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The New World (2005)


Average Rating: 6.7/10
Reviews Counted: 176
Fresh: 109
Rotten: 67

Critics Consensus: Despite arresting visuals and strong lead performances, The New World suffers from an unfocused narrative that will challenge viewers' attention spans over its 2 1/2 hours.

Average Rating: 6.6/10
Reviews Counted: 44
Fresh: 24
Rotten: 20

Critics Consensus: Despite arresting visuals and strong lead performances, The New World suffers from an unfocused narrative that will challenge viewers' attention spans over its 2 1/2 hours.


Average Rating: 2.9/5
User Ratings: 147,391


Movie Info

This epic adventure is set amid the encounter of European and Native American cultures during the founding of the Jamestown Settlement in 1607. Inspired by the legend of John Smith and Pocahontas, this story is a sweeping exploration of love, loss and discovery -- both a celebration and an elegy of the America that was... and the America that was yet to come. Against a historically accurate Virginia backdrop, two strong-willed characters -- a passionate and noble young native woman and an … More

PG-13 (for some intense battle sequences)
Drama , Action & Adventure , Romance
Directed By:
In Theaters:
May 9, 2006
Box Office:
New Line Cinema - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for The New World

All Critics (182) | Top Critics (45) | Fresh (109) | Rotten (67) | DVD (24)

These whispered ruminations are beautifully written, but whose voice are we hearing?

Full Review… | November 1, 2007
Top Critic

The New World isn't Terrence Malick's best, but it's guiding him in the right direction.

Full Review… | January 20, 2006
Top Critic

The New World laps over its audience like water on a deserted beach, moving so quietly that you almost don't notice that it's enveloped you.

Full Review… | January 20, 2006
Seattle Times
Top Critic

The New World is stately almost to the point of being static and thus has trouble finding a central story around which to arrange itself; it's not quite the thin dead line, but it's close.

Full Review… | January 20, 2006
Washington Post
Top Critic

He [Malick] swoons for his own well-honed image as a painter of woodland idylls, a man who leaves no sway of wheat or ripple of water unmet by his fatherly gaze.

Full Review… | January 20, 2006
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Through elliptical and seemingly oblique methods, he [Malick] forges moments of staggering emotional power.

Full Review… | January 20, 2006
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Great works, when they next-to-never come, are always accompanied by giggles.

Full Review… | March 2, 2014
Stop Smiling

Malick manages to do something I never thought possible, and that's make America seem like a New World to begin with.

Full Review… | February 21, 2014
Movie Mezzanine

Discovery is a sensory experience by nature, and to lightly run one's fingers through someone's hair in The New World is to know them in some fundamental way.

Full Review… | October 14, 2011
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

It is about the dreams we have when we are awake but in a state of absolute peace and perfect self-reflection.

Full Review… | June 10, 2011
Antagony & Ecstasy

By now the familiar elements have begun to resemble a misguided perfume commercial. Call it Terrence Malick's Obsession.

Full Review… | May 13, 2011

Not Malick's best film, but more than up to his usual high standards, The New World is a powerful and emotional romantic drama, and an essential story in the history of America.

Full Review… | April 20, 2011

Makes you view the world with virgin eyes again

Full Review… | August 30, 2009

"The New World" is a movie that promises to leave its viewers with a bigger headache than you'd get contemplating the current state of global affairs.

Full Review… | April 16, 2009

If I think I'm mostly going to keep coming back to [the 172-minute] cut (and I do hope, someday soon, for a Mr. Arkadin-like 3-cuts comparative DVD set) it's because it feels most fully realized.

Full Review… | January 2, 2009
House Next Door

...the romance of the three humans is secondary to the romance of the New World itself and all it symbolizes.

Full Review… | October 12, 2008
Movie Metropolis

[Malick's] characters must consider their lives, consider each other, and resolve the situation like adults. And when they do, a story that seemed to be irredeemably broken snaps back together.

Full Review… | June 3, 2008
Paste Magazine

An epic retelling of the Pocahontas story that, despite its flaws, leaves you slack-jawed with wonder at times.

Full Review… | April 28, 2008

The New World is a thing of wild beauty, untamed and feral yet luxurious, sumptuous and lavish all at the same time.

Full Review… | February 28, 2008

The Terrence Malick masterpiece I, for one, have been waiting for.

Full Review… | July 14, 2007
Big Picture Big Sound

A two-and-a-half-hour cinematic mosaic meant by Malick more as a monument to himself than to the misrepresented maiden it presumes to memorialize.

Full Review… | May 26, 2007
Upstage Magazine

A real work of art, a hearty meal in today's cinematic fast-food culture.

Full Review… | March 1, 2007
Film Journal International

ill be cheered by a relatively small, but educated and curious contingent of ticket buyers.

