Metascore
47

Mixed or average reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 32
  2. Negative: 6 out of 32
Watch On
  1. 88
    Because it is attentive to these human elements, Ladder 49 draws from the action scenes instead of depending on them. Phoenix, Travolta, Barrett and the others are given characters with dimension, so that what happens depends on their decisions, not on the plot.
  2. Aside from the awesome flames and pyrotechnic scenes of crisis, danger, and part-of-the-job bravery, the movie is a quiet salute; it does its job.
  3. In its best moments, the film works as both an exciting and formula-breaking action-adventure and as an enjoyably sappy tearjerker.
  4. There's a lot of flashy acting going, notably by Travolta, who has not been more engaging on-screen in a decade, and by newcomer Barrett, a willowy Aussie who, as a woman living with the specter of death, gives the film's most complete performance.
  5. Celebrates heroes without turning them into saints.
  6. 70
    Offers audiences a real rarity in theaters these days: a good, honest cry.
  7. 63
    One could argue that such an approach isn't all bad - after all, it allows us to know and like the characters - but there are times when Ladder 49 gets a little too cute.
  8. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    63
    Predictable, square, and honorable all at once.
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 64 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 40
  2. Negative: 1 out of 40
  1. Oct 16, 2010
    10
    Although hardly publicised and fairly predictable, it is a film which you really get into. I'd never heard of it when I began watching it; butAlthough hardly publicised and fairly predictable, it is a film which you really get into. I'd never heard of it when I began watching it; but thoroughly enjoyable. But sad. Full Review »
  2. PatC.
    May 3, 2006
    6
    Shamelessly hokey Hollywood Formula 49 piece. An homage to firefighters without the annoyance of allowing the viewer to experience an Shamelessly hokey Hollywood Formula 49 piece. An homage to firefighters without the annoyance of allowing the viewer to experience an original thought. The content rings true, but the presentation does not. Despite an obtuse presentation its point is made. The fact that the movie is about those who charge into what others are fleeing is not negated by the techniques and motives of the filmmaker. Full Review »
  3. DaveF
    Sep 8, 2005
    6
    Predictable and shallow as it goes through the motions of the Hollywood tearjerker. That said, it's still a lot of fun to watch--and Predictable and shallow as it goes through the motions of the Hollywood tearjerker. That said, it's still a lot of fun to watch--and might even knock some sense into the college kid who likes to pull his dorm's fire alarm. Full Review »