Box art for Waterworld


action & adventure

In this futuristic thriller, Earth is covered with water and the human race struggles to survive on dilapidated boats and makeshift floating cities.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 13
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
2 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
1 out of 5
Positive role models
1 out of 5
2 out of 5
3 out of 5

Seagoing sci-fi swashbuckler fun despite bad reputation.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this post-apocalyptic epic postulates a semi-barbarous future where everything is traded and bartered -- including sex. The heroine is glimpsed naked from the rear as she tries to use her body to bribe the hero (he declines the offer), and there's a near-rape of her by another man in a similar "business" arrangement. Frequent violence includes death by machine guns, spears guns, bombs, crashes, knife slashes, drownings, and fireballs. There's a gruesome threat of execution by drowning in some sort of sludge made from human decomposition, and a mutilated main villain demonstrates graphically that he's lost an eye. A little girl is occasionally threatened with danger/death, usually via drowning. Swearing includes one use of the F-word, multiple S-bombs. Much cigarette smoking, and some drinking-carousing happens among the bad guys. The flamboyant lead villain, at one point, is made to look like a Christian evangelical preacher. Some viewers may be grossed out by the introduction of the Kevin Costner character, urinating and then distilling/drinking his own urine.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the reality of melting polar ice caps (whether by "global warming" or natural processes). Would it really raise the water levels this high? Which parts of the science in Waterworld seem bogus, and which parts seem well thought-out?
  • The movie became a joke in its day because of the incomprehensible budget -- $175 million, which would later become not too unusual -- and problems behind the scenes. Ask kids if the idea of "bad buzz" affects their enjoyment of a motion picture.
  • Explain the saga of the real-life Exxon Valdez oil tanker, which turns out to be a surprise key element in the plot.

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 0
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  • Audience


Audience Reviews

3 stars

Waterworld is famous for being one of the biggest flops in cinematic history. At the time of its release, it was the most expensive motion picture ever produced. So is the question is, "is Waterworld the worst film ever made?" Definitely not. In fact Waterworld is an awesome action adventure epic. Sure the film has its numerous flaws, but it's really entertaining, and deserves more credit than it deserves. This film is loads of fun to watch, and despite the fact that it doesn't really boast likeable characters, it more than makes up for it with exciting action. Waterworld is visually appealing and is reminiscent of The Road Warrior, albeit not as well acted or awesome as The Road Warrior. I really think that Wterworld is underrated. Sure the film is at times silly, and is not perfect, but for the most part this is still an entertaining film that delivers on the action. Dennis Hopper plays the villain and he brings a certain morbid comic relief to the role, much like his role in Speed. Waterworld is very much underrated and it's not as bad as what everyone has said it was. The plot is weak at times, but the action makes up for it. The film is silly too, but overall it's simply a very entertaining action adventure. The cast are good, and if you enjoy some mindless action film, Waterworld delivers the thrills that you'd expect. A very underrated film that doesn't deserve the flack it has received. The film is not perfect, but it's constantly exciting, and fun, epic with a great cast. Don't believe the negative reviews, this is one impressive adventure.

- TheDudeLebowski65, Monday, January 9, 2012

2 stars

Aquatic Kevin Costner epic is brilliant, big-budget filmmaking wrapped up in an excruciatingly shallow plot. Even if you're into futuristic epics, let me tell you that this is a good one to skip. At just 135 minutes, the running time cuts heavily into its performance. Truncated by two hours, this would be spectacular. Try AVATAR instead if you want a good sci-fi epic. Full Review:

- spielberg00, Saturday, December 3, 2011

0 star

It really lives up to the hype of being a horrible movie.

- Godless, Monday, December 1, 2008