Generally favorable reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 40
  2. Negative: 1 out of 40
Watch On
  1. A gargantuan epic, a historical adventure-drama of overwhelming visual grandeur.
  2. Bloom finally comes into his own as a man here, somberly thoughtful and melancholic. The elfin archer of "The Lord of the Rings" and the trivial boy-toy of "Troy" have been forgotten.
  3. 88
    Better than "Gladiator" -- deeper, more thoughtful, more about human motivation and less about action.
  4. Its concept is gutsy, its script is literate and intelligent, its visuals and cinematic craftsmanship are mouth-dropping, and its vision of the insanity of various religions vying to dominate the real estate of the Holy Land comes through with great power.
  5. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Genuinely spectacular and historically quite respectable, Ridley Scott's latest epic is at its strongest in conveying the savagery spawned by fanaticism.
  6. Fulfills the requirements of grand-scale moviemaking while serving as a timely reminder that in the conflict between Christianity and Islam it was the Christians who picked the first fight.
  7. 80
    In its depiction of a fleeting, but nevertheless factual, peace in the Middle East, Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven may seem a more quixotic Hollywood fantasy than all six Star Wars movies lumped together.
  8. Scott and company have gotten so accomplished at re-creating history that the results have a welcome offhanded quality, making them spectacular without seeming to be showing off.
  9. Full of astonishments, not the least of which are its ideas.
  10. The story's parallels with the present are sometimes inescapable, as when Saladin's fireballs catapulted at Balian's castle strike an eerie resemblance to the "shock and awe" of the U.S.-led coalition's initial assault on Iraq.
  11. 75
    Kingdom of Heaven may have problems, but it delivers.
  12. 75
    Odd as it is to say, Kingdom of Heaven loses its momentum the more Balian gets religion.
  13. 75
    A rousing, politically correct, Muslim-sympathetic, $140 million take on the Crusades.
  14. 75
    Scott's cast is like a grand orchestra with various performers filling the roles of instruments: Thewlis a wise, ironic oboe; Neeson a stout cello; Norton a slightly battered flute. As it happens, the piece they're playing is a piano concerto and the keyboard -- that is, Bloom -- isn't big enough to match.
  15. Screenwriter William Monahan has fashioned an intelligent and highly topical epic. Director Ridley Scott has brought it home with banners flying.
  16. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    The battle skirmishes here mix sudden violence with slow-motion artistry. The attractive cast can sell an obsession or articulate a conundrum with equal fervor.
  17. 70
    So, if you want to see this loud but rather ordinary epic, don't expect its tricked-up cultural and theological messages to carry much water. For entertainment value, it's hard to beat the climactic siege of Jerusalem, a Ridley Scott-perfect half-hour that matches anything in "Troy" or "Gladiator" for sheer, bloody, helmet-bashing mayhem.
  18. 70
    Thoughtful and impressively mounted.
  19. 70
    Massoud plays Saladin magnetically, and his arrival only illustrates how many opportunities Kingdom misses. Another, better movie would have made him the focus.
  20. Scott, working from a script by William Monahan, is so busy balancing our sympathies, making sure no one gets offended, that he has made a pageant of war that would have gotten a thumbs-up from Eleanor Roosevelt.
  21. 63
    But if the film disappoints on an intellectual level, at least it doesn't skimp on pageantry. This is, without question, one of the most beautifully crafted, visually thrilling war pictures ever made -- a painterly spectacle that leaves you looking for Caravaggio's name in the end credits.
  22. It's hard to say with assurance whether the flaw is in Bloom's performance or in Monahan's politically correct conception of Balian, precociously secular for a Crusader.
  23. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Although Scott seems to be making a point about both parties' ongoing feud for Jerusalem , the movie seems more like a classic Western than a contemporary political allegory.
  24. For all its scale, grandeur, historical context and political brass, "Kingdom" is no more compelling a period drama than last year's "Alexander."
  25. 63
    What sucks the wind out of the movie's sails is the vacuum at its core.
  26. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    A frustratingly thin epic. You're left wanting more exposition, more character development, the tidying up of loose ends.
  27. 60
    One imagined that a movie about the Crusades would be gallant and mad; one feared that it might stoke some antiquated prejudice. But who could have dreamed that it would produce this rambling, hollow show about a boy?
  28. The movie does what any self-respecting politician would do: sidestep the issues, soft-pedal mortal costs, talk a fat game, and divert your attention away from history with exercises in spectacle and power.
  29. 60
    A handful of nifty battle scenes and some decent performances aren't quite enough to make Kingdom memorable.
  30. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Fails to rouse any passion. A potentially great subject is frittered away, though this being a Scott movie, there's style to spare.
  31. Bottom line: Kingdom of Heaven is the most exciting action-adventure yarn so far this year. Just don't expect anything deeper.
  32. Scott's ravishing visual style, characterized by a fetishistic attention to surface detail and unrelenting beauty, can work wonders with big subjects, but this is also a director who needs actors powerful enough to shoulder narrative and emotional extremes.
  33. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Dramatically, even a persuasive supporting cast gets Heaven only so far.
