Unforgiven

Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 21
  2. Negative: 1 out of 21

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Critic Reviews

  1. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Julie Salamon
    100
    It's powerful entertainment. [22 Sept 1992, p.A16(E)]
  2. Los Angeles Times
    Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    100
    Simultaneously heroic and nihilistic, reeking of myth but modern as they come, it is a Western for those who know and chrish the form, a film that resonates with the spirit of films past while staking out a territory quite its own. [7 Aug 1992]
  3. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    100
    Clint Eastwood has crafted a tense, hard-edged, superbly dramatic yarn that is also an exceedingly intelligent meditation on the West, its myths and its heroes.
  4. Chicago Tribune
    Reviewed by: Dave Kehr
    100
    This dark, melancholic film is a reminder -- never more necessary than now -- of what the American cinema is capable of, in the way of expressing a mature, morally complex and challenging view of the world. [7 Aug 1992]
  5. Time
    Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    100
    Unforgiven questions the rules of a macho genre, summing up and maybe atoning for the flinty violence that made Eastwood famous. [10 Aug 1992]
  6. 100
    But in the genre, as both a movie and a conscious addition to the ongoing celluloid Western mythology, the film is a masterpiece, a stunning and awe-inspiring statement.
  7. The New Yorker
    Reviewed by: Michael Sragow
    100
    Under its leathery hide is a genuine compulsion to de-romanticize Western gunfighting. Every bullet in this movie matters, and by the end Munny's alcohol-fuelled, satanic purposefulness is shocking: in the climax, even his choice of victims has a crazy excess. [10 Aug 1992, p.70]
  8. The cast is universally strong. Hackman, Freeman and Harris don't do anything they haven't done before, but the roles suit their personae to a degree where they approach archetypal status.
  9. 90
    Unforgiven is the most provocative western of Eastwood's career, and with Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman and Richard Harris along for the ride, it's also the most potently acted.
  10. Exults in the hard-riding romanticism of classic Westerns, but it takes revisionist stock too. It dismounts at places usually left in the dust -- the oppressed lot of women, the loneliness of untended children, adult illiteracy and the horrible last moments of the dying.
  11. USA Today
    Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    88
    It's the actor/director's best movie - and the best Western by anybody in over 20 years. [7 Aug 1992]
  12. Film.com
    Reviewed by: John Hartl
    80
    If Unforgiven occasionally overstates its case, this is the best work Eastwood has done as a director since The Outlaw Josey Wales 16 years ago.
  13. Reviewed by: Rob Fraser
    80
    It is the last great Western ever made, and it will always remain so.
  14. Unforgiven... never quite fulfills the expectations it so carefully sets up. It doesn't exactly deny them, but the bloody confrontations that end the film appear to be purposely muted, more effective theoretically than dramatically.
  15. Christian Science Monitor
    Reviewed by: David Sterritt
    75
    Plays out its drama with enough old-fashioned sobriety to lend the proceedings a classical air, offering the comfort of familiarity rather than the thrill of discovery. [13 Aug 1992]
  16. Each character in David Webb Peoples' dense, unexpectedly stately, non- violent script (the inevitable gore is employed sparingly) is treated with that same, somewhat distanced clarity.
  17. As enjoyable as most of Unforgiven is, Eastwood's shades-of-gray moralism feels like a whitewash.
  18. As a moral reconsideration of the role of violence in previous Eastwood films, this is strong and sure, and characters who play against genre expectations give the film a provocative aftertaste. The only limitation, really, is that the picture hasn't much dramatic urgency apart from its revisionist context.
  19. San Francisco Chronicle
    Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    50
    Though the movie is riddled with memorable scenes of violence, its pace is slow -- too slow. It has an epic sprawl, but it's not an epic. It's more like a bloated fairy tale. [7 Aug 1992]
  20. 40
    If Eastwood had any emotional depth as an actor, the character's anguish might come through.
  21. The New Republic
    Reviewed by: Stanley Kauffmann
    30
    At the last, we're left with a film that tries to doll up a conventional genre with hints of depth, hoping to disguise the cross-dressing by putting it in the shape of an epic. Murnau, Mizoguchi, Ford, even you authors of the Book of Genesis, rest easy. [12 Oct 1992]
User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 151 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. Aug 9, 2014
    4
    Unforgiven is a boring, meandering effort from Eastwood. It goes between the two plot lines but never really makes it interesting. The scriptUnforgiven is a boring, meandering effort from Eastwood. It goes between the two plot lines but never really makes it interesting. The script is a bit cliché, and it tries too hard to impress everyone, especially the Academy. I'm very surprised that it won Best Picture, but at the same time, I'm not surprised. Full Review »
  2. Apr 1, 2012
    10
    First off, this would be a 9.5 out of 10. Great western film. Acting is good. Morgan is good, and Clint is really good. Score all right. StoryFirst off, this would be a 9.5 out of 10. Great western film. Acting is good. Morgan is good, and Clint is really good. Score all right. Story is amazing. A great tale of the wild, old west. Action is also well done. Overall, unforgiven is great. It is best picture material, and one of the best westerns. You have to see this movie. Full Review »
  3. Nov 2, 2015
    8
    A beautifully crafted western, Unforgiven is Clint Eastwood working at his very best as a director and an actor. The film is well-paced,A beautifully crafted western, Unforgiven is Clint Eastwood working at his very best as a director and an actor. The film is well-paced, well-directed, and well-acted on all accounts, especially Eastwood, Gene Hackman, and Jaimz Woolvet. Freeman is also good here, as is Richard Harris. The cinematography throughout is beautifully done and really captures the Western feel necessary for this one. In addition, the writing is great and the characters are all really well crafted and fleshed out. For as many characters as there were, it was never hard to identify what made them tick. It is not hard to understand why Unforgiven is so well liked by many, as it is definitely one of, if not the, best westerns of recent memory and features a more modern Eastwood reminding us why we love him in the saddle so much. Overall, Unforgiven is a great western film that features all of the elements you love from the best westerns and just presents it to a modern audience. Full Review »