Generally favorable reviews - based on 10 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 10
  2. Negative: 2 out of 10
  1. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    Ostensibly a haunted house story, it manages to traverse a complex world of incipient madness, spectral murder and supernatural visions ...and also makes you jump.
  2. 88
    But there is no way, within the film, to be sure with any confidence exactly what happens, or precisely how, or really why. Kubrick delivers this uncertainty in a film where the actors themselves vibrate with unease.
  3. Reviewed by: Jeremy Knox
    For a supposed mainstream movie, Kubrick’s The Shining isn’t very audience friendly. Half the time you have to guess what the hell is going on, and if you're not familiar with Kubrick's narrative style you’ll be completely lost.
  4. Meticulously detailed and never less than fascinating, The Shining may be the first movie that ever made its audience jump with a title that simply says "Tuesday."
  5. Reviewed by: Bruce McCabe
    When you sit down to The Shining, you sit down with normal expectations of being diverted, perhaps even being gripped, but not being undermined. But the film undermines you in powerful, inchoate ways. It's a horror story even for people who don't like horror stories - maybe especially for them. [14 Jun 1980, p.1]
  6. 70
    Stephen King reportedly loathed the liberties Kubrick and co-writer Diane Johnson took with his story, but King's ur-villain, the emasculated husband from hell, has never been more clearly presented on-screen.
  7. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    It is a daring thing the director has done, this bleaching out of all the cheap thrills, this dashing of all the hopes one brings to what is, after all, advertised as "a masterpiece of modern horror." Certainly he has asked much of Nicholson, who must sustain attention in a hugely unsympathetic role, and who responds with a brilliantly crazed performance.
  8. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    The crazier Nicholson gets, the more idiotic he looks. Shelley Duvall transforms the warm sympathetic wife of the book into a simpering, semi-retarded hysteric.
  9. Kubrick certainly doesn't fail small. One could fast forget The Shining as an overreaching, multi-levelled botch were it not for Jack Nicholson. Nicholson, one of the few actors capable of getting the audience to love him no matter what he does, is an ideal vehicle for Kubrick. [14 Jun 1980, p.E1]
  10. 30
    Kubrick is after a cool, sunlit vision of hell, born in the bosom of the nuclear family, but his imagery--with its compulsive symmetry and brightness--is too banal to sustain interest, while the incredibly slack narrative line forestalls suspense.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 246 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 43 out of 47
  2. Negative: 2 out of 47
  1. Oct 6, 2011
    Illustrating the true, crazy countenance of mankind when confronted in extreme isolation and horror, Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining" is a modern-horror masterpiece that criticizes not only us, but also the disjointed society. (P.S: This was probably the best movie Jack Nicholson performed in. Ever.) Full Review »
  2. Aug 4, 2011
    One of the most over-rated horror pictures, yet based on one of Stephen King's finest novels. How could it go wrong? The primary problem is that the film simply isn't scary. I'll give it creepy, but only mildly. And only one scene stands out as being anything close to King's vision of supernatural fear ("Room 237"). Sure Nicholson is fun, and really, the cast is fine. But the secondary problem this film has is a critical fail: the movie's aim and thrust is completely muddled. Full Review »
  3. Dec 16, 2011
    My favorite film of Kubrick's. You feel like you're becoming as mad as Johnny while watching, building up cabin fever and fear in a mixture of nauseous scenes. Full Review »