Universal acclaim - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
Watch On
  1. 100
    Awash in heart-rending emotions and gorgeous images, this is a movie to lose yourself in.
  2. Reviewed by: Sean Means
    It feels like a dream that a movie could have this kind of poetic grace and epic sweep, or could be so faithful to its source and still work so perfectly as a film.
  3. 100
    Rising to crescendos of emotion usually reached only by tenors and sopranos, these characters are the beneficiaries of the luminous writing of the novel and screenplay as well as the expert performances of the actors, especially Scott Thomas.
  4. A mesmerizing film that is the most stunning, tempestuous love story in a decade or two of movie making.
  5. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    To transport picturegoers to a unique place in the glare of the earth, in the darkness of the heart--this, you realize with a gasp of joy, is what movies can do.
  6. Reviewed by: John Krewson
    Heartbreakingly beautiful film, a brilliant adaptation of Michael Ondaatje's equally beautiful novel, is a sort of Casablanca for our time.
  7. Reviewed by: Gary Kamiya
    Minghella, by brilliantly editing the romantic scenes down to a few jagged, archetypal moments, captures something of the sacred whirlwind.
  8. A stunning feat of literary adaptation as well as a purely cinematic triumph.
  9. 100
    A big, fat old-fashioned gush of passion as drawn through a post-modernist prism that makes it less easily comprehensible but more beguiling.
  10. 100
    The kind of movie you can see twice--first for the questions, the second time for the answers.
  11. Minghella is an artist and he has painted himself a masterpiece.
  12. 100
    A tour de force so haunting that other films can't exorcise the memory of its radiant cast, exquisite craftsmanship or complex system of metaphors. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a movie.
  13. 90
    Astonishingly deep and moving.
  14. Reviewed by: Mary Brennan
    Minghella shapes Ondaatje's sprawling story into something miraculously cohesive, and at the movie's center is one of the most compelling love stories in recent memory.
  15. Reviewed by: Sarah Kerr
    The acting of this central trio is brilliant, in part because the crisscrossing of these and other stories and the gorgeous backdrops take some of the weight off: The characters are free to be flawed without losing our interest.
  16. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Succeeds stunningly on its own terms.
  17. 89
    Feels brief and dreamlike. Waking from its spell, you touch your face, and it's wet, but you're smiling anyway.
  18. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    The big story here is Kristin Scott Thomas' captivating performance.
  19. 88
    This is one of the year's most unabashed and powerful love stories, using flawless performances, intelligent dialogue, crisp camera work, and loaded glances to attain a level of eroticism and emotional connection that many similar films miss.
  20. Reviewed by: Wendy Wilson
    The power of the Fiennes/Scott Thomas affair burns through the clutter (imagine "Casablanca" meets "Map of the Human Heart") making The English Patient a theatrical must-see.
  21. Reviewed by: Tom Keogh
    The look, the feel, the brood-y, brilliant cast: This is an oddly affecting movie, all right, a jellyroll of Bronte and Hemingway.
  22. Reviewed by: Robert Horton
    It's got both the sweeping spectacle and the keen, tactile sense of human intimacy.
  23. 80
    The two films bursting out of The English Patient (a chamber piece and a David Lean dune epic) require a juggling of tone, pace and scale that might easily defeat a director more seasoned than Minghella.
  24. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    A respectable, intelligent but less than stirring adaptation of an imposingly dense and layered novel.
  25. Lusts for catharsis yet never quite gets there, because, for all of its bitter romantic anguish, it ultimately coalesces in your head rather than your heart.
  26. 75
    Boasts the elements of something greater than a love story. Too bad it devotes them to something less than a great love story. [22 November 1996, Friday, p.A]
  27. A smashing success on its own terms, though as a transcendent love story it lacks the firm foundation in human reality that characterizes Lars Von Trier's superior "Breaking the Waves."
  28. Reviewed by: Michael Sragow
    This intelligent, affecting work is squishy at the core.
  29. Reviewed by: Frank Lovece
    Kristin Scott Thomas is the film's revelation. She takes center stage as a smart, fearless woman who's utterly irresistible.
  30. The English Patient is excitingly promising. Then the screenplay goes rotten, like an overripe melon. [Dec. 9, 1996]
  31. It's reasonably well told and well mounted but little more.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 105 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 34
  2. Negative: 11 out of 34
  1. Feb 12, 2012
    Great film! Real emotions, real life! Heroes were on the top! Music brilliantly selected!
  2. Amaya
    Nov 22, 2008
    Achingly beautiful. Fiennes is perfect in this movie. I did enjoy the book earlier, but I like the movie more. I have never seen a movie that Achingly beautiful. Fiennes is perfect in this movie. I did enjoy the book earlier, but I like the movie more. I have never seen a movie that so amply reflects the book and does justice to the literal counterpart. Full Review »
  3. Jun 11, 2013
    Good. As it’s hard to find true love in real world, so it’s nice to be moved by an ideal one in a film. Your assumed friends may suspect you,Good. As it’s hard to find true love in real world, so it’s nice to be moved by an ideal one in a film. Your assumed friends may suspect you, and your supposed enemy might respect you, that’s why Almásy is delayed in rescuing his ankle-injured lover, and why the vengeful Caravaggio gives up revenge after knowing all these. A traitor is not a traitor when he himself is betrayed by some peremptory authority, and when such betrayal is necessitated by great love. Full Review »