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Hart's War (2002)


Average Rating: 6/10
Reviews Counted: 121
Fresh: 72
Rotten: 49

Critics Consensus: Well-made and solidly acted, Hart's War is modestly compelling. However, the movie suffers from having too many subplots.

Average Rating: 5.6/10
Reviews Counted: 34
Fresh: 17
Rotten: 17

Critics Consensus: Well-made and solidly acted, Hart's War is modestly compelling. However, the movie suffers from having too many subplots.


Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 43,529



Movie Info

Based on the novel by John Katzenbach, author of Just Cause (1995), this prison camp drama combines elements of A Soldier's Story (1984) and the classic Stalag 17 (1953). Colin Farrell stars as Lt. Tommy Hart, a second-year Harvard Law School student who enlists to fight in World War II but ends up being taken prisoner by the Germans. When a murder at the Nazi-run Stalag Luft 13 leaves a black Tuskegee airman named Lt. Lincoln Scott (Terrence Dashon Howard) accused of the crime, high-ranking … More

R (for some strong war violence and language)
Directed By:
Written By:
Billy Ray , Jeb Stuart , Terry George
In Theaters:
Jul 9, 2002
Box Office:
MGM/UA - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Hart's War

All Critics (127) | Top Critics (35) | Fresh (72) | Rotten (49) | DVD (26)

This earnest WWII escape story throws in a courtroom drama, but to nobody's advantage.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Reaches for more than it can handle, but it's well-acted and earnest in its intentions.

Full Review… | November 6, 2002
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

Proves a servicable World War II drama that can't totally hide its contrivances, but it at least calls attention to a problem Hollywood too long has ignored.

August 9, 2002
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic

An exciting, thoughtful and adrenaline-pumping war picture that is provocative and different.

March 13, 2002
New York Observer
Top Critic

We're situated in that familiar showbiz intersection of Hollywood and Rhine.

Full Review… | February 24, 2002
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic's not your typical war movie but I'm giving it thumbs down because I think its attempts to be different were quite frankly kind of ludicrous.

Full Review… | February 19, 2002
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

Big WWII drama about honor, courage and sacrifice.

Full Review… | December 24, 2010
Common Sense Media

Nationality, race and politics clash in unexpected ways in this well-directed and acted but extremely old-fashioned prison drama that recalls genre film sof the 1950s and 1960s.

Full Review… | October 30, 2006

In the ever-increasing onslaught of war movies, it stands head and shoulders above most of the competition.

Full Review… | May 26, 2006
Combustible Celluloid

'Hart's War' is a perfect example of a film that remains anchored in mediocrity from beginning to end. It plods along like a chronic asthmatic, meandering to a conclusion that's both irritating and implausible.

Full Review… | February 13, 2003

...Suitably gritty and intense...

Full Review… | February 8, 2003
Film Quips Online

It's hard to know whether or not to recommend this film because for every thing it does right there's at least one and occasionally two things it gets ever so wrong.

Full Review… | December 8, 2002
Film Threat

Engaging thriller combines military movie genres and succeeds as more than the sum of its well-oiled parts.

Full Review… | November 7, 2002

Paint-by-numbers claptrap.

Full Review… | October 21, 2002
San Diego Metropolitan

As old-fashioned as it can get, a throwback to cinema's Golden Age and a tribute to the flawed, guilty human beings we call heroes.

Full Review… | October 15, 2002
Cincinnati Enquirer

As an American propagandistic attempt to market patriotism (or courage, or honor), it is arguably successful; by its own merits it is merely decent.

Full Review… | August 28, 2002

The movie's surplus of male-fraternizing never conveys that these Americans are under imminent danger and stress.

Full Review… | August 27, 2002

Hart's War is an absorbing courtroom drama that gives Farrell the chance to show off his star quality although the ending disappoints.

