Universal acclaim - based on 42 Critics What's this?

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Mixed or average reviews- based on 462 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Based on author Patrick O'Brian's series of Aubrey/Maturin novels, the film is set during the Napoleonic Wars. Crowe is Captain "Lucky" Jack Aubrey, renowned as a fighting captain in the British Navy, and Bettany is ship's doctor Stephen Maturin. Their ship, the H.M.S. Surprise, is suddenly attacked by a superior enemy. With the Surprise badly damaged and much of his crew injured, Aubrey is torn between duty and friendship as he pursues a high-stakes chase across two oceans, to intercept and capture his foe. It's a mission that can make his reputation – or destroy Lucky Jack and his crew. (20th Century Fox) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 42
  2. Negative: 1 out of 42
  1. 100
    Isn't just a fabulous seagoing spectacle. It's one for the ages.
  2. One of this year's best films--a classic, even, like a C.S. Forester "Hornblower" story on steroids.
  3. 100
    Like the work of David Lean, it achieves the epic without losing sight of the human, and to see it is to be reminded of the way great action movies can rouse and exhilarate us, can affirm life instead of simply dramatizing its destruction.
  4. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    And novel insights notwithstanding, this is a plain old good movie, too.
  5. 75
    What makes Master and Commander so bracing and transporting -- what makes the movie feel unlike any adventure film you've seen before -- is the precise detail and care with which Weir places us aboard the HMS Surprise.
  6. The director of "Gallipoli" and "The Year of Living Dangerously" has muffled the rage and darkness of his best work in favor of an antiquated pleasingness. Master and Commander is a too-comfy classic.
  7. Reviewed by: Phil Hall
    It seems as if every possible cliche and story twist from any seafaring picture of the past 80 years made its way into this flick.

See all 42 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Dec 18, 2011
    First time i've ever experienced disappointment in the judgement of users, what on earth is wrong with you people. This movie is wonderful. It is a beautiful insight in the life on vessels of war during early 17th century. It's aesthetic atmosphere, approach and authentic reality is clearly way above the understanding of most mc-users. But i know it's wonderful and inspiring. And the only god damn **** reason people vote 0 is to have an impact. This movie doesn't deserve 0 rating. My god are people damn idiotic and narrow, i can't believe it Expand
  2. Sep 6, 2010
    For all those who gave this film a negative review and for those people wondering about watching it I say this: If you think that more explosions = more fun and you think that Transformers (Good film) and Transformers 2 (Horrible film) are the height of movie making then DO NOT watch this film. It is NOT a traditional action movie. It is for people who appreciate the art of storytelling and of watching a wonderful script from a classic book series woven into an artfully built crescendo. A story where the characters are not simply 1 dimensional but are given time on screen to build depth so that you truly feel for them when both wonderful and tragic things occur. Some people call this boring. THEY ARE WRONG. They simply have the attention span of a moth. This is a rich & rewarding movie experience for those with patience and a true appreciation for the craft of epic moviemaking. Expand
  3. Feb 11, 2013
    With realistic sets, brilliant costumes, and great acting, Master and Commander is not only entertaining but also historically accurate. With a full scale replica of a frigate, and Oscar winning sound design, it is the first film that any boat lover, history scholar,or just adventure seeker should see. Expand
  4. Jul 1, 2012
    The type of people below who say this movie is boring and uninteresting are the same type of people who can not appreciate art. They cite things such as boredom, because they are not intelligent enough to watch the little details that went into making a film of this caliber. This is an excellent film by Peter Weir with an extremely interesting premise and great historical authenticity for a film. It's a very historical movie based in the Napoleonic Wars. So if you're not into history you may not like it so much...but to call it boring, uninteresting, and ill-written is an utter disgrace. It's okay to call something that is **** exactly that. But just because your mind is tuned to follow more formulaic and "explosive" movies with complete bull**** does not give you the right to call a finely tuned, acted, written, scored, and directed piece of art such a moniker. Shame on all of those who have done such a thing here, may you forever rot in the sullen lethargy that is your narrow intellect. tl;dr-- Screw you if you don't like this **** **** movie. Expand
  5. Mar 3, 2012
    This film masquerades as a high-adventure war picture, but is actually at its heart, a simple and perfectly-told story of friendship and camaraderie. The pursuit of the French vessel, magnificent as it is, is just the backdrop to this elegant, emotionally stirring and intellectually powerful narrative. Easily one of my top ten favorite films of all time. All of the haters can go watch something that appeals more to their intellectual level, like Transformers 2. Expand
  6. Feb 13, 2013
    Really outstanding with great authenticity. The attention to detail is brilliant as is the acting. At times you experience the great discomfort of seafaring but always with a confidence that you are in safe hands, even during huge seas. Very watchable and most enjoyable. Expand
  7. Jun 9, 2014
    "Master and Commander" is a beautifully filmed historical drama that is certainly not great, but is pretty good all the same. Truly every shot in this film seems picturesque and is brilliantly crafted. In addition, Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany are phenomenal in their roles. The direction overall is also really well done, for example the action sequences are very well done. There are some small complaints I have with the action sequences though, but I will return to those. The sets are costumes are also beautifully put together. Overall, this film has a lot going for it. Now, none of those truly make it a great film, however. For the negatives, the action sequences, while brilliant, can be a bit confusing at times. They are so action-packed and intense, it can be hard to identify who is who due to the frenetic pace during the sequences. The dialogue, while fine, can be hard to hear sometimes. I had the volume at a perfect level for everything, but then somebody would mumble their dialogue, so I wound up missing small bits and pieces, which is annoying. I should not have to have subtitles on to hear some pieces of dialogue. Finally, the film has some unnecessary parts that did not really further anything. Without them, the final product would be a lot tighter and sharper, rather than spending time showing things that do not really further the plot at all. Overall, "Master and Commander" is a good film that I want to like more and rate higher, but sadly cannot. However, it undoubtedly deserves the praise it has received. Expand

See all 309 User Reviews