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The Fifth Element (1997)


Average Rating: 6.3/10
Reviews Counted: 58
Fresh: 41
Rotten: 17

Critics Consensus: Visually inventive and gleefully over the top, Luc Besson's The Fifth Element is a fantastic piece of pop sci-fi that never takes itself too seriously.

Average Rating: 5.1/10
Reviews Counted: 13
Fresh: 5
Rotten: 8

Critics Consensus: Visually inventive and gleefully over the top, Luc Besson's The Fifth Element is a fantastic piece of pop sci-fi that never takes itself too seriously.


Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 583,844



Movie Info

Good and evil battle for the future of 23rd century Earth in this visually striking big-budget science fiction epic. In the movie's prologue, which is set in 1914, scientists gather in Egypt at the site of an event that transpired centuries earlier. Aliens, it seemed, arrived to collect four stones representing the four basic elements (earth, air, fire and water) - warning their human contacts that the objects were no longer safe on Earth. A few hundred years later (in the 23rd century), a huge … More

PG-13 (For intense sci-fi violence, some sexuality and brief nudity.)
Drama , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By:
Luc Besson , Robert Mark Kamen
In Theaters:
Dec 9, 1997
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment


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Critic Reviews for The Fifth Element

All Critics (60) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (41) | Rotten (17) | DVD (43)

In this movie and many like it, the only elements that count are impact, impact, impact and impact. The fifth element is gibberish.

Full Review… | July 14, 2014
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic

A hodgepodge of elements that don't comfortably coalesce.

Full Review… | September 4, 2008
Top Critic

Besson's futuristic fable is flawed by a messy narrative which strains to incorporate far too many grotesque and eccentric characters.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The Fifth Element has to be the most creative visualization since Tim Burton's first Batman in 1989. On top of that, it's a whole lot of fun.

Full Review… | June 18, 2002
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

There's no doubt about it, when it comes to saving the world, Bruce Willis is your man. He does it with smarts and style, humor and courage.

Full Review… | February 14, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Mr. Besson directs with ceaseless flamboyance and with an obvious enthusiasm for his film's comic book conceits. But the tone of The Fifth Element is often terribly shrill, especially when attention shifts to grating minor characters.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
New York Times
Top Critic

A jaw-dropping, mind-blowing pop epic that gives you everything from the slam-bang sci-fi fantasy of Star Wars to the inspired slapstick lunacy of The Marx Brothers

Full Review… | July 19, 2014
The Moving Picture Show

Loud, long, and overwhelming...

Full Review… | March 17, 2013
Reel Film Reviews

Stylish and very violent sci-fi action flick.

Full Review… | January 1, 2011
Common Sense Media

Pure eye-candy and a rollicking good-time.

Full Review… | March 24, 2009
Three Movie Buffs

It's a triumph of form over content, but it's a stunning triumph.

Full Review… | February 3, 2008

I knew where it was going at all times, but the ride was excellent.

Full Review… | May 26, 2006
Combustible Celluloid

The story is such a cut-rate kid's sci-fi fairy tale that at one point Evil actually calls Gary Oldman on the phone (and it isn't played for laughs).

Full Review… | December 6, 2005
Film Threat

Besson has done a solid, if not outstanding, job in bringing his story, written as a teenager, to the big screen.

Full Review… | April 9, 2005
Reeling Reviews

A motion picture with the body of a mainstream blockbuster but the spirit of a trendy cult flick.

Full Review… | January 26, 2005
Creative Loafing

The special effects provided Besson with the tools to provide the movie with the spectacular images, displaying the eagerness of a child in a candy store.

Full Review… | August 29, 2003

It's cyberpunk!

Full Review… | April 8, 2003
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Everything from the visual effects to the costume design seems to shout out like a precocious child: "Look at me!"

Full Review… | March 18, 2003

The best-looking science fiction movie to come out in years, with fabulous sets, costumes and special effects, but its plot doesn't quite measure up to its appearance.

