Box art for Cowboys & Aliens

Cowboys & Aliens

action & adventure, drama, westerns

From the director of Iron Man and starring Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford, an unlikely posse rises against a force from beyond this world in an epic showdown for survival.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 13
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
2 out of 5
Positive role models
1 out of 5
2 out of 5
4 out of 5
0 out of 5

Cool but predictable sci-fi Western has lots of violence.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this Western/sci-fi hybrid will definitely appeal to boys and fans of the two stars -- the new Bond (Daniel Craig) and the former Indy (Harrison Ford) -- but there are some violent scenes that may be too intense for tweens. Although it's light on romance -- just a couple of kisses and a few references to a prostitute -- the movie is heavy with explosive action (shootings, stabbings, and gruesome aliens) and has a high body count. Language includes words like "s--t" and "damn," and alcohol consumption is fairly high, considering that the cowboys spend most of their downtime drinking in a saloon. Despite a generally positive message about people banding together to fight a common enemy, the movie's violence can be overwhelming.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the merging of the two genres. Which aspect worked better -- the Western or the sci-fi parts?
  • How was the violence handled in the movie? Was there too much, or was it necessary to the story?
  • When you see actors in a movie, do you think about the other parts they've played in the past? How does that affect the way you react to them and their actions?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 20
    see all Cowboys & Aliens reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: It may be two treats in one, but for an audience that's pigged out on spectacle all summer, that might be two treats too many.

- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, Friday, July 29, 2011

Rotten: What started as 'True Grit'-meets-'War of the Worlds' ends up closer to - whisper it - 'Wild Wild West'.

- Anna Smith, Time Out, Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Rotten: Takes itself much too seriously, with acts of brutality outnumbering the gags.

- Anthony Lane, New Yorker, Monday, August 8, 2011

Audience Reviews

2 stars

Daniel Craig was great. Ford had his moments. But this movie could have been so so so much better!

- jmanard52, Wednesday, August 17, 2011

4 stars

A fresh, fun and wickedly original adventure that just blows you away. One of the biggest, boldest and most explosive movies of the year. An instant classic. A wild, epic and tremendously entertaining genre-bender that is unlike anything you have ever seen. Director, Jon Favreau scores once again with a great new sci-fi action flick that has a great creative style and dazzling locations. It`s smart, well-crafted, funny and loaded with eye-popping action. A non-stop roller-coaster ride of kinetic thrills and frequent fun. A mind-blowing and spectacular action-packed adventure. I loved it. It`s a total blast. A brilliant mixture of science-fiction, old-school western style, sharp-shooting action, suspense and amazing special effects. It`s one hell of an exhilarating, unforgettable and adrenaline-charged movie ride that you will want to see over an over again. It totally delivers, especially with its all-star cast, more noticeably with its two legendary leads. Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford are at their best. Ford is excellent as always. Craig is sensational. Olivia Wilde is absolutely stunning, shes a movie star in the making.

- allan913, Sunday, November 18, 2012

3 stars

Saddle up and get ready for action, because this is one exciting ride of a movie that is guaranteed to knock your socks off. For some reason beyond me though, opinions seem to be very diverted about this film. Some have naught but love for it, while others express severe disappointment. Well, I can tell you right now that I'm permanently settled in the "loved it" camp. I mean, how can you not like a movie with such a heaven-sent ensemble of phenomenal thespians? There's Harrison Ford, who still plays all his aces. Olivia Wilde, as the stunning and mysterious Ella Swenson. Daniel Craig, who I thought was even better here than in the Bond movies. Not to mention Sam Rockwell, Clancy Brown, Paul Dano and Keith Carradine. As one of my friends pointed out, there's not much of a plot, but what it's got in abundance is a great sense of fun and adventure. Everything is set up to near-perfection, for what culminates in a epic battle between cowboys, aliens and a few other unexpected factions which I'm gonna refrain from spoiling here. Let's just say that there's some cool and interesting twists to the story, that added extra spice to the already well-tasting soup. I had a feeling I was in for some good popcorn movie fare, but I did not at all anticipate it would be this jaw-droppingly awesome. A seamless fusion between sci-fi and the Old West, that entertains, captivates and leaves you with an appetite for more. Great fun all the way and a given addition to my "Top 100 Movies of All-Time" list. Update (2012-11-14): Didn't love it as much on the second watch, so I lowered my rating from 4 to 3 1/2 stars.

- CloudStrife84, Tuesday, November 13, 2012