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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

During W.W.II, the Japanese kept breaking confidential U.S. military codes, until several hundred Navajo Americans were recruited as Marines and trained to use their language as an unbreakable code. The film follows one such Marine (Adam Beach) and his bodyguard (Nicolas Cage), whose assignment is to protect the code at all costs: He's to protect the code talker, unless he falls into enemy hands, whereupon he's supposed to kill him in order to prevent the Japanese from learning Navajo. Also with Christian Slater, Noah Emmerich and Emily Mortimer. [2:14]

SEX/NUDITY 2 - Men and women dance together. A man is bare-chested while bathing in a lake and other men are shown bare-chested in other scenes. A man talks about his wife and worries about her being unfaithful. Men talk about women and make some sexual remarks (a man talks about a woman asking him to join her for a "weenie roast").

VIOLENCE/GORE 8 - There are many battle scenes that include firefights from the ground and air, and from a distance and in close-up. Many men are shot and killed and during hand-to-hand combat men stab each other with machetes and knives (we see spurting blood, torn clothing and flesh). Troops are ambushed and surrounded by the enemy: they fight with guns and bayonets, one soldier has his hand chopped off, two are bayoneted, three are shot repeatedly, one is blown through the air by a grenade explosion, one is stabbed repeatedly, and many more are shot (this is all accompanied by a lot of screaming). Another battle scene takes place on the island of Saipan and we see ships in the water surrounding the island, planes fly overhead dropping bombs, tanks roll out firing, troops run from trench to trench while firing and being fired upon; explosions send men sailing through the air, and many soldiers are shot while in foxholes and trenches (they jerk and flail from the impact of the bullets). One man is trapped in barbed-wire and when two other men try to free him they are all shot repeatedly, we see a man in flames, a tank is destroyed by a flame thrower and a grenade, a man gasps and gurgles as he dies (blood bubbles out of a large hole in his chest), a flame-thrower fires at a turret and several men on fire run out screaming. There are large explosions with many men killed when ships fire at guns that are dug into the hillside. A man's leg is shot off and we see him holding the bloody stump while flailing and screaming. Troops in trucks, tanks and jeeps are hit by friendly fire; a jeep is blown over and we see it and its occupants in flames, a truck with men in it is blown up and drives off the road. Planes fly overhead dropping bombs, causing explosions and we see men being blown through the air. One man throws a knife that hits another man in the chest, many men are knifed (we see blood on one knife), one man is decapitated by a bayonet (we see his head on the ground), a grenade is thrown into a group of soldiers who are holding a hostage and they are all killed by the explosion (we see bloody bodies lying on the ground). Troops walk into a mine field and the enemy begins firing on them; the men scatter, some are shot, some are blown up by mines (we see blood splattering when men are hit), a man is shot and we see him with a bloody hole in his chest and a bloody mouth (we hear that he dies). Two men fight with punches and one gets hit in the head with a shovel, a man is grabbed from behind and stabbed and many others are stabbed. A soldier in a tree is shot, he falls and lands hard on a limb, then continues to fall and is caught around the ankle by a rope and he dangles there, dead. Two men hold each other at gunpoint and another man slits the throat of one. A man picks up a wounded man and runs dodging gunfire and a grenade explodes as they jump into a trench, presumably killing them both. A man, trying to save a little girl, is shot in the shoulder, the leg and then the tank of flammable liquid on his back is ignited by a shot and bursts into flames (he flails about on the ground screaming and another man shoots him). One wounded man carries another wounded man toward a trench, they are both shot again, a grenade explodes and knocks them to the ground; one man has a bloody wound spurting blood from his chest. A man runs while being fired upon and throws a bag with a bomb into a hole where men and a weapon are dug in; the bomb explodes and sends men out in flames. A bloody, dismembered limb lies on the side of a foxhole. We see a photo of a dead man covered with blood and tied to a pole (we hear that he had been tortured). A stream turns red with blood and we see a man floating dead in the water with both knees blown off (we see torn tissue). A man is kicked, shoved and punched repeatedly; he then grabs his assailant's gun, shoots him and several other men. A man holds a gun on another man, hits him in the chest twice and then they fight with repeated punches to the face (one ends up with a bloody mouth). A man punches a man in the face, shoves him to the ground and holds a gun to his head. A man puts a gun to another man's face. A man has flashbacks to a bloody battle scene several times. Men bury dead soldiers in holes and mark them with crosses and their dog tags (we see the bodies covered with tarps). We see a military hospital with wounded soldiers; one man has a large scar on his ear and down his neck, one man is missing his lower legs and we see the bandages. A man imagines that he hears the screams of the men who are buried in a graveyard as he walks through it. A man talks about roasting human beings. There are racist and derogatory remarks made to the Navajo men who join the Marine corps: a man calls a Navajo a "slant eyed savage," a man talks about being punished in church for speaking Navajo (he was tied to a radiator for two days). A man talks about when people were paid $3.00 per Comanche ear. A man quakes from pain. Troops enter a village to rest for the night and the villagers are visibly frightened; one child is in a great deal of pain from what appears to be a head injury (he is bandaged).

PROFANITY 6 - 15 F-words, 29 scatological terms, 15 anatomical terms, 34 mild obscenities, 9 religious profanities, 7 religious exclamations, 7 derogatory terms for the Japanese. [profanity glossary]

DISCUSSION TOPICS - War, guilt, friendship, fear, democracy, gambling, racism, hate, anger, spirits, demons, Navajo ceremonies, hopelessness, trust, following orders, Catholicism, responsibilities of command.

MESSAGE - Following military orders is not always the right thing to do.

(Note: People are shown drinking alcohol -- a couple of times to the point of drunkenness -- and smoking cigarettes.)

Special Keywords: S2 - V8 - P6 - 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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