Behind Enemy Lines

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Behind Enemy Lines Movie Poster Image
Action movie with intense peril and devastation.
  • PG-13
  • 2001
  • 106 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 7 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages
Violence

Battle violence.

Sex

Mild.

Language

Strong language.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink and smoke.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie, though rated PG-13, has intense peril and devastating violence, with many characters killed. Children and young teens are involved. There is brief strong language.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bytrojan51 April 9, 2008
Adult Written byTheoDoyp January 20, 2016
Teen, 14 years old Written byRedSoxFan798 February 19, 2009

Good Action/War Movie

Great Plot and some solid action scenes. Definitely worth watching.
Teen, 14 years old Written byFILMCRITIC500 December 27, 2012

bloody war film has strong language and tons of guns

a very entertaining, thrilling, and very gritty true story of a man shot down during the Bosnian war (Rescue Dawn, anyone?) has loads of violence and strong lan... Continue reading

What's the story?

In BEHIND ENEMY LINES, Navy navigator Chris Burnett (Owen Wilson), is stationed in Bosnia and impatient for action. When he and his partner are sent out on a routine reconnaissance mission on Christmas Day, they stray out of the prescribed area because they see something suspicious. Then they are shot down. All of this is very inconvenient to NATO, which is in the final stages of negotiating a very fragile peace agreement. Burnett tries to stay alive and get to a safe rendezvous spot as his commanding officer, Admiral Reigart (Gene Hackman), tries to direct a rescue mission. Burnett is chased by an assassin through minefields and desolation of all kinds, from ravaged trees to burnt-out cities. Meanwhile, the Admiral has an almost as treacherous struggle as he makes use of the most sophisticated technology to track Burnett's position but is thwarted by politics when he orders a rescue.

Is it any good?

Behind Enemy Lines is an old-fashioned, heart-thumping rescue mission story with about 90-pulse-pounding minutes of non-stop nightmarish action. First-time feature director John Moore masters both the second-by-second intensity of the action sequences and the bleakness of the physical and political landscape. The parallels between the personal, the psychic, and the political are subtly intertwined, and the rousing, send-in-the-Marines finish is especially satisfying.

In the midst of the action, there are dozens of moments filled with quiet power. Hackman, as always, is a joy to watch, doing wonders with the subtle struggle of a by-the-books patriot whose loyalty and sense of honor makes him risk everything, knowing that his career is on the line. Wilson, in his first major dramatic role, does not show much range, but is a very likeable presence as a classic American hero – brave, resourceful, and a little cynical, but everything we would hope for when the time comes. Charles Malick Whitfield is the Marine we all want to rescue us, and David Keith contributes a fine performance as the Admiral's aide.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the complexity of today's military actions, compared to the stark contrast between freedom and tyranny in previous wars (at least as portrayed in most history books and movies). They might want to compare this movie to others like Three Kings (very mature material) and The Longest Day.

Movie details

For kids who love action

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