Box art for Rampart


  • Rated R

independent, special interest

At the heart of Oren Moverman's Rampart is a riveting parable about what happens to a man who refuses to change, even when change is the only thing that can save him. That man is Dave Brown, played by two-time Academy Award nominee Woody Harrelson.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
4 out of 5
5 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
Positive role models
0 out of 5
4 out of 5
3 out of 5

Dark, intense drama about violent, corrupt cop.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that Rampart is a very intense character study about a corrupt Los Angeles police officer. When his beating of a motorist is caught on video, it's a catalyst for his long, slow downfall -- a process that includes several scenes of violence, with the cop beating up or shooting bad guys. He also sleeps with several women over the course of the movie (though no graphic nudity is shown), and language is very strong and almost constant. Plus, the main character drinks and smokes constantly and even illegally obtains prescription drugs from a pharmacy. Director Oren Moverman also helmed The Messenger, which was one of the most acclaimed movies of 2009, but Rampart is much more intense.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about Rampart's violence. Every time the main character does something violent, he finds a way to justify it. Is there such a thing as justified violence? Does the main character's violence ever contribute to anything good?
  • Though the movie shows very little nudity, there are a lot of sexual situations. What's the difference between nudity and a sexual situation? Do intimacy or trust enter into this equation? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values on these topics.
  • The character drinks a lot of alcohol. Are the consequences of his drinking realistic?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 19
    see all Rampart reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: This movie's too small and too dark to have gotten Harrelson into the overcrowded best-actor race, but it's without question one of the year's great performances.

- Andrew O'Hehir,, Thursday, February 9, 2012

Rotten: "Rampart" doesn't tell a coherent story as much as swirl the drain with Dave, as his increasingly desperate efforts to save himself simply result in a cascade of self-inflicted wounds.

- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fresh: Brown is a sick man, but Harrelson makes him so interesting, so charismatic, so ... watchable, that you can't look away, even if his actions make you want to (and they will).

- Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic, Thursday, March 1, 2012

Audience Reviews

3 stars

Another Bad Cop Movie played by no better actor then Woody Harrelso, don't think he had to act to hard to fit this role. Nothing outstanding here, really a dissapointment. 3 Stars 8-3-12

- bbcfloridabound, Thursday, September 20, 2012

3 stars

Woody Harrelson puts in a brilliant performance and is backed up by an impressive cast. It's filmed well and I enjoyed it but there is such a huge hole in the story that you can't help but ask 'Is that it?'. Did they hire the caretaker to do the editing by mistake? There is enough here for me to recommend it but I feel for actors like Harrelson who give it their all and get let down in the post production.

- SirPant, Tuesday, September 4, 2012

3 stars

Dave Brown: I don't cheat on my taxes... you can't cheat on something you never committed to. "The Most Corrupt Cop You've Ever Seen On Screen." Rampart is a movie like many others. It's one of those dirty cop movies like Bad Lieutenant, that has been touched by many filmmakers for years and years from Werner Herzog to Don Siegel. Rampart doesn't do too much to distance itself from other films of its kind either. It seems perfectly content being just another character study of dirty, corrupt, violent, alcoholic, womanizing cop that has alienated his family with his misdeeds and bad publicity. With all that said, it really isn't a bad movie. It's just a familiar one that clings to Woody Harrelson and let's him make or break the movie. So it is a good thing that Harrelson was more than just excellent as Dave Brown, the most corrupt cop you've ever seen. Dave Brown is a cop for the Rampart precinct in Los Angeles. Before becoming a cop, he fought in Vietnam and we get the feeling throughout that his tour of duty there fucked him up. He has two daughters that come from two different women, that just happen to be sisters. He's a womanizer going to bars to pick up women with low self esteems that would allow a guy like Brown to penetrate them. He's also facing legal actions as he deals with questioning over a shooting that he was involved in. Overall this plot is pretty tired, but it is uplifted by a phenomenal actor who is at the top of his game. Oren Moverman takes a tiny step down after his near masterpiece, The Messenger. He uses both Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster(in a smaller role) again in Rampart. Harrelson brings it just like he did in The Messenger, but the overall film doesn't touch The Messenger. Moverman definitely has an eye for camera work and has a slick style that he likes to use. His films are engaging, but he could have used a little more substance out of this one. This is a worthwhile movie though, no matter how unoriginal it all is. Seeing Harrelson as Dave Brown is all I really needed. It just would have been nice if I was given anything more than that. It has a respectable cast and has fine direction. It isn't going to blow you away by any means, but it has its impressive elements. I wouldn't tell anyone to seek this movie out, but if you get the opportunity to watch it; give it a look.

- blkbomb, Thursday, July 19, 2012