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Welcome to Sarajevo

Welcome to Sarajevo (1997)

tomatometer

80

Average Rating: 7.4/10
Critic Reviews: 10
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 2

No consensus yet.

audience

75

liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 4,958

My Rating

Movie Info

Michael WinterbottomÕs emotionally powerful docudrama about a British TV reporter and his attempts to smuggle a young Muslim girl out of the Bosnian war zone.

R,

Drama, Television

Frank Cottrell Boyce

Feb 3, 2004

Miramax

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All Critics (47) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (28) | Rotten (7) | DVD (4)

A crisp, rigorously unsentimental director, Winterbottom was a good choice for this project.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A compelling but jumbled film that examines the line between journalistic detachment and passion.

June 18, 2002 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Welcome to Sarajevo isn't just the story of an outsider's perspective of the conflict; it's a compelling examination of the role the media played in reporting and shaping the average person's views of the war.

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

Too often we sense that the actors are drifting and the story is at sea.

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

Messy and visceral, with an articulate, pointed anger that's recognizably British, "Welcome to Sarajevo" hits with an impact that's not diminished by the fact that Sarajevo's uneasy peace has held.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Salon.com
Salon.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

However closely they mirror the real experience of Mr. Nicholson and others, some of the shocks here are too sadly predictable.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

By turns darkly comical and passionately angry

July 19, 2014 Full Review Source: The Moving Picture Show
The Moving Picture Show

A documentary would have more powerfully captured the horror of the Bosnian conflict than this synthetic, if well-acted and -intentioned, drama.

December 23, 2006 Full Review Source: TheMovieReport.com
TheMovieReport.com

Good set-up; less pay-off than I'd hoped.

June 17, 2004
New Times

Winterbottom takes a recent history the rest of the world already was beginning to forget and throws it into a sharp, human focus.

June 18, 2002 Full Review
Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)

It's an extraordinarily affecting, personal, and at times uplifting tale.

June 5, 2002 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

A blistering docudrama, as refreshing as it is horrifying.

March 24, 2002 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

Lifts up compassion as the quivering of the heart in the presence of pain and suffering.

March 1, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

This film offers an honest portrait of the media in action, as it also depicts a public that is more interested in being entertained than being informed.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Brings up some hard questions about the sheer impossibility of foreign corespondents remaining true to their journalistic neutrality in a war zone.

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

All its dramatized elements, from its scripted dialogue to Harrelson's role as the naysaying cynic, can be seen as devices needed to bring a harrowing but humane story to a popular audience without watering down the very real horrors of a very real war.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor

An observant, richly textured film that gets under a viewer's skin and stays there.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

[A] well-made movie about senseless violence, prejudice and diplomatic cynicism.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: San Francisco Examiner
San Francisco Examiner

Audience Reviews for Welcome to Sarajevo

To get the story, they'll risk everything.

Good Film! What "Welcome To Sarajevo" did was open my eyes and help me realize how fortunate I am. Sarajevo was a peaceful, metropolitan city not unlike many cities in North America. But it is no longer. It's almost too easy to clear your mind of the strife going on in other parts of the world. Sometimes we feel guilty for being so fortunate. Sometimes we feel horror at the news reports of inhuman atrocities. And most times we shut out the reality of it as it is rarely affecting us in a personal way.

This gripping tale of war-torn Sarajevo is told through the eyes of British reporters. It will probably shock, jar and depress you, but it will most certainly increase your sense of global awareness, and instill a better appreciation of the liberties that most of us have taken for granted. Images from concentration camps hauntingly mimic those from fifty years ago.

This film is based on an amazing true story of one man's personal involvement and promise to rescue one refugee child and the great lengths to which he must go to deliver her from a war zone.

I caught this film in its limited theatrical run following its inclusion in the 1997 Toronto Film Festival. I exited the theater with my wife in a staggering awe-struck state. No one could fully communicate what it would be like to live in a war zone, but this film gives you a potent taste without pulling any punches.

What this means is that most people will likely find it difficult to recommend this film to friends. It's not an uplifting tale, but it is an extremely important one, and I feel privileged and fortunate for having seen it.

Journalist Floyd from US, Michael Henderson from UK and their teams meet the beginning of Bosnian war in Sarajevo. During their reports they find an orphanage run by devoted Mrs. Savic near the front line. Henderson gets so involved in kids' problems that he decides to take on the children, Emira, illegally back to England. He is assisted by American aid worker Nina.
August 14, 2014
MANUGINO
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

Disturbing film documenting the death and destruction of a nation torn apart by religious differences. Some very disturbing scenes of babies and children caught in the midst of the killing, and insanity. The actual footage used in this movie is really difficult to view, but needed to be shown. The newspeople covering the stories in these war torn countries are very brave (or crazy?) people. Kudos to them.....
April 2, 2013
itsjustme2004

Super Reviewer

Journalists cover the war in Sarajevo.
Michael Winterbottom's film has its heart in the right place. Attempting to expose the violence and atrocities of war and their effects on children is admirable, but what's missing is a clear, central story arc; the film finds it about forty-five minutes into the film, but it's too late. What is more, the film is a combination of news footage and live action shots; this works, but Winterbottom over-uses the trick.
Overall, I found it hard to dislike Welcome to Sarajevo, but I must admit that the story flounders.
August 6, 2012
hunterjt13
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Don't let the year made scare you. From the 1997 Toronto International Film Festival. One Hell of a movie. Shows actual footage of the massacre that went on in Sarajevo, right under the nose of world leaders that only looked the other way and allowed it. This movie is about a British Reporter and his getting a little girl out of the country. This is worth no less then 5 Stars and everyone should see it,
May 14, 2010
bbcfloridabound
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

    1. Flynn: This place feels like a virus you can't get rid of. Sometimes I feel like I'll never make it home.
    – Submitted by Frances H (19 months ago)
    1. Dragon: Everything in Sarajevo is for sale.
    – Submitted by Frances H (19 months ago)
    1. Risto: Promise me. Don't bring her back here.
    – Submitted by Frances H (19 months ago)
    1. Henderson: Us... we're like vultures.
    – Submitted by Frances H (19 months ago)
    1. Henderson: Emira has been here since she was a baby. Now she is so frightened by the shelling, she can't sleep at night. Sead's mother was killed in a mortar attack. Zaned is from a village near Sarajevo....His mother was shot while queuing for water.
    – Submitted by Frances H (19 months ago)
    1. Henderson: We're not here to help. We're here to report.
    – Submitted by Frances H (19 months ago)
View all quotes (7)

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