Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. It's movie making of the high, smooth, commercial order that Hollywood prides itself on but achieves with singular infrequency.
  2. 88
    The director is Wolfgang Petersen ("Das Boot"), who is able to unwind the plot like clockwork while at the same time establishing the characters as surprisingly sympathetic.
  3. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    The result is a finely tuned suspense thriller, though executives who have recently laid off trained killers may experience some discomfort.
  4. In truth, every part of this film trades so heavily on Eastwood's presence that it is impossible to imagine it with anyone else in the starring role. [09 Jul 1993 Pg. F1]
  5. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    What neophyte scripterscripter Jeff Maguire's plot comes down to, however, is the cat-and-mouse game between Horrigan and Leary, and the craftiness and strategies involved on both sides, while not exactly ingenious, are tantalizing enough to compel interest.
  6. It's not the deepest thematic concern you ever saw on screen. But it's watchable, great fun.
  7. Reviewed by: Terrence Rafferty
    Both Eastwood's performance and the movie itself have the quality of meat-and-potatoes genre-picture entertainment: nothing fancy, nothing unusual.
  8. In the Line of Fire is a terrific action movie with good performances and a smart script that occasionally falters for trying too hard but, on the whole, takes us on psychological journeys that few of us have had opportunities to experience.
  9. 75
    Eastwood hasn't had this much fun with a role in years, and his joy is contagious.
  10. 75
    Petersen takes what could have been a muddled motion picture and structures it perfectly, creating a strong piece of entertainment. It helps, of course, that he has a capable cast.
  11. With all of that going for it, it's hard to see how In the Line of Fire could be anything less than rock-solid entertainment-and, indeed, it is. Yet it's never more than that.
  12. 63
    In the tautly terrific thriller In the Line of Fire , Clint Eastwood toys with his own grizzled-vet screen image like a frisky kitten with a yarn ball. [09 Jul 1993 Pg. 01.D]
  13. This is a movie that works well when it works, and lazes around the rest of the time.
  14. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    The real battle here is between two generations of acting styles: meticulous method vs. star quality.
  15. If you don't care about such motivations, this is a pretty good thriller, though not one you're likely to remember for very long.
  16. 40
    Working from the script by Jeff Maguire, director Wolfgang Petersen ("Das Boot") plods through the narrative as if he were completely unconcerned with giving it even a semblance of credibility.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 58 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Aug 11, 2014
    Overall, In the Line of Fire does not take too many steps off the typical thriller path, but in spite of that, it does it very well. John Malkovich is fantastic as the bad guy and really gives you the chills. He has the right amount of hurt and insanity for the character he played and did it phenomenally. Clint Eastwood, though a little old, is very good as well. The story is intense and Wolfgang Petersen does a great job creating a ton of tension. The pace is brisk and I liked the focus on dialogue, rather than a focus on action shootouts like in many thrillers. I think the love interest element was unnecessary and just tossed in there, as it added really nothing to the film, honestly. As a whole, In the Line of Fire is a good, intense thriller that works from every angle and though formulaic, it is a great example of using a formula very successfully. Full Review »
  2. May 6, 2014
    This Wolfgang Peterson picture is full of amazing compelling elements, John Malkovich puts on one of his most underrated performances, and Clint Eastwood is at his best as Frank Horrigan. Full Review »