Generally favorable reviews - based on 9 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 9
  2. Negative: 0 out of 9
  1. 100
    The film is inspirational and educational - and it is also entertaining, as movies must be before they can be anything else.
  2. Reviewed by: Staff(not credited)
    Lee's biography of the slain civil rights leader treats Malcolm, not as a political rallying point, but as a fully rounded individual whose life defies reduction to symbolic status.
  3. A mortal movie about an immortal subject and the very fact that it succeeds as well as it does is a testament to Lee's skills as a filmmaker.
  4. 90
    A spiritually enriching testament to the human capacity for change -- and surely Spike Lee's most universally appealing film.
  5. Lee's finest, most unabashed labor of love.
  6. Reviewed by: Staff(not credited)
    The picture comes up short in several departments, notably in pacing and in giving a strong sense of why this man became such a legend.
  7. Reviewed by: Terrence Rafferty
    The movie is disappointingly impersonal; it doesn't provide readers of the autobiography anything like a fresh vision of its remarkable subject.
  8. Lee has tried hard to give this shapeless picture some visual patterning though the cluttered effect created by his mistrust of silence is even more harmful than in the past.
  9. Mr. Lee means for Malcolm X to be an epic, and it is in its concerns and its physical scope. In Denzel Washington it also has a fine actor who does for Malcolm X what Ben Kingsley did for “Gandhi.” [18 November 1992]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 38 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. Apr 7, 2014
    A fascinating illumination of one of American history's most influential, charismatic and complex individuals, "Malcolm X" has a raw, passionate power steeped in Spike Lee's sweeping, evocative direction and the towering performance of Denzel Washington in the lead, who throws himself into the role of Malcolm X so completely it's incomprehensible any other actor could do a better job. Full Review »
  2. Nov 28, 2012
    In Spike Lee's epic tale of legendary civil rights leader Malcolm X, he successfully creates one of the most provocative, disturbing, but enlightening biographical dramas I've ever gotten the chance to watch. A film that is not only a way for African-Americans everywhere to rightfully embrace their heritage, but a film that gives people of all creeds, races, and ethnicities a chance to realize that we can live in perpetual harmony with one another. The movie is anchored by arguably one of the most moving, dynamic, and emotional biographical performances thus far - Denzel Washington's Malcolm X. Washington gives such a diverse and vivid portrayal of the man. From his troubling days as a misunderstood youth, to his successful moments as a rising voice within the Nation of Islam, to his final days as an enlightened, reformed human being, Washington depicts every moment to a sharp and polished degree. Every technical aspect of the movie is executed to a near perfect degree. Whether it's the camerawork, the lighting, the sets, or the score, Spike Lee successfully manages to use every one of the aforementioned factors to add to the film's thick mood. "Malcolm X" is a drama that is long, yes, but it is necessary for everyone to see. For the rise and fall of this young man is not only complex and tragic, but it's unbelievably inspiring. Full Review »
  3. Mar 25, 2012
    Spike Lee has brought one of the best biopics in american history with a performance from Washington that brings out the angry intensity his controversial character was known for. Full Review »