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War Horse [2011] [PG-13] - 1.8.2



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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


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After a teenager (Jeremy Irvine) tames a horse, he is distraught when his father sells it to the British infantry at the beginning of World War I. As the years pass we see the horse go through countless struggles; eventually the horse and his owner are reunited when the young man joins the war. Also with David Thewlis, Emily Watson, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch and Neil Arestrup. Directed by Steven Spielberg. [2:26]

SEX/NUDITY 1 - We see a man and a woman kissing as the man marches past in a parade of soldiers.
 Two teenage brothers tease one another about the appearance of a country's women and one of the brothers playfully scolds the other, saying he is too young to think of women. Two soldiers on opposing sides joke about women entertaining them in their barracks and one of the men comments about "Big German girls."
 A small portion of a teen boy's chest is visible when his shirt is unbuttoned.

VIOLENCE/GORE 8 - A violent and extended battle scene shows many soldiers rushing onto a battlefield covered with barbed wire, landmines and trenches: dead bodies cover the ground, bodies are shown caught in barbed wire and soldiers are struck by gunfire and fall to the ground; many men are shot and they fall to the ground while explosives detonate and throw other soldiers through the air; a body is flung into the air after a grenade explodes behind a stack of sandbags where a machine gun is firing; a young man is shot in the leg and he pulls himself with his arms until another young man drags him into a muddy puddle; bodies cover a bunker as a young man climbs into it and investigates the dead body of a soldier wearing a gas mask (we see the body propped against a wall); and rats crawl over dead bodies in bunkers (no blood is visible during the entire scene).
 During an extended, intense battle scene we see cavalry attacking an encampment: Men on horseback carrying large swords slice through unarmed men (we hear slicing noises and see men falling to the ground and no blood is visible); many men fall to the ground and horses trample them, men fall into tents and a fireplace and men run from the cavalry men; we hear gunshots as many cavalry men charge into a camp, men are seen dropping to the ground as the cavalry men attack the unarmed men on the ground, gunners with machine guns are seen firing at the cavalry men as they approach, we see a man being targeted and moments later see the man's horse is unmanned, implying that the man was killed (we later learn he had been killed); we hear and see the rapid fire of machine guns and see horses and the men on their backs fall over, dead, and we later see the shot pan to reveal hundreds of dead men and horses strewn on a battlefield; and a horse is seen writhing in pain in the background (no blood is visible on any of the dead men or horses).
 In a very intense scene, a horse races through a battlefield, it leaps over a bunker as explosions are seen in the background, it leaps from one side of a bunker to the other, it gets caught on a sandbag and falls back into the bunker struggling to regain its footing and writhing on the floor of the bunker; the horse continues to race through the battlefield, we see dead bodies of soldiers covering the ground as the horse charges through, the horse gets caught in barbed wire and continues running until it is completely ensnared in the barbed wire, and the horse collapses to the ground and we watch as it writhes in pain and whinnies and two opposing groups of soldiers watch.
 Two teenage brothers are escorted out of a building by soldiers; the two teens stand before a firing squad, and a windmill blade covers the screen as we hear gunshots and then see the teen boys' bodies crumpled on the ground, dead.
 As soldiers walk through a bunker, many dead bodies are seen on the ground, a man shouts "Gas!" and we see a cloud envelop a young man, he shouts for another young man who watches as the gas covers him, and it is implied that the young man is killed; the second young man is later seen with a bandage covering his eyes (he was temporarily blinded from the gas) and he is later seen recovered but he has scar tissue abrasions surrounding his eyes.
 As a massive explosion is seen in the background of a bunker, the bodies of three men are seen thrown through the air (no blood is visible).
 A soldier exits a bunker, a soldier on the opposing side instructs another soldier to fire a shot at him to scare him, and the soldier continues walking toward a badly injured horse completely ensnared in barbed wire and pinned to the ground; the two opposing soldiers slowly release the horse from the barbed wire as they explain that the horse could be blinded by the barbed wire close to its face, we see the horse stand up as the last wire is cut, and small cuts and abrasions are seen covering the horse's body and two large bloody gashes are seen on its leg.