Full Review… | January 19, 2007

Unfortunately, when you try to bring everything together, it's hard to tell what Malick is trying to get at.

Full Review… | January 5, 2007
Q Network Film Desk

Lazily reassuring, a dime-store haiku, and a master's nadir.

Full Review… | October 30, 2006

Audience Reviews for The New World


I enjoyed this movie, but I suspect I'll probably enjoy it with a second or third viewing. Also, maybe if I plan to watch it (instead of turning it on because it happens to be on unexpectedly), and watch it when I'm not tired and can focus, then I'll enjoy it more.

Terence Malick is a very acquired taste, but is capable of providing some rewarding stuff. One has to be in the right mood to enjoy his stuff, but if you can get into that groove, then the experience is quite something. This take on the Pocahontas story, while taking liberties and guilty of some inaccuracies, does far better justice than the 90s raping perpetrated by Disney. For one, this is just better shot, not (really as, if at all) whitewashed, and just a better production all around. Oddly enough, Christian Bale is involved with both films.

Despite some license with history/story, and a purposeful desire to focus on the romance, this is a thoughtful, gorgeous poem about culture, nature, and life. As is common with Malick's work, the cinematography and visuals are absolutely stunning. This sucker is just wonderful to stare at. What misgivings the story has are made up with more faithful attempts to accurately depict cultures, sets, locations, and costumes. The art direction and set design, like the camera work, are dynamite.

The real star of the show is nature. The humans do a good job too, but they are merely supporting players, even the characters who are supposed to be the leads. This is art, so I'm sure most people won't like this. It wouldn't be what they're expecting. Much like 2001, Solaris, and other great works of art, this film is long, slow paced, and features minimal dialogue. I appreciate the subtlety and not having everything handed to me. What's odd though is that while there's not much dialogue, there's a lot of voice overs to fill in the gaps. Some don't like this (as I've read), but it didn't bug me too much. One thing I really appreciated is how not all of the scenes with Native Americans speaking are subtitled. I liked that. It makes the viewer pay attention and pulls them into feeling just like the colonists in terms of having to jump a communication hurdle.

I wanted to like this more, but I found it hard to watch. For the reasons I opened this review with, it's not so much to the fault of the film. I think you should give this a chance, if only to stare and gorgeous images and listen to beautiful music while cultures clash in an artistically rendered historical romance.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer


A gorgeous, heavily emotional film from the brilliant Terrence Malick concerning the dawn of the exploration of America, and how John Smith (Colin Farrell) becomes deeply connected with the princes Pocahontas (Q'Orianka Kilcher) after she saves him from certain death by her people. Unfortunately, this is a very misunderstood movie. It isn't aiming for historical accuracy or to tell a usual epic story, instead it is a long, winding poem full of whispers, beautiful scenery, and fantastic music. It is not for everyone given its length (the director's cut runs nearly three hours) and unique style, but the hypnotizing grasp this film had on me lasted for near its entirety. Sure, as said, it takes some liberties with how to portray historical characters (there's no way Smith would be as quiet and reflective in real life as he is here), but this is a truly beautiful movie and moving story to be a part of. It's a mixture of history and romance, but most importantly, it's an experience. This is a work of beautiful art, which is undeniably the goal of Malick. The gorgeous, mature Kilcher is a revelation as Pocahontas, and Farrell is extremely impressive as a romanticized Smith. You either love Malick (like me), or you hate him. To me, this might be his finest work, which is saying something.

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

Terrence Malick has a knack of filming the human experience as if it were a nature documentary, and a very long one at that! Still the story of Pocahontas is an enticing one and the actors are captivating.

Ross Collins

Super Reviewer


I guess even Terrance Malick is allowed to screw up every once and a while. Now, I have loved his three pervious pictures, "Badlands," "Days of Heaven," and "The Thin Red Line" but "The New World" felt like Malick was resting on his laurels. The story of Pocahontas is a classic, timeless one but Malick misses the true message and heart of it. His other films work as well as they do because he is able to find the balance between his visceral, breathtaking images and his obscure philosophical storytelling. The narrative of "The New World" almost demands that it be told in a straightforward way. While the cinematography, period design, voiceover dialogue and musical score are fantastic- they alone don't make a film worthwhile. The plot moves along so quickly here that important points are completely glided over. This simply does not work. While it was fine in his much more abstract pervious efforts, the effect simply takes away any emotional connection I had with the story. "The New World" may have seemed like a good idea on paper, but the outcome is plodding, misguided and frankly quite boring. Malick forgets to add heart to a story that requires it and without it, "The New World" is just a series of meaningless, but beautiful, images.

Steven Carrier

Super Reviewer

The New World Quotes

Have you found your Indies, John?
John Smith:
I might have sailed past them.
– Submitted by Sonia N (2 years ago)
What else is life, but being near you?
– Submitted by Kate S (3 years ago)

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