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Machine Gun Preacher (2011)



Average Rating: 4.9/10
Reviews Counted: 111
Fresh: 32 | Rotten: 79

There's a complex man at the center of Machine Gun Preacher but the movie is too shapeless and emotionally vacant to bring his story to life.


Average Rating: 5/10
Critic Reviews: 33
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 26

There's a complex man at the center of Machine Gun Preacher but the movie is too shapeless and emotionally vacant to bring his story to life.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 17,695

My Rating

Movie Info

When ex-biker-gang member Sam Childers (Butler) makes the life-changing decision to go to East Africa to help repair homes destroyed by civil war, he is outraged by the unspeakable horrors faced by the region's vulnerable populace, especially the children. Ignoring the warnings of more experienced aide workers, Sam breaks ground for an orphanage where it's most needed-in the middle of territory controlled by the brutal Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a renegade militia that forces youngsters to


Drama, Action & Adventure

Jason Keller

Jun 5, 2012


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Latest News on Machine Gun Preacher

September 23, 2011:
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This week at the movies, we?ve got baseball nerds (Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill),...
July 7, 2011:
Gerard Butler's Machine Gun Preacher Aims for September
Relativity points the Marc Forster-directed biopic right at the heart of awards season.


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All Critics (112) | Top Critics (33) | Fresh (32) | Rotten (79) | DVD (3)

The need to cram in facts and events makes 'Machine Gun Preacher' feel too much like one large and needlessly glossy montage sequence.

November 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In telling a true story, ambiguity can be an asset; but instead of mapping a middle course, director Marc Foster veers between two kinds of falsehoods.

October 7, 2011 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The clichés fly like so many spent bullet casings...

October 6, 2011 Full Review Source: | Comments (5)
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What looks on the surface to be yet another inspiring story of one man's salvation turns out to be instead both an examination of modern atrocity and a rethinking of the burden/beauty of belief.

September 30, 2011 Full Review Source: Detroit News | Comments (2)
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Why is it that uplifting movies based on true stories often feel so untrue and fall so flat?

September 30, 2011 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Comment (1)
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What a surprise. Its grindhouse title notwithstanding, "Machine Gun Preacher" is a genuine drama.

September 30, 2011 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

it can be a bit... preachy, if you pardon the pun

July 28, 2013 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

With an exploitation-friendly title like Machine Gun Preacher you'd think this movie would be the soul brother of Hobo With A Shotgun. Unfortunately, that is not so.

February 11, 2013 Full Review Source: We Got This Covered
We Got This Covered

Despite a competent performance from Butler, Machine Gun Preacher tackles way too much material to present a cohesive onscreen telling of the Sam Childers story.

October 2, 2012 Full Review Source: ScreenRant

It's an uncomfortable marriage of sentimental genre conventions and real-life tragedy shown with graphic detail. It does bring you inside the main character's internal struggle, but doesn't seem focused enough as it sways into action film territory.

September 4, 2012 Full Review Source:

We're given surprisingly little food for thought when it comes to the question of the complicated tensions between Christian faith and violence.

June 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Filmwell

With all the talk of "Kony/KONY 2012" wending its way into the culture, this movie gives a vivid picture of who this villain is and why the world should be doing something about him.

May 3, 2012 Full Review Source: McClatchy-Tribune News Service | Comments (2)
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

In the end it devolves into something disappointingly ordinary, which, given the proven skills and sensibilities of director Marc Forster ...

April 29, 2012 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

The one-note macho man characterization of Childers comes off as a bit boorishly self-righteous.

April 6, 2012 Full Review Source:

Butler misfires as a man of God and violence.

December 5, 2011 Full Review Source: | Comments (8)

O Childers kathgorhthhke gia arketo kseplyma twn praktikwn toy sthn aytobiografia toy, h tainia, eytyxws, arneitai na ton katadikasei kiolas san planemeno barbaro

November 20, 2011 Full Review Source: Movies for the Masses
Movies for the Masses

It is commendable that Gerard Butler, director Marc Foster and writer Jason Keller have tried to bring the issue of child soldiers to as wide an audience as possible - but though its heart may be in the right place, it never finds a steady rhythm.

November 7, 2011 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

The film's attempt to tell Childers' story in the context of the bigger horrors being perpetrated in the Sudan feels like an unnecessary burden that Forster's middlebrow approach can't suppo

November 6, 2011 Full Review Source: Scotsman

It's rabble-rousing material, and the final credits, in which we see footage of the real Childers strutting his unedifying stuff, suggest that a documentary would have been the appropriate genre.

