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

5 stars

My Favourite Film of 2007. Watching this film is akin to a spiritual experience. Changed my life.

- smith44, Friday, February 5, 2010

2 stars

Strong central performance by Emile Hirsch does much to offset the difficulity of warming to the main character. It's fine to be a free spirit and have wanderlust but to do so while callously and willfully hurting your family, whatever their faults, is unconscionable.

- jjnxn, Sunday, November 22, 2009

4 stars

Into the Wild is a pretty damn good movie that was nothing I was expecting. Its like Jack Kerouac, Henry David Thoreau and J.D. Salinger all wrote a screenplay together. Sean Penn proves he's nearly as good a director as he is an actor and lines up an impressive and talented cast. Jena Malone's narration started grating on me but the Danish couple more than made up for it. Into the Wild meanders just as much as you'd expect a movie about a kid abandoning his worldly possessions to wander the country to. The photography is fantastic and for as much as this type of story normally sends me into yawning fits, it wasn't bad. Decent soundtrack, too...

- mjgildea, Saturday, October 10, 2009