Lions for Lambs


Mixed or average reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 36
  2. Negative: 4 out of 36

Where To Watch

Stream On
Stream On

Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Helen O'Hara
    A smart, accessible, surprisingly balanced look at our dysfunctional world. Compelling stuff.
  2. 78
    Despite its flaws, which become more evident as time elapses, Lions for Lambs is worth seeing for no other reason that you’ve never seen anything like it before.
  3. The tiny scale and armchair talkiness mark the movie as a bit of a folly, an act of idealistic hubris in today's commercial marketplace, yet that's its (minor) fascination too.
  4. This is responsive, engaged filmmaking, the kind of movie they say Americans don't make.
  5. 70
    This is a weird movie hybrid, both a tasteful picture and an angry one.
  6. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Intelligent, deadly serious, made in a spirit of patriotism and protest, Redford's movie is more civics lesson than drama and doesn't pretend otherwise. It is what it is: a call to action.
  7. All the good intentions in the world and solid performances from three of the biggest and most respected movie stars of our time cannot disguise the fact that Lions for Lambs is resting on a talky, disjointed and not-very-well-thought-out script.
  8. All true, but not new -- and not especially compelling.
  9. 63
    There is a long stretch toward the beginning of the film when we're interested, under the delusion that it's going somewhere. When we begin to suspect it's going in circles, our interest flags, and at the end, while rousing music plays, I would have preferred the Peggy Lee version of "Is That All There Is?"
  10. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Though characters make some strong points, the film feels preachy and falls flat as entertainment.
  11. 63
    And unlike other recent dramas such as "Rendition," the film never feels like it's preaching. Instead, it just urges: Whatever you believe, do something.
  12. Politicians, the media, educators, military commanders and a docile public all come under fire in a well-made movie that offers no answers but raises many important questions.
  13. 50
    The movie is awful--and also oddly touching, even adorable in its dogged sense of responsibility, its stubborn refusal of style.
  14. This is the sort of film where a character says “Here we are, having a high-minded debate ...” and you wonder if countless moviegoers will be rolling their eyes in unison.
  15. Like many a Hollywood political drama, Lions for Lambs carries a full head of steam that is indistinguishable from a lot of hot air.
  16. Reviewed by: Matt Mueller
    Lambs feels five years too late.
  17. It tells us everything most of us know already, including the fact that politicians lie, journalists fail and youth flounders. Mostly it tells us that Mr. Redford feels really bad about the state of things. Welcome to the club.
  18. 50
    In the end, it all remains a dramatically inert set of talking points, and not even the high-caliber cast can make much more out of it.
  19. 50
    The movie is compelling now but unlikely to survive its moment.
  20. Lions for Lambs appears to have taken its inspiration from Al Gore's stolid "An Inconvenient Truth," using the stage lecture and Power Point presentation in lieu of dramatic momentum.
  21. 50
    Fortunately for Redford, Lions for Lambs is a less ham-handed effort than Sayles’ “Silver City,” but it’s a near thing.
  22. This tactic, and the film's valid but familiar arguments, might have been fleshed out with better results onstage.
  23. 50
    The problem with Lions for Lambs isn't its political engagement but its cinematic disengagement. Robert Redford directs and stars in this ambitious talkathon, which would have been more effective as a radio play.
  24. 50
    It does not feel good to report that a movie with Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, and Tom Cruise makes the eyelids droop. But that's what Lions for Lambs does.
  25. 50
    One of those movies in which the principals talk a lot but don't say much.
  26. 42
    Talky, didactic and essentially free of any real narrative, it views Iraq through the lens of Vietnam, which is fair enough, but ends up making the whole polemic seem like a condescending effort from aging baby boomers to get the younger generation to step up to the plate.
  27. Robert Redford’s Lions for Lambs is the clunkiest, windiest, and roughest of the lot. Most of it is dead on the screen. But its earnestness is so naked that it exerts a strange pull. You have to admire a director who works so diligently to help us rise above all the bad karma.
  28. Reviewed by: Derek Elley
    Amounts to a giant cry of "Americans, get engaged!" wrapped in a star-heavy discourse that uses a lot of words to say nothing new.
  29. 40
    It winces with liberal self-chastisement: Redford is surely smart enough to realize, as the professor turns his ire on those who merely chatter while Rome burns, that his movie is itself no better, or more morally effective, than high-concept Hollywood fiddling.
  30. 40
    But for all its passion and topical currency, the movie plays too often like a college colloquium. And it ends on an unsatisfying note, with each character's choice, whether fateful or fatal, hanging in a confounding limbo of indeterminacy.
  31. Redford and Carnahan would like us to ponder our role in their fate. And maybe we would, if the lecture weren't so dull and self-satisfied.
  32. 38
    I went to a wartime thriller, but then a Poli Sci 101 seminar broke out.
  33. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Ought to have been called "Slugs for Snails," so leisurely does it creep toward its predictably bombastic conclusion.
  34. 25
    All talk and zero characterization, it doesn't even feel like a real movie.
  35. You could make a case for this as a feature-film version of the FCC's fairness doctrine, but it feels more like a blandness doctrine, a pulling and hauling of the tone-deaf script, which is credited to Matthew Michael Carnahan, to the point of perfect vacuousness.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 92 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 49
  2. Negative: 21 out of 49
  1. Sep 7, 2011
    "Lions for Lambs" is very smart considering the words it carefully chooses with a strong cast, but in the end it fails to give its disjointed"Lions for Lambs" is very smart considering the words it carefully chooses with a strong cast, but in the end it fails to give its disjointed lecture and confuses us whether we should fight for the US and die in a cold mountain shot with AK-47s by the Taliban or live our daily life. Full Review »
  2. Paul
    Jun 11, 2009
    A truly intelligent film, will have you thinking long after the film has finished.
  3. BillH.
    Sep 7, 2008
    Much better than the reviews I had seen, I don't think it's for everyone, though, which is particularly funny in an ironic way Much better than the reviews I had seen, I don't think it's for everyone, though, which is particularly funny in an ironic way after having seen the movie. Full Review »