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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The film shows valiant attempts by Special Forces troops to rescue their trapped comrades. It also tries to provide some context as to why the American military as well as UN forces got involved in the conflict. There's some attempt to show why some individuals on both sides were fighting, their motivations for taking up arms.
Positive Role Models
Tremendous self-sacrifice and sacrifice for the good of other soldiers during moments of intense battle. Movie goes beyond simplistic "good vs evil" to show the different motivations many of the American soldiers had for fighting in Somalia.
Violence & Scariness
EXTREMELY graphic deaths of soldiers (dismemberment, beatings, impaling, etc.). After the set-up of the characters and context for the first 45 minutes, the next 90 minutes are one long battle scene. Graphic imagery of cutting open an injured soldier and getting to his artery to try and keep him alive.
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Frequent profanity, including regular use of "f--k" and its variations. "S--t" and "ass." Character makes a gesture with his hand to represent masturbation. Somalis are referred to by some in military slang as "skinnies."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some beer drinking, cigar smoking, cigarette smoking. Reference made to how the Somalis will be high on khat on the afternoon of the mission the soldiers are going to undertake.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Black Hawk Down is a 2001 war movie based on the true story of the bravery and grave danger faced by American Special Forces while at war against a brutal warlord and his militia amidst the civil war-ravaged Somali capital Mogadishu. The first 45 minutes or so sets up the context, introduces the officers and soldiers, outlines their mission, and then the next 90 minutes are essentially a nonstop battle of American infantry and helicopters against armed and desperate Somali militia men and boys. The movie does not shy away from war violence -- casualties, blood, and graphic injuries are a constant. Surgery in the midst of battle is performed; soldiers are cut open and entrails are exposed. A nearly cut-off finger dangles from a hand. Frequent profanity, including regular use of "f--k" and its variations. What emerges overall is the bravery and selflessness of the soldiers in the midst of a battle unexpected in its ferocity, as well as an attempt to go beyond simplistic "good versus evil" dramatizations that have historically typified war movies. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Directed by Ridley Scott (Alien, Thelma and Louise, Gladiator), BLACK HAWK DOWN is a fast-paced trip through blood and guts. Scott's desire for realism comes through in the film's connections to the real US Rangers. Many of the pilots used in the film participated in the actual 1993 conflict. The film does a fine job of creating viewer sympathy for its characters.
Although the action scenes truly serve as the leading lady, the film uses recognizable celebrities to create identification with their characters. Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, and Tom Sizemore provide known faces to a few men caught in the chaos. The film was rewarded for its dramatic battle scenes with Academy Awards for Best Sound and Best Editing.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.