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One of the best underrated action thriller movies from Sylvester Stallone my personal favorite
ivo-cobra84 November 2015
Cliffhanger (1993) is one the best Action thriller heist movies in the 90's. I love this film to death! It is one of my personal favorite movies. Besides the Rocky and Rambo which are Stallone's most popular stuff I would put Cliffhanger right above those! I absolutely LOVE this film!!!! Gabe Walker is awesome I love it. I would put this movie over Rambo III and Cobra because I have enjoy it more than those two films. I don't like Rambo III it is a bad action movie. I love Cobra but Cliffhanger beats Cobra and I love Cliffhanger to death It is my childhood movie.

This is the finest action movie of all time and it is a perfect 10 it deals with no CGI but real climbing, real action sequences. Dangerous stunts that people could have died. Even for a $70,000,000 budget movie the action and the stunts are well done for the 90's.

Renny Harlin made an awesome job on this movie. The movie is awesome. It has slow motion running jump! The action sequences in this movie are fantastic! It is actually the first best favorite Action that Stallone did, I love this film and it is my childhood film I love it. One of the most Stallone hit and the most successful Stallone film! This movie is filmed in the real Rocky Mountains and not a CGI or computer crap the stunts are real and insanely crazy. I watch this movie with my dad on Blu-ray 3 years ago and I really want to say thank you to Stallone for making this movie. I have enjoy it and even my dad did enjoy it and it is really my favorite memories on my dad so thank you Stallone.

Is one of my first best favorite movies ever. Why I love this movie and I put it above Cobra? Simply because the whole movie is about thrills in the rocky mountains during snow time. Renny Harlin's 'Die Hard 2' was cool, and he gave the world 'Cliffhanger', one of the most awesome action movies ever. That's right, 'Cliffhanger' rules, and we all know it. Stallone uses his mind and not his muscles, a machine gun or a hand guns to defeat terrorists. He uses his mind, he is rescuing people and he try's to save his friend's life, who is held hostage by terrorists. They are thrills, suspense, avalanche and action all over the place in the Rocky Mountains. And I seriously love this Action thriller. The opening scene where the girl is hanging on the line for her dear life, still makes my hands sweaty. And When Gabe Walker couldn't saved her, I really felt pain and I mourn with Stallone's character. Cliffhanger was actually the film I grew up with it. It is a stone cold classic action film a film that I will always cherish!

Mine favorite is Cliffhanger and almost no one puts Cliffhanger into their favorite best action movie so I put it as my Top 4 best Stallone action movies out there. Sly's best out and out action film. It is a superbly enjoyable movie with some interesting characters, solid performances and Renny Harlins direction is stylishly assured. Stallone is rarely this interesting in his action films and he certainly looks the part in terms of the action scenes. This was one of the best action films of the year and one of the most thrilling and enjoyable of the 90's, a definite genre classic. As a Stallone fan this is one I look back on with fond memories. Plenty of superb action and Sly in prime action man form. Action lovers appreciate this film because it has all the hallmarks that make a good action film. The film looks great and there is great support from Janine Turner, Michael Rooker and John Lithgow. On the airplane, the plane heist up in the air from plane-to-plane airborne transfer, a money transfer stunt was filmed in the USA as such a stunt is illegal in Europe. The stunt itself cost over $1 million to film.

Cliffhanger is a 1993 American action adventure film directed by Renny Harlin and starring Sylvester Stallone and John Lithgow.

I love this film to death beside Rambo movies, it is one of my favorite trills action movies. It is Die Hard in the mountains. I love the music theme from Trevor Jones, he write and made a perfect music score that fits to the film.

The basic plot story is about A botched mid-air heist results in suitcases full of cash being searched for by various groups throughout the Rocky Mountains. It is die hard movie in the mountains.

This movie is what it is, a perfect 10, because it takes the vision of one of the most imaginative directors on Earth. It is way to underrated and it is my personal favorite Stallone action movie.
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The majestic mountains are a magnificent character in the film!
Nazi_Fighter_David9 July 2007
Wracked with guilt after a lot of things felt apart on that ledge, an ace mountain rescue climber Gabriel Walker (Stallone) comes back for his girlfriend Jessie (Janine Turner), while over the cloudy skies where the weather looks a bit threatening, a spectacularly precarious mid-air hijacking goes wrong and $100 million taken from a Treasury Department plane get lost in the middle of nowhere followed by a crash landing…

Stranded off the snowy peaks, and needing mountain guides to win back the stolen cash, the high-trained hikers make an emergency call asking the help of a rescue unit…

Unfortunately, Gab and Hall (Michael Rooker) have to team up to arrive at the scene of the crash unaware that the distress call was a fake, and a bunch of merciless terrorists led by a psychotic (John Lithgow),are waiting for them only to find out a way off the stormy mountain with the dumped cases of money…

With breathtaking shots, vertiginous scenery, dizzying heights, perilous climbs, freezing temperatures, "Cliffhanger" is definitely Stallone's best action adventure movie…
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Action Classic!
Sly's best out and out action film. It is a superbly enjoyable movie with some interesting characters, solid performances and Renny Harlins direction is stylishly assured. Stallone is rarely this interesting in his action films and he certainly looks the part in terms of the action scenes. This was one of the best action films of the year and one of the most thrilling and enjoyable of the 90's, a definite genre classic. As a Stallone fan this is one I look back on with fond memories. Plenty of superb action and Sly in prime action man form. Action lovers appreciate this film because it has all the hallmarks that make a good aciton film. The film looks great and there is great support from Janine Turner, Michael Rooker and John Lithgow. ****
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Almost Stallone's best
AwesomeWolf13 May 2005
I don't think I'll ever understand the hate for Renny Harlin. 'Die Hard 2' was cool, and he gave the world 'Cliffhanger', one of the most awesome action movies ever. That's right, you little punks, 'Cliffhanger' rules, and we all know it.

