The New York Times praises it and says, "You can know every glitch that made this such a dangerous mission, and "Apollo 13" will still have you by the throat." Rolling Stone says, "It all adds up to a triumph of stirring storytelling and heart-stopping suspense." The BBC gives it 4 out of 5 stars and calls it "A definite feel-good movie."
Roger Ebert gives it 4 out of 4 stars and says,
Ron Howard's film of this mission is directed with a single-mindedness and attention to detail that makes it riveting. He doesn't make the mistake of adding cornball little subplots to popularize the material; he knows he has a great story, and he tells it in a docudrama that feels like it was filmed on location in outer space.Empire Online gives it 5 out of 5 stars and calls it "a blast". Rotten Tomatoes has a 95% critics score.