Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 18
  2. Negative: 11 out of 18
Watch On
  1. What a strange, confused, unpleasant movie this is. Two theories have clustered around it: (1) It is anti-Mormon propaganda to muddy the waters around the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney, or (2) it is not about Mormons at all, but an allegory about the 9/11/01 terrorists. Take your choice. The problem with allegories is that you can plug them in anywhere. No doubt the film would have great impact in Darfur.
  2. The audience gets the message (religious fanaticism: bad), but nothing we see is convincing on its own.
  3. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    The movie isn't THAT bad -- it's just made-for-TV historical treacle that has somehow found its way to the big screen (and barely that; if you want to be moved or outraged by the film, you'll have to travel to Danvers or Revere).
  4. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    Most significant and contrary to the Mormon Church's ongoing position, the film depicts Young as present when the plot is hatched to slaughter the emigrants. Needless to say, this workmanlike but unflinching film won't be playing in Utah anytime soon.
  5. It's a soap opera posing as moral outrage.
  6. 30
    The villainous turns by Jon Voight (as a hard-hearted Mormon bishop) and Terence Stamp (as a bloodthirsty Brigham Young) would have been more fun if they weren't part of such a clumsy campaign to lay this tragedy at the church's doorstep.
  7. Muddled, sloppy, and obfuscating.
  8. September Dawn, written by an evangelical Christian, may be the worst historical drama ever made.
  9. 0
    Succeeds completely at failure; the unified incompetence of its writing, directing and acting suggest a man who manages to be on fire and drowning at the same time, just as the bus runs him over.
  10. The cruel simplicity of the atrocity is made needlessly chaotic by artless camerawork that swishes rapidly back and forth across the action, to the accompaniment of a syrupy soundtrack.
  11. 40
    Shot in a style that might be termed Americana gravitas, September Dawn has the ham-fisted lyricism of political ads and pharmaceutical commercials. The schematic script is further burdened with heavy ironies and hackneyed dialogue.
  12. A ham-fisted cautionary tale of religious fanaticism that would have been hooted out of even 19th-century theaters as melodrama of the most lurid kind.
  13. 38
    Filmmaker Christopher Cain has turned a national tragedy into a teen romance, and not in a grand, entertaining, "Titanic" way.
  14. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    The didactic presentation, grim speechifying and tacked-on love story all signify a less-than-healthy regard for the audience's intelligence.
  15. Cain has crafted a modest picture, filmed in Canada, that too often feels like a very elaborate episode of "Gunsmoke."
  16. Reviewed by: Mark Olsen
    A rare case in which one can't help but wish the film were somehow worse than it is, for it would then be easier to dismiss outright. Jon Voight's turn as a fictional local Mormon leader and, in particular, Terence Stamp's performance as Brigham Young have a strange, unnerving conviction about them, and give the film an oddly engaging pull.
  17. Reviewed by: Matt Zoller Seitz
    The maudlin, grotesque western September Dawn, about the massacre on Sept. 11, 1857, of about 120 settlers by Mormons (and their Paiute Indian mercenaries), apes "Schindler’s List" in hopes of creating a Christian Holocaust picture.
  18. Reviewed by: Steven Hyden
    With its complete lack of empathy for early Mormons and simplistic rendering of historical figures, September Dawn is that rare movie that actually deserves whatever condemnation might come from religious groups.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 39 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 28
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 28
  3. Negative: 18 out of 28
  1. Jun 2, 2012
    One Of The Worst Movies Of All Time!
    Why Is The User Score Mixed (As Of Now)
    It's A Really Bad Movie.. REALLY BAD...
  2. khela'ri
    Aug 30, 2009
    This was a very good movie, where it shows all of us what that amount of hatred can do to a group of people. This is an untold story that This was a very good movie, where it shows all of us what that amount of hatred can do to a group of people. This is an untold story that needs to be in the history books, the Mormons have tried hard to keep this under wraps and now its out in the open, we should respect those who died on that day, and remember them because their story is no less important that the story of slavery and that of WW1 ad WW2. Kudos, to Christoper Cain, his crew and cast for such an outstanding movie. Full Review »
  3. bradb
    Jul 2, 2009
    This movie might have been pretty good if it had been written and directed by atheists.