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19th Jun 2017

10 scathing reviews of absolutely brilliant films

Paul Moore

These critics definitely didn’t get it right.

The summer blockbuster season is just starting to heat up and in an age when word of mouth and Rotten Tomatoes ratings can make or break an opening weekend, it’s clear that audiences will be relying on reviews in the next few weeks, especially when it comes to deciding what they’re going to spend their hard earned money on.

This being said, critics don’t always get it right.

Here are 10 examples of negative reviews for genuine classic films.


Rotten Tomatoes rating: 97%

Awards: Won 1 Oscar. Another 37 wins & 35 nominations.

What they said: “Colourful but dramatically unsatisfying.” – Variety

The Godfather: Part Two

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 97%

Awards: 6 Oscars.

What they said:  “It’s a second movie made largely out of the bits and pieces of Mr. Puzo’s novel that didn’t fit into the first. It’s a Frankenstein’s monster stitched together from leftover parts. It talks. It moves in fits and starts but it has no mind of its own.” – The New York Times

The Shawshank Redemption

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 91%

Awards: Seven Oscar nominations, frequently voted the greatest film of all time.

What they said: “It wanders down subplots at every opportunity and ignores an abundance of narrative exit points before settling on the aforementioned finale.” – Washington Post

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 94%

Awards: 2 Oscars and nominated for AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies.

What they said: “I found myself glancing at my watch almost as often as I did when I was sitting through a truly terrible movie called The Island.” – The New York Times

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 95%

Awards: 5 Oscars.

What they said: ” One Flew over the Cuckoo ‘s Nest is an earnest attempt to make a serious film. But in the end the movie backs away from both the human reality and the cloudy but potent symbolism that Ken Kesey found in the asylum” – Time.


Rotten Tomatoes rating: 97%

Awards: Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. Acknowledged by the AFI as one of the 100 best comedies ever.

What they said: “Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker, who share both writing and directorial credits, become so desperate for laughs that the jokes descend to a much cruder level.” – New York Daily News

Saving Private Ryan

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 92%

Awards: 5 Oscars.

What they said: “I found it tediously manipulative despite its Herculean energy.” – New York Observer

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 94%

Awards: 4 Oscars.

What they said: “The thrills are fully consumed while you’re seeing this movie, and it’s totally over when it’s over. It’s a workout. You feel as if you’d been to the desert digs: at the end your mind is blank, yet you’re parched, you’re puffing hard — you want relief.” – The New Yorker


Rotten Tomatoes rating: 97%

Awards: 3 Oscars

What they said: “It is a coarse-grained and exploitive work which depends on excess for its impact. Ashore it is a bore, awkwardly staged and lumpily written.” – LA Times

Pulp Fiction

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 94%

Awards: Won 1 Oscar. Another 60 wins & 68 nominations.

What they said: “Pulp Fiction has most of the virtues of its genre except that peculiar passion that invariably lies behind the best of them. Because of that, it can often seem both empty and retrograde.” – The Guardian