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Cave of Forgotten Dreams Review

Other Critics provided by

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

  • 5.0

    out of 100

    Universal acclaim
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

    The cave exists to provoke awe in mere mortals. The camera pauses at one point to take in a stalagmite reaching up to touch, nearly, a stalactite and the inevitable association is with Michelangelo's Adam and the hand of God.

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  • 90

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Go underground with magic glasses on your nose and you won't regret it.

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  • 90

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    To call this movie fascinating is akin to calling the Grand Canyon large.

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  • 91

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    This truly intimate film invites viewers to commune as well and feel a profound living connection with fellow humans of 30,000 years ago.

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  • See all Cave of Forgotten Dreams reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 9+

Docu about ancient cave art is tame but aimed at adults.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although this Werner Herzog-directed 3-D documentary about 30,000-year-old cave drawings is rated G, it's generally aimed at a grown-up audience. Younger viewers may be fascinated by some parts and bored by others, though the gorgeous 3-D cinematography may help with short attention spans. Like Herzog's Encounters at the End of the World, the movie has very little iffy content: There's a brief demonstration of primitive weapons and a discussion of hunting animals, and one of the cave drawings depicts a naked woman, though the image is hard to make out.

  • Families can talk about the use of 3-D in this movie. How is it different from most other 3-D movies you've seen?
  • What audience do you think this movie is intended for?
  • What are some of the things we can learn from the cave? What kind of emotional reactions do the drawings elicit? Can you imagine what life must have been like 30,000 or 40,000 years ago?

The good stuff
  • message true2

    Messages: No specific messages here, but it's fascinating to consider the lives of people who lived more than 30,000 years ago; it puts our human existence into proper perspective and reminds us that many of the things that concern us today are rather small in the grand scheme.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: Kids and teens may find director Werner Herzog himself rather inspiring. He has a kind of unquenchable curiosity and unflappable bravery: He'll venture into virtually any territory to find out more about man's relationship with nature. But it's worth noting that his earlier work is more dangerous and mature.

What to watch for
  • violence false1

    Violence: One interviewee demonstrates the use of primitive weapons and talks about hunting and killing animals.

  • sex false0

    Sex: One of the cave drawings depicts a naked woman, though it's difficult to see (part of the drawing is out of camera range).

  • language false0

    Language: Not an issue

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not an issue