  34. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    I'd have a lot more respect for Scott if he were actually the virtuoso he pretends to be. "Gladiator" had lousy, disjunctive action, and Kingdom of Heaven is even more maladroit.
  35. 50
    Ultimately, despite striving mightily to give everyone a fair shake, the film kindled the ire of conservative Christians and Muslims anyway.
  36. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    A mostly lumbering, occasionally rousing epic that walks a bizarre line between historical fact and Hollywood wishful thinking.
  37. The movie espouses a kind of Unitarian ecumenical egalitarianism that has about as much to do with medieval times as quantum physics. No one should be offended except -- of course -- those who like movies that excite the mind as well as the pulse.
  38. Reviewed by: Joanne Kaufmann
    While there's gore by the gallon, inventiveness is in short supply.
  39. 40
    This is muddled and oppressive storytelling (the script is by William Monahan) dotted with elaborate but weightless battle sequences.
  40. To introduce an archetype like this to western audiences -- as the world weathers culturally and religiously demonizing times -- may have been worth this whole flawed movie. Too bad the story didn't just start with him.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 326 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 73 out of 116
  2. Negative: 21 out of 116
  1. Oct 28, 2010
    I originally saw the Kingdom of Heaven theatrical release first, and my opinion of it was mixed, much like how I feel about Ridley Scott'sI originally saw the Kingdom of Heaven theatrical release first, and my opinion of it was mixed, much like how I feel about Ridley Scott's Robin Hood. The film seemed poorly edited and was missing something. Then came the Directors Cut and it all made sense. Americans were robbed of an excellent story once again due to low expectations on what the general public would like. Whether or not his is true is another story all together. What I feel is true is that the directors cut elevates the movie to something more than another action story. It adds so much more to the dynamics of the characters, fleshing them out in much greater depth and detail, and providing more of a connection from one character to the next. The stories protagonist, Balian (played by Orlando Bloom) is a mixture of several different personalities from the period, but his view of the world at the time could be considered very tolerant/progressive. Bloom carries his role well, playing him as a reluctant "hero" who is more practical, preferring to rely on his mind as well as his fighting prowess. He tends to fall in line more on how the ideal knight, sans the arrogance, would act if he actually defended his oaths. He gets a lot of flack for this role for some reason, but I feel he fit very well. The rest of the cast is very well thought out, with Eva Green skillfully playing the role of Sibylla as a strong, intelligent woman who understands all too well what must be done to maintain power. Her character is probably one of the most tragic ones in the story, although the list of those is pretty long. Jeremy Irons portrays the grizzled and cynical veteran Tiberias, who does some chewing of the scenery, but not in the bad way as far as I'm concerned. His character is probably one of my favorites, as his expressions and manner of his delivery is perfect for his role. There are very few characters that I did not appreciate in this one, but needless to say it would take up a lot more text. Liam Neeson, Edward Norton, Marton Csokas all do excellent jobs in their roles as Balians father, King Baldwin IV, and the comic book villain that is Guy de Lusignan. The three that stood out the most for me were Ghassan Massoud as a very honorable and respectful Salah'ad-din, Brendan Gleeson as the vicious but entertaining Raynald de Chatillon, and finally David Thewlis as the Zen-like Hospitaller. Ridley Scott is one of my favorite directors of all time, and this movie definitely displays why. This movie is awash in his trademark visual aesthetics (gorgeous color palettes, the ever present snow flakes fluttering about, etc), excellent writing, and some of the best music I have ever heard in a movie. Any movie. All in all he weaves together a very complex, but not entirely historically accurate, story between the second and third Crusades. As much as the trailers would have you believe it, this is no action movie. The pacing is good but sometimes on the slower side, and if you live for constant scenes of blood and violence, then you will be disappointed. Kingdom of Heaven is a glimpse back in time through the eyes of Scott and Monahan and they did an amazing job. Full Review »
  2. Dec 9, 2011
    "What man is a man if does not make the world better"

    those signed words on the smithy touch my soul every time i watch this epic film. i
    "What man is a man if does not make the world better"

    those signed words on the smithy touch my soul every time i watch this epic film.
    i regret i didnt go to watch it to the cinema, though in home still is a very good movie to watch.
    the phography is beautiful, the cast is amazing, the dialogs are deep and well done. the action is intense in a very good way, you dont see favoritism for the muslims or the catholics.
    After watching it i have learn what it takes to be a real knight.
    Full Review »
  3. Mar 11, 2013
    In my opinion, Kingdom of Heaven is one of the most underrated movies I have come across. It is one of my favorite movies of all time andIn my opinion, Kingdom of Heaven is one of the most underrated movies I have come across. It is one of my favorite movies of all time and receives very little attention compared to its bigger brother, Gladiator. The extra scenes in the Director's Cut explain the story considerably better. Although more loosely based than we'd care to admit, the time period of the Crusades is an awesome atmosphere that I am surprised is not utilized as much in film. I found Orlando Bloom actually a decent actor in this one and the film has one of the best soundtracks in a movie. Full Review »