The Hunger Games

2 h 22 min2012X-RayHDRUHDPG-13
Based on the best-selling book, 16-year-old Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers to take her younger sister's place in the Hunger Games
Gary Ross
Jennifer LawrenceJosh HutchersonLiam Hemsworth
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Woody HarrelsonElizabeth BanksLenny KravitzStanley TucciDonald SutherlandWes BentleyToby JonesAlexander LudwigIsabelle FuhrmanAmandla Stenberg
Nina JacobsonJon Kilik
SciFi and Fantasy
PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Content advisory
Alcohol usefoul languageviolence
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Prime Video (streaming online video)
Available to watch on supported devices


4.8 out of 5 stars

56336 global ratings

  1. 84% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 10% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 4% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 1% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Breedlay BarconeyReviewed in the United States on July 7, 2019
3.0 out of 5 stars
Let's Go, Wait Let's Not
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Read the book with my son and we watched the movie together. We were a little disappointed in how the movie did not follow the book. More Haymitch. Why yellow hair? Not enough Rue--barely shows any of her backstory (e.g., healing Katniss' wounds). Glad Cato died without being chewed apart slowly for three days (this earns a star); dogs looked nothing like the book suggested (minus one star). No rain--one of the main parts of the story. Nothing like the book between Peeta and Kitness' "love." Why didn't the Tracker Jacker scene just follow the book? Should have rented like my son suggested; unfortunately, regretfully bought. If we hadn't read the book, it would probably get another half-star.
33 people found this helpful
classicalsteveReviewed in the United States on May 28, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
A Cross Between "Roller Ball", "1984" and "The Lottery" Make for Fascinating Sci-Fi Drama
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In Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" (1948), regarded as one of the most famous short stories in American literature, someone in a small rural town is selected by lottery to engage in the center of a yearly ritual which will cleanse the town of its sins. "The Hunger Games" presents a similar compelling premise. In the world of Panem, there is one Capitol and 12 districts. Before the events of the story, there were 13 districts which eventually rose up in rebellion, led by District 13. The Capitol was able to put down the rebellion, and District 13 was razed to the ground. However, the rebellion was not the end of the story, and the current dictator of Panem upholds a yearly tradition to remind the remaining districts of their violent past, called "the Dark Days".

As punishment for the rebellion and as a reminder of who's "in charge", the Capitol hosts a violent pageant every year. Twenty-four young people of pre-college age are chosen by lottery to participate in the pageant; one boy and one girl from each district. The plot is a dark take on reality television contests: the pageant, called "The Hunger Games", requires the 24 tributes (they're not called contestants) engage in a fight-to-the-death contest in a wilderness-like arena controlled by unseen technicians in a war room of sorts. Only one tribute can be declared the winner at the end of the games, essentially requiring the other 23 tributes to perish. The games are broadcast on large screens so members of each district can watch the fates of their representatives. The event is hosted by a television game-show host/MC, Claudius Templesmith (Stanley Tucci), who makes Richard Dawson (of Family Feud fame) seem like a high-cultured gentleman. "And may the odds be ever in your favor!" is the motto of the Games.

Of the 12 remaining districts, District 12 is the poorest, made up of primarily miners and other blood-and-sweat workers. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is a teen girl who has self-taught herself to use the bow to hunt for game and sell in the town. On Tribute Day, all the youth from age 12 to 18 are brought to the town square where Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks), a resident of the Capitol who, like many of her colleagues, enjoys wearing garish and flamboyant outfits, hosts the lottery ceremony. She picks Primrose Everdeen (Willow Shields), Katniss' sister to participate. Katniss, stunned, offers to volunteer for the Games in her sister's stead. Since this is the first time someone has ever volunteered, the proposition is accepted by the State. The other tribute from District 9 is Peeta Mallark (Josh Hutcherson).

Katniss and Peeta are chaperoned by Effie Trinket to the Capitol on a bullet train. There they meet their mentor, Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson), a winner of the Hunger Games many years previously. He is there to help train and instruct Katniss and Peeta, but his highest priority seems to be drinking and snoozing. Eventually, Katniss and Peeta with interesting finesse convince Abernathy that they are worth helping.

Once at the Capitol, they are paraded in front of the elite residents who cheer and decide which tributes they wish to root for. The tributes are then brought to a training facility, being told not to "hurt" any of the other tributes. They say there will be plenty of time for violent engagement relatively soon! They are treated like celebrities about to embark on a fashion pageant, being given beautiful outfits to wear during interviews. Of course, everyone knows the outcome of the pageant means 23 of the 24 tributes will not survive. Eventually, on the fateful day, the 24 tributes are transported to the arena-wilderness area where food and weapons are strewn about which can be used to better someone's chances. We also learn that the game is also "rigged". The control room doesn't just monitor the tributes but has power to influence situations. There are also "sponsors", Capitol residents, who can aid tributes they like. This story has become more relevant with the rise of "fake news" and distrust of television journalism with distorted media.