Sly plays Gabe Walker, a former rescue climber who is 'just visiting' his old town when he is asked to help a former friend, Hal Tucker (Michael Rooker), assist in a rescue on a mountain peak. Walker obviously came back at a convenient time, because the stranded people are actually a sophisticated team of thieves led by Eric Qualen (John Lithgow). Qualen & co. have lost a whole lot of money they stole from the U.S. government somewhere in the Rocky Mountains and they really would like it back...

Essentially, 'Cliffhanger' is another 'Die Hard' clone. Just trade in the confines of Nakatomi Plaza to the open mountain ranges of the Rocky Mountains, complete with scenes created to point out the weaknesses of our hero and keep him mortal. Naturally, that set up is totally ripped to shreds soon enough, as Stallone's character avoids quite a large number of bullets with ease, and slams face-first into several rock faces with no apparent side-effects. After all, isn't that what action movies are all about?

'Cliffhanger' is one of the most exciting action movies around. A showcase of great scenes and stunts. One of the early stunts is one of the best stunts I've ever seen in a movie, and while the rest of the movie does not get any better than it did at the beginning, it maintains its action awesomeness. John Lithgow's lead villain is entertaining, and one bad dude. Quite possibly one of the coolest lead villains ever.

'Cliffhanger' is easily one of Stallone's best efforts, definitely Renny Harlin's best effort, and a very exciting action movie - 9/10
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Ah, nostalgia for an old-fashioned action movie!
PhilipJames198020 February 2004
Watching Cliffhanger makes me nostalgic for the early '90s, a time when virtually every new action movie could be described as "Die Hard in a /on a." Cliffhanger is "Die Hard on a mountain," and pretty good, for what it is.

But unlike Passenger 57 and Under Siege, which are decent Die Hard clones on their own terms, Cliffhanger dispenses with the enclosed feeling of many action movies and embraces breathtaking landscapes that, in their immensity, threaten to overwhelm and trivialize the conflicts of the people fighting and dying among the peaks.

Years before other movies like A Simple Plan and Fargo dramatized crime and murder on snowbound locations, Cliffhanger director Renny Harlin recognized the visual impact of juxtaposing brutal violence and grim struggles to survive against cold and indifferent natural surroundings.

The opening sequence has already received substantial praise, all of which it deserves: its intensity allows us to forget the artifice of the camera and the actors and simply believe that what we are seeing is actually happening. Not even Harlin's shot of the falling stuffed animal, which is powerfully effective but still threatens to become too much of a joke (and which he repeated in Deep Blue Sea), or the ridiculous expression on Ralph Waite's face, can dim the sequence's power.

The next impressive set-piece is the gunfight and heist aboard the jet. As written by Stallone and Michael France and directed by Harlin, the audience is plunged into the action by not initially knowing which agents are involved in the theft and which are not: the bloody double-crosses are completely unexpected. As Roger Ebert has observed, the stuntman who made the mid-air transfer between the planes deserves some special recognition.

Later, during the avalanche sequence, one of the terrorists/thieves appears to be actually falling as the wall of snow carries him down the mountain. So far as I know, no one was killed in the making of this movie (a small miracle, considering the extreme nature of some of the stunts), so obviously a dummy was used for the shot. But the shot itself remains impressive because we're left wondering how Harlin (or more likely one of the second-unit directors) knew exactly where to place the camera.

I'll take Sly Stallone as my action hero any day of the week, because he's one of the few movie stars I've ever seen who's completely convincing as someone who can withstand a lot of physical and emotional pain, and at the same time actually feels that pain. The role of Gabe Walker really complements Stallone's acting strengths: he plays an older, more vulnerable kind of action hero, giving an impressively low-key performance as a mountain rescuer who must redeem himself.

In contrast to many of today's post-Matrix, comic book-inspired action heroes, Stallone's Walker is an ordinary man who becomes a hero without any paranormal or computer-enhanced abilities. In Cliffhanger, the hero almost freezes to death, and his clothes start to show big tears as he barely escapes one dangerous situation after another. He winces when he's hit and bleeds when he's cut, particularly in the cavern sequence when he takes a Rocky-style pummeling from one of the mad-dog villains.

It should be noted that the utterly despicable villains really contribute to the movie's effectiveness: when I first saw this movie as a teenager, I was rooting for the good guys every step of the way and anticipating when another bad guy would bite the dust (or rather, the ice); at one point I actually cheered as one of the most cold-blooded characters in the movie deservedly suffered a violent demise.

Lithgow's British accent is as unconvincing as the movie's occasional model plane or model helicopter, but he's fundamentally a good actor, and one of the few who can perfectly recite silly dialogue: in one scene, looking at his hostages Stallone and Rooker, trying to decide which tasks to give them, he actually says "You, stay! You, fetch!" Even a better actor, such as Anthony Hopkins, might have had trouble with that line.

Even if Cliffhanger occasionally tosses credibility aside, it does so only for the sake of a more entertaining show.

Early in the movie, for example, Lithgow openly says to one of his men "Retire [Stallone] when he comes down." No real criminal mastermind would have made this mistake even unconsciously: his carelessness allows Rooker to shout a warning up to Sly on the rock face, and this precipitates a gripping tug-of-war between Stallone and the bad guys trying to pull him down by the rope tied to his leg.

