Hope and Glory

Movie review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
Hope and Glory Movie Poster Image
Nostalgic look at London during WWII has sex, mature themes.
  • PG-13
  • 1987
  • 113 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Close friendships and family ties will see you through hard times.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The Rohan family model close family relationships and loyalty, even as they sometimes fight, argue, or drive each other crazy. All the family members have strengths and weaknesses, and all are doing their best to cope when their world is collapsing around them. Adults have a strong undercurrent of regretting past choices, but they avoid compounding past mistakes with further betrayal. Kids and teens run wild at a time when rules don't seem to apply anymore, and everyone feels like they all might die tomorrow.

Violence

Some fights with slapping, shoving; one with kids choking, punching. Billy's headmaster canes him on the hands; welts and pain afterward are shown. Lots of roughhouse-type play with slapping and shoving. A dream sequence shows a kid walking among lots of dead soldiers with sounds of gunfire, small amounts of blood visible. Some scariness and peril from bombings and fires. Sex and violence mildly combined when a group of teen girls each slap Billy's head repeatedly then kiss him on the head repeatedly.

Sex

A 9-year-old sees a few brief glimpses of his teen sister having sex. Bare legs, feet, and a male torso are visible; thrusting is briefly seen; moaning and laughing heard. Kids compare how their parents have sex to how the teens have sex. A tween girl holds out her underwear so a group of younger boys can look down into it in exchange for jewelry. Women talk about how they feel about sharing a bed with a man. Women and teen girls seen in their underwear trying on clothes. 9-year-old Billy claims he's had sex. Some kissing. An unmarried teen gets pregnant. Billy and his younger sister see baby being born off camera; the sister says it's sticky and Billy faints. Mild pairing of sex with violence when Billy is slapped and then kissed on the head by a group of teen girls.

Language

"F--k," "hell," "ass," "bitch." 9-year-old Billy has to swear to join a gang of boys and uses an antiquated phrase that would have been strong at the time: "Bugger off, you bloody sod."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Minor and background characters frequently smoke cigarettes, cigars, pipes. Adults occasionally drink wine and gin to excess at parties; slurred speech and exaggerated emotions are shown.

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."

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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?

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Themes & Topics

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