Battlefield Earth Movie Poster Image

Battlefield Earth

Worst example of vanity filmmaking in years.
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 2000
  • Running Time: 118 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Men have all the action roles; with one brief exception, women are treated as sex objects


A lot of science fiction violence, characters killed and dismembered.


A few mild references.


A few mild words.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Scenes in bar, character intoxicated.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has a lot of sci-fi violence, with lots of explosions, characters in peril and some gory dismemberment. There are a couple of mild expletives and some mild sexual references. Women are treated as sex objects or taken as hostages.

What's the story?

In the future, a race of 9-foot-tall, dreadlocked aliens called Psychlos takes over the earth following a nine-minute battle. A thousand year later, the few remaining humans are hunter-gatherers and the evil Psychlos maintain earth as an outpost for mining. Terl (John Travolta), furious at not being allowed to return to the home planet, decides to use humans to mine gold for him to keep. But one of the humans, Jonnie Goodboy Tyler (Barry Pepper), encourages the others to revolt.

Is it any good?


Made due to the ceaseless efforts of its star, John Travolta, BATTLEFIELD EARTH could be used as an exam for film school students on what not to do. As the bad guy, Travolta tries to sound imperious and sarcastic but lacks any sense of presence or dignity, and his cackling evil laugh is laughable. Poor Forrest Whitaker does his best with an idiotic role as Terl's sidekick and whipping boy.

The sets are dark, dank, and uninspired, the explosions are boring, it is all much too loud, and the Psychlos' dialogue is sometimes garbled. The plot is not very interesting and completely illogical. To mention just one of many examples -- somehow a group of humans who are illiterate and have not even discovered the wheel manage to master thousands of years of literal rocket science in a couple of days, transport over to the Psychlos' planet and blow it all up with one well-placed bomb?

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the importance of learning and history (Jonnie is inspired by the Declaration of Independence), and they should contrast the way that the Psychlos use "leverage" (blackmail) to manipulate each other with the teamwork and loyalty shown by the humans. They might also want to compare this movie to some sci-fi classics, like the Star Wars movies.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 12, 2000
DVD/Streaming release date:January 16, 2001
Cast:Barry Pepper, Forest Whitaker, John Travolta
Director:Roger Christian
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Science Fiction
Run time:118 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:intense sci-fi action.

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Teen, 13 years old Written bySomeoneYouDon'tKnow May 29, 2012

A riveting sci-fi adventure

I have no idea why critics are panning this so much. Not that it's perfect or anything, but it's a thrilling sci-fi popcorn flick. The actors do their best with what they are given; I was thoroughly entertained by John Travolta's intentionally over-the-top performance as Terl, and Barry Pepper was a strong, solid, relatable hero in Jonnie. Kim Coates was supportive and funny as Carlo, and he had some good chemistry with Pepper as his loyal friend. Forest Whitaker was also hilarious as Ker, Terl's right hand man and whipping boy, even if his one-liners got a little excessive around the third act. The action is well choreographed and exciting, with awesome explosions and decent CGI. The costumes and makeup are fantastic, with good leathery suits and grungy, weird dreadlocks for the Psychlos and some nice loincloth robes for the humans. But best of all are the sets, which intrigued me to the fullest extent. They were dark, dank, and depressing, and it's quite sobering to see libraries crumbling to dust, or an old city being used as a Psychlo fortress. Aside from some poorly developed characters and a few absurd plot points, like fighter jets being usable after 1,000 years in storage, I consider this film to be a thoughtful, exciting, and intriguing sci-fi good time that achieves what it's trying to be: a fun comic book movie.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byAshnak April 9, 2008

Decent scifi movie

This is an OK scifi movie only worth seeing if you LIKE scifi
Adult Written bynduns April 11, 2010

There is only one thing preventing this from getting 1 star

And that's the simple fact that it's so bad it's funny. This film irritates me on so many levels. The way they shoot it, for one, is annoying. Everything is shot in an angle. But I could look past that were the story good... it is not. The human characters are just... stupid. In the original Planet of the Apes, they could get away with that because the humans were supposed to be dumb. However, these humans are meant to be smart and they make the dumbest decisions ever. Luckily, the Psychlos are equally dumb and give the humans easy access to their weaponry and firearms. In response to another reviewer, I'd say scifi fans would hate this film the most simply because of how poorly written it is.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking