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The Iron Giant (1999)



Average Rating: 8.1/10
Reviews Counted: 123
Fresh: 119 | Rotten: 4

Engaging, endearing, affecting and charmingly retro, The Iron Giant tackles touchy subjects and complex relationships with a steady hand and beautiful animation direction from Brad Bird.


Average Rating: 7.9/10
Critic Reviews: 36
Fresh: 35 | Rotten: 1

Engaging, endearing, affecting and charmingly retro, The Iron Giant tackles touchy subjects and complex relationships with a steady hand and beautiful animation direction from Brad Bird.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 200,120

My Rating

Movie Info

A boy's best friend is his robot in this animated adventure from Brad Bird, best known for his TV work on such series as The Simpsons, King of the Hill, and The Critic. Set in 1957, The Iron Giant focuses on Hogarth (voice of Eli Marienthal), an imaginative nine-year-old boy who daydreams of alien invasions and doing battle with Communist agents. One day, Hogarth hears a local fisherman talk about something that surpasses anything he could dream up: a fifty-foot robot that fell from the sky into

Nov 23, 1999

Warner Bros. Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (123) | Top Critics (36) | Fresh (119) | Rotten (4) | DVD (39)

The Iron Giant is not only the best animated feature to be released this summer, it's the single best film to hit our screens so far this year.

August 4, 2013 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Brad Bird fills the CinemaScope screen with wit and beauty in this modern fairy tale.

August 4, 2013 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It is in the best tradition of animation: an ideal tale for children that offers a lot to adults as well.

August 4, 2013
Associated Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Lest all of this sound gravely symbolic, be assured that the film is, before anything else, deliciously funny and deeply affecting. And beautiful, oh so beautiful, as a work of coherent art.

August 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A smart live-and-let-live parable, full of glancing, acute observations on all kinds of big subjects...that you can talk about with the kids for a long time to come.

August 31, 2008 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine | Comment (1)
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is enjoyable in part because of its flavorsome period ambience and its lively and satiric characters.

March 10, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comment (1)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Disney is getting fierce competition in the animated feature department these days.

August 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

A well-told and beautifully drawn tale of friendship and fortitude.

August 4, 2013 Full Review Source: People Magazine
People Magazine

The Iron Giant has a great heart, and I loved its evocation of the days when good old Superman, as uncomplicated a superhero as ever existed, was the height of cool.

August 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Baltimore Sun
Baltimore Sun

This wonderful Warner Bros version of Ted Hughes's The Iron Man is a first-class achievement in cartoon virtuosity that liberally borrows images from 1950s comic-book art and science-fiction movies to stunning effect.

August 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

The movie wears its social responsibility with pride, even if it doesn't always know how to put together a coherent public service announcement.

August 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
Metro Times (Detroit, MI)

It's worth repeating the old complaint that animation isn't treated seriously enough, if only to point out what a shame it would be for The Iron Giant, one of the year's best films, to go overlooked.

August 4, 2013 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club

a cool, charming uniquely American fable done in accessible yet intelligent mode, which makes it suitable for all members of the family.

August 5, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

The Iron Giant isn't a Cold War allegory so much as an Americana fairy tale.

December 20, 2010 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Great animation, and a great title character will appeal to the kids, while the sharp wit, whacky antics, and kid-friendly messages will appeal to the adults.

April 29, 2009
Cinema Crazed

Gentle, poignant and affecting animation that succeeds through understatement and showcases some highly impressive visual sequences.

March 10, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4


May 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Un film qui présenta Brad Bird comme l'un des cinéastes de films d'animation pour enfants les plus talentueux et prometteurs des dernières années.

March 28, 2006 Full Review Source: Panorama

Audience Reviews for The Iron Giant

Beautifully animated, well-told, and--in typical Brad Bird fashion--mature, smartly written, and funny, The Iron Giant is an underrated animated masterpiece that appeals to both children and adults. Its freshness and charismatic characters foreshadow Bird's eventual direction of Pixar's The Incredibles, while its Cold War-era setting and engaging storyline make it a memorable and emotional cinematic experience that is, truthfully, a hundred times better than any animated film made in the last decade.
August 17, 2013
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer

This was animation maestro Brad Bird's feature length directorial debut, and, I must say, it is easily one of the best example of how to do an intelligent and thoughtful animated film for kids, and do it very, very well.

Set in a small Maine town in the 1950s, this is the story of Hogarth Hughes- an imaginative 9 year-old who stumbles upon a massive alien robot who crashes lands near his town. Finding himself bonding with this strange, yet fantastical metal behemoth, Hogarth finds that his growing extraterrestrial friendship is tested when pesky government agents come to investigate reports of something potentially dangerous lurking in the area.

Taking cues from E.T. and The Day The Earth Stood Still, this is a magnificent film about friendship, extraordinary circumstances, and tolerance. It's also a very slick and sly satire of 50s culture, with special attention paid to paranoia, McCarthyism, Cold War suspicions, and the sci-fi craze.

Hogarth is a likable kid, and his relationship with the titular character is finely developed. Hogarth's single mom and his friend Dean- a local beatnik artist/junkyard owner are also really good characters, and are more than just one-dimensional cardboard cutouts. The pesky and relentless government investigator is admittedly somewhat less developed compared to the others, but he still comes across as a tad more than a caricature.

As for the voice acting, it's really good. Eli Marienthal is a lot of fun as Hogarth, Jennifer Aniston is surprisingly believable as Hogarth's mom,Harry Connick Jr. is delightful as Dean, and, while it's a case of more typecasting, Christopher McDonald is fun as Kent Manley the government agent. He doesn't have too many lines, but Vin Diesel is also quite good as the Iron Giant, providing an appropriate amount of roboticness, but also managing to bring in some humanity, as the character evolves.

This is a great film for all ages, but especially kids, as it does a wonderful job at addressing some important issues in a clever and creative way. The animation and look are wonderful, the film has a nice mix of humor, heart, and action, and is extremely well paced and balanced. It's quite moving, and I will admit to getting teary at the end, but I feel like it was earned.

My only real gripe is that the film's message, while nice, is perhaps a bit too narrow minded and preachy.

All in all, this is some dynamite stuff. I really wish more entertainment for kids would aspire to the heights of greatness that this film does. Definitely go see it.
May 24, 2013
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

The Iron Giant tackles touchy subjects and complex relationships with a steady hand and beautiful animation direction from Brad Bird. Smart angle of 80's setting
December 2, 2012
The year 1999 produced an astounding of riches for feature-film animation. While that year's highest grossing animated flick "Toy Story 2" carried on the wizardry and rich storytelling of the original,while "South Park:Bigger,Longer,and Uncut" brought the taboo-busting hypocrisy-bashing hilarity of the TV show to the big screen. But the best animated film of the year came from the studios of Warner Brothers. "The Iron Giant" is also the most underrated feature of the 1990's. The feature-film debut of future Pixar fixture Brad Bird(Ratatouille, The Incredibles)has future action star Vin Diesel as the voice of a giant alien robot that lands on Earth and gets befriended by a lonely boy. Notoriously,Warner Brothers dumped this adaption of Ted Hughes' "The Iron Man" into theatres with little push,but a cult following emerged once the smart,stylish,and endlessly entertaining old-school family film found it's audience.
April 26, 2012
Mister Caple

Super Reviewer

    1. Kent Mansley: You think this metal man is fun, but who built it? The Russians? The Chinese? The Martians.....Canadians? I don't care! All I know is we didn't build it, and that's reason enough to assume the worst, and blow it to kingdom come!
    – Submitted by Luke A (26 days ago)
    1. The Iron Giant: Souls...don't...die.
    – Submitted by Luke A (26 days ago)
    1. The Iron Giant: Souls...don't...die.
    – Submitted by Luke A (26 days ago)
    1. Marve Loach: What department is that again?
    2. Kent Mansley: Frankly, I'm not at liberty to divulge the particulars of the agency I work for, and all that that implies.
    3. Marve Loach: You mean, national security?
    4. Kent Mansley: Let me put it this way. Every so often things happen that can't be rationalized in a conventional way. People wanna know their government has a response. I am that response.
    – Submitted by Stefan G (3 months ago)
    1. Hogarth Hughes: You are who you choose to be.
    2. The Iron Giant: Superman...
    – Submitted by David F (17 months ago)
    1. Hogarth Hughes: You go, I stay. No following!
    – Submitted by Robbie N (18 months ago)
View all quotes (25)

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Foreign Titles

  • Der Gigant aus dem All (DE)
  • Le Géant de fer (FR)
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