Natural Born Killers (1994) - Rotten Tomatoes

Natural Born Killers1994

Natural Born Killers (1994)



Critic Consensus: Natural Born Killers explodes off the screen with style, but its satire is too blunt to offer any fresh insight into celebrity or crime -- pummeling the audience with depravity until the effect becomes deadening.

Natural Born Killers Photos

Movie Info

A frenetic, bloody look at mass murder and the mass media, director Oliver Stone's extremely controversial film divided critics and audiences with its mixture of over-the-top violence and bitter cultural satire. At the center of the film, written by Stone and Quentin Tarantino, among others, are Mickey (Woody Harrelson) and Mallory (Juliette Lewis), a young couple united by their desire for each other and their common love of violence. Together, they embark on a record-breaking, exceptionally gory killing spree that captivates the sensation-hungry tabloid media. Their fame is ensured by one newsman, Wayne Gale (Robert Downey, Jr.), who reports on Mickey and Mallory for his show, American Maniacs. Even the duo's eventual capture by the police only increases their notoriety, as Gale develops a plan for a Super Bowl Sunday interview that Mickey and Mallory twist to their own advantage. Visually overwhelming, Robert Richardson's hyperkinetic cinematography switches between documentary-style black-and-white, surveillance video, garishly colored psychedelia, and even animation in a rapid-fire fashion that mirrors the psychosis of the killers and the media-saturated culture that makes them popular heroes. The film's extreme violence -- numerous edits were required to win an R rating -- became a subject of debate, as some critics asserted that the film irresponsibly glorified its murderers and blamed the filmmakers for potentially inciting copy-cat killings. Defenders argued that the film attacks media obsession with violence and satirizes a sensationalistic, celebrity-obsessed society. Certain to provoke discussion, Natural Born Killers will thoroughly alienate many viewers with its shock tactics, chaotic approach, and disturbing subject matter, while others will value the combination of technical virtuosity and dark commentary on the modern American landscape. ~ Judd Blaise, Rovi

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Tommy Lee Jones
as Dwight McClusky
Tom Sizemore
as Jack Scagnetti
Rodney Dangerfield
as Mallory's Father
Edie McClurg
as Mallory's Mother
Russell Means
as Old Indian
Balthazar Getty
as Gas Station Attendant
Joe Grifasi
as Duncan Homolka
as Julie
Red West
as Cowboy Sheriff
Everett Quinton
as Wurlitzer
Steven Wright
as Dr. Emil Reingold
Marshall Bell
as 1st Deputy
Arliss Howard
as uncredited
Ed White
as Pinball Cowboy
Carol-Renee Modrall
as Short Order Cook
Jerry Gardner
as 1st Work Boss
Jack Caffrey
as 2nd Work Boss
Leon Skyhorse Thomas
as 3rd Work Boss
Corey Everson
as TV Mallory
Dale Dye
as Dale Wrigley
Josh Richman
as Soundman
Jake Beecham
as 3rd Kid
Saemi Nakamura
as 1st Japanese Kid/Japanese Reporter
Seiko Yoshida
as 2nd Japanese Kid
Jared Harris
as London Boy
Katharine McQueen
as London Girl
Salvator Xuereb
as 1st French Boy
Natalie Karp
as French Girl
Mark Harmon
as Mickey Knox in Wayne Gale's reconstruction (uncredite
Emmanuel Xuereb
as 2nd French Boy
Jessie Rutowski
as Young Girl
Sally Jackson
as Mickey's Mom
Phil Neilson
as Mickey's Dad
Corinna Laszlo
as Emily (Hostage in Motel)
Gerry Runnels
as Indian Cop
Jeremiah Bitsui
as Young Indian boy
Glen Chin
as Druggist
Peter Crombie
as Intense Cop
John M. Watson Sr.
as Black Inmate
Douglas Crosby
as 1st Mallory's Guard
Carl Ciarfalio
as 2nd Mallory's Guard
Melinda Ramos Renna
as Antonia Chavez
Bob Swan
as Napolatoni
Robert "R.J." Jordan
as Wgn Newscaster
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Critic Reviews for Natural Born Killers

All Critics (41) | Top Critics (11)

The movie is enlightening, not because it transmits new information, but in the way that movies enlighten, through a synergy of images and rhythms that makes us sense the world in a new way.

February 13, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Natural Born Killers finds Stone throwing everything against the wall to see what sticks.

October 27, 2009 | Rating: .5/4 | Full Review…

As a satirist, [Stone's] an elephant ballerina.

May 20, 2003 | Rating: 2.5/5

This is one of my all time favorite movies, and it put Oliver Stone on my list of 'Best Directors Ever,' right along with Stanley [Kubrick].

May 12, 2001 | Rating: 3/4

Berserk from the outset, Natural Born Killers lunges for our collective viscera in its opening sequence (surely one of the most brilliant establishing sequences of all time) and never lets go for the next two hours.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…

Stone...doesn't know the meaning of moderation or subtlety, and opts instead for something that is excessive and self-indulgent. It's as if he wants to shout out the statement: 'Look at what I can do! I'm an artist!'

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Natural Born Killers

This movie may be audacious, yes, but there is no way it could be more obvious, proving to be a self-indulgent parody that is more irritating than clever, bombarding us with an excessive amount of visual hysteria and basically calling subtlety an overrated bitch.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

One of the most controversial films of the past twenty years, "Natural Born Killers" incited a frothy debate on the role of violence in mass media, and how it affects young children. The actual controversy surrounding the film included a lawsuit that stated that the film had incited violence by showing satirized depictions of violence, going against the actual point of the film. The original screenplay was by Quentin Tarantino, though later bought and heavily changed by Oliver Stone and his collaborators, though the inspiration is still very clear. The film stars Woody Harrelson and Juliet Lewis as mass murderers who are also a couple, the story taking heavily from the exploits of Starkweather, the beating of Rodney King, and sensationalized news coverage. Their story, while seeming out of this world strange, is memorable for its proximity to true American crime stories, and the media coverage that did surround them. Robert Downey Jr. plays an Australian reporter with a crime TV show (a la Geraldo Rivera) who gets way too into the story he is reporting on, and finds it all very exciting rather than horrifying. It's a scathing indictment of the media, and their inability to show murder and violence without a bit of excitement, maybe even envy. There's this gross, almost pseudo-erotic tendency that crime shows have towards their subject matter. Everything has to be pulse thumping and exploitative, even though these are real people dying. Besides its core message, this film is also amazing for its shocking use of parody, sex, and violence. Though the events in the film can be the basis for an action film, it's framed so that you feel queasy, that you see the grotesque of society while also seeing inside the minds of these killers. This film is riveting, gross, and bloody, while also being insightful.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer


I've seen it but I've never REALLY seen it.

Bob Stinson
Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer

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