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A Perfect World (1993)

tomatometer

81

Average Rating: 7.2/10
Reviews Counted: 32
Fresh: 26 | Rotten: 6

Despite some formulaic touches, Clint Eastwood's haunting, ambiguous crime drama is smart and gritty, and features a bravura performance from Kevin Costner as a prison escapee on the run.

67

Average Rating: 6.8/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 2

Despite some formulaic touches, Clint Eastwood's haunting, ambiguous crime drama is smart and gritty, and features a bravura performance from Kevin Costner as a prison escapee on the run.

audience

84

liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 41,218

My Rating

Movie Info

Clint Eastwood, hot off of his Academy Award win for Unforgiven, directed this small character study, appearing in the guise of a cops-and-robbers action picture. The film takes place during the fall of 1963. Eight-year old Phillip Perry (T.J. Lowther), the son of a devout Jehovah's Witness mother, is staying home while all the other children are out trick-or-treating. But then prison escapee Butch Haynes (Kevin Costner) appears in his kitchen. Needing a hostage to aid him in his escape from

PG-13,

Drama

John Lee Hancock

Oct 1, 2002

Warner Home Video

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All Critics (37) | Top Critics (11) | Fresh (26) | Rotten (6) | DVD (8)

In going beyond chase-yarn duty, Eastwood and Costner do themselves proud.

June 6, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A Perfect World is evidence that Hollywood is still capable of producing the kinds of moving, intelligent movies that have increasingly become the province of independent film makers.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: ReelViews
ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is a movie that surprises you.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Within its narrow, unambitious, commercial boundaries, the movie is highly watchable.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's an American masterpiece.

November 26, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

It will not please everyone because it presents things in shades of gray and takes few easy outs.

June 8, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Tells the tale of an escaped convict and his eight-year-old hostage and, in the process, considers the cycles of disappointment wrought on sons by questionable fathers: abusive ones, absent ones, even a well-meaning "daddy state." [Blu-ray]

June 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Groucho Reviews
Groucho Reviews

Entertaining manhunt film.

January 6, 2012 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

A tender, poignant, ultimately heartbreaking film filled with haunting, lasting images and nicely eccentric touches. Arguably Costner's best performance, and one of Eastwood's most underrated efforts behind the camera.

March 3, 2006
FulvueDrive-in.com

Right on the heels of his critical and box-office smash Unforgiven, Clint Eastwood made this outstanding, haunting tale of an escaped convict (Kevin Costner in his greatest performance), and it was completely ignored.

January 15, 2005 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Stark, gritty story well directred by Eastwood.

October 15, 2004
Kansas City Kansan

Moving and totally absorbing.

January 2, 2004 Full Review Source: TheMovieReport.com
TheMovieReport.com

Never once feels like more than push-button artifice.

August 16, 2003 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide | Comments (3)
Apollo Guide

Some may accuse the picture of sentimentality, but really it gets caught up in the moment.

October 3, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

A Perfect World is essentially an indictment of how the American penal system turns troubled boys into career crooks, but the film is weakened by a plethora of inappropriate comedy.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City | Comment (1)
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

This is a little movie and should have a brief running time. The editor must have been asleep at his desk.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Internet Reviews | Comments (2)
Internet Reviews

It's not a perfect movie -- there's a bit more formula here than there ought to be -- but it's closer than you might think.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

A Perfect World is really two films. One is mediocre at best, but the other is one of the best films of the year. Together, they still add up to one of the better films of the year.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: rec.arts.movies.reviews
rec.arts.movies.reviews

Audience Reviews for A Perfect World

An escaped convict takes an 8 year old boy hostage and is pursued in the resulting manhunt by a motley assortment of lawmen headed by pragmatic good ol' boy Clint Eastwood. The fact that the central characters of this film are a desperate criminal and an 8 year old Jehovah's witness (not to mention Costner's presence) would probably provoke a groan from more cynical cinephiles expecting a saccharine drenched schmaltz-fest about "learning from each other" and "growing as a person". And they'd be right in some respects as that pretty much is what the film is all about, but thanks to Eastwood's sensitive direction it manages to sidestep cloying sentimentality and the result is an endearing road movie cum western with a streak of gentle humour. The weak link is probably Kevin Costner and if it weren't for the obvious age issues I think he and Clint would've been better served swapping roles, but he still gives a decent performance as the damaged career criminal who comes to share a common bond with his tiny captive. Perhaps the message about the penal system gets a little lost in amongst all the good natured banter, but it's still an intelligent and sensitive offbeat thriller that's well worth seeking out.
September 20, 2013
garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

I'm very biased towards Clint Eastwood films. I believe that he is a terrific director and actor, and he's also one of my favorites actors. I thought that A Perfect World is a wonderful drama that is among Clint Eastwood's best. Not only does Eastwood direct, but he also acts in this film. The story surrounds a kidnapped boy and a convict who become friends as the convict, Butch (Kevin Costner) shows Phillip (T.J Lowther) the joys of life as Phillip is a Jeovah's Witness and has never enjoyed stuff that other kids do. This film has a good heart, and is very charming as we see Butch' and Phillip's friendship unfold. There are a few violent parts, but this film has a very good story. This is the type of film only Clint Eastwood could make. A Perfect World is a near perfect film, and this is one of Kevin Costner's best films. I absolutely enjoyed this film and I thought it great. There are a few things that could have been perfected, but theres so little mistakes in this film that one can forgive its imperfections. A wonderful story, brought to life by a great cast and a great director, A Perfect World is simply a terrific, well acted film that is another Eastwood classic. This is definitely a film that Clint Eastwood fans shouldn't pass up. A remarkable film that is sad, funny and powerful, A Perfect World is awonderful drama film that should be seen.
July 7, 2011
TheDudeLebowski65
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

A Perfect World is a very good and very underrated Clint Eastwood film. Kevin Costner is great as Butch Haynes. It possibly is his greatest performance of his career. Lowther is very convincing in his role as Phillip and helps take the movie from good to great. The movie takes you through a gauntlet of emotions through their performances. At times it is fun to watch and at other times it is very sad. The movie deserves much more exposure then it has, which is surprising seeing as it's a Clint Eastwood movie.
May 30, 2011
blkbomb
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

Walkin's for squares.

Clint Eastwood delivers a moving tale about a boy kidnapped and held as hostage by an escaped convict. Devoid of a male role model, the boy bonds with Butch, played by an engaging Kevin Costner as they are hunted down by the law.

As a child I loved this film and all these years on it still proves to tug on the same sentimental heart strings it did all those years ago. The ending is heartbreaking as you cheer on the bad guy and his new found buddy.

A must see for everyone.
January 13, 2011
crunchbunch

Super Reviewer

    1. Butch Haynes: I need me a time machine with a loud radio to take me where I'm going.
    – Submitted by Ismael M (3 years ago)
View all quotes (1)

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