Box art for War Of The Worlds

War Of The Worlds

  • Rated PG13
  • HD and SD formats available

As Earth is invaded by alien tripod fighting machines, one family fights for survival.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 14
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
0 out of 5
5 out of 5

Alien invasion thriller too scary for young kids.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie features repeated violence by frightening, spider-legged and penetrative machines, in particular directed against a 10-year-old girl. Her high-pitched screams and tears might alarm younger viewers. The aliens blow up streets, buildings, and cars, explode or zap some humans into dust, and literally suck the blood out of others (this last occurs in long shot, but it's clear what's going on). In one scary scene, a mob of humans attack Ray and his kids in their car (again, the girl's reaction is disquieting). The movie also includes some harsh language, tense scenes between Ray and his son, and Ray and his ex-wife, and Ray commits what he sees as a necessary murder off-screen.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the conflict between Ray and his teenaged son, which ignites several arguments: the boy doesn't trust his emotionally distant father, and resents his seeming selfishness in trying to save the family only and not seeking revenge against the aliens. This raises another issue, as the film's images of invasion allude to 9/11, as well as subsequent fears. How does the movie compare Ray's reaction to that of a survivalist holed up in his basement? How does Ray learn to be a more committed father by paying attention to his kids? How does the film marginalize the kids' mother, and to what effects for viewers?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 30
    see all War Of The Worlds reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: Overall, the film is too lacking in feeling to provide a recognizably human experience.

- Andrew Sarris, New York Observer, Thursday, July 14, 2005


- Bob Mondello,, Saturday, October 18, 2008

Rotten: This is Spielberg at his unabashedly commercial worst %u2014 bland, unimaginative, and more interested in his bang than his brain.

- Brandon Fibbs,, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Audience Reviews

3 stars

With War of the Worlds director Steven Spielberg proves that he is one of the top directors working with huge tentpole type Hollywood films of today. Here is a blockbuster that defies all the expectations of it's kind and manages to be scary, poignant, entertaining and visionary at the same time. There is definetly more than meets the eye here and Spielberg has much more in his sleeve that on the surface would seem. This time you can forget the friendly aliens of Close Encounters of the third Kind, or that sweet and good natured E.T who won over the hearts of millions of people around the world. Spielberg has gone into more darker waters and presents his aliens as a blood drinking doomsday machines with nihilistic need of destruction. Their only purpose seems to be killing and taking our world over. What surprised me the most is the clever way that Spielberg makes direct political references to holocaust and 9/11 with his film. Grey ash filling the air, people running for their lives in a panic and everyone desperately trying to survive from the mass scale butchering reminds me a lot of Spielberg's own Schindler's List. In a way War of the Worlds is as much a holocaust film as Schindler's List is. Therefore i found it as much as political film as it is sci-fi-film Brutality of this level might come as a surprise for some viewers, but those more familiar of Spielberg's work should not be surprised. With films like Empire of the Sun, Saving Private Ryan, Schindler's List or Minority Report and A.I., he has glimpsed more darker side of his mind before and now War of the Worlds joins among those films as a one of the most darkest, if not even the darkest, of his films to date. Actually this is the closest that Spielberg has ever come to horror genre and when you think of it, this is pure horror film at it's core. There were moments when i was absolutely terrified and on the edge of my seat while watching it's horrifying beauty. From the point when Spielberg let his bloodthirsty aliens free, the film never let it's viewer off the hook and keeps us riveted till the credits roll. He has abitlity to create menace without showing too much for the viewers. There are many more terrifying moments in this film than we are used to see in other of todays horror films and Spielberg handles them with his assured hand. War of the Worlds is technically and visually undisputed work of art. Janusz Kaminski's camerawork is simply outstanding and together with Spielberg he creates fantastic set-pieces that are outstanding to watch. For example there is this great moment when we see the main characters driving in a car and the camera swoops around them with a one long take creating a wonderful suspense into that moment. John Williams, who is also one of the most important work partners with Spielberg, delivers one of his most effective and darkest scores to date. Spielberg himself instead show many other directors how to do this kind of film. He is one of those rare directors who can make us in the audience care about his characters even when the whole world is getting blown away by tripods. When it comes to acting, Tom Cruise delivers believable and complex performance as a flawed father here. Dakota Fanning and Justin Chatwin are very good as his children in jeopardy. Together they all three form a family which is authentic and one that audience will most certainly root and care for. There is also Tim Robbins in a disturbing role as a man who has lost his himself in the middle of all the desperation and destruction. If you love sci-fi or horror or just enjoy great entertainment overall, then here is a perfect film for you. It might not be nothing new or original but it is pure, if a bit hollow, entertainment made with skill.

- emilkakko, Wednesday, January 9, 2013

3 stars

This was a good movie. But I disagree with a lot of things about it. First of all. Why do we follow a bumlike man who's not on good terms with his children....and why does everything look so grey and just dead? It's the war of the worlds. As it is displayed for me...I just feel that....go a head and destroy us's a hell hole anyway...It's us against them...try showing our good side....then we can turn on eachother when times are though. Another thing I disagree with is that the aliens make there first apperance way too early....come the drama....did Planet of the Apes teach you nothing? Now...we see them at the start of the movie....And about half's not interesting anymore...Cause the first halft was good...the second....I couldn't care less...And as far as Spielberg goes....I just wanna say that he did some really good things in this movie....but he did some bad stuff's not really a bad movie...but the whole overall feeling is just bitter..and I wouldn't really recomend it recomend it. And Tom's son should have died...that was the best part of the movie....but no...we can't have that in a Spielberg film

- TheGame90, Sunday, February 12, 2012

4 stars

It(TM)s rewarding to see director Steven Spielberg return to the alien studies for which we know him best. His earlier films CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND and E.T.: THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL were classic (and much less intense), but seeing him revisit such a marvelous concept is phenomenal. The running up satisfier about this adrenaline-heavy thriller is that it is not merely an adaptation of H.G. Wells(TM)s classic novel; it is a 21st century twist, narrated reverently by Morgan Freeman. It was also one of three versions of the story in 2005 (!), all remakes of the 1953 film THE WAR OF THE WORLDS. Full Review:

- spielberg00, Friday, December 23, 2011