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Black Hawk Down



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10

MPAA Rating: R

Based on the October 1993 U.S. relief mission to Mogadishu, Somalia, that turned unexpectedly horrific and bloody, the film details the events in graphic detail: A Delta assault force was supposed to arrest top lieutenants of a warlord who was stealing relief packages meant for the starving population. But when two Black Hawk helicopters were shot down the ensuing battle with heavily armed Somalis ended with 19 dead Americans. With Josh Hartnett, Eric Bana, Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore, William Fichtner, Jason Isaacs, Jeremy Piven, Sam Shepard, Johnny Strong, Ron Eldard, Hugh Dancy, Ian Virgo, Ewen Bremner, Tom Hardy, Brendan Sexton III and Orlando Bloom. [2:24]

SEX/NUDITY 1 - We see a few men without shirts while playing basketball. A man makes a hand gesture representing masturbation.

VIOLENCE/GORE 10 - Many of the enemy are shot and blown up and many of the U.S. Rangers and Delta Force troops are killed or injured, usually in bloody ways. A man with a huge bloody wound on his leg is operated on (blood sprays from the wound): the medic attempts to put his hand into the hole in his leg in order to retrieve the end of an artery, he gets it but loses it again (in the process the injured man screams in agony and eventually passes out, and eventually dies from his injury). A blood-covered man lies dying on the street and we see later that he was cut in half; a couple of men pick him up and we see dangling tissue from the waist down. An RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade) hits a man and he is blown to pieces, a man is shot in the neck and we see lots of blood spurting from the hole, a man's gun is shot out of his hand and we see his blood covered thumb dangling, a man is shot in the abdomen and is very bloody, a man is shot in the head and there is a lot of blood, and a man is shot in the arm and then repeatedly at close range (we see him jerking from the hits and moaning). A man is shot in a Humvee and falls out onto the ground, and a gunner in a Humvee is shot and falls into the vehicle onto another man's lap; he is very bloody. A man is shot in the head and his eyes and face are covered with blood (he tries to continue driving his vehicle). A man is shot in the leg and arm, a man is shot in the leg twice, a man is shot in the back, a man is shot in the neck, and a man is shot repeatedly. A boy shoots a man several times in the chest (he is very bloody). Many civilians are hit with sticks and gunned down as they try to retrieve food aid delivered by trucks (we see blood spraying as people are hit and bodies fall to the ground). Many men are mowed down by rapid gunfire from a helicopter (they jerk when they are hit). Many bloody, mangled bodies are zipped up in body bags. A man finds a severed hand on the ground, picks it up and puts it in a pouch. We see a man's bloody neck wound as the bandage is replaced. A couple of men are attacked from behind and have their throats slit. A man is trapped in a crashed helicopter and is fired upon by a crowd of people. A helicopter is shot down; the helicopter spins and smokes, a man nearly falls out, it hits a building on the way down, it crashes into the ground and the propellers snap off as they hit (we see the pilot dead in the rubble and hear that the other occupants are injured). Another helicopter is shot down, it spins around and crashes into the ground and we see the crew unconscious. A helicopter is shot at by an RPG and in an effort to evade the strike the helicopter tips sending a man out the open hatch and he lands hard on the ground; we see him motionless with some blood on his ear and nose. A helicopter shoots many snipers lined up on a rooftop. A man fires an RPG at a truck which explodes taking its two occupants and the guns they were firing into the air (the man doing the shooting is thrown to the ground and covered with rubble). A man is fired upon as he runs through a street. A dead man is dragged from a crashed helicopter and we see that his legs are missing (we also see the mangled legs still in the helicopter). A man is hit in the face with a rifle butt. A man with a bloody swollen face is shown (he has been apparently beaten while being questioned). A man drives a flaming truck which crashes and explodes sending rubble flying. An explosion sends a man flying through the air, and explosions send rubble through the air. An RPG is fired into a building where men are seeking cover. A group of people jump on a crashed helicopter and begin pounding on it, they take two dead men out of the helicopter, remove their uniforms and carry them around the street while cheering. Helicopters land on the ground and soldiers unload with guns drawn; firing starts back and forth across a marketplace. A man carries a bloody little boy across a street. In a hospital scene a lot of blood pours onto a floor and a man struggles to clean it up. We see a dead body being wrapped in a cloth and tied with ropes. A mob of people close in on a helicopter crash site. A helicopter chases a car and pulls it over, soldiers with guns drawn approach the car to remove the man inside. We hear that 300,000 people have been killed in a civil war, and 19 Americans and over 1,000 Somalis were killed during a battle. The Somali militia forces descend on a marketplace, they pour gasoline all over and start fires which billow a lot of thick smoke. A man hides in a house with a woman and children inside; someone outside shoots at him. We see a wild boar running through a field and then see it turning on a spit. There is talk of a man having shot himself in the head while playing Russian roulette. A man sketches a scary looking warrior. Soldiers have target practice on a beach. Men fire weapons in the air. A soldier is threatened by his commanding officer with a nasty punishment (to lick toilets clean). A man vomits. A soldier has a seizure and falls out of his chair onto the floor writhing; it is revealed that he has epilepsy. A man is seen with a bandaged hand. A man goes deaf from being too near a gun when it is fired. Two helicopters are blown up.

PROFANITY 8 - 35 F-words, 2 obscene hand gesture, 21 scatological terms, 10 anatomical terms, 15 mild obscenities, 7 religious profanities, 3 religious exclamations, many derogatory terms for Somalis. [profanity glossary]

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Famine, starvation, the U.N. and peacekeeping, militias and warlords, civil war, genocide, idealism.

MESSAGE - Bad military planning leads to disaster; it's better not to underestimate the enemy and in war expect the worse and you won't be disappointed.

(Note: Men are seen smoking.)

Special Keywords: S1 - V10 - P8 - MPAAR

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A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.

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