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Alexander (2004)


Average Rating: 3.9/10
Reviews Counted: 195
Fresh: 32 | Rotten: 163

Critics Consensus: Even at nearly three hours long, this ponderous, talky, and emotionally distant biopic fails to illuminate Alexander's life.

Average Rating: 3.9/10
Critic Reviews: 44
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 38

Critics Consensus: Even at nearly three hours long, this ponderous, talky, and emotionally distant biopic fails to illuminate Alexander's life.


Average Rating: 2.6/5
User Ratings: 236,885


Movie Info

The fourth film to chronicle the life of fourth-century B.C. ruler Alexander the Great, Oliver Stone's Alexander stars Colin Farrell as the titular Macedonian conqueror. The film follows the young king as he leads his forces on a bloody empirical conquest across the known world, taking large parts of Asia and the Middle East to amass a giant empire, all by the time he turned 25. Anthony Hopkins co-stars as Ptolemy I along with Rosario Dawson as Roxane, Angelina Jolie as Olympias, Jared Leto as … More

R (for violence and some sexuality/nudity)
Drama , Action & Adventure , Classics
Directed By:
Written By:
Oliver Stone , Christopher Kyle , Laeta Kalogridis
In Theaters:
Aug 2, 2005
Box Office:
Warner Bros. Pictures - Official Site



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Critic Reviews for Alexander

All Critics (202) | Top Critics (47) | Fresh (32) | Rotten (163) | DVD (33)

By summoning his inner classicist, [director] Stone has made an excruciating disaster for the ages.

Full Review… | September 26, 2005
AV Club
Top Critic

Though the battles have the blood-and-sinew bravado you expect from Oliver Stone, this three-hour buttnumbathon is hamstrung by a hectoring grandiosity, not new to Stone, and a nod toward caution, which is.

March 6, 2005
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

A lunk-headed train wreck that looks like a tag sale in a 323 B.C. supermarket in old Peking.

Full Review… | December 10, 2004
New York Observer
Top Critic

At a reported cost of $155 million, Alexander qualifies as a super-spectacle in every respect but one -- namely in its neurotic, confused and sexually ambidextrous hero.

Full Review… | December 10, 2004
New York Observer
Top Critic

Sluggish, unsmiling, and almost as limp as the feather fans with which our heroes are gently aerated on their trip to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

November 30, 2004
New Yorker
Top Critic

It's just a wild, glorious, wacky mess that I found really entertaining.

Full Review… | November 30, 2004
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

This new set presents the film in great quality and comes with some fantastic special features, but it's doubtful that this latest version of "Alexander" is going to change anyone's mind as to the quality of the film itself.

Full Review… | June 2, 2014

For the lucky few that see this without ever having viewed the first cut, they may wonder what all the criticism was about in the first place.

Full Review… | February 9, 2011

Alexander the person was great. This movie isn't.

Full Review… | September 9, 2010
Common Sense Media

General mistakes all across the board contribute and reinforce each other to bring it down

Full Review… | May 1, 2010
Dark Horizons

This is ultimately "Alexander" as written by Danielle Steele...

Full Review… | April 29, 2009
Cinema Crazed

Stone doesn't present characters that the audience can believe in, even for one moment, as representative of their historic roles.

Full Review… | April 15, 2009

This oracular piece of hero-worship is perhaps the squarest film yet from this once-hip director.

Full Review… | July 23, 2007

Stone gives us some truly stirring visuals, music that soars and charges more often than not, and, um, performances that . . . Well, um, okay, about those performances . . .

September 1, 2006
Christianity Today

Unwieldy and flawed, but Stone remains a tornado in an era of airless formula and -- to paraphrase our Ptolemy -- its failings are greater than most films' successes.

Full Review… | April 1, 2006
Empire Magazine

Interesting but flawed film about a fascinating character.

October 7, 2005

Alexander limps along from one fancy set to another.

Full Review… | July 21, 2005
Movie Metropolis

'Como obra cinematográfica, no es la pésima cinta que han destrozado. Es la simple interpretación de un talentoso cineasta sobre la vida de una leyenda de la humanidad'

April 4, 2005

The picture is so thoroughly ridiculous, it's hard to know where to begin in listing its infelicities. But I'll try.

Full Review… | March 18, 2005

The film's sense of drama and tension makes the experience alive and palpable.

Full Review… | February 20, 2005
Film Snobs

An overview of an intensely passionate life as few film-makers could bring it to the screen.

Full Review… | February 16, 2005

Big, grand, messy. If you enjoy a nice slice of Hollywood miscalculation every now and then--and who doesn't--you might have a good time.

January 24, 2005
Bangor Daily News (Maine)

A garbled, over-stuffed turkey force fed with historical events until its liver explodes in a spectacularly colourful and violent bloodbath, tempered with sinewy speeches.

Full Review… | January 17, 2005
Urban Cinefile

By the time its three hours are over, you will feel as exhausted as Alexander at the end of his epic campaign - but not as enriched.

Full Review… | January 15, 2005

Audience Reviews for Alexander


Note: this review covers the theatrical version of the film.