Lithgow could have given his order by a more subtle means, but the sequence might not have been as much fun to watch if it hadn't given Rooker an opportunity to openly defy the arrogance of his captor.

Done very much in the style of a Saturday matinee serial or (at times) a Western, Cliffhanger is built on such a solid foundation that it survives some weak elements that would have undermined a lesser film.

Besides the painfully obvious aircraft models mentioned before, the weak moments include a couple of scenes shot on cheap indoor sets with REALLY fake snow, as well as two other scenes involving bats and wolves that seem unnecessary in an already action-packed narrative. Finally, Harlin's decision to film some of the death scenes in slow motion seems pointless, since the technique contributes nothing to the scenes.

It's a shame that Stallone is now too old for action movies, because his character in this movie seems so credible that inevitably I wonder what he would be like years later. But perhaps it's best that Cliffhanger stands on its own for all time, without a sequel: there are enough tired and obsolete movie franchises already. There was an unofficial sequel that called itself Vertical Limit: compared to that clinker, Cliffhanger belongs on the IMDb's Top 250 list.

Rating: 8 (Very good, especially considering most of Stallone's other movies.)
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This movie is still impressive 20 years later
juneebuggy29 September 2014
I just did a long overdue re-watch of Cliffhanger and it stood up really well. Definitely one of Stallone's better (less cheesy) action flicks and seeing his body in its prime is pretty nice too :) That opening scene gets me every time but I enjoyed everything about this (even if you do have to suspend disbelief occasionally) The action, the stunts, the scenery, the cast. John Lithgow is great as the bad guy, although his British accent could use some work as it fades in and out, he seems to be relishing playing this character though. Also fun to see Michael Rooker from The Walking Dead in an earlier role, I had forgotten he was in this.

The ending helicopter scene is still awesome as is the opening accident with the silly panicking girl on the zipline. Stallone caught under ice and climbing the rock face in a t-shirt during a blizzard... awesome. Many great and well done action scenes. 03.13(4)
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Prepare yourselves for an awesome thrill ride
michaelsibley41630 July 2004
Hold on for dear life as Sylvester Stallone takes you on the ride of a lifetime. With extreme non-stop action, gripping and suspense-filled scenes; Stallone has proven why he is a SUPERSTAR with his role in "Cliffhanger." I knew I would be in for an action packed treat as soon as I realized Stallone was starring in this film; however, I failed to realized how great the other actors were in this film.

Stallone is joined by Michael Rooker, Janine Turner and John Lithgow as they produce quite possibly the best action film of 1993. The cast is perfectly selected and chosen to play their parts. It was a joy to see a reversal of roles. I'm not accustomed to seeing Rooker as a hero or Lithgow as a villain; it is a refreshing change.

I couldn't have asked for a better villain than Lithgow. He is one of the most ruthless and cunning villains I've seen. I enjoyed how he never let anything get in his way and spared no expense to get what he wanted. I'm glad I got the chance to see him play the villain and hope I see it again.

Turner gives tremendous support to this film and creates an atmosphere where it is enjoyable to watch. She is the heat that warms a cold room because everytime she comes on screen it seems as though it is hot. It is a delight to see an incredible actress to have that much power. Rooker makes up the other the third of talented actors that makes "Cliffhanger" a delight to watch. Rooker brings a fresh view to the film as well as credibility; all I have to say is awesome work, Michael.

There is an avalanche of talent in "Cliffhanger." Stallone is an unstoppable force and incredible action hero. After watching "Cliffhanger," I'm convinced that Stallone was the only man for this job. Stallone had the fire in his eyes for this part that told me he means business. Only true action stars have the fire I saw; furthermore, I was fascinated with the strength, power and conviction with which he took on the role.

Another reason I enjoyed "Cliffhanger" was the writing because it contained unbelievable action sequences, a man dealing with redemption and dialogue is awesome. I was impressed to see that Stallone also co-wrote the script because he really has a knack for what action fans want.

"Cliffhanger" is a super-charged, heart-racing, suspense-filled action thrill ride that you should take because at the end it will leave you asking for more.
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Cliffhanger A Decent Action Crime Adventure With Some Flaws
tburke8528 June 2009
Cliffhanger is a decent action crime adventure with some flaws from director Renny Harlin whose admirable in making this movie about an expert climber who finds himself taken hostage with a fellow friend by a gang of dangerous criminals on the search for suit cases full of stolen cash in the Rocky Mountains. Sylvester Stallone is impressive as Gabe Walker the expert climber especially in the action/fight sequences but some of them definitely border on the line of unrealistic. For the sake of the film though I willing to suspend my disbelief. The rest of the cast including John Lithgow, Michael Rooker, Janine Turner, Rex Linn, Caroline Goodall, and Leon are respectable as the supporting characters in the movie. The action/fight sequences are well executed but as mentioned before some aren't very realistic no matter how tough you are. The climbing sequences however are very well done because instead of doing the whole film in a studio somewhere the locations they chose felt very real and the Ariel views of the mountain ranges are marvelous adding a touch of reality to the movie. The deaths are inventive while others are sort of predictable. The villains are solid but it would've been better if they had focused on a more central one instead of having many of them. The pacing of the movie was a little slow but the good outweighs the bad in this one. If you're a big fan of Harlins or Stallone's than chances are you'll enjoy this one too. Overall Cliffhanger has character development with enough action, drama, some suspense, excitement, thrills, and good performances by the cast who make this movie worth the time to watch.
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The BEST action movie!
600Nitro4 October 2003
Since I first saw this in the theater it has been my favorite. Since then I've seen it countless times and I never get tired of it. The setting has a lot to do with it (the Colorado I know would be jealous), but the storyline is original and I liked how it used small town mountain folk as the heroes. There has not been a movie I can compare this too. John Lithgow plays a smart villain, but I love how he is completely out of his element--he has to follow Tucker around and that's what keeps it interesting. This is an action movie at it's BEST. I don't think I'll see another that is so entertaining.

