Natural Born Killers

1994

Natural Born Killers

Critics Consensus

Natural Born Killers explodes off the screen with style, but its satire is too blunt to offer any fresh insight into celebrity or crime -- pummeling the audience with depravity until the effect becomes deadening.

47%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 38

81%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 217,261
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Natural Born Killers Photos

Movie Info

A frenetic, bloody look at mass murder and the mass media, director Oliver Stone's extremely controversial film divided critics and audiences with its mixture of over-the-top violence and bitter cultural satire. At the center of the film, written by Stone and Quentin Tarantino, among others, are Mickey (Woody Harrelson) and Mallory (Juliette Lewis), a young couple united by their desire for each other and their common love of violence. Together, they embark on a record-breaking, exceptionally gory killing spree that captivates the sensation-hungry tabloid media. Their fame is ensured by one newsman, Wayne Gale (Robert Downey, Jr.), who reports on Mickey and Mallory for his show, American Maniacs. Even the duo's eventual capture by the police only increases their notoriety, as Gale develops a plan for a Super Bowl Sunday interview that Mickey and Mallory twist to their own advantage. Visually overwhelming, Robert Richardson's hyperkinetic cinematography switches between documentary-style black-and-white, surveillance video, garishly colored psychedelia, and even animation in a rapid-fire fashion that mirrors the psychosis of the killers and the media-saturated culture that makes them popular heroes. The film's extreme violence -- numerous edits were required to win an R rating -- became a subject of debate, as some critics asserted that the film irresponsibly glorified its murderers and blamed the filmmakers for potentially inciting copy-cat killings. Defenders argued that the film attacks media obsession with violence and satirizes a sensationalistic, celebrity-obsessed society. Certain to provoke discussion, Natural Born Killers will thoroughly alienate many viewers with its shock tactics, chaotic approach, and disturbing subject matter, while others will value the combination of technical virtuosity and dark commentary on the modern American landscape. ~ Judd Blaise, Rovi

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Cast

Tommy Lee Jones
as Dwight McClusky
Tom Sizemore
as Jack Scagnetti
Rodney Dangerfield
as Mallory's Father
Edie McClurg
as Mallory's Mother
Russell Means
as Old Indian
Balthazar Getty
as Gas Station Attendant
Joe Grifasi
as Duncan Homolka
Terrylene
as Julie
Red West
as Cowboy Sheriff
Everett Quinton
as Wurlitzer
Steven Wright
as Dr. Emil Reingold
Marshall Bell
as 1st Deputy
Arliss Howard
as uncredited
Ed White
as Pinball Cowboy
Carol-Renee Modrall
as Short Order Cook
Jerry Gardner
as 1st Work Boss
Jack Caffrey
as 2nd Work Boss
Leon Skyhorse Thomas
as 3rd Work Boss
Corey Everson
as TV Mallory
Dale Dye
as Dale Wrigley
Josh Richman
as Soundman
Jake Beecham
as 3rd Kid
Saemi Nakamura
as 1st Japanese Kid/Japanese Reporter
Seiko Yoshida
as 2nd Japanese Kid
Jared Harris
as London Boy
Katharine McQueen
as London Girl
Salvator Xuereb
as 1st French Boy
Mark Harmon
as Mickey Knox in Wayne Gale's reconstruction (uncredite
Natalie Karp
as French Girl
Emmanuel Xuereb
as 2nd French Boy
Jessie Rutowski
as Young Girl
Sally Jackson
as Mickey's Mom
Phil Neilson
as Mickey's Dad
Corinna Laszlo
as Emily (Hostage in Motel)
Gerry Runnels
as Indian Cop
Jeremiah Bitsui
as Young Indian boy
Glen Chin
as Druggist
Peter Crombie
as Intense Cop
John M. Watson Sr.
as Black Inmate
Douglas Crosby
as 1st Mallory's Guard
Carl Ciarfalio
as 2nd Mallory's Guard
Melinda Ramos Renna
as Antonia Chavez
Bob Swan
as Napolatoni
Robert "R.J." Jordan
as Wgn Newscaster
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News & Interviews for Natural Born Killers

Critic Reviews for Natural Born Killers

All Critics (38) | Top Critics (9)

  • The movie is enlightening, not because it transmits new information, but in the way that movies enlighten, through a synergy of images and rhythms that makes us sense the world in a new way.

