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Cliffhanger (1993)

tomatometer

69

Average Rating: 6.2/10
Reviews Counted: 49
Fresh: 34 | Rotten: 15

While it can't escape comparisons to the movies it borrows from, Cliffhanger is a tense, action-packed thriller and a showcase for the talents that made Sylvester Stallone a star.

50

Average Rating: 5.7/10
Critic Reviews: 18
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 9

While it can't escape comparisons to the movies it borrows from, Cliffhanger is a tense, action-packed thriller and a showcase for the talents that made Sylvester Stallone a star.

audience

51

liked it
Average Rating: 2.8/5
User Ratings: 182,054

My Rating

Movie Info

In Cliffhanger, Sylvester Stallone plays Gabe Walker, a member of a mountain-climbing rescue team. Gabe is haunted by an incident from his past when he couldn't save the girlfriend of his best friend, Hal Tucker (Michael Rooker), from falling to her death. As the story begins, Gabe has left mountain-climbing rescue work and has set up business in Denver. He returns to the mountain rescue office to persuade his lover, Jessie (Janine Turner), to quit and come back to Denver with him. While he is

R,

Action & Adventure

Nov 11, 1997

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

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Cast

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All Critics (49) | Top Critics (18) | Fresh (34) | Rotten (15) | DVD (25)

it has truly awe-inspiring stunts and special effects and many of its suspense sequences will leave you with your heart in your mouth.

August 3, 2013
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The fact that so much money was lavished on such a thick-headed project represents the height of fiscal ineptitude, but this is the kind of roller-coaster ride for which eager audiences will gladly check their brains at the turnstiles, so go figure.

August 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The cinematography and gravity-defying stunt performances are exhilarating. The story, alas, is pure routine.

August 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Some movies get you so excited - so revved up on action and thrills -- that you almost feel like you're flying. Cliffhanger makes you feel like you're dropping.

August 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

That rasping tension is soon smoothed away, as the plot sets off on its daft and hackneyed course.

August 3, 2013 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Cliffhanger no doubt makes for a great coming attraction, but as a two-hour movie its claims are much more problematic.

August 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There's a visceral charge to the high-altitude chase scenes, but the thriller ultimately falls flat, even on its own limited terms.

August 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor

High adventure and vertigo blend with blood and bullets to make this tension-packed tall tale a spectacular avalanche of dizzying escapism.

August 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

An unexpectedly average adventure movie.

August 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Daily News
Philadelphia Daily News

Nothing in Cliffhanger could possibly surpass that terrific opening jolt, but it's a smart, enjoyable summer action thriller nonetheless, directed by Renny Harlin with the focused energy of a Boy Scout earning badges.

August 3, 2013 Full Review Source: People Magazine
People Magazine

The movie could also use more zing in its writing.

August 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Baltimore Sun
Baltimore Sun

Big-budget nonsense that still manages to provide plenty of thrills thanks to its high-rise settings.

July 25, 2010 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

It may go down in screen history as the nail in the coffin of the Die Hard sub-genre, in which all the key elements of that blockbuster have been recycled to the point of self-parody.

July 25, 2010 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

As preposterous as this "Die Hard on a mountain" flick is, Cliffhanger remains one of the zestier big-budget action pictures of the nineties. [Blu-ray]

January 24, 2010 Full Review Source: Groucho Reviews
Groucho Reviews

Audience Reviews for Cliffhanger

1993 was a big year for Mr Stallone, not only did this huge box office success come out but later that year we were presented with 'Demolition Man'. Oddly enough this was also the last year where Stallone's movies managed success, after 1993 his work went downhill considerably and only got back on track in 2008 with his [i]Rambo[/i] reboot/sequel.

This film could well be the first 'Die Hard on a' example to come along, 'Die Hard on a mountain'? meh maybe its just me?. The whole thing is your standard action fare really, nothing original and nothing fresh. A bunch of bad guys after lost millions on a mountain, hostages, plenty of gunfire, plenty of blood, lots of profanity and an evil caddish bad guy boss to equal Rickman's 'Hans Gruber'.

I must admit I never really liked this film as it just feels too run of the mill, accept for being based on a mountain of course (mountainous snowy terrain). I've always been in the Arnie camp personally I never really thought Stallone could match up with his efforts. I simply cannot look at this film without thinking of 'Die Hard/Die Hard 2', its such a copy, really it is, right down to Lithgow's corny British villain.

The action isn't all that impressive either really, a mixture of highly dangerous stunts which are admittedly good enough to make your palms sweat, and blatantly obvious sets. One minute the film looks sweet as a nut with some lovely location shots and real live action, the next you're looking at some crappy bluescreen effects or an obvious plastic rubbery set. Actually to be honest the film is a bit drab looking for the most part, lots of grey and white rocky terrain.

The entire cast in this film is pretty boring too, the bad guys aren't really very interesting but that's cos we don't really get to know them. All the good guys n gals are just wet and annoying, Rooker's character does so much slow motion running and screaming its hilarious, did this film start that trend?!. Only Lithgow holds things together with his hammy campness, problem there is he doesn't really look right for the part nor does he look like he could beat up Stallone, but his evilness is fun.

Can't deny the film is a blast of adrenaline with its ridiculous moments of sheer dumbness. Stallone climbing up the rockface in his t-shirt, then whilst under the frozen icy water he removes everything and goes topless! why exactly? but hey this is a stupid action thriller what do you expect. A decent flick for the Stallone camp but its complete lack of realism and easy to spot stunt doubles/bad effects are all too clear. Great film title though.
May 8, 2013
phubbs1

Super Reviewer

Cliffhanger may seem like your ordinary cliched action film, but I can assure you that it is far more than just that. Sylvester Stallone actually pulls of a decent performance and the entire cast is very likeable. After the accident of losing his best friends girlfriend, Gabe (Stallone) has to live with the fact that his friend will never forgive him. Once they get caught up together again in a situation that causes the incident, they want nothing to do with each other. The action is top notch, the acting is pretty good, the visuals are decent, but the story and the execution of the plot is really what counts here, and it is done phenomenally. I must complain that the dialogue can become a little silly sometimes and the green/blue screens may be noticeable, but it is still a great action film! "Cliffhanger" is awesome!
May 7, 2012
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

Severely underrated Stallone flick. I had only seen bits and pieces of it before on TV, where it gave me a mediocre impression. But now that I saw it in its full length, I'm really surprised to say it was a great and well-paced actioner. John Lithgow is superb as the film's chief villain, and I bet it was this performance they looked back to, when they cast him as a serial killer in Season 4 of Dexter (which, by the way, is also my favourite season thus far). A non-stop ride of thrills and excitement, which despite some minor defects in the dialogue, climbs all the way to the top with a rousing series of intrigues.
November 29, 2011
CloudStrife84
Mike S

Super Reviewer

I don't understand how a movie this bad can be so good
September 18, 2011
TheGame90
Martin Sahlin

Super Reviewer

    1. Eric Qualen: I must say, you're a real piece of work.
    2. Gabe Walker: I must say, you're a real piece of shit.
    – Submitted by russell b (16 months ago)
    1. Eric Qualen: Kill a few people they call you a murderer. Kill a million, and you are a CONQUEROR.
    – Submitted by Anacleto T (2 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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April 24, 2012:
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The "Cliffhanger" director is going back to the mountains.
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