Black Hawk Down

  • Review Date: November 10, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 144 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Violent depiction of a risky rescue; adults only.
  • Review Date: November 10, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 144 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The film does show valiant attempts by Special Forces troops to rescue their trapped comrades, but it does not really investigate the causes of the conflict. It also avoids dealing with the number of Somalis that were killed in the maneuver. This may complicate the portrayals of both the Americans and the militia.


EXTREMELY graphic deaths of soldiers (dismemberment, beatings, impaling, etc.). Killing of civilians, starvation, the killing and roasting of a wild boar.

Not applicable

Swearing by soldiers (but actually less than one might expect).

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film is extremely violent. If parents do allow their teens to watch, they should be aware that the sad and often violent scenes are traumatic. While it does not include as much foul language as often found in contemporary war films, the violence is extremely graphic and non-stop. American soldiers are bloodily and graphically killed from the beginning until the end. This film is in no way recommended for kids under seventeen.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

In the early 1990s a humanitarian crisis in the country of Somalia brought international attention to the region. On October 3, 1993 the United States military sent approximately 120 members of US Special Forces to capture the warlord General Aidid or any of his top lieutenants. This supposedly quick operation turned into a two-day frantic mission and withdrawal. BLACK HAWK DOWN depicts the costly rescue attempt by US Rangers and Delta Operators sent to retrieve men trapped when their black hawk helicopters were downed. Trapped in a Somali war-zone, the soldiers struggle to regroup, save their wounded, and avoid the sights of a frenzied and armed militia. Through hostile fire, already injured men re-enter the war-zone in a valiant attempt to "leave no man behind."

Is it any good?


Directed by Ridley Scott (Alien, Thelma and Louise, Gladiator), BLACK HAWK DOWN is a fast-paced trip through blood and guts. Scott's desire for realism comes through in the film's connections to the real US Rangers. Many of the pilots used in the film participated in the actual 1993 conflict. The film does a fine job of creating viewer sympathy for its characters.

Although the action scenes truly serve as the leading lady, the film uses recognizable celebrities to create identification with their characters. Josh Hartnett (Halloween H20, Pearl Harbor), Ewan McGregor (Star Wars: Episodes I-III, Moulin Rouge), and Tom Sizemore (Heart and Souls, Saving Private Ryan) provide known faces to a few men caught in the chaos. The film was rewarded for its dramatic battle scenes with Academy Awards for Best Sound and Best Editing.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about issues regarding life, death, war, and honor. Why did the soldiers return to the ground to continue fighting? Do you think it was right to send soldiers there in the first place? How may this conflict relate to ones in the present? Parents may also want to discuss this film's historical accuracy by comparing it against a documentary that covers the same events.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 1, 2002
DVD release date:June 11, 2002
Cast:Ewan McGregor, Josh Hartnett, Tom Sizemore
Director:Ridley Scott
Studio:Sony Pictures
Run time:144 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:intense, realistic, graphic war violence, and for language

This review of Black Hawk Down was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byHooahArmyGuard October 29, 2009

Hooah, support our troops

I love this movie. Im 17, I plan to join the Army National Guard. Is war not hell? Soldiers give up their civil rights so you can have yours. There is no good way to get out of Iraqistan anyway. This was a war movie, of course it is graphic, but it isn't brutal stupid like the "Saw" movies. If you are okay with the full bloodiness of war, this is an excellent movie, personally my favorite.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old March 5, 2010

Every kid has diffrent levels of being able to see this level of war

I'm 12 I've seen the movie read the book they're both really good .Violence is intense but teens can handle it. Oh yeah there was one guy who said its good for changing kids minds about joining the military but A why would you want to change your kids minds about that and B I've seen it and the opening scene saving private Ryan yet I still want to be a airborne ranger and live the life of danger.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 14 years old Written bypunk rocker! oi! April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Good to change a kids mind

If you kid whants to join the military and be infantry,this is the best movie to change his mind. You see lots of bloodshed and gore in this movie. In one scene you see a guy lose his lower body,witch freaks me out even after watching it 5 times. that is probly the longest gore scene in the movie. I'd say dont show it to anybody whos matruity level is below 17.


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