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Based on 32 Reviews
critic reviews (10)
fan reviews ( 0 )
  • 50
    Mick LaSalle San Francisco Chronicle

    Plays like a war movie made in a time of war: too careful, too programmatic. show more

  • 50
    Mike Clark USA Today

    There has been a need for a big-screen feature about firefighter heroics since Sept. 11, but as drama, Ladder 49 falls short of even the second rung. show more

  • 60
    Joe Morgenstern Wall Street Journal

    A little humanity can go a long way to make up for a movie's shortcomings, and there's more than a little in Ladder 49, a surprisingly stirring celebration of heroic firefighters. show more

  • 50
    Carrie Rickey Philadelphia Inquirer

    Fails as drama but succeeds as a "When bad things happen to good firemen" procedural. It's sensitivity training for civilians. show more

  • 75
    Jack Mathews New York Daily News

    There's a lot of flashy acting going, notably by Travolta, who has not been more engaging on-screen in a decade, and by newcomer Barrett, a willowy Aussie who, as a woman living with the specter of death, gives the film's most complete performance. show more

  • 60
    Kirk Honeycutt The Hollywood Reporter

    The film is less of a drama than a tribute -- an ode, even -- to the spirit and tenacity of firefighters. Its makers hardly bother to explore the lives or motives behind their actions. show more

  • 88
    Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times

    Because it is attentive to these human elements, Ladder 49 draws from the action scenes instead of depending on them. Phoenix, Travolta, Barrett and the others are given characters with dimension, so that what happens depends on their decisions, not on the plot. show more

  • 75
    Chris Kaltenbach Baltimore Sun

    Celebrates heroes without turning them into saints. show more

  • 63
    Ty Burr Boston Globe

    Predictable, square, and honorable all at once. show more

  • 63
    James Berardinelli ReelViews

    One could argue that such an approach isn't all bad - after all, it allows us to know and like the characters - but there are times when Ladder 49 gets a little too cute. show more

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