Critics Consensus

While it can't escape comparisons to the movies it borrows from, Cliffhanger is a tense, action-packed thriller and a showcase for the talents that made Sylvester Stallone a star.



Total Count: 53


Audience Score

User Ratings: 182,853
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Movie Info

Producer Neal H. Moritz and writer Joe Gazzam team with Studio Canal for this remake of the 1993 mountain-climbing adventure that starred Sylvester Stallone as a haunted Mountain Climber who is forced to contend with some dangerous men in the Rocky Mountains.


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Critic Reviews for Cliffhanger

All Critics (53) | Top Critics (20) | Fresh (36) | Rotten (17)

  • Cliffhanger does its damnedest to see that the audience gets its money's worth of thrills. But for all the state-of-the-art stunt work, the movie has little personality; it's ice cream without flavor.

    Feb 13, 2018 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Top Critic
  • it has truly awe-inspiring stunts and special effects and many of its suspense sequences will leave you with your heart in your mouth.

    Aug 3, 2013 | Rating: 3/4
  • The fact that so much money was lavished on such a thick-headed project represents the height of fiscal ineptitude, but this is the kind of roller-coaster ride for which eager audiences will gladly check their brains at the turnstiles, so go figure.

    Aug 3, 2013 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • The cinematography and gravity-defying stunt performances are exhilarating. The story, alas, is pure routine.

    Aug 3, 2013 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Some movies get you so excited - so revved up on action and thrills -- that you almost feel like you're flying. Cliffhanger makes you feel like you're dropping.

    Aug 3, 2013 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • That rasping tension is soon smoothed away, as the plot sets off on its daft and hackneyed course.

    Aug 3, 2013 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Cliffhanger

  • Jun 10, 2013
    Sylvester Stallone will always hold a place in film history for writing and starring in the original "Rocky", but the rest of the his career never aspired to the same height. From bad choices like choosing to star in "Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot", bad directorial efforts like "Staying Alive", and proving his acting chops in "Cop Land" which he did at the cost of his career being in a stump for a decade. While Stallone doesn't always hit the mark Cliffhanger is one of those films that gives us thrilling action without tossing the plot like some of Stallone's other action ventures. Cliffhanger plot is about an expert climber who finds himself taken hostage with a fellow friend by a gang of dangerous criminals on the search for suitcases full of stolen cash in the Rocky Mountains. One could essentially call this "Die Hard" in the mountains, but that shouldn't take anything away from the film itself. As oppose some "Die Hard" clones our hero and villain have the force of nature against them. Having to rely more so on brain and speed to survive the natural conditions against them than simply having the best weapons. Our heroes are given more depth than the villain himself. The villain is by no means bad since you will want to see his demise, but ultimately is a routine baddie. Killing the usual innocents to get the idea of his coldness across without being developed much and making the occasional dumb choices. As for it depiction of rock climbing it is very off and easy to spot the errors. Not a negative since the film does so for thrills which it has plenty off. Some bad lines creep their way onto the screen though it adds the fun hearing goofy lines being said. The plot never feels secondary to the action building upon its premise with competent writing making the most of its plot. Sylvester Stallone obviously plays the hero this time without the invincibility or the arsenal to back him up. This is a Stallone hero being vulnerable taking punches, nearly avoiding gunshots, and traversing the rocky mountains. Giving an impressively low-key performance as a mountain rescuer who must redeem himself. Adding a sense of tension that would other not be here if it were another film. John Lithgow is excellent as the film's antagonist, but not entirely successful. His British accent is unconvincing doing his best to make some bad dialogue sound good. The supporting are good, but is more a showcase of Stallone going against Lithgrow. The action scenes use the rocky mountain for more than good scenery. The action set pieces includes the usual explosions, plane hijackings, and avoiding gunfire, but added the force of nature for environmental hazards. One action scene in particular between transferring from one plane to another is the best looking of the film only matched by fitting climax raising the stakes further. Cliffhanger is an action classic putting Stallone in the role of a character that is never invincible or relies on a heavy arsenal to save the day. With great a story complemented by great action scenes it will surely satisfy action junkie as well as the average movie goer.
    Caesar M Super Reviewer
  • May 08, 2013
    1993 was a big year for Mr Stallone, not only did this huge box office success come out but later that year we were presented with 'Demolition Man'. Oddly enough this was also the last year where Stallone's movies managed success, after 1993 his work went downhill considerably and only got back on track in 2008 with his [i]Rambo[/i] reboot/sequel. This film could well be the first 'Die Hard on a' example to come along, 'Die Hard on a mountain'? meh maybe its just me?. The whole thing is your standard action fare really, nothing original and nothing fresh. A bunch of bad guys after lost millions on a mountain, hostages, plenty of gunfire, plenty of blood, lots of profanity and an evil caddish bad guy boss to equal Rickman's 'Hans Gruber'. I must admit I never really liked this film as it just feels too run of the mill, accept for being based on a mountain of course (mountainous snowy terrain). I've always been in the Arnie camp personally I never really thought Stallone could match up with his efforts. I simply cannot look at this film without thinking of 'Die Hard/Die Hard 2', its such a copy, really it is, right down to Lithgow's corny British villain. The action isn't all that impressive either really, a mixture of highly dangerous stunts which are admittedly good enough to make your palms sweat, and blatantly obvious sets. One minute the film looks sweet as a nut with some lovely location shots and real live action, the next you're looking at some crappy bluescreen effects or an obvious plastic rubbery set. Actually to be honest the film is a bit drab looking for the most part, lots of grey and white rocky terrain. The entire cast in this film is pretty boring too, the bad guys aren't really very interesting but that's cos we don't really get to know them. All the good guys n gals are just wet and annoying, Rooker's character does so much slow motion running and screaming its hilarious, did this film start that trend?!. Only Lithgow holds things together with his hammy campness, problem there is he doesn't really look right for the part nor does he look like he could beat up Stallone, but his evilness is fun. Can't deny the film is a blast of adrenaline with its ridiculous moments of sheer dumbness. Stallone climbing up the rockface in his t-shirt, then whilst under the frozen icy water he removes everything and goes topless! why exactly? but hey this is a stupid action thriller what do you expect. A decent flick for the Stallone camp but its complete lack of realism and easy to spot stunt doubles/bad effects are all too clear. Great film title though.
    Phil H Super Reviewer
  • Jul 08, 2012
    superb stallone action vehicle that redeemed him from the various comedies. the cast are all well cast especially the menacing lithgow in the lead villain role. if you enjoy a solid action film then you can't miss this classic. Renny Harlin hasn't been any better then he was here, a career high
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Aug 16, 2011
    I remember having a lot of fun with this movie. That's what it is- a B movie.
    Albert K Super Reviewer

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