Parents' Guide to

1917

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Unique WWI epic has brutal war violence, smoking.

Movie R 2019 110 minutes
1917 Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 45 parent reviews

age 10+

Great movie!

1917 is a true story about the director's grandfather's adventure in the great war. A good movie for people who are interested in the military. I am a huge fan of it! No wonder 1917 won an oscar award, $389,140,440, and an award for being the best movie about the Great War.
age 13+

great PG-13 not R

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (45 ):
Kids say (129 ):

About 15 minutes in to this movie, it dawns on you that this is something uniquely brilliant; by the end, it's clear that Sam Mendes has made one of the best films of 2019. That's largely because of the innovative cinematography: The entire film is one long tracking shot. Of course, there are edits, as imperceptible to viewers as they might be. And, honestly, whether or when the film stopped rolling isn't the point -- it's the effect. As the camera follows the two British runners trying to get across a German-occupied battlefield to deliver their urgent message, it moves around them -- in front, behind, next to, sometimes around a rock or a slightly different route but keeping the soldiers in view. It creates the video game-like feeling that you're the third runner on the mission. The first-person viewpoint transforms the experience of watching 1917 into something intimate, just short of interactive. Cinematographers aren't often household names, but Roger Deakins might just become one thanks to this Herculean accomplishment.

Given that the film is essentially a one-direction journey in which the camera rarely stops rolling, the production design is a real feat. Smoke and mirrors can't possibly exist: We follow Blake and Schofield through a looooooong trench, a maze of a barracks, and French countryside that's ravaged from the wages of war. The actors are all superb, but MacKay will rip your heart out as a low-ranking officer who's resentful of his assignment but rises to see his mission through, no matter the potential sacrifice. Teens may be reluctant to see a movie about World War I, but 1917 could be a game changer: It's hard to imagine anyone won't appreciate its originality, heart, and grit.

Movie Details

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