Box art for Radio Flyer

Radio Flyer

children & family, drama


A moving story about two young brothers whose childhood world of monsters and secret potions is turned upside down when a very real monster--a volatile stepfather--enters their lives. Starring LORRAINE BRACCO and JOHN HEARD.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    32%
  • Audience Score
    73%

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    32%
    reviews counted: 17
    see all Radio Flyer reviews
  • Audience

    73%

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: One of the most touching films ever made. A must-see

- Clint Morris, Tsunami Magazine, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rotten: Donner and Evans can't find a way to extricate themselves from the impossible structure they have erected. They remain locked into the odd combination of the dreamy and the dreadful that is entirely of their own devising.

- Desmond Ryan, Philadelphia Inquirer, Monday, May 20, 2013

Fresh: It all makes for a soaring -- and tearful -- ending.

- Desson Thomson, Washington Post, Saturday, January 1, 2000

Audience Reviews

3 stars

"Powered by imagination." A father recounts a dark period of his childhood when he and his little brother lived in the suburbs. REVIEW Not much material nearly grounds "Radio Flyer" pretty quick, but in the end the film is somewhat enjoyable and almost becomes one of the biggest surprises of the 1990s. Tom Hanks tells his two young sons about a dark time when he (Elijah Wood in the flashbacks) and younger brother Joseph Mazzello moved to the suburbs in California with mother Lorraine Bracco. Almost immediately she meets trouble-maker Adam Baldwin (his face barely seen throughout the film) and marries him. It is crystal clear that Baldwin is a child abuser, always choosing Mazzello as his target. A plan develops very quickly by the two youngsters to turn Mazzello's new wagon into a flying machine so he can get away from Baldwin's abuse. The film has many holes in it, but it still remains interesting nonetheless. Co-directors Richard Donner and David M. Evans almost turn the movie into a whimsical fantasy and I am not sure that was a good thing. It also seems that a lot of trouble went into Wood and Mazzello's plan when it would have been so much easier to go to their mother or local police officer John Heard and explain the situation. The film-makers wanted to show the movie through a child's point-of-view ala "E.T.---The Extra-Terrestrial", but a truly gifted director like Steven Spielberg is one of the few people that could pull that off successfully. "Radio Flyer" is above average and still pretty good in spite of numerous shortcomings. Ben Johnson adds an endearing cameo and really should have had a little more airtime.

- LorenzoVonMatterhorn, Thursday, July 8, 2010

4 stars

A powerful story about brothers. It has great performances from Elijah Wood and Joseph Mazzello. It is a very brave film and doesn't shy away from risque topics. In fact, the subject matter is quite mature and unlike the majority of kids movies.

- ythelastman89, Sunday, November 22, 2009

4 stars

Sort of hard to watch, but good. The boys were excellent and really got into the roles, which makes a difference.

- ashleymh007, Monday, September 15, 2008