Oliver Stone's epic portrait of one of the greatest figures in history had the potential to be as epic, mythic, and great as the person it is about. What it turned out ot be instead was a bloated, hollow, unfocused mess filled with bland dialogue and some really out there and stilted performances. It's certainly not for lack of trying though.

For this should have been masterpiece, Stone at least assembled an awesome and talented cast that includes Colin Farrell, Angelina Jolie, Val Kilmer, Jared Leto, Anthony Hopkins, Rosario Dawson, and an all too short appearance by Christopher Plummer. Farrell was a decent enough choice, but I' not sure I really like the characterization all that much. Kilmer was okay, but seemed to be channelling his take on Jim Morrison a bit much. Jolie started off fine, but could have stood to dial it down quite a bit, and go for something more subtle and nuanced. Same goes for Rosario, and once again, Stone makes a film where women unfortunately get the short end of the stick. Hopkins was okay, but seemed better suited for a better film. Leto was likewise fair, but sorta came off as a bit too fey.

I liked that the film tried to tackle many facets of Alexander the Great's life, personality, and career, and had some decent themes to it, but it all comes off as really overblown, a tad pretentious, and actually rather boring and meandering. For someone as colorful as Alexander, this shouldn't be the case. The battle scenes are epic, really well done, and some of the best parts of the film, but sadly they are too few and far between, which is a problem when the film has a 175 minute running time and all the other stuff, which good at times, becomes really difficult to sit through.

I will give the film props for having a historical advisor on board (though oddly uncredited for whatever reason), and the costumes, period details, and all that are top notch, as are the cinematography, and Vangelis's score (which is atypical of what he usually does). Overall though, I'm not on board, even though I really wanted to be. I'd like to think that I knew what Stone was going for, but I can't really figure it out. Maybe I need to see one of the other cuts he came out with, since those are supposedly better.

As this one stands though, it's not a failure, but it's still an average, out of control and unbalanced mess.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

The version of Alexander I'm reviewing is the second or director's cut, which may or may not have some bearing on whether I influence anyone else as to whether or not they want to view this film. To be concise, this really stunk. It's a ponderous train wreck of a film, and I couldn't wait for it to end. Whether or not Oliver Stone took liberties with the truth as we know it is irrelevant. It is an incoherent, terrible movie. It is dull and ridiculously over-acted, especially by Farrell and Jolie. Normally I like Anthony Hopkins, Rosario Dawson, and even Val Kilmer sometimes but not much here. I felt sympathy for Dawson's character as well as the actress herself.

The action plays something like the sword and sandal epics of the 1950s, and the battlefield scenes are passable. The "rousing" speech delivered by Farrell on the eve of battle is silly and pretentious though, just like this over burdened film. Stone does aim high, much too high, and maybe that's why this movie crashes. Alexander's story is a compelling human as well as historical story, but Stone doesn't do him justice here.

Many say that the longer, final cut is markedly better, that it is more coherent. I don't know, not having seen it, but in the interest of fairness, I do not dismiss it. If you are into epics like Gladiator, Troy, and Kingdom of Heaven, you may want to consider watching it. If you end up with an Oedipal complex though, don't say I didn't warn you.

Clintus M.
Clintus Maximus

Super Reviewer


Being a die hard history buff, I was quite looking forward to seeing this. Well, when I did I was very disappointed in what I saw. Alexander is a total mess of a film. Everything about the film misplaced. Oliver Stone crafts a film that's based more on fiction than fact. The film is filled with inaccuracies. Considering there is so much documentation on Alexander the Great at hand, you'd think they would at least create a film based on facts, right? But this is Hollywood, so they'll take as much creative liberties as they want without staying true to the historical facts. There are some truly dreadful performances here such as Angelina Jolie and Val Kilmer. Colin Farrell isn't that great either, but he's better than Kilmer and Jolie. Alexander has decent action scenes, nothing great, and the film doesn't really do anything exciting. I thought that Troy was a superior film and that Alexander missed the mark in trying to deliver epic battles scenes. Considering that this film is after all based on Alexander the Great, they could've done something spectacular with the film. Instead, the film misses the mark, and fails to delivers anything grand and interesting on-screen. As a person who's interested in history, I really can't recommend this film because it's really flawed, and above all it has awful acting, and the film drags far too long for this story to be told. If it would've been told right, then the length of this film wouldn't have been a problem, but this is a badly acted and directed mess that just fails to get the facts right.

Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

Don't remember much of this movie, only that it made me pretty tired.

Eric Alvarez
Eric Alvarez

Super Reviewer

Alexander Quotes

Alexander: But I am Alexander. And no more than Earth has two suns, will Asia bear two kings.
– Submitted by George P (10 months ago)
King Philip II: All your life, beware of women, Alexander. They are much more dangerous than men.
– Submitted by George P (10 months ago)
Alexander: You can run to the end of the earth, you coward! But you'll never run far enough!
– Submitted by Elliott T (20 months ago)
Roxane: You l-love him? Alexander: There are different kinds of love Roxane.
– Submitted by Prissy E (21 months ago)
– Submitted by Prissy E (21 months ago)
Old Ptolemy: His failure towered over other men's successes.
– Submitted by Nik M (2 years ago)

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