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71

Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 286 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: An ex-Marine haunted by a tragic past, Tommy Riordan returns to his hometown of Pittsburgh and enlists his father, a recovered alcoholic and his former coach, to train him for an MMA tournament awarding the biggest purse in the history of the sport. As Tommy blazes a violent path towards the title prize, his brother, Brendan, a former MMA fighter unable to make ends meet as a public school teacher, returns to the amateur ring to provide for his family. Even though years have passed, recriminations and past betrayals keep Brendan bitterly estranged from both Tommy and his father. But when Brendan's unlikely rise as an underdog sets him on a collision course with Tommy, the two brothers must finally confront the forces that tore them apart, all the while waging the most intense, winner-takes-all battle of their lives. (Lionsgate)

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 35
  2. Negative: 1 out of 35
  1. Reviewed by: Dan Jolin
    Sep 3, 2011
    100
    It hardly rewrites the rulebook, but Warrior is a powerful, moving and brilliant sports-pic-cum-family drama. Like "The Fighter," but with kicking.
  2. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Sep 8, 2011
    90
    It is appropriately blunt, powerful and relentless, a study of male bodies in sweaty motion and masculine emotions in teary turmoil.
  3. Reviewed by: Andrea Gronvall
    Sep 8, 2011
    80
    This high-powered sports melodrama benefits from its strong male leads, a sinewy narrative, and the maverick attitude of MMA. But for all the contemporary references, it's essentially a spin on the story of Cain and Abel, which may be the reason it feels timeless.
  4. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Sep 6, 2011
    75
    It overcomes inescapable boxing and martial arts clichés and leaves you thoroughly sated, energized and wanting more.
  5. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Sep 8, 2011
    75
    Warrior aspires to myth. It's Cain and Abel battling it out in the face of a decidedly ungodly father before humanity goes down for the count. Strong stuff.
  6. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Sep 10, 2011
    67
    Warrior becomes increasingly shameless until, by the end, with the big fights fought, we are clearly meant to rise as one and applaud the indomitability of the human spirit. But the only indomitable thing about Warrior are its clichés.
  7. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Sep 9, 2011
    38
    A cheap exploitation picture wrapped in miles and miles of stale would-be Oscar scenes.

See all 35 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 75 out of 76
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 76
  3. Negative: 1 out of 76
  1. Apr 30, 2013
    10
    My favorite film of 2011. I am not a fan of ufc so when I saw this film was coming out I had no intention of seeing it, but after hearing how good it was I decided to see it. Wow this movie blew me away. Expand
  2. Sep 13, 2011
    10
    I wasnt sure at first when i saw the previews for this movie, how it was going to be. I saw te good reviews on here and from working at my local regal theater and seeing everyone come out of this movie pleased and raving about how good it was, i figured hey, why not. So i just saw it and wow! Was i blown away. I loved this movie, it started off a little slow but dont get me wrong, every scene played a big part in the overrall feel of the movie. Their was so much drama and heart packed into this film. You must go see this. You will love it. I wanted to cry, and i wanted to cheer, their were so many different emotions in thks one movie. Dont shy away from the long running time, it is so worth it, its one of those movies where you hate it because of the way you feel for the characters but then you love it at the same time. This is the best movie of september hands down, doesnt matter what else is coming out, Warrior is here now and it is damn good. On another note im really glad to see Tom Hardy fit for his role as Bane in Christopher Nolans final entry into his highly successful Batman trilogy. Anyways, Tom Hardy was excellemt, Joel Edgerton was excellent, and not familiar with the actor of the fathers name is but he did an academy award nodded performance. I will be upset if this movie doesn't get any Oscar nominations, it deserves ateast one. Go see this movie, you'll love it....and hate it, haha. Definitely 10/10 stars for sure. Expand
  3. Sep 24, 2011
    10
    Best movie of the year hands down. Very unique in that it does not have a clear antagonist. You're rooting for all of them each with their own promises to fulfill. Tom Hardy's Tommy is just outstanding, the level of intensity showcased is unbelievably scary. Joel Edgerton's Brendan who is trying to make ends meet as a school teacher moonlights as a fighter in parking lots after hours to provide for his family and Nick Nolte's heart-breaking performance as the willing-to-do-anything-to-make-it-right-again estranged father of his two distant sons. And that barely scratched the surface of their story, the depth of the characters is amazingly rich. The first half of the movie builds the foundation for the brothers, their present lives, their rough childhood and their own motivations to get back in the cage, it's as exciting and entertaining as the fighting scenes itself. There's about 4-5 climaxes in Warrior it's outstanding. Unlike a lot of sports/boxing movies we've seen you feel the high-octane scenes. You're really immersed in the fighting sequences, you feel every punch, every kick, every takedown and every headlock because you care about the characters, you know the journey of how they got where they are and you know all too well their hopes and promises to the people they care for. Expand
  4. May 7, 2012
    9
    When I viewed it December 2011, I was hoping for a good performance from Nick Nolte because I'm a steadfast fan, but I was not sure if Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton could make a good match with Nolte. They outdid themselves; they performed with the skills of veterans, not overreaching and maintaining their respective character's persona. Nolte was obviously perfect for the part; Hardy, of who I am now a fan, is far more versatile than you may think (I've seen several films in which he was supporting actor). Edgerton did hold his own, not weakening the top tier cast (I'm not yet a fan, so am slightly reserved in my praise). The supporting cast, talented and hot looking Jennifer Morrison in particular, did as fine a job with her role as Amy Adam did in 'Fighter', and the rest helped make this movie as good as it is.

