Mixed or average reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 21
  2. Negative: 4 out of 21
  1. A few times every year, Hollywood makes a mistake, violates formula and actually makes a great picture. Falling Down is one of the great mistakes of 1993, a film too good and too original to win any Oscars but one bound to be remembered in years to come as a true and ironic statement about life in our time. [26 Feb 1993, p.D1]
  2. Falling Down is the most interesting, all-out commercial American film of the year to date, and one that will function much like a Rorschach test to expose the secrets of those who watch it.
  3. Reviewed by: Philip Thomas
    While the morality of D-Fens methods are questionable, there's a resonance about his reaction to everyday annoyances, and Michael Douglas' hypnotic performance makes it memorable.
  4. 75
    Falling Down does a good job of representing a real feeling in our society today. It would be a shame if it is seen only on a superficial level.
  5. 75
    Schumacher could have exploited those tabloid headlines about solid citizens going berserk. Instead, the timely, gripping Falling Down puts a human face on a cold statistic and then dares us to look away.
  6. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    These adventures would be offensive if you could take them seriously, so it's probably good that you can't. Despite a nicely understated performance from Robert Duvall as a cop on Douglas's trail, Falling Down fails to convince on any level.
  7. Reviewed by: Desson Howe
    Douglas's intentionally robotic -- and intense -- performance holds its own. He's scary, normal and funny all at once.
  8. The filmmakers aren't out to make a crisp action fantasy like the vigilante movies of the 1970s. Their disaffected man has no specific enemy or at least not one that he acknowledges; modern life is his enemy. This realization hits him one day and he begins to act on it, spontaneously. He's an existential vigilante. [25 Feb 1993, p.A12]
  9. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    It's hard to know how to respond to Falling Down: deplore its crudeness or admire its shrewdness. But it is occasionally the movies' job to plunge into the national psyche, root around in its chaotic darkness and return to the surface with some arresting fantasy that helps bring our uglier imaginings into focus. In that sense, this often vulgar and exploitative movie has some value. [1 March 1993, p63]
  10. None of the characters ever rises beyond the level of his or her generic functions, and by the end the overall emptiness of the conception becomes fully apparent.
  11. 63
    Sure, the viewer who wants to see a tightly-paced thriller with gun-play and emotionally-satisfying moments won't be disappointed, but there is a little more here than simple escapism. Although it takes a number of wrong turns, Falling Down still has the power to disturb.
  12. 50
    D-FENS is a cut-out, a cartoon Everyman we're supposed to feel sorry for and can't. He's a bad parody in what will doubtless be an over-analyzed film about loss of control. It's just too bad nobody on the creative end seems to have had much control either.
  13. 50
    Douglas again takes on the symbolic mantle of the Zeitgeist. But in Falling Down, he and Schumacher want to have their cake and eat it too; they want him to be a hero and a villain, and it just won't work.
  14. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    Slickly directed by Joel Schumacher, who sees that each and every button in this unabashedly manipulative film is pushed hard, Falling Down could have been deeply disturbing if it weren't so cartoony, so determined to glibly escape the moral consequences of the vicarious white-rampage fantasies to which it caters. [26 Feb 1993, p.25]
  15. The film probably should have been a comedy. It would be a lot more cathartic - and a lot more entertaining - to laugh at the grim modern world of Falling Down than it is to have a heavy-handed filmmaker rub our faces in the hopelessness of it all. [26 Feb 1993, p.14]
  16. Demagogic shallowness has its appeal, and Falling Down could turn out to be the Network of the '90s. By the end, you may wish he'd just gone home and popped a couple of Excedrin instead.
  17. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    It's a distasteful jumble that stirs up the worst instincts of its audience by heaping abuse on Bill, encouraging us to identify with him, then prodding us to enjoy his bursts of venom and violence. [1 Mar 1993]
  18. 38
    Falling Down is an intellectually sloppy, rebellious working-man adventure film that is little more than a set piece for Michael Douglas playing out a revenge-of-the-nerds fantasy. [26 Feb 1993, p.C]
  19. Falling Down encourages a gloating sense that we the long-suffering victims are finally getting our splendid revenge. The ultimate hollowness of that kind of triumph reflects the shallowness of a film all too eager to serve it up. [26 Feb 1993, p.1]
  20. FALLING Down is a nasty bit of business, a two-faced manipulator that condones what it pretends to condemn. Cluttered and often downright silly, it's not much of a movie, but it is a fascinating sign of the times - a litmus test for every prejudice and fear harboured by the white middle class in ailing, urban America. [26 Feb 1993, p.C6]
  21. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Hopped-up Falling Down is a technically proficient grabber that exploits white-male angst while adeptly juggling two stories filmed in contrasting styles. Slick, maybe facile, and with a nasty streak, it is nonetheless 1993's first consistently engrossing movie. [26 Feb 1993, p.1D]
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 73 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 11
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 11
  3. Negative: 1 out of 11
  1. IntelligentAndThroughtful
    Jul 19, 2009
    Phenomenal piece of film-making. The only ones who think this movie is over analyzed are the people who don't understand its depth. How Phenomenal piece of film-making. The only ones who think this movie is over analyzed are the people who don't understand its depth. How about all of the reviews by white people starting off saying it's a scape-goating white angst revenge film. Supposing that a white man, unlike a black or hispanic man; would have nothing to be angry about in the first place. Typical BS. The only thing more amazing than this film is the fact that it was allowed to be made in hollywood. Those were the good 'ol days! Full Review »
  2. Oct 4, 2011
    The movie's symbolism and allegory throughout the entire time was too obvious and prominent. However, its still a unpredictable but effectiveThe movie's symbolism and allegory throughout the entire time was too obvious and prominent. However, its still a unpredictable but effective classic that possibly is Joel Schumacher's best film he directed (and also the last one too). Full Review »
  3. SamiZ.
    Jan 19, 2009
    Great movie that acts out all the things you've always wanted to do (well, almost all!).