For Greater Glory Movie Poster Image

For Greater Glory



Epic tale about religious freedom gets very bloody.
Parents recommend
  • Review Date: May 30, 2012
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 143 minutes

What parents need to know

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

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. 

Not applicable

Very infrequent use of "hell."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

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

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.

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. 

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:June 1, 2012
DVD release date:September 11, 2012
Cast:Andy Garcia, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Eva Longoria
Director:Dean Wright
Studio:Arc Entertainment
Run time:143 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:war violence and some disturbing images

This review of For Greater Glory was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

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

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Bloody, tragic war epic doesn't hold back.
  • Accurate, heartbreaking masterpiece about the Holocaust.
  • Excellent Civil War movie has graphic violence, profanity.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

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, because the movie had good potential.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent Written byIki-bu June 4, 2012


It makes you appreciate you right to have faith and the freedom to be able to pray & believe in what you want when you want.
What other families should know
Great messages
Adult Written bytalpine June 5, 2012

The freedom to see For Greater Glory

Even my 10 y o granddaughter described it as breathtaking, sad, and tragic.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Star Wars Guide