Box art for Into The Wild

Into The Wild

action & adventure, drama

This is the true story of Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch). Freshly graduated from college with a promising future ahead, McCandless instead walked out of his privileged life and into the wild in search of adventure.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 15
3 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
5 out of 5
3 out of 5

Powerful, tragic true story is too heavy for kids.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this long (140 minutes) drama is based on the true story of a college graduate who decided to live off the grid for more than two years, culminating in a fatal four-month solo journey to the Alaskan backcountry. The tragic nature of his death might be too heavy a theme for younger kids, but teens -- some of whom may read the best-seller on which the film is based in school -- could be drawn to the story of a young man who seeks beauty and truth. There's some language (including "f--k") and social drinking, some bare breasts, a non-sexual glimpse of star Emile Hirsch's penis as he floats naked in a river, and another fleeting shot of a couple making love (no sensitive body parts shown).

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about whether knowing Chris' fate ahead of time affects the impact of the movie. If so, how? If not, why? Are movies based on real lives/true stories more interesting than those that are pure fiction? Families can also discuss how you feel about Chris after watching the movie. What honorable/admirable things did he accomplish? How did he impact the people he came to know on the road? On the other hand, did he treat his parents and sister fairly? Should he have contacted his family?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 29
    see all Into The Wild reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: Without diminishing the deep transcendentalist yearnings of its young hero, Into the Wild builds to a climax of profound human connectedness, profound human pain.

- Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle, Friday, October 5, 2007


- Ben Kenigsberg, Time Out, Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fresh: As Hirsch] struggles with the elements, his increasing frailty and the cinematography's increasing grandeur mesh in a way that's at once iconic and wrenching.

- Bob Mondello,, Saturday, October 18, 2008

Audience Reviews

4 stars

Christopher McCandless graduates college, then decides he wants to trek across North America to Alaska. The characters he meets along the way are just as important to the story as Chris' journey itself. None moreso than Ron, though, played by Oscar-nominee Hal Holbrook. Ron's wife and only chilld were murdered years ago and I dare anyone not to cry when Ron's sitting in his truck with Chris telling the kid he wants to adopt him as his grandson. Sad stuff. Just wonderful acting right there.

- middleeasternfilms, Friday, March 20, 2009

4 stars

Impressive outsider story based on true events. The reasons behind this young man's decision to remove himself from society and all obligations and benefits that come with it are mostly blamed on a shattered family background, which may be a tad too easy as an explanation. Director Sean Penn does neither celebrate nor condemn "Supertramp's" decision, but finds beautiful, mesmerizing images and sceneries that almost make you wanna go on a little trip yourself. Emile Hirsch is very convincing as the protagonist, the rest of the cast is full of great names delivering powerful performances as well, especially Hal Holbrook. Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder's songs add to the movie's atmosphere of admiration for nature and loneliness and fit perfectly. The bitter ending is neither preachy nor romanticizing the events, but deeply touching. A slow and long yet beautiful film that's still fascinating in every minute. Great stuff.

- ironclad1609, Wednesday, December 22, 2010

5 stars

Firstly, if anyone is considering seeing this film please just watch it NOW, and read nothing more on it. There are mainstream reviews out there by great critics which have massive spoilers. Avoid them. Secondly, please watch the film. Rarely have I seen anything so earnest, so uncynical. It is not a film that simply sits back a watches it subject, but is totally part of it, enhanced by its ideas. Beautiful, intelligent, heartbreaking. A great film.

- fb1686480544, Thursday, January 3, 2013