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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
India, a country of millions, managed to overthrow foreign rule through an unprecedented policy governed by nonviolent protest of unfair laws and domination.
Positive Role Models
By teaching nonviolent disobedience, Mohandas Gandhi led a continent to self-rule. When the frustrated Indian citizenry lapsed into violence, Gandhi fasted until near death to persuade his fellow Indians that violence merely begat more violence. If they attained their freedom by violence, he told them, he wanted no part of it. He demonstrates integrity, humility, perseverance, and courage.
Violence & Scariness
The film chronicles a period of conflict in South African and Indian history, between whites and darker-skinned people, British and Indians, and Hindus and Muslims. Gandhi is thrown off a train in South Africa because his skin is dark. He and other protesters are beaten by white authorities in South Africa and later by British soldiers and affiliated police in India. British soldiers are shown carrying out a graphic massacre, gunning down 1,500 unarmed, peacefully gathered Indian protesters, including women and children. A large, angry mob of Indians attacks government police officers, setting their station on fire and killing some when they come running out of the burning building. Hindus and Muslims beat each other in riots.
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A white man calls Gandhi a "Kaffir," which is an Afrikaans ethnic slur; although once a neutral description of a black person, by the 20th century it was commonly used in South Africa as a denigrating and offensive racial term.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink alcohol in seeming moderation. Cigarette smoking is depicted.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Gandhi begins with Gandhi's assassination and shows brutal beatings and a violent depiction of a shooting massacre. That said, this movie provides a brilliant way to learn about history and about the spiritual principles of nonviolence, tolerance, and self-sacrifice. It's advisable to break the movie over two nights (there is an intermission). To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.