You don't need 50,000 rounds fired to qualify as an action movie. It just has to keep you captivated, not shell-shocked.
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Die Hard on a mountain (spoilers)
Ricky Roma26 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The opening to Cliffhanger is meant to be a harrowing experience. We're meant to feel terrible that an innocent woman plunges to her horrible death. But how can we experience the horror when Frank, a helicopter pilot played by Ralph Waite out of The Waltons, is in the background cackling with laughter. Just watch him. His eyes sparkle when Stallone tells the woman that she's not doing to die and he collapses in near hysterics when she falls. Contrast this with Michael Rooker's overacting – he almost faints when the girl plummets, while Frank is hooting in the background – and you have a scene that is nowhere near as powerful as it should be.

But to be fair to Stallone and the girl, they do a pretty good job. The girl pleads and pleads, and Stallone gamely hangs on. And the situation itself is excellent – huge drop; cracked harness; burly, lazy-mouthed actor trying to hang on to hysterical woman. But whenever I watch the scene I can only see Frank's huge grin, his glowing eyes and a shocked reaction that looks more like him doubling over in laughter.

However, laughter is a common reaction in Cliffhanger. Well, for me at least. But that's not to say I dislike the film. It's a very enjoyable action movie. But it can't transcend the clichés of the genre. Instead it buries its face in them and thrashes about like mad for over an hour and a half.

One of the clichés the film adheres to is that the villain must be English. Well, at least I think he is. John Lithgow puts on an accent of some sort. But it's an amusing performance. His best bit has to be when he gets Stallone to climb up a rock face to get his money. "You, stay. You, fetch." The joy is in his exaggerated enunciation. Another funny bit is when Stallone throws Lithgow's money into the helicopter's rotors. "Damn you, Walker!" he screams like he's split a fingernail.

But there are other English villains. The first is Caroline Goodall who comes across in the film as sort of a low-rent Emma Thompson. But much more amusing is Craig Fairbrass (Dan out of EastEnders). His performance is atrocious. All he does is shout and swear. And he does it in a thick Cockney accent. But he's immortalised in the scene where Michael Rooker goads him into beating him up rather than killing him straight away – the Cockney is about as bright as a puddle of oil. It turns out that Fairbrass' character is an ex-footballer. And I guess that shouldn't be too surprising when his dialogue consists of lines like: "Yeah? And you're a loudmouth punk slag who's about to die." The only people I know who talk like that are West Ham fans. But Fairbrass proceeds to give Rooker a surreal football-themed beating – he even runs up to take a penalty. Is this how Hollywood sees the English? We're either effete brigands or beer-swilling hooligans. Actually, thinking about it, it's quite an accurate observation.

But my favourite villain is played by Leon (he's so cool he doesn't even have a surname). He eschews Fairbrass' shouty brand of villainy and tries to be quietly intimidating. But his line delivery is so bad that he's about as scary as a moustachioed villain twiddling his exaggerated face fur. However, it's notable that unlike Fairbrass he actually does excel once he gives into his urge to shout. He has a great scene in a cave where he actually seems like a genuine threat – he stalks Stallone and his girl with menace. But then Stallone grabs him by the balls and presses him through a spike. It's a WWE sort of death…which I dig a great deal.

But what about Stallone? How does he fair in the film? Well, I've never really had much of a problem with him. Yeah he's not a terribly good actor and yes he sounds like man who was born with an upside down brain, but that's part of the joy of watching him act. Just take the scenes after the accident at the start. His idea of being haunted is to mope about like a thirteen year old that's been told to stop using his father's credit card to download porn. It's so amateurish. And I love the way that the villains, when making him climb the mountain, order him to remove his jacket. I can't help but feel that this wasn't done to prove how evil the villains are, but to allow Sly to climb while flaunting his thick, muscular arms. We don't want those babies covered up.

However, Stallone looks like Marlon Brando compared to the "Whoa, dude!" extreme sports enthusiasts. They're sort of like Bill and Ted but without the charm. In fact, I wasn't distraught that one of them died; I was distraught that one survived. But at least the death of the one who looks like Kurt Cobain gives us a hilarious silent "No!" moment from Michael Rooker. But then later on we get to relive the hilarity, because Frank's death elicits another's rib-tickling "No!" moment. Hey, what can I say, the old bastard had it coming. You ain't laughing now, are you?
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Last great Sly movie !
nick_rog4630 November 2005
To be honest, I didn't like that much this movie when I saw it for the first time. But I guess the trouble is that I haven't seen it in a theater. Big Mistake ! Because the #1 thing to see in Cliffhanger is the settings and #2 is the cinematography. Try to see this movie on the largest TV possible and a great sound system. The music is good and puts the movie to a higher level (and a commercial potential). The more I see it, the more I like it.

It's definitely one of Renny Harlin's best movie. THis guy knows about action. Die Hard 2, The long kiss good bye, etc. And it's particularly good in this movie. The special effect are great and spectacular. Stallone really needed that movie get back with success. Still good to see him !
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Not the most intelligent movie, but enjoyable and one of the better in the genre
Philip Van der Veken7 April 2005
I'm far from a Sylvester Stallone fan and I guess the only time I really appreciated his appearance was in the French movie Taxi 3, which is an almost inexistent small role. And yet I must admit that this movie was actually not that bad, even though I feared the worst.