Full Review… | March 16, 2003
Laramie Movie Scope

Fifth Element doesn't reach the level of great sci-fi to which it clearly aspires because it has too many characters doing too many things for too few reasons. Still, it's a lot of fun.

Full Review… | October 15, 2002
Cincinnati Enquirer

don't mind the one-dimensional characters and the sci-fi nonsense, but I really could have done without the unfunny, very French humor.

Full Review… | September 10, 2002
Montreal Film Journal

Slam-dunk sci-fi extravaganza.

Full Review… | August 26, 2002
Spirituality and Practice

Audience Reviews for The Fifth Element


There is something amusing about the way it embraces camp but Besson crosses the line into goofy, ridiculous flamboyance with an insufferable Chris Tucker, an over-the-top Gary Oldman overacting insanely and a really preposterous plot that makes impossible any suspension of disbelief.

Carlos MagalhŃes

Super Reviewer


It's the weirdest, coolest futuristic movie I've ever seen. The story is pretty cool and Gary Oldman is especially cool as the arch-villain. It's rare to find a sci-fi movie like this anymore. Bruce Willis is of course the go-to action king of films.

Wildaly M

Super Reviewer


Subtlety is most definitely not the order of the day in Luc Besson's high camp space opera, and it's scattershot approach does mean there are a few things about it I don't appreciate. The soundtrack is occasionally horrendous, Jean Paul Gaultier's insistence (as usual) on dressing half the male cast up as the off Broadway chapter of the Erasure fan club, and most of all, Chris Tucker who is so irritating it makes my teeth hurt. What makes the film work is it's sense of humour which permeates the entire proceedings and it's breakneck pace that means it never dwells too long on any particular aspect of the story. There are some great action sequences, cool Gilliam-esque production design, and loads of funny moments, mostly supplied by Gary Oldman who steals every scene he is in as a kind of psychotic southern sci fi version of Terry-Thomas. Silly, tongue in cheek and hugely entertaining.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer


An absurd, visually spectacular, totally goofy sci-fi good vs. evil tale that takes place in a futuristic society where a taxi cab driver (Bruce Willis) is compelled to assist an alien (Milla Jovovich) in bringing down the evil planet that is threatening to destroy earth. It's a ridiculously nerdy script of the highest order, but the film's ability to come across as totally self-aware of it's insanity is a nice surprise, as sometimes you will see sci-fi films go with the pretentious "this is important" approach. It's a hard movie to recommend because it is so stupid and totally goofy in a campy way, but I have to say I enjoyed it. Sure it is a little over-long, but any time you have Gary Oldman sporting a southern accent and being in total villain mode, how can you not help but watch? The visuals are very impressive for its day and age, and Willis's workmanlike performance is a nice move. Not everyone's cup of tea by a large stretch, but for fans of sci-fi, it has to be respected.

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

The Fifth Element Quotes

Korben Dallas:
You wanna play it soft. We'll play it soft. You wanna play it hard. Let's play it hard.
– Submitted by Jazen H (49 days ago)
Korben Dallas:
Finger's gunna kill me.
– Submitted by Jazen H (49 days ago)
Jean-Baptiste-Emmanuel Zorg:
I don't like warriors. Too narrow-minded, no subtlety. And worse, they fight for hopeless causes. Honor? Huh! Honor's killed millions of people, it hasn't saved a single one.
– Submitted by Jazen H (49 days ago)
Ruby Rhod:
What's wrong with you? What you screamin' for? Every 5 minutes there's somethin', a bomb or somethin'. I'm leavin'. bzzzz.
– Submitted by Jazen H (49 days ago)
Korben Dallas:
Anyone else want to negotiate?
– Submitted by Jacob M (18 months ago)
Jean-Baptiste-Emmanuel Zorg:
[unfazed after an explosion erupted right behind him] Bring me the priest.
– Submitted by David E (22 months ago)

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