Universal acclaim - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
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  1. 100
    Essential viewing not just for those fascinated by adventure, exploration and survival, but for anyone interested in the magic of leadership.
  2. A remarkable documentary about an almost unfathomable ordeal.
  3. Reviewed by: Loren King
    Butler's approach is subtle: His documentary allows the story to unfold elegantly, without embellishment, and it is more powerful for that restraint.
  4. 88
    What made Shackleton's adventure so immediate to later generations was that he took along a photographer, Frank Hurley, who shot motion picture film and stills.
  5. 75
    If Shackleton's adventure was to be the swan song for those 19th century explorers whose exploits stirred the imagination of young men around the globe, it was a magnificent way to say farewell.
  6. Makes for the most thrilling action movie of the year.
  7. 80
    Documentarian George Butler ("Pumping Iron") wisely opted to stick to the cold, hard facts of the expedition's tale while layering in warmer material, like interviews with historians and descendants of the crew and narrator Liam Neeson's lilting bedtime-story delivery.
  8. Not only relates the astounding story of the expedition and its unimaginable hardships, it presents a thoughtful study of a time when there were adventurers who might actually respond to an advertisement reading "Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold . . ."
  9. The nail-biting quality of Shackleton's true story outdoes any dramatic fiction on the market.
  10. 90
    It's an amazing story, but, in addition to its intrinsic interest, the Shackleton expedition has another remarkable draw: Crewman Frank Hurley had brought along not only still cameras, but a movie camera as well, providing us with an extraordinary record of the ship's voyage.
  11. Butler used several elements to make this story come alive, starting with that vintage Frank Hurley footage, whose rescue from icy waters is in itself something of a miracle.
  12. The tale, in any case, is so gripping, so full of improbable turns and agonizing reversals that it bears repeating, and Mr. Butler and Ms. Alexander tell it straightforwardly and well.
  13. Reviewed by: Joe Leydon
    Conveys enough of the stirring true-life drama recounted in Butler's other Shackleton docu to satisfy ticketbuyers who demand substance even in larger-than-life entertainment.
  14. 80
    An engrossing chronicle.
  15. The combination of the ancient tinted footage and Butler's crisp, sweeping vistas of the same areas provides a breathtaking recap of one of history's most stirring rescues.
  16. Never devolves into the type of “man's man” adventure story that has become so fashionable again over the last couple of years, but instead trusts the power of its unembellished images and words to tell its tale.
  17. Even knowing the happy outcome, Butler masterfully keeps us on the edge of our seats, and communicates the full horror and seeming hopelessness of the crew's situation every step of the way.
  18. Reviewed by: Douglas Cruickshank
    The film is a pleasure, which the real thing was not. It's also a chilling adventure and a compelling story from beginning to end.
  19. 80
    Without becoming manipulative, sensational, or trite, the movie lets us know what became of the animals -- many dogs and one stowaway cat -- on the ill-fated ship.

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