Ladder 49 (2004) - Rotten Tomatoes

Ladder 492004

Ladder 49 (2004)



Critic Consensus: Instead of humanizing the firemen, the movie idolizes them, and thus renders them into cardboard characters.

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Movie Info

Baltimore firefighter Jack Morrison, making the transition from inexperienced rookie to seasoned veteran, struggles to cope with a risky, demanding job that often shortchanges his wife and kids. He relies on the support of his mentor and captain, Mike Kennedy and his second family--found in the brotherly bond between the men of the firehouse. But when Jack becomes trapped in the worst blaze of his career, his life and the things he holds important--family, dignity, courage--come into focus. As his fellow firemen of Ladder 49 do all they can to rescue him, Jack's life hangs in the balance.

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Joaquin Phoenix
as Jack Morrison
John Travolta
as Capt. Mike Kennedy
Jacinda Barrett
as Linda Morrison
Robert Patrick
as Lenny Richter
Morris Chestnut
as Tommy Drake
Billy Burke
as Dennis Gauquin
Balthazar Getty
as Ray Gauquin
Tim Guinee
as Tony Corrigan
Kevin Chapman
as Frank McKinney
Jay Hernandez
as Keith Perez
Kevin Daniels
as Don Miller
Brooke Hamlin
as Katie Morrison
Robert Logan Lewis
as Robert Reilly
Spencer Berglund
as Nicky Morrison
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Critic Reviews for Ladder 49

All Critics (164) | Top Critics (42)

Unabashed love letter to firefighters everywhere.

December 25, 2010 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Heartfelt, predictable, and finally surprisingly poignant.

March 24, 2005 | Rating: B- | Full Review…

A serviceable testament to the firemen who would bravely risk their lives to protect the safety of others, etc., etc.

October 6, 2004

This day-in-the-life melodrama is a surprisingly good piece of work, and while it covers no new ground it certainly holds the attention.

October 6, 2004 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Ladder 49 might have been an oversized Hollywood dazzler. Phoenix keeps it firmly and modestly on a human scale.

October 1, 2004

Offers audiences a real rarity in theaters these days: a good, honest cry.

October 1, 2004 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Ladder 49


All my life, I've always wondered what it would be like to work as a firefighter. The excitement, the comradery and the opportunity to save lives. There's so many things that makes it an appealing career-choice. This movie captures it all really well, and gives you a good sense of what life must be like for these every-day heroes. Through some top notch directing and the dynamic chemistry between its cast members (with Joaquin Phoenix and John Travolta at the peak of their talent), we are treated to a highly absorbing experience, filled with humor, action and intense dramatic moments. Quite sad in a lot of places, but a movie that I'm glad I gave the chance. Because what I had initially dismissed as a standard-type drama, actually had a lot more to give than I gave it credit for. So if you're gonna watch a movie about fire-fighting, this is definitely the one to go for.

Mike S
Mike S

Super Reviewer


A very good, action drama about the life of a firefighter seen in flashbacks. It's quite entertaining, seeing him work his way from rookie to the experienced fireman and how things change over the years. A very fine cast it has to be added and the fire, action scenes are really good. Well worth checking out.

Dean King
Dean King

Super Reviewer

Quite possibly the worst Joaquin Phoenix film. Ladder 49 is a crappy drama film with overused cliches and we've already seen it all before. A bad Fireman film this is just a pointless excuse for a film. I view this film as a Backdraft ripoff, it borrows from many plot elements from that film. Ladder 49 never really does anything very dramatic as it follows closely every dramatic cliche in the book, in other words; we've seen it all before. A total waste of time and definitely not a good film. A film with bad script, bad acting and bad plot, this is a film to miss.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

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