For Greater Glory

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
For Greater Glory Movie Poster Image
Parents recommend
Epic tale about religious freedom gets very bloody.
  • R
  • 2012
  • 143 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The movie's core message is that you must stand up for what you believe in, as that's the only way to live in peace with yourself. Also, faith can see you through the toughest of personal and physical challenges. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

There are many heroes in this movie, but Jose, a teenager, tops them all, standing up for what he believes in despite ridicule, danger, and death.


For Greater Glory has an inspiring, courageous message, but the war violence is relentless. Countless people -- including women, men, and children; old and young; and characters viewers will be attached to -- are stabbed, shot point blank, hung on telegraph poles (with the camera lingering on them as they swing from rafters), and tortured in scene after scene. It almost never lets up. 


Very infrequent use of "hell."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink liquor at social occasions and while alone, pickling their worries in tequila and sorrow.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that For Greater Glory, which sheds light on one of the bloodiest moments in Mexican history, doesn't shy away from depicting war-related carnage: Children and the elderly are beaten and shot point blank; countless others are seen with nooses tied around their necks and then hung from ceilings and telegraph lines, with their corpses shown motionless for many scenes. And that's just the beginning. That said, aside from some drinking, there's not much else of note, content-wise -- there's no sex, hardly any swearing, and plenty of acts of heroism. Bottom line? It's an inspiring story, but one that's sometimes hard to stomach.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byHildegard April 2, 2019

Inspiring story

I love Saint Jose Sanchez del Rio. Padre Christopher is also a saint.
The story is very inspiring, but it is also very violent. The war violence itself is mo... Continue reading
Adult Written byPHMNHM July 5, 2012
Teen, 15 years old Written byCatholicTeen May 11, 2020

Powerful Message!

This is a must see movie for kids and adults who believe in the power of spirit. The fighters in this movie fight for nothing else but freedom of religion and a... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bylooneyman September 28, 2012

good idea, poor execution

this film is poorly scripted and shot. even a body count the size of the war itself doesn't seem to do much to hold interest. and that is really sad, bec... Continue reading

What's the story?

Between 1926 and 1929, Mexican president Plutarco Calles (Rubén Blades) waged a war against Roman Catholic priests and bishops and their flock, shutting down their churches and sending soldiers to hunt, maim, and kill anyone who dared defy him. Tens of thousands of citizens -- including a young boy named Jose (Mauricio Kuri), who developed a strong faith thanks to a kind-hearted priest (Peter O'Toole) -- banded together to defend their religious freedom in what is now known as the Cristero War. It was a gory and heart-wrenching battle, leaving thousands of Mexicans dead, the countryside littered with their bodies. Leading the charge is a retired army general (Andy Garcia) who confronts his own questions about God as he fights to restore everyone's right to believe.

Is it any good?

Sweeping in its scope and epic in its storytelling, FOR GREATER GLORY makes no apologies for aiming high. It has an important tale to tell, and it will tell it with as much gravity as it can muster. And it's this earnestness that protects the drama from some of its weaknesses -- clunky dialogue, for starters -- and turns it into a shockingly affecting, thought-provoking watch. Bring tissues, because some of the characters, especially Jose, will break your heart. 

But while it's understandable that the filmmakers wanted to make clear how brutal this moment in history was, there's an overdose of violence. It's almost enough to cause post-traumatic stress disorder. No one is spared, not the child at the heart of the story, and not viewers, either, who must suffer through one assault after another. Is all the carnage necessary? It's highly debatable. Had they edited some of it out, For Greater Glory would have been a leaner, meaner, and still affecting revelation. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the Mexicans defied the government to honor their faith, even when threatened with imprisonment or death. Why do you think they did that? Teens: Have you ever fought hard for something you believed in?

  • Talk about For Greater Glory's many brutally violent scenes. How does this kind of violence compare to what you might see in a horror movie? Which has greater impact?

  • Which characters would you consider role models? Why?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love epic movies

Themes & Topics

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