When Gabe (Stallone) fails to rescue the girlfriend of one of his friends and she plunges to her death from a 4000 feet high mountain top, he can't possibly force himself to keep working as a mountain ranger. For almost a year he doesn't set a food in the reserve, but than he returns. Soon after he's back, they get an emergency call from a group of hikers who got trapped in a snow storm. At least, that's what the rangers believe. In reality it is a group of robbers who crashed with their airplane in the mountains after their daring plan to steal cases full of money from a flying government plane failed. The cases are spread all over the reserve and they need the help of professional climbers to retrieve them...

This is of course not one of the most intelligent movies ever, but in its genre it's an enjoyable one. I especially enjoyed John Lithgow as the evil master mind and leader of the gang of robbers. I know him best from the TV-series "3rd Rock from the Sun", but I enjoyed his performance in this movie as well. Overall the acting is OK, it had a lot of action to offer and of course also some one-liners, but it also offered a very nice decor. This movie was filmed in a magnificent natural environment. I loved the snowy mountains and valleys, the mountain rivers and the forests... Perhaps that's why I give this movie a score higher than what I normally give to an action / adventure movie of this kind. I give it a 6.5/10. If you don't expect too much, this is an enjoyable movie.
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Idiotic but fun action film.
Fedor Petrovic (fedor8)16 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Was this based on a comic-book? A video-game? A drawing by a 3 year-old?

There is nothing in this movie to be taken seriously at all; not the characters, not the dialog, not the plot, not the action. Nothing. We have high-tech international terrorists/criminals who bicker like pre-school kids, Stallone's man-of-steel-type resilience towards ice-cold weather, dialog so dumb that it's sometimes almost hilarious, and so on. Even the codename that the bad guys use is dumb ("tango-tango"). A film that entertains through some suspense, good action-sequences, and a nice snowy mountainous setting. Oh, yes: and the unintentional humour.

The film opens with some truly bad and unconvincing gay banter between our go-lucky and happy characters who are obviously having a "swell" time. Then comes a sweat-inducing failed-rescue part, which should make anyone with fear-of-heights problems want to pull their hair out. And then we have some more bad dialog, and after that some more great action. This is the rhythm of the film in a nutshell.

Stallone's melodramatic exchange with Turner, when they meet after a long time, is so soapy, so clichéd, so fake, and so bad that it should force a chuckle out of any self-respecting viewer. Soon after this display of awful dialog-writing, we are witnesses to a spectacular and excellently shot hijack of an airplane. The entire action is one big absurdity, but it's mindless fun at its best. Although the rest of the action is exciting and fun, the airplane scenes are truly the highlight of the film. After the landing, our master-criminals seek for a guide and end up with Stallone and Rooker. They send Stallone to fetch the first case of money, but somehow they do everything to make it as difficult as possible for him to reach it; they take most of his clothes off (so he can freeze) and they won't give him the equipment he needs (so he can fall off). DO THESE GANGSTERS WANT THEIR MONEY FETCHED OR NOT??? Very silly. Apparently they don't trust Stallone, but surely they know that they can always black-mail him by using Rooker as a hostage. Nevertheless, our gangsters make Stallone's climb difficult, if for no logical reasons then to at least show us how truly evil they are - lest there be any doubts. And for those who might still doubt how evil the bad guys are, they overact, brag, and snicker in a truly evil manner. Everyone convinced? Good. You'd better be. Otherwise the writers will throw in a mass execution of twenty school children, just to make sure that the evilness of the bad guys is crystal-clear to everyone.

The old guy who flies the chopper... How the hell did he fall for the trap? Firstly, he must have been warned by the MTV airhead about the criminals, and secondly, he must have heard Stallone's and Rooker's voices on the walkie-talkies. A whole bunch of idiotic verbal exchanges take place, with Lithgow having the questionable honour of getting most of the silly lines. "Get off my back!" Lithgow: "I haven't even started climbing on your back." Or, Lithgow to Stallone: "We had a deal, but now we only have each other!" And as for Lithgow's gang of murderers: these guys never seem to want to kill immediately. They are very creative about it; they philosophize, pretend that they are playing football with your body, and so on.

Stallone co-wrote this thing. I have no idea what drugs he was on when he did it. I'd hate to think the script is this bad because of a low I.Q.
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Good and Bad
dylan-ransom19 November 2005
Every time a movie comes out which features rock climbing and mountain travel/rescue, I cringe with anticipation, notepad in hand, and annoy all my friends with my nitpicking. So, let me get that out of the way first. I counted approximately 100 factual and technical errors related to geography, climbing, mountain travel and rescue. Let's just say it was atrocious, though not as bad as "Vertical Limit".

Viewed purely as a mindless action flick, I must say I was entertained. The film was visually stunning with engaging action sequences. The acting was superb- those poor bastards did all they could with their ridiculous characters and inadequate, clichéd script. Cheers to Lithgow, Stallone, and Rooker in particular.

