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The Hunger Games (2012)

 -  Adventure | Sci-Fi  -  23 March 2012 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 509,806 users   Metascore: 67/100
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Katniss Everdeen voluntarily takes her younger sister's place in the Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death in which two teenagers from each of the twelve Districts of Panem are chosen at random to compete.



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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 30 wins & 36 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Hob Vendor (as Sandra Lafferty)
Registration Woman
Sandino Moya ...
Propaganda Film Tribute (as Sandino Moya-Smith)
Peeta's Mother
Peacekeeper #1
Peacekeeper #2
Peacekeeper #3


In a dystopian future, the totalitarian nation of Panem is divided between 12 districts and the Capitol. Each year two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal retribution for a past rebellion, the televised games are broadcast throughout Panem. The 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors while the citizens of Panem are required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss's young sister, Prim, is selected as District 12's female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart Peeta, are pitted against bigger, stronger representatives, some of whom have trained for this their whole lives. Written by Suzanne Collins

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

game | future | volunteer | fight | 16 year old | See more »


The Games Will Change Everyone See more »


Adventure | Sci-Fi

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for intense violent thematic material and disturbing images - all involving teens | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

23 March 2012 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Artemis  »

Box Office


$78,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$152,535,747 (USA) (23 March 2012)


$407,999,255 (USA) (31 August 2012)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Since Jennifer Lawrence is friends with Lenny Kravitz's daughter, Zoë Kravitz, she couldn't get herself to use his first name. Instead, she called him 'Mr Kravitz' from the first day on. Kravitz quickly found out that the rest of the cast and crew also started to call him 'Mr Kravitz'. See more »


When Katniss is walking up for the Reaping she has a bruise on her neck. In next shot it's gone. See more »


[first lines]
Seneca Crane: I think it's our tradition. It comes out of a particularly painful part of our history, but it's been a way we're able to heal.
See more »


Spoofed in The Starving Games (2013) See more »


Horn of Plenty
Written by Win Butler and Régine Chassagne
Performed by Arcade Fire
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Intriguing and creative material gets bogged down in underwritten script; however, Jennifer Lawrence shines
26 March 2012 | by (Rockville, MD) – See all my reviews

I always wonder after seeing a movie where I have read the book beforehand, "Would I have liked this better had I not read the book?" Anybody who has read a book later turned into a film is naturally going to be biased concerning the story. They know how much deeper the material goes, the character back stories, and the scenes which did not make the final cut. They may still critique the filmmaking objectively, but not the story/plot.

I read The Hunger Games before seeing the movie. I know that in Panem, an all controlling fascist regime based out of the Capital controls 12 districts in an extremely oppresive manner. In District 12, the proletariat meagerly scrapes by through mining coal and make up for the rest of their harsh existence through scavenging and bartering. To atone for a previous rebellion, every year each District must send one male and female aged 12-18 to the Capital to fight each other to the death. These are the Hunger Games.

Katniss Eberwine (Jennifer Lawrence), at 16 years old, is her family's breadwinner. After her father was killed in a mining accident, her mother sunk into a sort of catatonic shock, so Katniss was forced to use her hunting and archery skills to eke out a minimal existence for her mother and her younger sister. It is technically illegal to hunt outside the District's wire perimeter, but Katniss is adept at evading the sensors and also has a partner in crime with her friend Gael (Liam Hemsworth).

On Hunger Games selection day, known as the Reaping, Katniss's small 12 year old sister, Primrose, is selected against all odds. In an act of selfless protection, Katniss jumps forward to volunteer in her place. Joining her on the stage as the male representative is Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), the baker's son and somewhat of an acquaintance of Katniss. Also along for the ride is District 12's Capital representative Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) and a drunken former Hunger Games winner, Haymitch (Woody Harrelson), who will serve as the mentor for Katniss and Peeta in the games.

This plot description sounds a bit thin but it is truly intriguing. The idea of 24 teenagers running around the woods spearing each other with swords, arrows, or even their bare hands has a particular voyeuristic element to it. Unfortunately, to make sure they wrenched all of the millions they could out of the audience, the filmmakers kept this at the PG-13 level. The violence and ensuing deaths just look silly at this sanitized level. Unlike the book, the dread is absent. Furthermore, the characters are stock and one-dimensional; yes, as opposed to the book.

In the novel, Peeta's motivations and back story concerning Katniss are finely woven into the story and given a lot of weight. However, in the film, you cannot guess if he is sincere or just trying to play the game. In the book, little Rue (Amandla Stenberg) is a very young and tiny waif from the agricultural district whose impact is deeply felt by the reader. In the movie, Rue fills her requisite squares, but fails to make anywhere near the same impact. I am not sure quite where to put my finger on it, but there is something really missing from this movie.

No character gets their due. What I mean is, the plot is faithfully followed, but there is no oomph, no driving force. Katniss comes the closest, but that is just because she is in almost every scene. Jennifer Lawrence has done a very good job here bringing Katniss to life and making her appear scared for her life, which she truly is. Just before her platform rises to begin the Hunger Games, she visibly shakes with fear. Lawrence was even better in Winter's Bone where she really turned in a mesmerizing performance. The biggest disappointments are Panem's dictator and Peeta. These two characters could have added so much depth to what is actually a very light and breezy Hunger Games. If you are familiar with this story, light and breezy should be the last two adjectives which come to mind.

A film should be judged on its own irrespective of whether or not you have read its original material. In that respect, The Hunger Games is a very creative story which is underserved by its meek script and borderline boring filmmaking. Material of this caliber (and budget) deserves so much more.

17 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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