November 6, 2011 Full Review Source: Observer [UK] | Comments (4)
Observer [UK]

Yes, it's yet another story about white people helping poor black folk, but as tales of imperialistic cultural colonialism as spiritual growth go, this one is solid stuff...

November 6, 2011 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher | Comment (1)
Flick Filosopher

Butler, bless him, tries to give us everything here... John Travolta's Wild Hogs, Stallone with a soul, Arnie with a proper mission and Bruce Willis minus the wisecracks, vest and shiny bonce.

November 4, 2011 Full Review Source: Birmingham Mail
Birmingham Mail

Gerard Butler is involving, even charismatic, always plausible as a man of contained and then uncontained violence...

November 4, 2011 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

While we admire Childers for his bravery and self-sacrifice, we don't fully understand the reasons for his crusade or see his personal anguish reflected on the screen.

November 4, 2011 Full Review Source: Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo

A catalogue of constant clichés which never let up, while Butler's lack of acting chops succeeds in sinking every scene.

November 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Daily Mirror [UK] | Comment (1)
Daily Mirror [UK]

There's a certain absurdity, as well as outlandishness, to Childers' tale that Marc Forster's film, starring Gerard Butler, never quite shakes off.

November 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Daily Express | Comment (1)
Daily Express

If I didn't know that this was based on real events, I wouldn't believe it. At least not the way the story is told in this film.

November 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Birmingham Post
Birmingham Post

Audience Reviews for Machine Gun Preacher

Somewhat in the veins of Blood Diamond, this one fared well enough for me, though not as good as Blood Diamond. The cast gave excellent performance, and the execution was good enough to restrain it from becoming too preachy. Being too loud, I didn't like the Hallelujah parts.
June 6, 2013

Super Reviewer

Real life stories make for some very good films. Now I've had reservations about seeing Machine Gun Preacher due to the fact that Gerard Butler has made a few duds over the last few years, and his last good films were Gamer and Law Abiding Citizen. For Machine Gun Preacher, Butler goes back to a more serious role as Sam Childers. The film focuses on Childers life and how he went from a criminal to someone trying to find salvation by helping others in need. Childers went to Sudan to help children that were orphaned due to civil war. Although not a flawless film, Machine Gun Preacher is a worthwhile film that is in my opinion quite underrated. Gerard Butler delivers a strong and powerful performance that is quite possibly the best of his career. The film is a mix of action and drama, and director Marc Forster does a good job with the material to capture Childers's life, but considering that he had such a unique life, the film could have been a bit better as well. In terms of a good biopic, this tells a compelling story and it is well acted. Butler redeems himself with this role due to the fact that he played in a few boring and unimpressive chick flicks. I very much enjoyed the film, but there were a few areas where the film could have been better. However there are enough good elements to make this one worth seeing. The film is very good, and is quite eye opening as well. As a whole, it is a flawed film but it is a well executed action drama that delivers something memorable.
January 27, 2013
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

An outstanding movie that packs insanely powerful punch. It`s an inspirational classic of a rebel who found his cause. A genuine human drama that cuts you to the core with its realism and story. An utterly heartbreaking, inspiring and action-packed drama. A riveting, deeply moving and extremely powerful movie. Director, Marc Fosters best film since The Kite Runner, he`s a true artist and craftsman. An absolute triumph. An incredible and unforgettable film that shakes you, shocks you and inspires you. It`s spectacular in every way you can think of and is simply extraordinary. Gerard Butler gives the best performance of his career, an explosive tour de force performance that shines with his movie star caliber. Butler delivers in a massive way that's shows his power, passion, emotion and strength. Michael Shannon and Michelle Monaghan give fine performances. An embracing, compelling and astonishing piece of work. An exhilarating mixture of thrills, explosive action and deeply absorbing drama.
November 23, 2012

Super Reviewer

"Beautiful. Tragic. Inspiring. Horrifying. Sad.
Beautiful- these children and people like Deng and Marco keep fighting and not giving up. Tragic- so many is lost and tortured. Inspiring- Sam and his family and what they have done for so many. Horrifying- it falls in with tragic. The gruesome scenes of what the children endure and that this happens and still is happening. Sad- that these things happen in our world and most of all, to children.
I wasn't sure what to expect with this film and I honestly didn't really know what the film was about or that is was based on a true story. It's a raw honest look at what one man did for hundreds of kids. He saved many lives and still is. I am in awe of him and what he has done for those children."
September 26, 2012

Super Reviewer

    1. Daisy: The only thing necessary for the triumph of an evil is for a good man to do nothing.
    – Submitted by Richard B (2 years ago)
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