I could be pretentious and pick the whole damn thing apart, but I think Renny Harlin did exactly what he set out to do- entertain.
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One of Stallone's best from the 1990's
Erich819226 February 2009
Stallone's mini-comeback after a succession of PG rated stinkers and a couple R rated flops during the Bush One administration. Ironically on the other hand one of Carolco's swan songs in the entertainment world. Stallone co-wrote the screenplay, which is about as minor a writing- type credit you can get, but I still take note of it. Directed by a rebellious (at the time) Euro newcomer fresh off the Die Hard and Elm Street franchises, and about to kill the hand that fed him with the Cutthroat Island bomb. John Lithgow plays yet another of his typical 1980's psychotic type villains. The opening scene is gut-wrenching to watch no matter how many times you see the film.
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An Excellent,Thrilling And Exciting Action-Adventure-Thriller. Slyvester Stallone And Renny Harlin At Their Best.
jcbutthead865 December 2014
Cliffhanger is an excellent,thrilling and exciting Action-Adventure-Thriller that combines terrific direction,a wonderful cast,fantastic Action,incredible stunts,amazing photography and a memorable score. All of those elements make Cliffhanger not only one of my favorite Action films but also one of the best Action movies of the 1990s that is Slyvester Stallone and Renny Harlin at their best.

Cliffhanger tells the story of Gabe Walker(Slyvester Stallone),a mountain climber and rescue ranger who goes up against sadistic criminal Eric Qualen(John Lithgow)who along with his hired guns are looking for three briefcases that's filled with 100 Million Dollars. With his back against the wall Gabe has to find the money before Qualen does stop Qualen and survive at all costs.

Cliffhanger is a brilliant and unforgettable Action-Thriller that is easily one of the best Action movies of the 1990s and another Slyvester Stallone classic that is an absolute roller coaster ride from beginning to end that is an Adventure in highest order and when you watch the movie you will have a blast. It's also one of two films released in 1993(the film other being Demolition Man)that were Box Office hits for Sly Stallone and were seen as a comeback for Stallone after some Box Office flops. Right from it's now classic and memorable 13 minute opening scene(which perfectly sets the tone for the entire film)Cliffhanger is an Action movie that just grabs viewers by the throat and never lets go with everything done in an large,epic scale whether it's the Action or Suspense you will not be able to take your eyes off the screen. It has everything a great Action movie should have:a good story,incredible Action Good Guys Vs Bad Guys everything that makes a good and entertaining popcorn film while putting viewers on the edge of the seats throughout the film. While Cliffhanger is basically Die Hard on a Mountain Cliffhanger is one of the best films to take the Die Hard concept and place it in the Rocky Mountains giving viewers an intense and amazing experience. The Action sequences in Cliffhanger are fantastic,explosive and done with terrific skill and suspense and when the suspense stops the Action comes at you like a punch in the face. With every Action scene everything from the gunfights,explosions and stunts is big,loud and very powerful. The stunt work in Cliffhanger is truly sensational whether it's with the Action scenes or the Mountain climbing scenes giving the movie a realism and accuracy even though some things are exaggerated. While Cliffhanger is still an Action movie it's also a movie that is very beautiful and stunning to look at thanks to the photography by Alex Thomson. Thomson's photography is amazing and make the Rocky Mountains more beautiful than they already were giving the movie a stylish and memorable look that makes Cliffhanger standout from most of the Action movies during the 1990s. The main character Gabe Walker is very much an Action movie character that gets into fights and is heroic but doesn't use a gun instead using the mountain and his smarts to beat the bad guys. While an Action hero Gabe is also a character with depth because we see Gabe trying to climb the mountains again after a unfortunate incident that killed his will to climb a mountain. We see Gabe trying to not only save the day and trying to climb the mountain again but also try to repair his friendships. The ending of Cliffhanger is a fantastic and memorable conclusion because there is enough Action,thrills and excitement that will leave viewers happy and satisfied. A terrific ending.

The cast is great. Slyvester Stallone is excellent and at his best as Gabe Walker,with Stallone bringing depth,intensity and charisma to the role. John Lithgow is brilliant and at his bad guy best as Eric Qualen,with Lithgow being delightful and evil. Michael Rooker is wonderful as Hal Tucker,Gabe's best friend. Janine Turner is terrific as Jessie,Gabe's girlfriend. Rex Linn gives an outstanding,hilarious scene stealing performance as Agent Travers,a corrupt Treasury Agent working with Qualen. Paul Winfeld is good as Walter Wright,a Treasury Agent. Ralph Waite does a fine job as Frank,a rescue ranger. Caroline Goodall(Kristal),Leon(Kynette),Craig Fairbass(Delmar),Gregory Scott Cummins(Ryan)and Denis Forest(Heldon)are memorable as Qualen's henchmen. Max Perlich and Trey Brownell are fun as Evan and Brett best friends who are thrill seekers. Michelle Joyner(Sarah)and Vyto Ruginis(FBI Agent Matheson)give good performances as well.

The direction by Renny Harlen is outstanding,with Harlen always moving the camera and giving the movie a stunning and memorable look while doing a fantastic job with the Action scenes. Great direction,Harlen.

The score by Trevor Jones is amazing,epic and suspenseful and fits perfectly with the tone and atmosphere of the film. Wonderful score,Jones.

In final word,if you're a fan of Slyvester Stallone,Renny Harlin or Action films,I highly suggest you see Cliffhanger,an excellent,thrilling and exciting Action-Adventure Thriller that you will watch again and again. Highly Recommended. 10/10.
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Hold On!
VictorianCushionCat3 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
After the success of Die Hard and it's sequels it's no surprise really that in the 1990s, a glut of 'Die Hard on a .....' movies cashed in on the wrong guy, wrong place, wrong time concept. That is what they did with Cliffhanger, Die Hard on a mountain just in time to rescue Sly 'Stop or My Mom Will Shoot' Stallone's career.