Full Review… | August 17, 2002
Urban Cinefile

It makes a few fundamental mistakes along the way--mostly due to Willis' star power--but it's still thoroughly entertaining

Full Review… | August 12, 2002
Shadows on the Wall

A perfectly respectable, perfectly inoffensive, easily forgettable film.

August 4, 2002

A compact story told with focus and assurance.

Full Review… | August 3, 2002
Mark Reviews Movies

Neither the film nor its characters break any new ground, but for most of its running time it is an intelligent and compelling prisoner-of-war story

June 27, 2002
Movie Metropolis

A serious and absorbing drama with the old-fashioned notion of telling a story and taking the necessary time to do so.

May 28, 2002

Audience Reviews for Hart's War

Hart's War really burdens itself with sentimentality and trying to tell too many stories at once. The performances are all good, as are the intentions I'm sure, but the situation and story just doesn't work, add in the court room element, the who done it and the race issue, it just comes across as a contrived mess. There is enough there to enjoy but it is very difficult to take too seriously, which is a shame and a bit awkward, given the setting.

Anthony Lawrie

Super Reviewer

Hart's War is a very interesting and intriguing Thriller set during the Second World in a POW camp. Hart's War may not be a perfect film, but it dies manage to keep you entertained throughout. Helmed by director Gregory Hoblit, who is a very underrated and talented director, Hart's War is a well acted film with a good enough story. Many reviewers complain that it's a courtroom drama, well no shit, it is in a way. Theres nothing wrong with that, and I found the second half of this film to be quite good. Obviously Hart's War is not a perfect film, theres way too many flaws to count, but the way I see it, is it's an entertaining dramatic thriller with typical Hollywood elements to make the film more appealing to a wider audience. This film is not meant to be realistic in any way, it's just pure entertainment. Simple as that. The film boasts a decent cast of actors, and along with Phone Booth, this is Colin Farrell's best film, I'm not really a fan of his work, but in these two films he's very good. Overall, Hart's War is a pretty good dramatic Thriller, it may try to be too dramatic at times, but it's still a pretty good film worth watching. One of more interesting aspects of this film the numerous twists that unfold throughout, I found them quite thrilling, and you never get an idea of what really is going on till the very end. Before dismissing this film, give it a shot; for me it's a strong 6 out of 10. The actors playing the characters are well suited and just with the idea in mind that a "law student is assigned to defend a black prisoner accused of murder" should give the potential viewer a heads up that this will venture into courtroom drama territory. It's not the best film setting, granted, but it's certainly not the worst. A good enough film to watch on a rainy day.

Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

I really don't know, where to place 'Hart's War'. The film starts as a normal POW (prisoner of war) movie, but when the second half begins, it turns into a courtroom drama.

Gregory Hoblit, the director of 'Hart's War', has had somewhat of a rollercoaster type of career. After a good movie, he gives us a poor one. He started his feature film career with the excellent 'Primal Fear', then came 'Fallen'. After these came ''Frequency', 'Hart's War', 'Fracture' and then 'Untraceable'. See what I mean? Almost came queasy...

'Hart's War' does have some good scenes but in overall, the film is very uneven. The characters have almost zero depth in 'em. The film also tries to deal with racism but the whole issue was in the end buried beneath the screenwriters unimaginative end twist.

Colin Farrell and Marcel Lures give nice performances but the rest of the cast seem to enjoy a nice holiday in a POW camp type of holiday resort. If I were a POW, I'd like to spend some time in a camp where the prisoners have their own theatre and leisure rooms. Pretty far fetched?

'Hart's War', you'll love it or hate it. Or get bored as I did. For fans of Farrell and Willis only. Those who seek for something better, try a classic like 'Stalag 17'.

Jani H

Super Reviewer

pretty decent war time film mixed with court room drama

danny d

Super Reviewer

Hart's War Quotes

Col. Werner Visser:
Look around you.....this is not Geneva.
– Submitted by Pattie C (2 years ago)
Col. William McNamara:
If we dual, we both lose.
– Submitted by Kevin M (3 years ago)

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