• Review Date: June 7, 2006
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1989
  • Running Time: 122 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Excellent Civil War movie for mature teens.
  • Review Date: June 7, 2006
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1989
  • Running Time: 122 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Racism and prejudice are key themes of the movie; many characters' assumptions are challenged, and some are models of tolerance and acceptance.


Plentiful death by rifle fire, bayonet and mortar; a whipping.


Inference of rape as a weapon of war.


Soldierly expletives.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Social drinking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there is graphic war violence here; all the bloody killings may be too much for many tweens and some teens. Know your kid. Also, the movie deals with racism and other mature themes. Note: most of the soldiers here die in service.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

GLORY tells the epic story of the 54th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the first unit of black troops that fought in the American Civil War. Progressive-minded Col. Robert Gould Shaw (Matthew Broderick) is their leader. Shaw's college friend Thomas Searles (Andre Braugher), a free-born African-American, eagerly joins the regiment, but most of the soldiers are proud but illiterate ex-slaves, some consumed with hatred toward the South. Troublemaker Trip (Denzel Washington) and the other blacks are kept in line, barely, by John Rawlins (Morgan Freeman) who understands the need for obedience if they are all to be soldiers worthy of the name. Shaw imports a trash-talking sergeant to whip the recruits into shape. Feeling they're are being treated as inferior troops, ill-equipped and destined for only boring, non-combat missions, Shaw demands the 54th be allowed to prove themselves in battle. Finally, in an assault on a well-defended Confederate fortress, the black regiment gets their moment of "glory," but at a horrific cost. Their ultimate sacrifice earned the honor that opened the doors for free black men to serve.

Is it any good?


This powerful and complex movie is best for mature teens and up; it may be too intense for younger kids. Rigorous, even pitiless codes of military behavior is something worth talking about with kids, especially in military families (the topic actually took up most of Robert Heinlein's novel "Starship Troopers," something that never made it to the big-screen version of the sci-fi tale).

In Glory, Trip straightens out and Rawlins (like Shaw, an actual historical figure) becomes America's first black officer. The noble ideals behind the 54th stand out when Shaw and the 54th meet another so-called black Union regiment in the field; it turns out to be a drunken mob encouraged by their corrupt commander to pillage and rape in already-defeated Southern territories.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the history of racism in this country. Families can also research the complex reasons why the US split into Union and Confederacy and clashed in battle, which are not covered in this film.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 15, 1989
DVD release date:January 20, 1998
Cast:Denzel Washington, Matthew Broderick, Morgan Freeman
Director:Edward Zwick
Studio:Columbia Tristar
Run time:122 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:war violence, racism and mature themes.

This review of 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.

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; OK 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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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written bygracenick April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
Kid, 12 years old August 3, 2011

Great movie bad language

I'm a huge civil war buff and i saw this when i was ten i disagree with the rating it was boreder line R There is blood seen in a bowl( its a medic tent) and you see te siloet a an amputation and lastly the all die and one man at the begining has his head blown off by a cannon. Sexual stuff not that bad. The language is pretty bad i think thats why it got its rating of R because they use the N word alot. Over all if you're one of the more mature people that can handle tear jerkers and blood than it is amazing.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 15 years old Written byCesy April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age


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