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Black Hawk Down (2001)



Average Rating: 6.9/10
Reviews Counted: 170
Fresh: 129 | Rotten: 41

Though it's light on character development and cultural empathy, Black Hawk Down is a visceral, pulse-pounding portrait of war, elevated by Ridley Scott's superb technical skill.


Average Rating: 6.5/10
Critic Reviews: 40
Fresh: 28 | Rotten: 12

Though it's light on character development and cultural empathy, Black Hawk Down is a visceral, pulse-pounding portrait of war, elevated by Ridley Scott's superb technical skill.



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Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 469,765

My Rating

Movie Info

A quickly forgotten chapter in United States military history is relived in this harrowing war drama from director Ridley Scott, based on a series of Philadelphia Inquirer articles and subsequent book by reporter Mark Bowden. On October 3rd, 1993, an elite team of more than 100 Delta Force soldiers and Army Rangers, part of a larger United Nations peacekeeping force, are dropped into civil war-torn Mogadishu, Somalia, in an effort to kidnap two of local crime lord Mohamed Farah Aidid's top


Drama, Action & Adventure

Ken Nolan

Jun 11, 2002


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All Critics (172) | Top Critics (40) | Fresh (129) | Rotten (41) | DVD (54)

I also don't know how well this 2001 drama represents the events of October 3 and 4, 1993, though I can see that it represents them in a realist vein, referring to other war movies without becoming frivolous.

November 8, 2011 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Black Hawk Down makes that point without preachment, in precise and pitiless imagery. And for that reason alone it takes its place on the very short list of the unforgettable movies about war and its ineradicable and immeasurable costs.

November 8, 2011 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A relentless immersion in combat strikingly realized but none too pleasurable to sit through.

January 2, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[Scott] does a reasonable job sketching the complicated and contradictory political context, but attempts to bring in the odd Somali perspective are grossly inadequate.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A first-rate war movie that presents its subject so horrifyingly well that it doesn't need to probe or preach.

July 20, 2002 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Comments (2)
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[D]efinitely worth seeing for those amazing battle sequences.

January 24, 2002 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It looks fantastic, not least because it boasts helicopter scenes to rival those of Apocalypse Now.

November 8, 2011 Full Review Source: Film4

Violent depiction of a risky rescue; adults only.

January 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media | Comments (2)
Common Sense Media

No film from the Zeroes - hell, maybe ever - more forcefully imparted the horrors of war as thoroughly, coherently and hauntingly. Even justified wars run rampant with monstrosities, and this showed just how critical camaraderie can be in conquering them.

September 25, 2010 Full Review Source:

Black Hawk Down" is a precise vision of how little war has changed in spite of America's high-tech equipment and extensive vocabulary of modern tactics.

August 23, 2009 Full Review Source:

While fine films like Saving Private Ryan depict warfare at its worst, they do not depict warfare in modernity. I cannot imagine a better representation of war, with all of its urban complexities, than Black Hawk Down.

February 28, 2008 Full Review Source: | Comments (5)

Action masters Ridley Scott and Jerry Bruckheimer prove that it is possible to extend the opening twenty minutes of Saving Private Ryan to two full hours. Now all they have to do is spend some of that time creating characters to care about.

December 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Big Picture Big Sound
Big Picture Big Sound

It would've been nice to get to know a few of the men we're meant to care about.

July 23, 2007 Full Review Source: | Comments (11)

Ambitious, sumptuously-framed and frenetic, Black Hawk Down occasionally errs on the confused, but is nonetheless a rare find of a war movie which dares to turn genre convention on its head.

December 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Though visually awesome in its gritty portrayal of combat, the film is marred by lack of coherent or engaging story and distinguishable characters to anchor the tale.

April 26, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

'Black Hawk Down' jerks you around, slaps the side of your head, and kicks your butt back up to keep moving on. [Published 1-26-02]

December 11, 2005 Full Review | Comment (1)
Kansas City Kansan

War is inevitable, and often gruesome, but it also turns brave soldiers into heroes.

June 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY) | Comment (1)

One helluva war film.

March 7, 2004 Full Review Source: Blunt Review | Comment (1)
Blunt Review

It's a rather shrewd move to not develop the characters beyond the most limited degree; the cold, wasteful machine-like quality to the destruction comes across all the better without forced melodrama.

January 12, 2004 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

... A film that needed to be made and needs to be seen.