 An injured horse is led under a bridge by a man, we see a bloody wound on its leg, the horse's legs give out and it lies on the ground as the man begs it to stand up, the man strokes the horse's neck as it dies and a second horse watches, whinnies and cries; two soldiers grab the man and drag him away as he shouts, a tank rapidly approaches the horse and it is implied that it rolls over its body as the other horse whinnies and leaps over the tank to safety.
 A horse struggles as it tries to pull a massive artillery gun behind it; the horse's legs are seen shaking and buckling under it, the horse crumples to the ground and moments later is shot, point-blank by a man with a pistol (we do not see the horse being shot, but we see the body of the horse, we hear the gunshot and no blood is visible). A soldier warns another soldier that a horse is too injured to pull a large artillery machine, and we see a second horse break from a pack of horses pulling an artillery gun and take the place of the injured horse; the horse struggles and loses its footing as it pulls the massive machine up a hill, and the horse steadies itself and continues to pull.
 Soldiers in a bunker are seen ducking as explosives detonate next to them and dirt flies with each explosion. We see massive artillery guns fired onto a field filled with soldier's tents and men's faces are seen lighting up as the sound of explosions rings out close to them. On multiple occasions we see an older man and a girl (his granddaughter) startled by the sounds and flashes of explosions that move closer to their home.
 Injured soldiers are loaded into a carriage, a man is seen with blood on his hands and another man has a bandage wrapped around his head. Dead and injured men (no blood is visible) are seen being carried on stretchers. A woman wipes her teen son's neck and remarks that he is just as injured as a horse (a small amount of blood is visible on the cloth).
 We see four very battered horses in a pen and next to the pen are the bodies of many other dead horses, piled on the ground. An injured horse with small abrasions covering its body and two large gashes on one of its legs is escorted through a building filled with injured soldiers; we see a young man with a bandage around his forehead, a young man with his eyes wrapped and many other injured men on stretchers with bandages covering their faces and bodies as nurses tend to them. A teen boy uses a cloth to wipe an injury on a horse's neck.
 A man instructs another man to shoot a wounded horse because it is too injured and we see a man raise a handgun to shoot the horse until a young man approaches the horse and the man puts down his gun. A man tells a teen boy to shoot dying horses on a battlefield, and then says to shoot the healthy horses as well and the teen boy talks the man out of shooting two of the horses.
 A horse rears as a man tries to put a harness on its neck and the man is knocked to the ground; the man stands up and shoves his teenage son twice, once knocking him to the ground, when the teen boy tries to stand in front of the horse, the man rushes away and comes back with a shotgun and is about to shoot the horse point-blank until his teenage son stands in front of the shotgun and the man's wife shouts at the man.
 A teen boy grabs another teen boy (his brother), walking in a soldier's procession, and pulls him onto the back of a horse; as the teen boy is lifted, he knocks over multiple men in the procession and they fall to the ground in a domino effect. A teen boy stumbles and is lifted up by his teenage brother just moments before he is struck by an approaching car. A teen boy uses a whip to encourage a horse hooked to a plow, and the horse darts away quickly, knocking the teen boy to the ground and dragging him behind; the horse stops running and the boy stands up, unharmed.
 Soldiers are seen raiding an older man's house, and taking supplies as the older man looks disappointed. A man on horseback and holding a sword is surrounded by soldiers holding him at gunpoint; the man lowers his sword, dismounts and the soldiers grab him and drag him away. Soldiers with guns surround a girl riding a horse, a second horse is seen being captured, and a soldier shoves roughly the girl toward her grandfather, who approaches them and shouts at them for stealing their horses (the girl is visibly shaken and begins to cry).
 A woman threatens to poke out a man's eye with a knitting needle after he mocks her son, saying he will lose his foot in a muddy field. An older man threatens a group of soldiers, saying he will kill them if they harm his granddaughter.
 On multiple occasions we see a horse whinny, buck and pull away from men leading its bridle: a horse bucks and knocks over a man as he tries to lead it; a horse whinnies and pulls away as a man tries to put a bridle on it; a horse kicks a fence as another horse is led away; a horse whinnies and almost bucks as a man tries to hold onto its bridle and the man drops the bridle, is knocked to the ground, the horse tries to run away and is cornered by another man who grabs the bridle; two horses buck and kick as men try to grab their bridles and one of the horses bucks, knocking the man to the ground; a horse pulls at its restraints and whinnies as a man tries to put a harness on it, another horse allows the harness to be placed on it and the first horse calms immediately; a young man tells a horse that the horse's life had been saved by putting on a harness; and a horse bucks and pulls away from a man and runs off. While riding with a teen boy, a horse comes to a sudden stop, sending the teen boy flying over a fence (the teen boy is unharmed). A young man reminds another young man of a time he had seen him tossed off the back of a horse.
