Watch It

On DVD: Now | On Blu-ray: Now

Battle in Seattle Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    While it makes no bones about where its sympathies lie, these fictional stories show a genuine fascination with the role politics plays on both sides of such confrontations and how things can spin out of control with no single person to blame.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    The result is not quite a documentary and not quite a drama, but interesting all the same. It uses the approach of Haskell Wexler's "Medium Cool" (1969), but without the same urgency.

    Read Full Review

  • 91

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    His (Townsend) staging has a tumult, a multi-POV immediacy that brings to mind Paul Greengrass' "Bloody Sunday."

    Read Full Review

  • See all Battle in Seattle reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 16+

Political ensemble drama is provocative, preachy.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this drama about the volatile environment in Seattle during the World Trade Organization meeting in 1999 features realistic depictions of political protest, from putting up unauthorized banners to street marching and blockading intersections. The police response to some of these protests is equally realistic, ranging from tear gas and pepper spray to brutal beatings. Teens may not be clamoring to see a movie that features extensive discussion of political and economic issues like free speech and free trade, but if they see it, they may find themselves interested in learning more about the topics it raises. Expect some swearing, smoking, and drinking.

  • Families can talk about the many social, political, and economic topics that the film raises, from concerns about corporate control of the media to the environmental ramifications of modern industry. Families can also discuss whether a film like this is made to provide answers or provoke questions. Do you think the filmmakers are playing favorites in their arguments and scenes? Is it OK for movies based on real-life events to have a particular bias toward one "side" or the other?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Extensive discussion of the nature of political protest, the World Trade Organization, corporate ownership of property, and the nature of global capital; extensive discussion of First Amendment rights and violent vs. non-violent protest.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Destruction of private property; police response to protestors includes pepper spray, tear gas, rubber bullets, beatings with truncheons, and more. A pregnant woman is struck in the stomach with a truncheon by a passing policeman; viewers see her agony, blood, and suffering as she loses the baby. Protesters are pepper-sprayed at close range and with great vigor by police. An accidental death is often referenced but takes place off screen.

  • sex false2

    Sex: Morning-after chat between two lovers; kissing; some sexual language.

  • language false4

    Language: Occasional strong language includes "damn," "hell," "f--k," "s--t," and "motherf---er." Police are referred to as "pigs."

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: Some brands -- like Starbucks -- are visible in the background.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: One character smokes; characters drink hard liquor.