Overall, a well-done and impassioned view of a bleak future which rings of Orwell's "1984" and the 1970's cult classic "Roller Ball". In "Roller Ball" two teams donning skates battle each other on a rink. In the final game, players can only leave the game if they're killed, which is essentially the same idea as "The Hunger Games". The film finds a good balance between the heartlessness of the competition (if competition it can be called) and the emotions of the characters. At one point, Katniss befriends a young African-American girl, Rue (Amandla Stenberg), who is obviously too young to be part of the games. They become allies to help each other defend against another "gang" who desires to kill them. One of the most touching and poignant moments of the film is their friendship and Rue's fate.
53 people found this helpful
TurtleWinsReviewed in the United States on October 11, 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
unwatchable due to nauseating camera work
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If you're prone to motion sickness, like I am, this movie will probably be inaccessible to you. If not, you might still be annoyed by never being able to see anything sufficiently, because the camera jerks and wobbles and sways away before you can see what's going on. I loved the novel, and was looking forward to watching the movie. No such luck. Movie producers, please stop hiring cinematographers who do this trendy, gimmicky, inaccessible camera work.
13 people found this helpful
Heather H.Reviewed in the United States on November 18, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
One of the best "book to movie" films I've seen
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So I have been reading through the Hunger Games books for a few months (I like to savor those kind of things as long as possible) and I decided to watch this first Hunger Games movie just after finishing the second book. First off, this movie had an attention grabbing opening, with interesting filmography and a mildly chilling intro to Seneca Crane. As the movie progressed, I noticed small changes that shortened the story for the sake of the adaptation, but they were minor enough that else everything shown seemed to be straight out of the novel.
Some changes I liked:
1. Haymitch's physical description in the books was easy to miss, and because I had previously seen snippets of this movie I always imagined him with the stringy blonde hair of the films. It really works well with his character, and Woody Harrelson is enjoyable to watch.
2. The Gamemakers were actually shown controlling the games through a mysterious holographic map thingy. It was pretty cool.
3. I actually didn't hate the character of Gale... yea that's definitely a step up from the book. I loved many of the characters in the books, but Gale always bugged me, and somehow Liam Hemsworth pulled off in such a way that made him enjoyable to watch.
Changes I disliked:
1. Rue didn't have very much character progression. Her character didn't get enough screen time.
2. The mutts were kinda stupid, but then again they weren't my favorite thing in the books either.
3. The romance/fake romance wasn't played up enough, probably for the sake of time. It was there, but it didn't seem as important once the Games started. If you read the books it will make enough sense, just try to imagine what the characters are thinking because it wasn't entirely clear.
Other than that, this movie felt like a nearly perfect adaptation of The Hunger Games book one. I hope you enjoy it too!
7 people found this helpful
Starr NiswanderReviewed in the United States on January 19, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Hungry to go beyond the Games and the Rebellion
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I've read several of the reviews and some criticize that Jennifer Lawrence doesn't look like she's starving to death. Well there is a good reason Katniss isn't starving and underweight when the movie begins. It is simply because she has gained the knowledge of hunting and is able to provide food for her mother, sister and herself and her sister has a vegetable garden and a goat for milk and cheese. The period of time when she was starving was after her Father was killed and there wasn't money to buy food or anyone to hunt for them. It was only after Peeta tossed her the loaf of bread in the rain that she actually had something to feed her family. Then Gail and she began hunting together. So naturally she wasn't starving when the movie began as it begins after the days of starvation have passed and she has also put her name in several times to receive extra rations...even though the more times your name appears the more chances you have to be picked. Which is ironic that Primrose name is only in once and she is selected which causes Katniss to volunteer in her place for the 74th Hunger Games. Yes there are some differences between the books and the movies. For instance, in the books, Katniss is best friends with the mayors daughter. And it is she who gifts Katniss the Mockingjay pin. However the movie runs more fluidly without her and makes more sense that Greasy Say gives her the pin instead. Each of the movies are well done and when watched in order tell the entire story of Panem, which is run by a totalitarian government and how it consumed the lives of the average citizen within each District. It was an uprising against the Capital which brought about the Hunger Games which required one male and one female child from each of the 12 Districts ages 8 to 18 to be chosen through a lottery to participate in the Hunger Games, which was a struggle for survival and fight to the death until only one remained to claim the title and awards as a Victor.. There used to be 13 Districts but it was presumed it had been destroyed. Every 25 years there is a quarter quell. and in the 75th Hunger Games it was the third quarter quell since the uprising it was decided that the contestants would be reaped from all of the Victors in each District. This is what triggers each of the Districts to begin a fresh rebellion. Katniss is the face of the rebellion because of her courage to volunteer in her sisters place during the 74th HG. The outcome of the rebellion in the movies and the books is exactly the same. The movies follow the books well with only minor differences. They are intriguing and extremely compelling almost haunting. I have read each of the books and watched all of the movies multiple times. I would like to see more of Katniss, Peeta and their family & friends a decade after the rebellion. To see what their lives are like and what their new government and society has become.
7 people found this helpful
Kim WeekleyReviewed in the United States on February 14, 2022
5.0 out of 5 stars
Can't please them all
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I didn't read the books before, or after, watching this movie but still enjoyed it. This next comment is directed towards everyone complaining that it doesn't follow the first novel faithfully. What works in the book might not work in the movie. You don't have enough time to give detailed backstories on every character ESPECIALLY if they die later on in the movie. You can't include every little detail the book covers, it's nearly impossible for a movie like this. It's also possible that certain parts of the books were filmed but did poorly when they screen tested it in front of an audience. There's a lot of reasons why something isn't included, stop whining and move on.

