A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Hope and Glory is a nostalgic look at life in and around London during the blitz bombings of World War II. Seen mostly through the eyes of 9-year-old Billy, bombed-out rubble, the breakdown of order and discipline, and even a downed enemy pilot are all fuel for his adventurous spirit. Most of the violence involves slapping and rough horseplay, although there's some scariness from bombings and a dream sequence with Billy wandering among many dead soldiers. Billy learns about sex from brief glimpses of his older sister that show bare legs, a bare male torso, and thrusting, with moaning and laughing audible. A tween girl holds out her underwear so a group of younger boys can look down into it in exchange for jewelry, and 9-year-old Billy claims he's had sex. Sex and violence are briefly paired when Billy's slapped and then kissed on the head by a group of teen girls in their underwear. Teen pregnancy is a plot element. Many minor and background characters smoke. Adults drink alcohol to excess at celebrations, slur their speech, and become overemotional. Profanity isn't frequent but includes "f--k," "hell," "ass," and "bitch."
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
HOPE AND GLORY takes a nostalgic look at life in London during the blitz of World War II, as seen through 9-year-old Billy's (Sebastian Rice Edward) eyes. To Billy, the planes flying overhead, the flak exploding in the skies above, even the neighboring houses reduced to piles of rubble are all part of a grand adventure. What could be better to a kid than a life where discipline and following strict rules is breaking down all around him? Even after his own house burns down, Billy experiences the best summer of his life out in the countryside at his grandparents' house. Even amid all the adventure and chaos, Billy learns about life, sex, love, and more -- even how to bowl a wicked googly.
Is it any good?
Director John Boorman's semi-autobiographical look at life in London during World War II is nostalgic, sweet, and sometimes funny, but not meant for kids as young as 9-year-old protagonist Billy. Hope and Glory takes us through the onset of war, planes flying overhead, bombs dropping, and flak exploding all as parts of a grand adventure to Billy. But the sexual content, occasional strong language, and mature themes make it best for teens and up.
Even though there are lots of scenes of kids playing, at school, and at home, there isn't much of a plot or structured story to hold kids' interest anyway. Like the kids sifting through burned-out rubble, viewers are invited to sift through adult themes like regret, teen pregnancy, and coping with the feeling that you might all die tomorrow. But mature viewers who are interested in this historic period, and preferably interested in all things British, will enjoy what feels more like a funny, charming, and sometimes dramatic series of events at a remarkable time and place in history.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the sex in Hope and Glory. How much is OK to show? Does it matter that it's seen through a kid's eyes?
What about the strong language? Is it realistic? Do cultural differences matter?
Billy is caned on his hands at school. How badly do you think it hurt? Does anyone in your family remember when physical punishments like spanking were used in schools? Why aren't they now? Do you think they worked? Why or why not?
- In theaters: October 9, 1987
- On DVD or streaming: June 5, 2001
- Cast: Sebastian Rice Edwards, Sarah Miles, David Hayman
- Director: John Boorman
- Studio: Columbia Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, History
- Run time: 113 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- Awards/Honors: Golden Globe
- Last updated: February 5, 2021
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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