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Welcome to Sarajevo

Welcome to Sarajevo (1997)



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

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 4,942

My Rating

Movie Info

A startling examination of the Bosnian war of the mid-1990s and the role of journalists in covering it, this film was based on real-life journalist Michael Nicholson's book Natasha's Story. Like Nicholson, cynical journalist Henderson (Stephen Dillane) is one of the rat pack of reporters looking for gore in the streets of besieged Sarajevo. He is outraged when grandstanding reporter Flynn (Woody Harrelson) helps local citizens remove the corpse of a mother gunned down on a family outing. But the


Drama, Television

Frank Cottrell Boyce

Feb 3, 2004


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All Critics (46) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (27) | 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
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:
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

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:

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

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

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

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

Audience Reviews for Welcome to Sarajevo

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

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
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
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]"Welcome to Sarajevo" is a frustrating, uneven and occasionally harrowing movie about a group of reporters covering the siege of Sarajevo in 1992(This was made in 1997 when there was a much more favorable opinion of journalists in general.), using archival footage to further complete the setting.(Al D'Amato being the voice of reason is definitely a sign of the apocalypse.) The movie is at its best when it concerns itself with the chaotic lives of the journalists, especially a British television trio, Henderson(Stephen Dillane), Gregg(James Nesbitt) and Jane(Kerry Fox), who work together to cover the war, but most importantly stay alive.(Just so their livers can give out at a future date...) They are guided around the city by their native driver, Risto(Goran Visnjic).(The movie does make an effort to show life in the city from the natives' perspective.) After an American, Flynn(Woody Harrelson), disregards his personal safety to pull a body out of the street, Henderson snaps, becoming obsessed with an orphanage on the front line. And this is where the movie starts to go off the rails.(At this point in his career, director Michael Winterbottom was presumably not experienced enough to avoid any mawkish sentimentality.) Not only are children no more important as victims than adults(Do I really have to quote Bill Hicks again?), but Henderson is so very wrong in his actions, acting selfishly, and accomplishing little in the long run.[/font]
May 9, 2008
Walter M.

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 (15 months ago)
    1. Dragon: Everything in Sarajevo is for sale.
    – Submitted by Frances H (15 months ago)
    1. Risto: Promise me. Don't bring her back here.
    – Submitted by Frances H (15 months ago)
    1. Henderson: Us... we're like vultures.
    – Submitted by Frances H (15 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 (15 months ago)
    1. Henderson: We're not here to help. We're here to report.
    – Submitted by Frances H (15 months ago)
View all quotes (7)

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