I liked this movie and will be watching the rest of the series. I thought everything was great including the CGI "Mutts". It's hard to make animals look realistic using CGI and this was far better than you'd normally see. Granted, still not 100 percent realistic but close enough. Going to watch the next movie in the series now. Highly recommend!
4 people found this helpful
JeffReviewed in the United States on December 6, 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
Really bad, and not in a fun way.
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I realize this is a movie intended for young adults, but I feel like it's an insult even to their intelligence. It's a ponderously self-important movie that takes about an hour and a half to even get to the second act, ie. the main part of the plot. It will put you to sleep during that time; you can watch the first ten minutes of it and then skip almost to the end and not miss anything of note. The story hasn't really gone anywhere.

I thought I could forgive its blatant "homage" to "Battle Royale" but that would have only been possible had the movie been good. The problem is that it doesn't even become watchable at all *until* it becomes a BR ripoff. The setup is different, but that's the part of the movie that could have been mostly cut out. Once things get going, it is literally just BR with English-speaking actors and much more sanitized violence. (There is hardly any blood, despite the horrors of juvenile brutality being one of the main points of both movies.) It's marginally more interesting once it gets to that point, but then that act doesn't last long *enough* or have enough set pieces to really tell a decent story. And it's impossible to stop comparing it to BR through the actual "Hunger Games" anyway. (Also? The title makes no actual sense.)

Just don't bother. Some movies are so bad, they're fun to watch and make fun of. This one is just slow, dumb, and annoying. It's crazy to me to think that it spawned a bunch of sequels. I will tell you that while I managed to get all the way through, my wife fell asleep and literally never mentioned the movie again. I'm not sure she even cared to remember that she didn't see the end. She has never once asked me about it.
4 people found this helpful
PDMReviewed in the United States on October 22, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
The heroine carries the series with aplomb
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The Hunger Games (2012; 2:23)
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013; 2:26)
Mockingjay Part 1 (2014; 2:03)
Mockingjay Part 2 (2015; 2:17)

One has to suspend disbelief to enjoy most sci-fi flicks. Some movies make it easy, like the earlier Star Wars series, which have an unpretentious, childlike quality. It’s harder for movies that want to be taken seriously, like the Hunger Games series, which have an underlying somber motif. The story is, quite unoriginally, about a people’s rebellion against a totalitarian government in a dystopian future.

Plus, the series has other things against it:
Strange story features (e.g., the protagonists use medieval weaponry like bows and arrows, and swords, while the government’s soldiers have guns; there are advanced spaceships and radio communications, but no mobile telephones; etc.);
Appalling makeup, especially in the earlier movies, that make the pretty heroine look really ugly, and a character whose sole role, inexplicably, is makeup;
Strange and inconsistent physical realities from force fields interposed on actual objects;
And so on.

But there are things that work well: The screenplay and editing are sound, and allow the viewer to follow the story without significant head-scratching. The special effects are convincing. The lead’s love interest, and the key villain, are very well-played (Donald Sutherland has become a unique brand unto himself as an aged, Machiavellian but polite and impeccably-dressed, monster). But even collectively, these things are insufficient to make it a good series to watch.

What really brings it home is one thing, and one thing only: The female lead’s acting. She consummately plays the reluctant heroine, her brow perpetually clouded with the weight of family, friends and neighbors, in fact, an entire people, on her youthful shoulders. She cares deeply for them all. When she kills in combat, it is not with a vicious joy, but as a distasteful, yet necessary, task. Very impressive indeed in an actor so young.
4 people found this helpful
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