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War of the Worlds (2005)

HD   PG-13 Closed Captioning

Steven Spielberg

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About the Movie

An ordinary man has to protect his children against alien invaders in this science fiction thriller, freely adapted from the classic story by H.G. Wells. Ray Ferrier (Tom Cruise) is a dockworker living in New Jersey, divorced from his first wife Mary Ann (Miranda Otto) and estranged from his two children Rachel and Robbie (Dakota Fanning and Justin Chatwin), of whom he has custody on weekends. On one such visitation, looking after the kids becomes a little more difficult when, after a series of strange lighting storms hit his neighborhood, Ray discovers that a fleet of death-ray robotic spaceships have emerged nearby, part of the first wave of an all-out alien invasion of the Earth. Transporting his children from New York to Boston in an attempt to find safety at Mary Ann's parents' house, Ray must learn to become the protector and provider he never was in marriage. Also starring Tim Robbins, War of the Worlds was directed by Steven Spielberg, who had been planning the project for years, but set it aside until a wave of "alien invasion" films (led by Independence Day) had run its course.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 254
  • Fresh: 189
  • Rotten: 65
  • Average Rating: 7.0/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: H.G. Wells wouldn't recognize his 1898 alien-invasion novel, The War of the Worlds, in Steven Spielberg's updated film version. But Wells could probably relate to the ensuing fear and panic. – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone, Nov 24, 2006

Rotten: It's as if the aliens landed and everyone died so that Tom Cruise could grow up one more time. – David Denby, New Yorker, Jul 6, 2005

Fresh: War of the Worlds is taut, gripping and surprisingly dark filmmaking. – Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post, Jun 24, 2010

Fresh: [B]y far the biggest, loudest and most elaborate adaptation of the H.G. Wells classic. – Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper, Jun 24, 2010

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

This is why we can't have nice things.

H G Wells' "The War of the Worlds" is one of the best science fiction stories of all time, but everybody seems to want to treat it as a great idea for a story. Then they replace the original with something else from their own imagination — which is always shallower and less interesting. I'd hoped the Spielburg would be different. I'd hoped he would actually have the vision to do a real period piece set at the end of the 19th century. It could have been awesome. Instead, what did he give us? "They were underground"???? You're kidding me. In the original story, every last detail was sweated and thought through. In Spielburg's story, ridiculous details appear simply because it'll make for cool special effects. Forgettable. And a great opportunity wasted.

Thrilling adaptation

Don't be swayed by a misinformed, disgruntled malcontent that doesn't understand what he just saw and can't be bothered to even spell SPIELBERG correctly in their ranting review.
This is a very close adaptation of the source material that also pays homage to the acclaimed 1950s film classic as well. While some aspects have been changed, overall it follows the novel's plot and events.
Some changes have been made thematically because the original reflected a commentary on the world at the time (the over reaching British empire) and has been updated to reflect our current climate (terrorism) while still staying true to the main theme (third world countries occupied by advanced nations).
It is also thrilling filled with exceptional special effects and horrifying set pieces.
A terrific film, that like it's source material, has something important to say.


I forgot how much I didn't enjoy this movie. The characters were awful, and that's saying a lot because I like Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning. The story exhibited no "war" was an annihilation on every level. Now I remember exactly why I didn't enjoy it 11 years ago. Don't waste your time and/or money watching it.

Viewers Also Bought

War of the Worlds (2005)
View in iTunes
  • $14.99
  • Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy
  • Released: 2005

Customer Ratings