Cliffhanger is one big nit-pickers dream, especially to those who are expert at mountain climbing, base-jumping, aviation, facial expressions, acting skills. All in all it's full of excuses to dismiss the film as one overblown pile of junk. Stallone even managed to get out-acted by a horse! However, if you an forget all the nonsense, it's actually a very lovable and undeniably entertaining romp that delivers as plenty of thrills, and unintentionally, plenty of laughs.

You've got to love John Lithgows sneery evilness, his tick every box band of baddies, and best of all, the permanently harassed and hapless 'turncoat' agent, Rex Linn as Travers.

He may of been Henry in 'Portrait of a Serial Killer' but Michael Rooker is noteworthy for a cringe-worthy performance as Hal, he insists on constantly shrieking in painful disbelief at his captors 'that man never hurt anybody' And whilst he surely can't be, it really does look like Ralph Waite's Frank character is grinning as the girl plummets to her death.

Mention too must go to former 'London's Burning' actor Craig Fairbrass as the Brit bad guy, who comes a cropper whilst using Hal as a Human Football, yes, you can't help enjoy that bit, Hal needed a good kicking.

So forget your better judgement, who cares if 'that could never happen', lower your acting expectations, turn up the volume and enjoy! And if you're looking for Qaulen, he's the one wearing the helicopter.
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starwarskid199230 May 2009
Stallone makes a comeback with a double dose of action with Cliffhanger and Demolition Man (review coming soon).

Gabe Walker is a Rocky Mountain rescue climber, who walks away after a tragic accident. But he is forced into doing a job, recovering lost money for a group of thieves who lost it during their heist. Walker breaks free and the hunt is on.

Breathtaking action and photography in this one, Stallone did a change of pace after Tango & Cash that wasn't successful. A lot of cool action scenes in this one, including a plane to plane robbery, and some awesome mountain climbing. Italy was the perfect location for this one. 1993 was the year of Stallone and this was another classic.
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Breathtaking Alpine Adventure/Drama
Umar Mansoor Bajwa11 December 2008
The selection of Sylvester Stallone to perform the protagonist by Renny Harlin is commendable since Stallone is that sort of tough and craggy person who had earlier rendered the requisite audaciously versatile aura to the characters of Rocky Balbao and Rambo. But to compare Die Hard series with Cliffhanger is a far-fetched notion.

The excellently crafted opening scene introduces the audience to the thrill, suspense and intrigue which is going to engulf them in the ensuing bloody and perilous encounter with the outlaws. The heist and the high altitude transfer of hard cash in suit cases from one plane to the other is something not filmed before.

The biting cold of the snow capped Alps and the unfolding deceit and treachery among the antagonist forces makes one shiver with trepidation. The forces of awesome adventure and ruthless murder kicks the drama through to the end.

Good movies are not made every year and people don't get a feast for eyes to watch every now and then. Apart from the filthy language/parlance which endows brazen excitement during certain scenes, the movie can be regarded as one that is not going to fade its captivating appeal even watching it after so many years.
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At the Edge of your seat adventure...
adonis98-743-18650324 June 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this movie recently and wow it's still amazing Stallone is great as usual, Michael Rooker and even John Lithgow as the bad guy? it works. I still don't understand how this director went from this movie which is very very good and directed Legend of Hercules? I mean how? how did this happened? Anyways like i said on the summary Cliffhanger is an action packed adventure that will keep you at the edge of your seat and especially if you haven't seen the behind the scenes footage please do because it will take your breath away i mean it. The movie starts with a bang and also ends with another big bang 1993 was a great year for Stallone i guess he made this and then Demolition Man another classic movie.
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One of the best action films ever made
Renny Harlin's Cliffhanger is to this day one the best and most exhilarating action films of the 1990's. It's big, bold and full of protein for lovers oft the genre. From the lively villain to the unbelievable stunts to the set pieces, it's a tough package to beat. A stunning, vertigo inducing opener set high atop a snowy peak that ends in tragedy. A breathtaking airial heist carried out between two planes via cable wire. A whopper of a helicopter crash. Countless bone snapping, visceral hand to hand combat scenes. The list goes on. Sylvester Stallone puts his physique to great use as Gabe Walker, a rock climbing mountaineer guide who is accidentally responsible for the falling death of his best friend's girlfriend. His buddy Hal (Michael Rooker) blames him no end, and he leaves in personal disgrace. Elsewhere, ruthless backstabbing psychopath Eric Qualen, (John Lithgow) leads a team of dangerous mercenaries through aforementioned heist, plundering millions from a US treasury department plane and disappearing into the snowy desolation. Soon they come across Hal and a group of people touring the region, who are soon hostages. Word somehow gets out to Stallone and he's back in business, out for redemption and then chance to brutally dispatch this gang of snow pirates. The action, refreshingly absent of digital gimmicks, packs one hell of a punch. Every fight scene feels breathless, dangerous and desperate. Every blow is thunderously felt, courtesy of director Harlin's commitment to his work and the efforts of a stellar stunt team. Stallone isna beast and I forget that every time I haven't seen him in a while. He's almost as big as the mountains he scales here and each and every bad guy damn well finds this out. Rooker is as intense as he always is, love the guy. Lithgow is a freaking villain for the ages, in a role intended first for David Bowie, then Christopher Walken. I'm glad the ball ended up in his court, because he subsequently knocks it back out of the park with his cold blooded, deliciously evil performance. He makes Qualen so scary and merciless that even his own people get the jitters around him. There's also work from Rex Linn, Caroline Goodall, Craig Fairbrass, Max Perlich, Paul Winfield, Ralph Waite, Don S. Davis, Bruce McGill and Janine Turner. This is just one of the finest action movies to ever swing into theatres or onto DVD. Brutal, scenic, adventurous, exciting, violent, snowy, just plain kick ass. If you don't like this movie, you don't like ice cream.
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Great Movie
martyhalvorsen27 February 2016
The movie is shot very well. One of Harlins best films. One of the last films to have many action scenes filmed without green screens. There are some but not what you see today.. The story is solid, the casting excellent. To me one of the films underestimated. One of Stallones most under looked films. The villain John Lithgow was also a great casting choice. John Lithgow is a great actor and brought much to the story. Reny Harlin is known for fast action and being physically demanding on his actors. Clifhanger is thrilling and keeps you on the edge of your seat. I think one of the overlooked films of that year. It's also one of those films that stands the test of time even on 2016.
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Cold blooded killers!
BA_Harrison26 February 2016
Finnish director Renny Harlin, whose career gradually nosedived after the massive financial disaster that was pirate adventure Cutthroat Island, really should have stuck to the freezing cold environment he clearly knew so well: having already scored a massive hit with his sub-zero Die Hard sequel in 1990, he had an even bigger box-office success with snow-bound action adventure Cliffhanger, which starred Sylvester Stallone as mountain ranger Gabe Walker, who unwittingly finds himself pitted against a ruthless gang of plane hijackers searching for their lost cargo of cash.

