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The Missing

The Missing (2003)



Average Rating: 6.2/10
Reviews Counted: 171
Fresh: 100 | Rotten: 71

An expertly acted and directed Western. But like other Ron Howard features, the movie is hardly subtle.


Average Rating: 6.1/10
Critic Reviews: 41
Fresh: 21 | Rotten: 20

An expertly acted and directed Western. But like other Ron Howard features, the movie is hardly subtle.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 49,440

My Rating

Movie Info

In 1885 New Mexico, a frontier medicine woman forms an uneasy alliance with her estranged father when her daughter is kidnapped by an Apache brujo.


Western, Drama, Action & Adventure, Special Interest

Kenneth Kaufman

Feb 24, 2004


Columbia Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (181) | Top Critics (44) | Fresh (100) | Rotten (71) | DVD (30)

Even Cate Blanchett can't save this misbegotten horse opera.

December 12, 2003
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Mr. Howard keeps the emotional temperature of the family reunion as chilly as possible, but it's clear that the father-daughter relationship is the core of the drama, and the rest is all time-consuming digressions.

December 10, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Observer
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The rawest, scariest, most nerve-rattling saddlebags-and- sagebrush saga since Robert Mulligan's The Stalking Moon.

December 4, 2003
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

... a strange and haunting hybrid that's part Western, part supernatural thriller.

December 1, 2003 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Missing is holiday entertainment for anyone who likes either a dollop of feminist uplift or family values (or both!) with their bloodletting.

November 29, 2003 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There's a pretty good Western hidden somewhere amid the extraneous scenes, unnecessary characters and adoring shots of the New Mexico wilderness, but Howard didn't have the heart to cut his movie.

November 28, 2003
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Ron Howard's vividly gritty and brutally arresting Western is a powerfully effective piece of work.

August 1, 2014 Full Review Source: The Moving Picture Show
The Moving Picture Show

A disappointment; relentlessly bleak and brutal.

December 28, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

"The Missing" is overly drawn out but benefits much from Jones's and Blanchett's absorbing performances.

May 9, 2009 Full Review Source:

Despite gorgeous scenery and an uncharacteristically subtle soundtrack from James Horner, the film has a 'been-there, done-that' quality.

November 18, 2006 Full Review Source: Christianity Today
Christianity Today

Uma boa fotografia e atuações competentes (especialmente da pequena Boyd) não são o bastante para que ignoremos o roteiro longo e sem foco que, além de investir em um deslocado tom sobrenatural, ainda conta um desfecho fraquíssimo.

June 26, 2006
Cinema em Cena

Basically, The Missing is Ron Howard's John Ford impersonation, and the end result is as strangely schizophrenic as it sounds.

June 12, 2006 Full Review Source:

'Breathtakingly beautiful and menacingly primitive.'

March 23, 2005 Full Review
Las Vegas Mercury

The Missing est un suspense des plus ordinaires.

February 25, 2005

A western with a twist: the bad guy, who happens to be Native American, is also a sorcerer.

October 23, 2004
Kansas City Kansan

a brutal, poetic, thoughtful, rusty, corrosive, and somber Western

July 29, 2004 Full Review Source:

A drawn-out depiction of frontier brutality and the racist attitudes of the times.

June 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)

A great film in most every respect.

June 3, 2004

Tommy Lee always makes the film interesting and Blanchett is a standout.

May 26, 2004 Full Review Source: Entertainment Spectrum
Entertainment Spectrum

In 20 years it will probably be regarded as Howard's finest film.

February 13, 2004 Full Review Source: its 10-gallon hat to John Ford’s classic The Searchers, then takes its own unique path along the western genre trail...

February 5, 2004 Full Review
Atlantic City Weekly

Howard hasn't the conviction to make a truly tough-minded thriller. Instead, he indulges in every genre shortcut imaginable, resulting in a film that feels creakingly old the first time through.

January 15, 2004 Full Review Source: eye WEEKLY

Had lesser actors been cast in the two lead roles, The Missing could have been no better than an average episode of Bonanza.

December 13, 2003 Full Review
Star Newspapers (Chicago, IL)

a moody and arduously serious western psychodrama

December 9, 2003 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

Audience Reviews for The Missing

Not even with the names in this movie can keep me awake during this long uninteresting and uncaptivating movie!
September 28, 2013
Film Crazy

Super Reviewer

A pretty good addition to the modern day western, mainly thanks to Ron Howard's direction and Cate Blanchett's performance. I'm not a huge Howard fan (apart from Happy Days) but I'm liking his more recent films. Tommy Lee Jones was good too but he really is a one trick Pony of late, maybe he should try something else for a change because he's becoming a parody of himself. Overall, a pretty good film.
July 13, 2012

Super Reviewer

I am prompted to write this review because I've seen so many negative reviews of The Missing, while personally I enjoyed it and believe it can be defended as at least a good film. It's a modern western, a gripping, chilling adventure, in the vein of John Ford's The Searchers but not so epic in scope or tone. The Missing is beautifully shot and brutal at times, a dark, supernatural spin on the western genre, non-traditional even more with a dominant heroine. This type of tale; white girls kidnapped by ruthless Indians prompting a desperate pursuit and siege, has been done before, but this take is fresh.

I believe the cast to be excellent, and I appreciate director Ron Howard's approach to the characters. Cate Blanchett is the heroine, effective, tough, and believable. Tommy Lee Jones' character is less effective but no less interesting. He's colorful; he adds expertise, but his heavy baggage and decades-long neglect negate any real leadership potential. Blanchett is the dominant force, and the father-daughter dynamic back-story adds some depth.

The Indian sorcerer character, played by Eric Schweig, is brutal and riveting. He's the most frightening character I remember since Hannibal Lecter. His performance is unforgettable, Oscar-caliber.

The Missing isn't perfect, but it is an excellent addition to the modern western alongside: Unforgiven, 3:10 to Yuma, and Purgatory. This story has been criticized for being improbable and melodramatic, but from what I've read, Ron Howard insisted on authenticity throughout the film making process. Call the story unbelievable, so suspend a little disbelief here and go along for the ride. You'll enjoy it.
May 25, 2012
Clintus M.
Clintus Maximus

Super Reviewer

Howard, a true workingman director, rises some to craft this in-love-with-Westerns Western wherein there's more afoot than simply the typical renegade "Injuns". For one thing Dad (Tommy Lee Jones, loving it) done gone native hisself on us. Blanchett (isn't she British or something? whateverrrr ... she's great), frontier healer, has her hands full trying to get her chile outta the hands of one whack Injun medicine man (ala the Duke's The Searchers).
February 24, 2012

Super Reviewer

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