Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Anthropoid Movie Poster Image
Depressing, dull, violent take on a true WWII story.
  • R
  • 2016
  • 120 minutes

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Raises thought-provoking questions about the nature of heroism. The characters are brave, and they pull off something impossible and significant, but it brought on an unspeakable amount of violence and retribution. It wasn't a happy ending for all, but it also led toward a new hope. Would things have been better if this act hadn't been committed?

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main characters are soldiers following orders; they're brave, but they're also rather underdeveloped and hard to relate to. They don't have much personality.


Plenty of battle violence, with shooting and grenades, explosions, bloody wounds, and death. Bblood splatters and bloody puddles. Many characters commit suicide via cyanide capsules or gunshots to the head. Nazis torture a boy, forcing alcohol down his throat via a funnel, smashing his fingers, injecting him with needles, and showing him his mother's severed head in a bucket. A character cuts open his foot, and a doctor stitches it up (in close-up). Panic attacks. Threats. Beatings. Slapping.


Implied sex: A man dresses while a woman is nearby, in bed. Kissing. A woman shows a little leg to distract a soldier.


German word "scheisse" ("s--t") used a few times. "Whore" used once.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Frequent cigarette smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Anthropoid is a World War II story about the real-life attempted assassination of Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich. The movie has very strong violence, including shooting, explosions, bloody wounds, blood spatters and puddles, and death. Multiple characters commit suicide, either via gunshots to the head or cyanide capsules. There are brief but gruesome Nazi torture scenes that include breaking a boy's fingers and showing him a woman's severed head in a bucket. One brief suggested sex scene shows a man getting dressed near a woman who's in bed; there's also some kissing. Characters smoke cigarettes frequently (accurate for the time period), but language is minimal, with the German "scheisse" ("s--t") used a few times and "whore" used once. Though the movie is depressing and dull, the core story is important, and it could be worthy of discussion.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byOliviaReviewsIt May 4, 2021

Powerful Story of Czech Resistance Against German Rule

This movie tells the story of a group of Czech men and women who resist Nazi occupation of their homeland. It's a story of the utmost bravery to stand up a... Continue reading
Adult Written byH B February 24, 2020

Fascinating story of the history of the German occupation of Czechoslovakia and how a brave few resisted.

A fascinating story of how a few very dedicated patriots could undertake such a daunting mission facing tremendous challenges and against huge odds with their... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byutvuguygi March 4, 2020

Best Movie Ever

This is my all time favorite movie. I wasn't able to watch the torture scene but the rest was terrific. Lots of action, but very sad. I was very impressed... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bysnoge March 30, 2017

A very good WW2 film, if very bloody

The CSM review of it as "dull", "tedious" etc. is totally unfair. This is a very interesting, exciting but ultimately very sad film about Cz... Continue reading

What's the story?

As ANTHROPOID begins, two parachuters -- Jan Kubis (Jamie Dornan) and Josef Gabcik (Cillian Murphy) -- land in occupied Czechoslovakia during WWII. Their mission -- "Operation Anthropoid" -- is to assassinate third-in-command Nazi Reinhard Heydrich, otherwise known as the "Butcher of Prague" and the architect of Hitler's "Final Solution." With the help of Czech underground rebels, the pair learns about Heydrich's comings and goings, and before long, it's time. But the attempt doesn't go exactly as planned, and the two men find themselves hiding out in a church while the Nazis begin a cruel, systematic manhunt, mowing down anyone who stands in their way. Will the soldiers' work be worth something in the end?

Is it any good?

There are many important WWII stories worth telling, but sometimes movies, like this one, take the wrong approach, and we end up with something that's poorly made, tedious, and depressing. Writer/director Sean Ellis and co-writer Anthony Frewin apparently researched Anthropoid heavily, but they still managed to leave out basic details that would let an audience know a little something about the characters -- or even how to tell the seven total parachutists in the story apart from one another.

We're rarely aware of simple details like "who," "what," "where," or "why." The overall gray sheen and the irritating, constantly wobbly shaky-cam cinematography don't help, especially since much of the movie is shot in close or medium shots. Anthropoid is structured in such a way that it's either numbingly repetitive or anti-climactic -- or else it falls back on overly familiar modern transitional techniques to bridge the events. The ending will leave most viewers thoroughly dispirited.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Anthropoid's violence. How does the fact that this is based on a true story affect its impact? Does exposure to violent media desensitize kids to violence?

  • Why is assassination sometimes considered a heroic deed? Do you agree with that assessment? Are these characters heroes? What was gained -- and what was lost -- due to their actions? What would the alternative have been?

  • How does this movie compare to other WWII movies you may have seen? How does it expand your idea or your knowledge of that time in history? How could you find out more if you wanted to?

  • How accurate do you think the movie is to the facts of what happened? Why might filmmakers choose to adjust events in a movie based on a true story?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love history

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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