Falling Down


Falling Down

Critics Consensus

Falling Down's popcorn-friendly take on its complex themes proves disquieting -- and ultimately fitting for a bleakly entertaining picture of one man's angry break with reality.



Total Count: 53


Audience Score

User Ratings: 92,393
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Movie Info

It's just not William Foster's (Michael Douglas) day. Laid off from his defense job, Foster gets stuck in the middle of the mother of all traffic jams. Desirous of attending his daughter's birthday party at the home of his ex-wife (Barbara Hershey), Foster abandons his car and begins walking, encountering one urban humiliation after another (the Korean shopkeeper who obstinately refuses to give change is the worst of the batch). He also slowly unravels mentally, finally snapping at a fast-food restaurant that refuses to serve him breakfast because it's "too late." Running amok with an arsenal of weapons at the ready, Foster -- also known as "D-FENS" because of his vanity license plate -- rapidly becomes a source of terror to some, a folk hero to others. It's up to reluctant cop Prendergast (Robert Duvall), on the eve of his retirement, to bring D-FENS down.


Robert Duvall
as Det. Martin Prendergast
Tuesday Weld
as Mrs. Prendergast
Raymond J. Barry
as Capt. Yardley
D.W. Moffett
as Det. Lydecker
Steve Park
as Det. Brian
Kimberly Scott
as Det. Jones
James Keane
as Det. Keene
Macon McCalman
as Det. Graham
Richard Montoya
as Det. Sanchez
Bruce Beatty
as Police Clerk
Stephen Park
as Detective Brian
Frederic Forrest
as Surplus Store Owner
Mathew Saks
as Officer At Station
Lois Smith
as D-Fens' Mother
Agustin Rodriguez
as Gang Member 1
Ebbe Roe Smith
as Guy on Freeway
Eddie Frias
as Gang Member 2
Pat Romano
as Gang Member 3
Fabio Urena
as Gang Member 4
Irene Olga Lopez
as Angie's Mother
Benjamin Mouton
as Uniformed Officer at Beth's
Dean Hallo
as Uniformed Officer's Partner
James Morrison
as Construction Sign Man by Bus Stop
John Fleck
as Seedy Guy in Park
Brent Hinkley
as Rick at Whammyburger
Dedee Pfeiffer
as Sheila at Whammyburger
Carol Androsky
as Woman Who Throws Up
Margaret Medina
as Lita the Waitress
Vondie Curtis-Hall
as Not Economically Viable Man
Mark Frank
as Annoying Man at Phone Booth
Peter Radon
as 1st Gay Man
Spencer Rochfort
as 2nd Gay Man
Carole Ita White
as 2nd Officer at Beth's
Russell Curry
as 2nd Officer's Partner
John Fink
as Guy Behind Woman Driver
Valentino Harrison
as Kid with Missile Launcher
Jack Betts
as Frank the Golfer
Al Mancini
as Jim the Golfer
John Diehl
as Dad at Back Yard Party
Amy Morton
as Mom at Back Yard Party
Abbey Barthel
as Trina at Back Yard Party
Susie Singer Carter
as Suzie the Stripper
Wayne Duvall
as Paramedic
Valisha Jean Malin
as Prendergast's Daughter
Jack Kehoe
as Street Worker
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News & Interviews for Falling Down

Critic Reviews for Falling Down

All Critics (53) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (39) | Rotten (14)

  • None of the characters ever rises beyond the level of his or her generic functions, and by the end the overall emptiness of the conception becomes fully apparent.

    Jul 18, 2011 | Full Review…
  • Let's face it, there is an element of truth in the character of D-FENS. But it is, finally, tabloid truth.

    Jul 18, 2011 | Full Review…
  • At first comes across like a mean-spirited black comedy and then snowballs into a reasonably powerful portrait of social alienation. The tone is unremittingly dour, however.

    Mar 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Top Critic
  • A real artist could make something incisive or darkly hilarious out of this moral tightrope act. Schumacher, veering recklessly between social satire, kick-ass fantasy and damsel-in-distress melodrama, plays the game for opportunistic cheap thrills.

    Mar 31, 2008 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    Top Critic
  • Sometimes funny, sometimes touching, and certainly unnerving.

    Jan 26, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • It turns one man's slide toward madness into a wickedly mischievous, entertaining suspense thriller.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 3/4

Audience Reviews for Falling Down

  • Oct 06, 2019
    While not a perfect picture, Schumacher and Douglas' take on modern man's disassociation resonates in spite of the gratuitous liberties taken, and delivers a sobering snapshot of a protagonist completely oblivious of having crossed the line by more than 'just a little'. Good stuff, and the best work I've seen from Michael Douglas.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Sep 15, 2013
    One of the best films ever, truly a master piece, I love it to bits. It wasted no time going straight into action. I can't express how much I loved this film. Falling Down is about a average Joe who got fed up with the amount of problems he sees in this world (USA) and decided to act on it. The acting from Michael Douglas was probably his best, he completely immersed himself with his character. I love the subtle symbols in the film as well, the dialogue was amazing, I loved everything in this film and I could just watch it again and again. My favourite part was probably the slow deterioration of his mentality through the changing weapon of choice. This is a must see.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Nov 29, 2011
    The ending may fall flat, but the rest of the movie has some good acting and direction from Schumacher, who manages to make a film that isn't terrible. Michael Douglas plays a very original character. Overall, I was impressed.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Oct 17, 2011
    You will never find a film which can define our reality like 'Falling Down'. It shows our society, along with most of its problems, of how we are slowly falling apart. With a strong story and brilliant performance by Michael Douglas, this film will make you see more clearly with the world around you.
    Samuel R Super Reviewer

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