    The script was very well done, going by the result on screen; I'm sure writer/director Gavin O'Connor was investing all of himself in this project and he has every reason to be proud. This is drama as gripping as the first 'Rocky' and last year's 'The Fighter', better even, given it's not based on a real life story. I think the lack of budget for marketing and publicity may be the reason it did not fare as well as it should have at the theater box office; so buy it, or rent it and have your friends do the same. They won't be disappointed one bit.
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  5. Aug 28, 2013
    8
    "Warrior" strikingly illustrates that victory is possible in defeat, and it's not what happens during the final bout that defines Gavin O' Connor's picture, but what occurs afterwards. "Warrior" is a poignant, touching drama where familiarity with the sport isn't necessary, because ultimately it's not about what transpires in the cage. The movie presents dynamic, strained relationships and the bond of family, coupled with the challenging choices we must make throughout life.

    The narrative focuses on three men: estranged brothers Tom and Brendan Conlon (Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton) and their father, Paddy (Nick Nolte). Tom, a withdrawn marine, has come home to Pittsburgh to train for a spot in "Sparta," a winner-takes-all MMA tournament held in Atlantic City. He is willing to put aside his abusive upbringing in return for his assistance in training. Paddy, a recovering alcoholic, embraces the opportunity to reconnect with his son, even though Tom makes is clear that their relationship will consist strictly as one of trainer and fighter.

    Meanwhile, across the state in Philadelphia, former UFC fighter and current high school teacher Brendan finds himself in need of cash in order to save his home from foreclosure. Against the wishes of Brendan's wife Tess (Jennifer Morrison), Brendan becomes involved in low-level MMA contests, and suspended by the school board once word spreads. One would need be hopelessly naïve not to recognize that this is all going to come down to a match between Tom and Brendan, with a torn father on the sidelines. The first half of the film is mostly devoted to the dramatic setup and character development, before it launches into the Atlantic City bouts that take up the majority of the second half of the film.

    "Warrior" offers strong performances across the board, two of which are standouts. Tom Hardy, who redefined his career with his screen-searing work in "Bronson," (2008) is simply tremendous. The word "volcanic" was often used to describe Hardy's work in "Bronson," and it applies here as well. Nick Nolte, who has received his share of accolades over a long and prosperous career, provides a terrific performance as a remorseful father who is desperate to reconnect with his sons.

    This real battle here is outside of the cage, involving redemption, reconciliation, and putting demons to rest. O'Connor's filming has a gritty, grainy, sensibility that is only enhanced by utilizing locations around the Pittsburgh area. Putting aside the fighting in the cage, it's the emotional tussle they must contend with that is far more daunting than any opponent in the cage. "Warrior" has the heart of a champion that keeps this film alive and pumping to the bloody end.
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  6. Nov 27, 2011
    8
    The first third of Warrior has some of the best blue collar acting, blue collar writing and American filmmaking in decades. Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy and Nick Nolte give outstanding performances. The last third of the film, which is an MMA tournament is very good, but by that point, Warrior has poured on more plot that ten movies. We know a great deal about these characters. We care. But the plot is thick and heavy. I hope the film finds an audience on video. Expand
  7. Dec 12, 2011
    3
    I love UFC so this movie had to score high for me. Raw, MMA, guy story...all the ingredients...But...it fails. No suspense. No story. No tension. No neckhold. Its a Sunday afternoon movie about two brothers and a Dad who had a falling out years ago....About nothing. Expand

See all 76 User Reviews

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