Windtalkers

  • Review Date: May 20, 2003
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2002

Common Sense Media says

War film relies too much on relentless violence.
  • Review Date: May 20, 2003
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2002

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Violence

Extreme, intense, graphic, frequent battle violence, character deaths

Sex

None

Language

Very strong language including racist comments

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking and smoking

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has a great deal of graphic battle violence and very strong language, including racial epithets. The Navajo characters are portrayed as patriotic, brave, and dedicated.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

WINDTALKERS begins as Sgt. Enders (Nicolas Cage) is caught in the midst of battle. He is injured and witnessing the deaths of his friends is slowly driving him mad. His hearing loss could get him sent home, but he stays to keep fighting. He and Sgt. "Ox" Henderson (Christian Slater) are assigned to protect newly enlisted Navajo fighters Pvt. Ben Yahzee and Pvt. Charlie Whitehorse, (played superbly by Adam Beach and Roger Willie, respectively) whose abilities with the Navajo code are essential in the war. Enders is noticeably disgruntled at his new duties, but through a series of events he gains a mutual respect for the men he must protect. And a tough, bigoted soldier (Noah Emmerich) learns that the Navajos are actually good people when one of them saves his life.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Unfortunately, John Woo's film mainly focuses on the complicated, half-crazed Sgt. Enders rather than the Navajos recruited as Marines in World War II to use their language as a military code that was vital in the allied victory. The movie does a disservice to the men it is intended to honor by perpetuating their marginalization and making the much less interesting Nicolas Cage character the main focus of the story. The events are often predictable, and the dialogue is not very memorable with lines from the Navajos like "I've never seen so many white men!"

Windtalkers follows suit of most post-Saving Private Ryan war films and tries to make its point by dousing us with relentless violence. On the plus side, Cage, Slater, and a solid supporting cast of character actors are all dependably good, and it's interesting to see John Woo's distinctive action style put into a war film. The culture clashes are never boring, and scenes where a peace pipe ritual is carried out on a cigarette and Henderson duets on a harmonica with Whitehorse's wooden flute are handled with sensitivity.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the way that Enders and Yahzee change during the course of the movie. They might also talk why the movie makers chose to focus on the Nicholas Cage character, rather than the Navajos in the title.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 14, 2002
DVD release date:May 20, 2003
Cast:Christian Slater, Mark Ruffalo, Nicolas Cage
Director:John Woo
Studio:MGM/UA
Genre:Drama
Run time:134 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:very graphic battle violence, strong language

This review of Windtalkers was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 12 years old Written byfdog1 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 
Teen, 17 years old Written byMikeybooth July 3, 2011
AGE
17
QUALITY
 

Good War Movie, adults and older teenagers ONLY

Very bad language, almost nonstop use of f**k and other obsenities throughout, there is quite a bit of violence, but in all fairness it's a war movie.
Many characters smoke and drink often, Enders gets drunk on Sakki and is seen taking shots with a woman before they ship out.
But all in all, just like the mpaa says, 17+

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byfears_91 February 9, 2009
AGE
16
QUALITY
 

wow

this movie is freaking awesome and should be seen by children. they need to see the sacrifices that were made by people so that they could have freedom

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