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Battlefield Earth

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Battlefield Earth Movie Poster Image
Worst example of vanity filmmaking in years.
  • PG-13
  • 2000
  • 118 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 6 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

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.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Scenes in bar, character intoxicated.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
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.... Continue reading
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... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byjb223 August 12, 2013

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?

Talk to your kids 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

For kids who love sci-fi

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