Ladder 49 Image

Mixed or average reviews - based on 32 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 62 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: When a firefighter (Phoenix) is trapped in the worst blaze of his career, his life and the things he holds important -- family, dignity, courage -- come into focus. As his fellow firemen of Ladder 49 do all they can to rescue him, Jack's life hangs in the balance. (Touchstone Pictures/Beacon Pictures) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 32
  2. Negative: 6 out of 32
  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. In its best moments, the film works as both an exciting and formula-breaking action-adventure and as an enjoyably sappy tearjerker.
  3. The film is less of a drama than a tribute -- an ode, even -- to the spirit and tenacity of firefighters. Its makers hardly bother to explore the lives or motives behind their actions.
  4. 50
    Phoenix, who initially seemed the kind of actor who was too cool, too angry, to appear in studio pap such as this, is a magnetic presence, despite the numbing pathos surrounding him, but isn't that what we used to say about Travolta?
  5. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    There has been a need for a big-screen feature about firefighter heroics since Sept. 11, but as drama, Ladder 49 falls short of even the second rung.
  6. 40
    In a shrill attempt to overcompensate for the film's shortcomings, William Ross' hyperbolic score does the audience's work for it, cheering heroism, guffawing during lighthearted moments, and getting all misty-eyed during the tender and tragic scenes.
  7. What makes this nonsense more galling than usual is that while Ladder 49 might have started out as a heartfelt attempt to honor those in the line of literal fire, it weighs in as an attempt to exploit their post-Sept. 11 symbolism.

See all 32 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 40
  2. Negative: 1 out of 40
  1. Oct 16, 2010
    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; but thoroughly enjoyable. But sad. Expand
  2. DaveF
    Sep 8, 2005
    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. Expand
  3. PatC.
    May 3, 2006
    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. Expand

See all 40 User Reviews