 Two horses whinny at one another and try to bite one another, a man shouts at the horses to "fight it out" and that the horses will face far more violence on a battlefield; another man overhears the man and chastises him for preemptively discussing war, while the two horses snort and knock their snouts together in a threatening way. Two horses nip at one another until a man pulls them apart.
 A soldier shouts at other soldiers, instructing one of them to shoot any soldier that retreats from the battlefield; the soldier cries and we later see him hold a soldier at gunpoint when the soldier attempts to climb back into the bunker. A man mocks another man for having a "gimp" leg, and then mocks the man's teenage son, saying he is following the man's failure. A man shouts at an older man and his granddaughter, telling them that a horse will be used until it dies of exhaustion. A girl shouts at her grandfather, accusing him of not telling her how her parents died. A woman shouts at a man. A man shouts at a teen boy. A teen boy shouts at his 14-year-old brother, telling him he had promised their mother he would not allow his younger brother to be injured in a war. A man rides a motorbike through a village and shouts that a war is starting. A man tells another man that a war is approaching. A girl asks her grandfather how her parents died and the man does not explain. A girl tells a soldier that her parents had been killed. An older man implies to a young man that his granddaughter had been killed during a war. A woman tells her teenage son that his father had fought in a war, and she implies that the man is ashamed of having to kill people while in battle; the teen boy jumps to say that he would be proud to kill people and his mother chastises him. Men discuss how they will be traveling across the English Channel to go to war. We hear a man going through a plan of attack for the leader of an army. An army leader gives a rousing speech to a crowd of cavalrymen, saying that they are fighting for a good cause. A man tells a group of soldiers to take a moment of silence for the people who had died in a war. A teen boy reads aloud a letter that says a young man had been killed in a war. An older man warns his granddaughter when she stands on a shaky stepladder to try to climb onto a horse. An older man warns his granddaughter to be careful when riding a horse, the girl tells him that she had been told by her mother that her bones would break easily. A soldier finds a bottle of medicine and asks an older man if his granddaughter is "sickly"; the older man does not answer. A soldier offers to box an opposing soldier over the custody of a horse; the other man turns him down, jokingly saying that he does not want to start a war. A man says that another man "scares the daylights out of him." Two men joke that a man might be killed for his nice cap; the man responds that maybe he will not be killed because his cap is so nice, but that the man next to him will be killed.
 Four men run away as a duck chases them, squawking loudly and flapping its wings. A woman is startled when a horse races past her and she drops a bucket of water. A duck chases a man and playfully bites his pant leg until the man shakes the duck off his leg.
 A teen boy watches as a horse grunts and lies on the ground; it is implied that the horse is giving birth and moments later we see a goo-covered foul stand up. We see an older man giving his granddaughter a green medicine; she winces and makes a disgusted face as she swallows.

PROFANITY 2 - 2 mild anatomical terms, 3 mild obscenities, name-calling (daft, more money than sense, cheap, greedy sod, out of your mind, fool, fool of a father, thick and stubborn, filthy, jokers, coward, ugly nun, Fritz, stupid git), exclamations (bloody, bugger off, bugger me), 1 implied religious exclamation ("for the love of..."). [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - On multiple occasions a man is seen drinking from a flask (presumably liquor), on multiple occasions people make reference to a man drinking in excess, a man chides another man for drinking too much, a man acts intoxicated and stumbling backwards into a table that is knocked over, a man asks a teen boy if he is drunk and makes a snide remark about the boy's father drinking too much, a woman tells her teenage son that his father drinks to forget his emotional pain, a man pours himself a glass of what is presumed to be liquor and quickly drinks it and a man uses the saying, "Even drunk on a Tuesday night." Throughout the movie we see men smoking cigarettes and a man is frequently seen smoking a cigar.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Violence against animals, separation, sacrifice, loss of a loved on, the effects of war, WWI, courage, perseverance, death, promises.

MESSAGE - Wars can be very violent and it takes a lot of strength to overcome the emotional damage caused by warfare.

Special Keywords: S1 - V8 - P2 - MPAAPG-13

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