Universal acclaim - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 21
  2. Negative: 1 out of 21
  1. 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]
  2. Reviewed by: Louis Black
    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.
  3. 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]
  4. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Unforgiven questions the rules of a macho genre, summing up and maybe atoning for the flinty violence that made Eastwood famous. [10 Aug 1992]
  5. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    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.
  6. It's powerful entertainment. [22 Sept 1992, p.A16(E)]
  7. Reviewed by: Michael Sragow
    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. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    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. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    It's the actor/director's best movie - and the best Western by anybody in over 20 years. [7 Aug 1992]
  12. Reviewed by: Rob Fraser
    It is the last great Western ever made, and it will always remain so.
  13. Reviewed by: John Hartl
    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.
  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. 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. Reviewed by: Jay Scott
    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. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    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. 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. Reviewed by: Hal Hinson
    If Eastwood had any emotional depth as an actor, the character's anguish might come through.
  21. 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

Universal acclaim- based on 111 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. Apr 1, 2012
    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. 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 »
  2. Aug 9, 2014
    Unforgiven 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 »
  3. Dec 10, 2013
    Eastwood was consecrated by movies westerns, but only two ever had total control and chances to impose their point of view before starting the review is important to note, DIRECTOR CLINT EASTWOOD is much more sensitive and emotional than the actor clint esatwood, so in short: it creates a film that reflects on the violence contained in the westers spent dealing with more realistic and dramatic way, that alone would be worth it to watch the movie together as their performances, but perhaps his only problem is his swelling principamelte late in the first and following up for the second act, yet it is given. Full Review »