User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 53 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 49 out of 53
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 53
  3. Negative: 4 out of 53
Watch On

Review this movie

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling
  1. StephenS.
    Apr 8, 2003
    6
    Persons of good breeding will feel faint when the Quiet American operative (Pyle) barges his puppy dog into the English reporter (Fowler?s) tasteful Saigon apartment, where it promptly jumps onto the furniture. Then they?ll feel a whole lot better to recall that Pyle has already been dispatched in the opening scene. It is hard to follow why this polite adaptation has been praised so Persons of good breeding will feel faint when the Quiet American operative (Pyle) barges his puppy dog into the English reporter (Fowler?s) tasteful Saigon apartment, where it promptly jumps onto the furniture. Then they?ll feel a whole lot better to recall that Pyle has already been dispatched in the opening scene. It is hard to follow why this polite adaptation has been praised so lavishly. It is less impressive than Noyce?s Rabbit-Proof Fence, which is also (finally) screening in US. As if strongly acculturated to the US by now, Noyce directs more like an American than the Australian that he is. You?d just have to review the phenomenal battle scenes of Terence Malick?s masterpiece The Thin Red Line, which were filmed in Australia, to be reminded how glossy and uninvolved is Noyce?s Vietnamese war of the 1950s. Michael Caine (as Fowler) is wonderful, more so than anyone or anything else in the movie. But he and the manikin Do Hai Yen (as Phuong, his love interest) fail to find the necessary sexual vibe. Two critical love scenes ? Pyle?s counter-declaration of love for Phuong, and Fowler?s lie to Phuong about his wife?s willingness to divorce ? fall flat. No doubt this is better than the original fifties version, but it?s by no means great. The person who emerges with the greatest credit is the prescient novelist, Graham Greene. Expand
  2. MikeD.
    Mar 27, 2003
    8
    All performances are great. TQA is very thoughtful, and cinematically intelligent.
  3. PatC.
    Dec 5, 2003
    8
    A timely thought-prokoking story. One of Fraser's better acting outings, and an awesome performance by Caine, who needed to get away from recent roles beneath his capabilities.
  4. BlancoA.
    Feb 7, 2003
    10
    Excellent!
  5. ArmandG.
    Apr 2, 2003
    2
    I could only sit through twenty minutes of this movie, but I really thought the acting was terrible. Didn't get a chance to see Caine do anything much. It is very mediocre in many other ways including editing and cinematography to name just two.
  6. RobertP.
    May 11, 2003
    10
    I found this movie one the the best I've seen in years! The acting talents of the cast was superb and emotionally captivating. The cinematography, directing, and careful attention to detail gave the audience a visual and emotional feast. The politcal motives of visionary,well-meaning patriots/spies/missionaries and journalists is often clouded by the hidden agendas of the ruling I found this movie one the the best I've seen in years! The acting talents of the cast was superb and emotionally captivating. The cinematography, directing, and careful attention to detail gave the audience a visual and emotional feast. The politcal motives of visionary,well-meaning patriots/spies/missionaries and journalists is often clouded by the hidden agendas of the ruling class. The film allows the viewer to peer into the hearts and minds of those who are victimized by the conditions of armed conflict. This film is also a brilliant, sensitive portrayal of how intensely erotic and thrilling Asian women can be and why the underground market for "mailorder brides" has grown to staggering dimensions. The film is most meaningful to those who have experienced the so called "mystery of the orient" firsthand. Greed, sinfulness, racial worship, cruelty, murder and stupidity(as this wonderful film reveals) are often masked by the flowery promises of dreamy "asian romantic love" that American males experience when dating in the orient. Expand
  7. KimS.
    Jun 26, 2004
    9
    Absolutely intriguing. I can only wonder what a masterpiece the book must be.
  8. CamH
    Apr 28, 2005
    9
    Great film, great book, great author.
  9. TheQuietMulroneycakes!
    Nov 29, 2002
    9
    That's better. They buggered it up the first time, which got poor old Graham terribly cross. I'm sure he'd approve of this version - especially Maurice Micklewhite's performance.
  10. ErwinK.
    Mar 18, 2003
    10
    Beautiful and thoughtful. Shows that the world is not black and white. Neither Pyle nor Fowler have a moral victory in this story. Very timely - Bush and his cohorts should see this and hopefully they will learn that the world is not full of just good guys and bad guys.
  11. MichaelF.
    Nov 22, 2002
    10
    Absolutley amazing! Caine is fantastic, as is everything else.
  12. SethR.
    Dec 19, 2002
    3
    I'm totally mystified by the critical response to this film. I thought it was terrible, start (the moment an Asian woman's face appeared superimposed over fire) to finish (a cloddish and idiotic procession of faux newspaper headlines how - surprise! - the U.S. became involved in Vietnam). Caine swims upstream valiantly in this movie, trying to make the most of a role that I'm totally mystified by the critical response to this film. I thought it was terrible, start (the moment an Asian woman's face appeared superimposed over fire) to finish (a cloddish and idiotic procession of faux newspaper headlines how - surprise! - the U.S. became involved in Vietnam). Caine swims upstream valiantly in this movie, trying to make the most of a role that he's clearly been waiting his whole career to play. Brendan Fraser is laughable, completely devoid of presence, charisma, or subtext. It's hard to believe they could screw up such a great, cinematic book, but they did, and I think Noyce is mostly to blame. Emblematic of this movie's problems is the sequence in which a bomb goes off in Hanoi central square. They show the sequence excised of its most dramatic bits, then cut to Caine, who tells you the most dramatic bits, then they cut back to show the most dramatic bits. Probably the dumbest sequence I've seen all year. I don't care what anybody says, it was truly rotten. A "3" only for Caine making the best of a bad situation. Expand
  13. JohnA.
    Jun 15, 2003
    9
    Great movie! Caine was remarkable (as usual) and the car bomb scene was brilliant (please ignore the naysayer below). Fraser is the only weak spot, but even he wasn't terrible, just mediocre. Try to catch it on the big screen because I don't think video will do the cinematic beauty of the film justice.
  14. JerryH.
    Nov 22, 2002
    9
    This is close to a 10. Take a few shots out and pump up Brendan Fraser's character and you got it. This is an excellent film, well acted. My main complaint is an active viewer will get ahead of the story at times. Noyce could have given us even fewer hints, but it's a great ride, brutal, honest, real and if you don't mind seeing how things are taken care of in the world, This is close to a 10. Take a few shots out and pump up Brendan Fraser's character and you got it. This is an excellent film, well acted. My main complaint is an active viewer will get ahead of the story at times. Noyce could have given us even fewer hints, but it's a great ride, brutal, honest, real and if you don't mind seeing how things are taken care of in the world, you'll enjoy it. If you feel dirty after, go see 007 and see how we wish things were taken care of in the world. Expand
Metascore
84

Universal acclaim - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 39
  2. Negative: 1 out of 39
  1. Ever since the movie made a brief appearance late last year to qualify for Oscar consideration, Mr. Caine's performance has been hailed as the best of his career, and surely that's true.
  2. Fowler may be the richest character of Mr. Caine's screen career. Slipping into his skin with an effortless grace, this great English actor gives a performance of astonishing understatement whose tone wavers delicately between irony and sadness.
  3. 100
    Star Michael Caine, who gives one of the great, inescapably moving performances in a career filled with them, based his character on personal impressions of the late author. And Greene's lifelong concern with moral ambiguity gives this film a texture and complexity that movies don't usually achieve.