January 7, 2004 Full Review Source: Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)
Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)

As with the real life operation, the movie was not very well thought out.

January 1, 2004 Full Review | Comments (4)

The immediacy and realism of BHD is the key to its success, largely constructed through superior direction and a good cast, elements that ensure the viewer a harrowing yet enjoyable cinematic experience.

November 6, 2003 Full Review Source: Future Movies UK

Audience Reviews for Black Hawk Down

Not just a thoughtless quip-and-rip action blockbuster - decently memorable characters, precise tactical narrative, and a good amount of heart. And surprisingly, bridging the edge of my gore tolerance but not too overwhelmingly violent for me.
August 7, 2014
Letitia Lew

Super Reviewer

An American Black Hawk helicopter is shot down during a raid on a Somali warlord in Mogadishu leading to a desperate rescue mission faced with overwhelming opposition. In Black Hawk Down, Ridley Scott has created one of the most realistic war movies ever made. You really feel like you're in the thick of an urban warzone and the excellent ensemble cast make for very believable protagonists. It's usually a fine line between respect for the bravery of the fighting man and macho, gung ho bullshit, but Scott stays on the right side by focussing on the loyalty between comrades fighting for each others lives rather than the usual "God And Country" crap that many war films fall back on. It laso concentrates on the fact that despite what the propaganda machine may have us believe, modern warfare is, as ever, concerned with the brutal, harrowing deaths of many young men as the film has a lot more in common with The Alamo or Zulu than Jarhead or The Hurt Locker. It takes a lot of stylistic cues from Apocalypse Now making for artful visuals that are attractive without ever compromising the visceral realism of combat and despite a rather dry opening full of military jargon and diagrams, as the situation gets more desperate and the fighting more intense, it gets better and better. It's true the film doesn't really explore the political context of the conflict and the Somali side of the story is largely ignored, but what is presented on film is executed to perfection. One of the best modern war films around.
August 7, 2013
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

Black Hawk Down is one of the many war films I have watched recently. It too is one of the better one's I have watched. It is packed with a lot of talent. Which of course makes this film that much better because the performances are so good. Tom Sizemore is good in this movie and it makes me kinda sad to see his life go to shit, cause he is a tallented actor. Eric Bana was a bad-ass in this movie. He moves like a panther and doesn't seem scared but determined. Ewan McGregor plays Ranger Specialist Grimes. He is very comfortable with his position of being behind the desk and out of the fighting scene. But when his time comes it's a big surprise at how he handles himself in the crossfire.
Plenty of action in this film. It's loaded with plenty of exploisions, blood, and gore. It's sad, funny, and like any war film, scary that people go through this. It's not a movie I would watch again. I just don't watch most war flicks more than once."
February 8, 2013

Super Reviewer


Low on character development but absolutely gigantic on production values and realistic battle sequences, Black Hawk Down triumphs on the technical level one would expect from an amazing artist like Ridley Scott. Comparable to Alien with it's cinematography, art direction and editing, it's one of his most graphic and gritty films and rightfully so. The genius of this brilliant film is in it's sense of realism and unrestrained violence which not only is uncommon in modern blockbusters, but action films as a whole. It maintains a fantastically truthful tone of believeability. Despite a few cheesy sequences and sometimes resorting to overdrama with it's dialogue the convincing acting, flawless direction and some incredibly edgy and jaw dropping action sequences render this a relentless, unique war movie. Never feeling too fast paced with the scenes of full on warfare it's an incredible visual masterpiece.
July 5, 2012
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

    1. Ranger Lt. Col. Danny McKnight: Nothing takes 5 minutes.
    – Submitted by Vince A (12 months ago)
    1. Twombly: We almost fucking killed you! Well, come to us!
    2. Yurek: Fuck you! Come to me!
    – Submitted by Miguel V (17 months ago)
    1. Ruiz: Don't go back out without me.
    – Submitted by The Vinh H (18 months ago)
    1. Steele: Anybody comes through that door, you give 'em two in the chest and one in the head.
    – Submitted by Sooraj S (2 years ago)
    1. Delta Sgt. First Class "Hoot" Gibson: Y'know what I think? Don't really matter what I think. Once that first bullet goes past your head, politics and all that shit just goes right out the window.
    – Submitted by Sam B (3 years ago)
    1. Harrell: We've got a Black Hawk down. We've got a Black Hawk down.
    – Submitted by Conner F (3 years ago)
View all quotes (9)

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