Los Angeles Times
Simultaneously heroic and nihilistic, reeking of myth but modern as they come, it is a Western for those who know and chrish the form, a film that resonates with the spirit of films past while staking out a territory quite its own. [7 Aug 1992]
Clint Eastwood has crafted a tense, hard-edged, superbly dramatic yarn that is also an exceedingly intelligent meditation on the West, its myths and its heroes.
TV Guide Magazine
The cast is universally strong. Hackman, Freeman and Harris don't do anything they haven't done before, but the roles suit their personae to a degree where they approach archetypal status.
This dark, melancholic film is a reminder -- never more necessary than now -- of what the American cinema is capable of, in the way of expressing a mature, morally complex and challenging view of the world. [7 Aug 1992]
Unforgiven is the most provocative western of Eastwood's career, and with Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman and Richard Harris along for the ride, it's also the most potently acted.
It's the actor/director's best movie - and the best Western by anybody in over 20 years. [7 Aug 1992]
Christian Science Monitor
Plays out its drama with enough old-fashioned sobriety to lend the proceedings a classical air, offering the comfort of familiarity rather than the thrill of discovery. [13 Aug 1992]
San Francisco Chronicle
Though the movie is riddled with memorable scenes of violence, its pace is slow -- too slow. It has an epic sprawl, but it's not an epic. It's more like a bloated fairy tale. [7 Aug 1992]
If Eastwood had any emotional depth as an actor, the character's anguish might come through.
The New Republic
At the last, we're left with a film that tries to doll up a conventional genre with hints of depth, hoping to disguise the cross-dressing by putting it in the shape of an epic. Murnau, Mizoguchi, Ford, even you authors of the Book of Genesis, rest easy. [12 Oct 1992]