Metascore
60

Mixed or average reviews - based on 17 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 51 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 17
  2. Negative: 1 out of 17
  1. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    88
    As Jim, Bale delivers a stunning performance; he appears in virtually every frame and truly seems to grow over the course of the film from a coddled rich child to a calculating, almost feral creature who will ally himself with whoever wields the most power in a given situation.
  2. With an edgy, intelligent script by playwright Tom Stoppard, Mr. Spielberg has made an extraordinary film out of Mr. Ballard's extraordinary war experience. [09 Dec 1987]
  3. A visual splendor, a heroic adventurousness and an immense scope that make it unforgettable.
  4. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    63
    Empire of the Sun is an imperfect film, but at its best it's grand and haunting in ways that only a movie can be. [11 Dec 1987]
  5. The pseudomystical vagueness that seems to be Spielberg's stock-in-trade stifles most of the particularity of the source.
  6. For all its good intentions, for the thrillingly staged moments in the film's first quarter-for all the sweeping movement of thousands of people streaming through the streets of Shanghai-and for all its not-inconsiderable craft, the film's grave problem is a lack of central heating: We don't have a single character to warm up to. [09 Dec 1987]
  7. Reviewed by: Desson Howe
    30
    Behind the trademark fancy package is a troubling sensibility, too. Spielberg seems unable to come to terms with anything real.

See all 17 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 8
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 8
  3. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. EricR
    Apr 23, 2008
    10
    This movie has haunted me for years as a solemn, heart-rending experience. Jim's reaction to the appearance of the P-51s and his final This movie has haunted me for years as a solemn, heart-rending experience. Jim's reaction to the appearance of the P-51s and his final reunion are unforgettable. I can't think of anything NOT to like about this movie. Expand
  2. DvijenP.
    Jun 10, 2008
    10
    I don't know what the stupid critics were talking about, that movie was awesome, another one of Speilburg's great works.
  3. KarenS.
    Jun 27, 2008
    10
    This movie is one of my all-time favorites. It is, indeed, "haunting: as the above person mentioned. Christian Bale's performance is This movie is one of my all-time favorites. It is, indeed, "haunting: as the above person mentioned. Christian Bale's performance is amazing, especially given that he was just a child at the time. There is such depth to his character-what he says and doesn't say throughout the movie. I highly recommend this film. Expand
  4. BillM.
    Jan 10, 2009
    10
    An awesome movie with a truly mesmirizing performance by Christian Bale.
  5. MarinaM
    Nov 15, 2009
    10
    Gorgeous and touching. Definitely one of my all time favorite movies.
  6. KyleG.
    Aug 15, 2007
    9
    I really enjoyed this movie and i think it's great.
  7. Aug 31, 2010
    9
    A beautifully woven tale with historical significance. Steven at his very best in my opinion. War viewed from the sidelines during simplerA beautifully woven tale with historical significance. Steven at his very best in my opinion. War viewed from the sidelines during simpler times but no less brutal. Expand

See all 8 User Reviews

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