The Great Raid


Mixed or average reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 29
  2. Negative: 5 out of 29

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Critic Reviews

  1. The action is brilliant, the combat sharp and rattling, and the film follows the historical record more closely than most Hollywood films.
  2. 75
    The Great Raid is perhaps more timely now than it would have been a few years ago, when "smart bombs" and a couple of weeks of warfare were supposed to solve the Iraq situation. Now that we are involved in a lengthy and bloody ground war there, it is good to have a film that is not about entertainment for action fans, but about how wars are won with great difficulty, risk, and cost.
  3. Lacks the visceral sweep of "Saving Private Ryan." But Spielberg's story, for all its gut-wrenching intensity, was a fiction. Dahl's movie, slower in pace and conscious of its own artifice, addresses the same issues of courage and sacrifice - and tells a true story. That's worth something. In fact, it's worth a lot.
  4. While one might have wished for a better movie, and a few smarter decisions regarding the screenplay, generally it's a riveting, even inspirational account of an American feat of arms about which few know but about which many more should.
  5. Truth be told, the film is routine: the kind of one-note war movie that Hollywood used to crank out by the dozens every year in the 1950s.
  6. 67
    The film is much better as a ticking-clock action picture than as a story of human emotions, be they romantic, altruistic or base. So it's too bad that we have to wait so long for the actual raid to begin. When it does, it's a cracker.
  7. 63
    The rousing success of the final 45 minutes cannot entirely counterbalance the stumbling uncertainty of the first 90 minutes.
  8. 63
    With material like this, Samuel Fuller or David Lean might have fashioned an epic war movie for the ages, chock-full of hard-boiled characters and against-all-odds heroics. But in John Dahl's hands, The Great Raid never really lives up to its name, delivering everything you might expect from such a movie, but not an ounce more.
  9. 63
    The Great Raid amounts to a noble failure. This is sad news for those of us who remain hopelessly partial to Dahl's mean streak. The failure we can live with. It's the noble part that will never do.
  10. Not a great movie, but it certainly does justice to the great historical event it dramatizes.
  11. Benjamin Bratt lacks the dynamism one would expect of the commanding officer of a U.S. Rangers rescue unit; James Franco, however, is solid in the less flashy role of the mission's mastermind, and as the POW leader Joseph Fiennes manages to be heroic while prettily languishing from malaria.
  12. The film brings a spectacular but little-known chapter of World War II to the big screen with meticulous attention to period detail -- and almost none to compelling narrative.
  13. 50
    A lumbering, disappointingly bland war movie.
  14. When it comes to World War II movies, you may never have seen one like this before -- if only because it's like three different movies at the same time.
  15. 50
    The Great Raid cries out for the kind of B-movie industriousness that Dahl brought to his early, low-budget films noirs (Kill Me Again, Red Rock West and The Last Seduction), but instead it has dreams of sugarplum Oscars dancing in its head, and never stops mistaking spectacle for the truly spectacular.
  16. This is a movie for people more interested in the subject matter than its dramatic presentation.
  17. A plodding, squeaky-straight Time-Life tribute to the greatest generation, the movie plays like a commemorative plaque.
  18. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joanne Kaufman
    For all its noble intentions, its striving for authenticity, its unblinking look at the savagery of war, The Great Raid is far more dutiful than dramatic.
  19. Characterizations are rudimentary, performances dull.
  20. 50
    This is a creditable but disappointingly draggy war epic. It should sizzle like a fuse, but instead plods along with methodical deliberation.
  21. The Great Raid tells its story without irony, perspective or any leavening that would make it something other than an ordinary military-action caper.
  22. The picture's broad outline may be fact, but everything inside gets painted in a deep shade of bogus.
  23. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    This overlong march will bore all but the most nobly patriotic.
  24. 40
    The Great Raid is ultimately scotched by History Channel–worthy nostalgia.
  25. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Just about any golden age Hollywood hack could have made a zestier drama about one of the greatest rescue missions in U.S. military history.
  26. 38
    I hereby award the World War II drama The Great Raid a Cement Star for faithful and distinguished service to the cause of mediocrity.
  27. The main problem? Raid lacks a center. It's an exhausted sprawl with multiple story foci, none of them terribly compelling.
  28. A tedious World War II epic that slogs across the screen like a forced march in quicksand.
  29. 30
    Like the infamous Japanese water tortures of WWII, Dahl’s film is a steadily mounting series of pesky nonevents paced with all the frenetic, action-packed verve of a wounded lawn sprinkler.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 52 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 37
  2. Negative: 5 out of 37
  1. Sep 12, 2014
    This movie has the same problems that most war movies I've seen share; the plot is decent and solid, but the characters and ranks areThis movie has the same problems that most war movies I've seen share; the plot is decent and solid, but the characters and ranks are introduced so quickly that by the time they are out there, wearing helmets, shooting in the dark, bloody and/or dirty, it's hard to remember who exactly they are.

    The movie shows some real cruelty, which only human beings are capable of. I also assume most of those details were real, and not made up or exaggerated.

    Other than that, "The Great Raid" is nothing special. It has good portrayal of people in war. Nothing overwhelmingly spectacular though. I liked that they focused on Filipinos and Japanese as well as the Americans, too.
    Full Review »
  2. Lyn
    May 30, 2011
    The Bataan Death March is one of the most riveting stories of WW II, and I was excited to see this film about a related event featuring aThe Bataan Death March is one of the most riveting stories of WW II, and I was excited to see this film about a related event featuring a heroic rescue of American prisoners. The action and real-life heroes of the Philippine theater deserve their own "Saving Private Ryan." This isn't it, however. Despite the presence of a bunch of decent actors, the humdrum script and phlegmatic pace of this film make it a long, dull slog. Never quite believed Benjamin Bratt as a dynamic leader, much less the oddly disconnected "romance." (But I will say that the scenes of the actual raid are engrossing and well-done.) Full Review »
  3. Spriggangirl
    Oct 20, 2007
    I only watched the movie just to see Jackson! That was about it... Nothing else.