worse war crimes. The film dipicts the truth so well of how the jappanese and chinise would of acted in this dreadful carnage and atrosity, But the fine line of filming this movie in black and white was a perfect desition that kinda reminded me of Schindlers List, aswell asThe film is about the chinise village of Natking during world war 2 and the shocking truth of one of the jappanse worse war crimes. The film dipicts the truth so well of how the jappanese and chinise would of acted in this dreadful carnage and atrosity, But the fine line of filming this movie in black and white was a perfect desition that kinda reminded me of Schindlers List, aswell as many other war film classics. A truly must see film with splended acting, directing and cinemtography it will leave you breathless to the final scene. Expand
  2. Nov 5, 2011
    10
    A profound, heart-rending, and utterly moving experience. Engaging as it is tragic, this episode of history is retold in a manner that is both horrific and beautiful. I shall never forget it.
  3. Aug 19, 2011
    9
    As of Agust, this is the best film I have seen this year. Grim but realistic, I was informed and horrified. Several questions kept running through my mind. Why did China take so long to clear this film for release? Did every Japanese have to be a devil? Why have the Japanese resisted admitting the truth about their actions during the 1930's and 40's? Why are they so stubborn? What happenedAs of Agust, this is the best film I have seen this year. Grim but realistic, I was informed and horrified. Several questions kept running through my mind. Why did China take so long to clear this film for release? Did every Japanese have to be a devil? Why have the Japanese resisted admitting the truth about their actions during the 1930's and 40's? Why are they so stubborn? What happened to John Rabe when he returned to Nazi Germany and how did this affect his views. I also like the way the "comfort women's conditions were shown. No sugarcoating it as we men need to realize what is going on. This film will be on my 2011 Top Ten list. Collapse
  4. Jul 7, 2011
    10
    This movie is worth watching solely for its craftsmanship, its cinematography and reconstruction of the war zone are among the best in my recent memory. Yet it is its blunt content that pierce through the softest spot of all human beings. I just felt lucky when I walked out the cinema.
  5. May 28, 2011
    10
    A true masterpiece. A Schindler's List for the Nanking civilians. The black and white added to the authenticity of the movie. A true eye opener into the other conflict during WW2 .
Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 13 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 13
  2. Negative: 0 out of 13
  1. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Nov 16, 2011
    100
    Harrowing and unflinching, a savage nightmare so consuming and claustrophobic you will want to leave but fear to go, City of Life and Death is a cinematic experience unlike any you've had before. It's a film strong enough to change your life, if you can bear to watch it at all.
  2. Reviewed by: David Lewis
    Sep 22, 2011
    100
    City of Life and Death, a stunning re-creation of the Japanese army's annihilation of Nanking in 1937, will make you flinch, even as you admire its brilliant black-and-white cinematography, breathtaking art design and unerring direction.
  3. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Jul 8, 2011
    88
    Both arduous and artful, City of Life and Death is the best imaginable movie about the genocidal siege that's now called the Rape of Nanking. Anything more explicit would be unwatchable; anything more contemplative would be a betrayal of the sustained suffering.