    Feb 13, 2018 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Newsweek
    Top Critic
  • As a satirist, [Stone's] an elephant ballerina.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 2.5/5
  • This is one of my all time favorite movies, and it put Oliver Stone on my list of 'Best Directors Ever,' right along with Stanley [Kubrick].

    May 12, 2001 | Rating: 3/4
  • Stone...doesn't know the meaning of moderation or subtlety, and opts instead for something that is excessive and self-indulgent. It's as if he wants to shout out the statement: 'Look at what I can do! I'm an artist!'

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…
  • The main problem with Killers...is that it degenerates into the very thing it criticizes.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…
  • Welcome to Natural Born Killers, Stone's empty, manic meditation on society's glorification of violence and the ugly heroes it loves to hate.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Natural Born Killers

  • Apr 18, 2016
    A cult film if I ever saw one. Natural Born Killers is the Rocky Horror Picture Show of crime films and its surprising how many bad reviews it has. The artsy nonsense of the film often drowns the actual plot which is frustrating for a mainstream audience and I didn't expect the film to be so art-house in its approach to two road trip serial killers. It also wasn't as bloody as I'd heard it was. The acting from Juliette Lewis, Robert Downey Jr. and Woody Harrelson is extremely committed and believable. The film is let down by its second half which is no where near as captivating or interesting as the first but I think that this is purposely done to (spoiler alert) show the contrast between the hallucinatory romance of the road and the gloomy insides of a high security prison. The music is really amazing as well and the script is gorgeously written.
    Harry W Super Reviewer
  • Feb 24, 2014
    The acting is fantastic, but the narrative suffers from being so over the top that occasionally it doesn't make sense. The random intercuts that don't even pertain to the scene they're being intercut into completely severs the story and the lighting doesn't make sense. Artsy, yes. Does it work? Debatable.
    Jason 123 D Super Reviewer
  • Apr 14, 2013
    A hardcore satire on a sensationalist media, Oliver Stone's classic will shock and unsettle, leaving you in a state of awe at what we have become. Natural Born Killers addresses the moral decay of the media and society as a whole in a way rarely seen on the silver screen. The sheer brutality of this film may be off-putting to most, as it is among the most violent films I have ever seen in my life. It is also highly stylized, but not in a way as to glorify the violence. Conversely, the style makes it even more uncomfortable to watch, and that's to Stone's credit. Any film that can get such a visceral reaction out of its audience is doing something right. ~ B+
    Brad S Super Reviewer
  • Mar 01, 2013
    'Natural Born Killers' is one of the only films I've ever watched where I am generally uncertain as to what I feel. Never before have I had such a mixed reaction to such a Marmite style picture, and I probably won't have a similar reaction ever again. The film directed by one of my new favourites, Oliver Stone, tells the story of Mickey and Mallory, played by Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis respectively. M and M are two psychopathic serial killers, actually they prefer mass murderers, who we follow through life with all their bloodbaths along the way. Stone however is less interested in the violence, but the causes of their violence. Through a combination of drugged up sequences, flashbacks in the style of 70s sitcoms and the strangest combination of storytelling I've ever seen. Putting aside the content for a moment, the acting alone on 'Natural Born Killers' stands out as some of the finest, in an extremely over the top way. Stone breaks with his serious masterpieces such as 'Platoon' and 'Wall Street', choosing cheesy, yet powerful over the top acting. Harrelson and Lewis perform admirably, but it's Robert Downey Junior's turn as Australian TV host Wayne Gale, and Tommy Lee Jones role as the prison warden which really take the cake. Both Downey Jr and Jones create the strangest characters with layers overlapping and breaking through the surface. They make you laugh, they make you cry. But aside from the acting the rest of the film gives me mixed impressions. The cinematography is impressive but constructed in such a deliberately comic fashion that it gets on my nerves eventually. The storyline seems to be ever so slightly pointless and the message blurred by the violence. I expected a more hardened opinion a few days after I watched it and the film earned perspective. Instead I am left unsure what to think and for that reason I give it two and a half stars, halfway good, halfway bad, unsure whether 'Natural Born Killers' is the masterpiece many make it out to be or just a plain disappointment.
    Adam K Super Reviewer

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