88

Chicago Sun-Times

By Roger Ebert
Because it is attentive to these human elements, Ladder 49 draws from the action scenes instead of depending on them. Phoenix, Travolta, Barrett and the others are given characters with dimension, so that what happens depends on their decisions, not on the plot.
Full Review
75

Baltimore Sun

By Chris Kaltenbach
Celebrates heroes without turning them into saints.
Full Review
75

New York Daily News

By Jack Mathews
There's a lot of flashy acting going, notably by Travolta, who has not been more engaging on-screen in a decade, and by newcomer Barrett, a willowy Aussie who, as a woman living with the specter of death, gives the film's most complete performance.
Full Review
75

Entertainment Weekly

By Lisa Schwarzbaum
Aside from the awesome flames and pyrotechnic scenes of crisis, danger, and part-of-the-job bravery, the movie is a quiet salute; it does its job.
Full Review
63

Boston Globe

By Ty Burr
Predictable, square, and honorable all at once.
Full Review
60

Wall Street Journal

By Joe Morgenstern
A little humanity can go a long way to make up for a movie's shortcomings, and there's more than a little in Ladder 49, a surprisingly stirring celebration of heroic firefighters.
Full Review
60

The Hollywood Reporter

By Kirk Honeycutt
The film is less of a drama than a tribute -- an ode, even -- to the spirit and tenacity of firefighters. Its makers hardly bother to explore the lives or motives behind their actions.
Full Review
50

San Francisco Chronicle

By Mick LaSalle
Plays like a war movie made in a time of war: too careful, too programmatic.
Full Review
50

Philadelphia Inquirer

By Carrie Rickey
Fails as drama but succeeds as a "When bad things happen to good firemen" procedural. It's sensitivity training for civilians.
Full Review
50

USA Today

By Mike Clark
There has been a need for a big-screen feature about firefighter heroics since Sept. 11, but as drama, Ladder 49 falls short of even the second rung.
Full Review
47 out of 100
Mixed or average reviews
Metascore® based on all critic reviews. Scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.