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White House Down Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Foxx/Tatum 2016 Read full 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.

  • 30

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Mr. Emmerich, who has often conjured with cosmic themes, sometimes wittily, achieves something new this time around — a level of indifference to the genre and its fans that amounts to a cosmic shrug. What does it matter if the absurdity is slovenly, the whimsy leaden, the extravagance squalid?

  • 60

    out of 100

    Village Voice Alan Scherstuhl

    Often, the hilarity is indisputably intentional. If you think you'll laugh and clap, try it; if you know you'll hate it, you're right.

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  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    While director Roland Emmerich (Independence Day) piles on outlandish scenarios, the chemistry of the lead actors mitigates the contrived setup and numbing explosions.

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  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly

    Skip it, and you'll be depriving yourself of one of the summer's most satisfyingly stupid pleasures.

    Read Full Review

  • 70

    out of 100

    Variety Scott Foundas

    Itself owing much to such lone-man-of-action hallmarks as “Die Hard” and “Speed,” this welcome throwback to an earlier, more generously entertaining era of summer blockbusters delivers a wide array of close-quarters combat and large-scale destruction, all grounded in an immensely appealing star turn by Channing Tatum and ace support from imperiled POTUS Jamie Foxx.

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  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter David Rooney

    An action thriller that doesn’t know when to quit. For the most part, though, it remains preposterously entertaining.

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  • See all White House Down reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 13 & under

Patriotic thriller is ridiculous, violent, and entertaining.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that White House Down is a patriotic thriller in the vein of Olympus Has Fallen and Independence Day, in which the country is saved by one brave man with a gun -- in this case Channing Tatum. Like Independence Day, which was also directed by Roland Emmerich, there's a lot of violence, but most of it is on a grand scale -- explosions, helicopters/planes crashing, and deaths the audience doesn't see too up close. There are a few hand-to-hand combat scenes and a tense hostage situation in which people (some in high levels of the administration) are executed or wounded. A young girl is frequently in danger and is almost killed on a couple of occasions (which ups the movie's intensity level), and the president seems dead. There's absolutely no sex or romance, but there's some language, including a single "f--k you," plus "s--t," "bitch," and "a--hole." Ultimately it's a crowd-pleasing action movie with a well-intentioned but slightly contradictory message involving both peace and the importance of armed defense.

  • Families can talk about the amount of violence in White House Down. Does any of it seem realistic? How does that affect its impact?
  • How does seeing the destruction of national landmarks like the White House and the Capitol affect you? Is it more disturbing than when random buildings explode in movies?
  • Talk about which historical facts/trivia nuggets you learned about the White House and the presidency. Is the immediate line of presidential secession clearer now that you've seen it played out on screen? What did you think about the jockeying for control between the Secret Service and the military/joint chiefs of staff?
  • How does the movie's depiction of domestic terrorists and military mercenaries differ from other threats to the White House in previous movies/TV shows?

The good stuff
  • message true2

    Messages: The movie has a strong patriotic message, but it's a bit conflicted, as some characters consider it the president's duty to be hawkish and kill all enemies, while others are for diplomacy. Sacrifice is also discussed again and again -- both positively (the importance of saving one person) and negatively (who cares whether we bomb an entire nation if its leaders are a threat to the United States?). Trust is a theme as well, and there's a strong father-daughter relationship in the movie.

  • rolemodels true3

    Role models: John Cale has made mistakes in the past, but now he's committed -- to his daughter, to his country, and to his president (even though it's not his job to protect him). The president is a righteous man who wants to make a difference, not just make a name for himself. Both use violence as a means to solve problems. Emily, who's only 11, is incredibly brave and stands up to the armed hostage-takers on several occasions and even video tapes them and uploads the footage with her smartphone. Various members of the Secret Service and the armed forces do their duty admirably, but the mercenaries and the folks behind the takeover act without honor or care for human life.

What to watch for
  • violence false4

    Violence: Similarly to movies like Independence Day, there's lots of violence and an extremely high body count (collateral damage), but there are only a few bloody injuries. People die of bullet wounds, explosions, or blunt force. The weapons range from hand and machine guns to grenades and anti-aircraft missiles, military helicopters, and nuclear missiles. There are also a few hand-to-hand battles and various scenes of executions or close-range murders. Civilians, including an 11-year-old girl and a school group, are held hostage and threatened.

  • sex false1

    Sex: High-tech thermal equipment briefly reveals (through a building) the outline of two people on top of each other (sex is implied).

  • language false3

    Language: One "f--k you," plus "a--hole," "s--t," "bitch" (referring to a little girl), "prick," "hell," "damn," "goddamn," "oh my God" (as an exclamation), and insults including "idiot" and "old man."

  • consumerism false3

    Consumerism: Cars in the president's fleet include a Cadillac limousine and several Chevy Suburbans. Other product placements prominently mentioned or shown include Sony VAIO laptop, Nike sneakers, and Nicorette gum. The director's other White House movie, Independence Day, is overtly referenced.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false1

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: The president chews Nicorette gum and is obviously a former smoker. A staffer for the vice president drinks on a plane.