Essentially Die Hard on a mountain, with Stallone's Walker the fly in the hijackers' ointment, the plot really isn't all that original, but there is so much else to enjoy about this slam-bang slice of '90s action: the spectacular, rugged, outdoor setting, marvellously captured by cinematographer Alex Thomson; the gratuitous, bloody, brutal violence; the entertaining performances—John Lithgow is a blast, relishing his role as loathsome leader of the baddies, Michael Rooker is as great as always as Gabe's pal Tucker, and Eastenders star Craig Fairbrass hams it up a treat as Cockney thug Delmar; and, last but not least, Harlin's faultless handling of the action, starting with a masterful exercise in tension that will cause vertigo sufferers to have sleepless nights, and finishing with a wonderfully overblown set-piece involving a helicopter hanging off a cliff-face.
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Good, but not great Stallone adventure
blazesnakes917 August 2014
For several years, Sylvester Stallone had been in one turkey after another. Before he starred in Cliffhanger, he starred in a number of flops such as Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot and Oscar. For some reason, Stallone somehow lost his way in the movie world and got stuck making forgettable flops like those two movies. My best guess is that either his next film will be a hit or a miss. And to tell you the truth, Cliffhanger is definitely an hit, an huge hit for the box office.

Stallone plays an rescue mountain climber who, in the beginning of the movie, is trying to rescue his friend, Hal Tucker, (Michael Rooker), and his girlfriend from an mountain. Unfortunately, the rescue attempt doesn't go smoothly as the clip on Rooker's girlfriend snaps and slips through the harness. She falls to her death down an gorge, leaving both Rooker and Stallone, devastated.

Months later, Stallone is living by himself, away from his other friend, played by Janine Turner. Stallone is scarred for life because of what happened months ago with the death of Rooker's girlfriend death. However, he continues to climbs mountains anyway.

The centerpiece of the story involves an group of villains, lead by John Lithgow. Their plan is to rob an U.S. Treasury plane with three cases holding millions of dollars. Their high-altitude plan goes completely wrong when their plane crash lands in the Rocky Mountains, leaving the bad guys, stranded in the snowy wilderness. Seeking help, they radioed help from the local mountain rescue center. Soon enough, Stallone and Rooker finds themselves caught up with the bad guys as they are being used by the villains to help find their stolen loot in the Mountains.

The great thing about Cliffhanger is it's mountain climbing scenes. I actually started to believe that these actors were really climbing an mountain, instead of climbing an fake mountain that was build on a studio set. These are real mountains, all right. With that being said, the action sequences are well directed although I had a hard time believing in the way the bad guys were able to get the three cases into their plane while trying to fly their plane through the high altitude. Most of the action sequences in Cliffhanger are so energetic and sometimes scary due to the fact that some of the bad guys fall off the mountain. And when these characters are leaning over the edge of the mountains in some of the scenes in the movie, I was actually afraid that they would fall.

The movie was directed by Renny Harlin, who directed the second Die Hard movie and he does a very good job creating an stunning visual sensation with the beautiful shots of the canyons and gorges. The movie was shot in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and the use of the locations in the movie are very useful as a setting for a movie like this. I couldn't really picture myself climbing those mountains by hanging off the side of it. For those who know what I am talking about, it pretty scary.

Stallone is okay as the lead character. He tries his best to not only play an action hero, but an flawed one, too. The best performance comes from John Lithgow, who plays the leader of the group. His British accent and his ways of taking people out of his plan is very sadistic, making him the perfect villain. He is maybe different from the villain in Harlin's last film, Die Hard 2, but Lithgow does a very good job playing the bad guy who doesn't take chances.

With the exception of Cliffhanger, I could only say that Stallone is mild in this movie. He isn't really that great, but at least give him credit for trying to become an flawed character. That's important because we've seen Stallone play heroes before like Rocky Balboa or John Rambo. Those characters are like superhuman characters that are meant to win in the end of the movie. Here, it turns an different direction. It's interesting to see him tackle this kind of role because it's surprising and interesting. As for the action sequences and the mountain scenes, those scenes will have you admiring the breath- taking views of the Rockies. I will say though that this movie might even give you vertigo because of the scenes involving climbing especially the beginning of the movie which is clearly authentic. ★★★ 3 stars.
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