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Highlander Review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

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

  • 2.0
    24

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Generally unfavorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 10

    out of 100

    Los Angeles Times Sheila Benson

    In spite of a sturdy cast and dazzling production design, Highlander is stultifyingly, jaw-droppingly, achingly awful.[11 Mar 1986, p.5]

  • 30

    out of 100

    The New York Times

    Since none of the characters makes sense even on the movie's own terms, Highlander keeps on exploding for almost two hours, with nothing at stake.

    Read Full Review

  • 38

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Gene Siskel

    About halfway through the violent, fantasy adventure Highlander, one character talks about how it was the custom during ancient times to throw babies into a pit of hungry dogs. Well, there were more than a few times during this hyperviolent film in which I felt as if I were a baby being thrown to a dog of a movie.

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  • 40

    out of 100

    Variety

    Director Russell Mulcahy can’t seem to decide from one scene to the next whether he’s making a sci-fi, thriller, horror, music video or romance – end result is a mishmash.

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  • See all Highlander reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 16+

Very violent, time-tripping immortality fantasy.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the abundant violence in this fantasy includes, most famously, the bloody beheading of several characters via swords. Other characters, some gifted with miraculous healing powers, others not so lucky, are stabbed, shot, slashed, impaled, beaten, drowned, etc. There is one darkened sex scene montage and hints of prostitution. Some scenes involve immortals indulging themselves in dangerous and reckless behavior, including one getting repeatedly stabbed while drunk (immortals do seem to enjoy their liquor). This inspired a series of movies, some (like the first sequel) going further with nudity and profanity than this one does.

  • Families can talk about the dilemma of immortality that this premise sets up. How would an immortal be expected to behave living through the centuries, watching loved ones die and the world change? You might research legends and folklore about "real" immortals, like the Wandering Jew and Saint-Germain. Some of the brighter vampire movies (and the Harry Potter stories) are concerned with the pursuit of immortality at any price as well. Ask kids what they would do with (or for) eternal life, and what are their favorite fictional treatments of this theme.

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: A pretty clear line between Connor Macleod and Ramirez and other immortals as good guys, while those like the Kurgan are wicked and corrupted by their immortality and near-invulnerable states. Nice romantic touch: Connor, though ever-youthful, remains faithful and loving to his 16th-century wife, right up through her dotage and death from old age. Respect for spirituality insofar as immortals cannot duel in churches or other "holy ground," but a feudal warrior-priest is shown blessing enemies on the battlefield as he kills them.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: Decapitations. Bloody clashes on a medieval battlefield result in slashings, stabbings, drownings. Brutal beatings. "Immortal" characters sprayed with machine-gun fire or run through with swords, injuries from which they recover straightaway. Pedestrians run down in deliberate car mishaps. The villain boasts of committing a rape.

  • sex false2

    Sex: Cleavage in a prostitute character. Vulgar verbal references to homosexuality and gay sex acts. One lyrical, shadowy (heterosexual) sex scene.

  • language false3

    Language: "S--t." A Spanish profanity. "Jesus Christ."

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: Food product labels and names of newspapers. The wall-to-wall Queen music on the soundtrack is almost as famous as the movie itself. A plug for pro-wrestling and Madison Square Garden opens the drama.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Mention of cocaine and marijuana. Tavern drinking in ancient and modern times, comical drunkenness, and a vintage wine appraised by Macleod lovingly.

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