Inglourious Basterds

Movie review by
James Rocchi, Common Sense Media
Inglourious Basterds Movie Poster Image
Tarantino's World War II epic is both bloody and talky.
  • R
  • 2009
  • 152 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 44 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 78 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Extensive discussion (and depiction) of the pursuit of vengeance and of the role that rumor and fear play in psychological warfare. The film's discussion of the Nazis' extermination of Jews is glossed over in the context of a rock-'em, sock-'em action film.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The movie's characters are either coldly efficient killing machines or hot-headed murderers ... with a few decent people along the way to suffer at the hands of said killers and murderers.

Violence

Strong, brutal, bloody violence throughought, including both war violence (gunfights, shootings, and more) and brutal close-quarters encounters (deliberate mutilation with knives, throat-slashings, scalping). A man is beaten to death with a baseball bat on camera. A woman is shot at point-blank range. A German officer is shown being obliterated by machine-gun fire, bullets pulverizing his body and face into a bloody mass. A man drives his finger into a woman's bullet wound to elicit cooperation and information. Soldiers and civilians are machine-gunned; others die in a house-fire.

Sex

A few seconds of clothed sexual activity are shown for comedic effect, with no nakedness; some suggestive dialogue.

Language

Constant swearing and strong language, including "f--k," "motherf--ker," "s--t," "goddammit," "bastards," "ass," "damn," "hell," and more. "Jew," Nazi," "Apachem," and "Negro" are all used, both as descriptive phrases and as insults.

Consumerism

Some mentions of brands like Coca-Cola.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink beer, wine, champagne, and hard liquor, sometimes to excess. Characters also smoke cigarettes extensively (accurate for the era), use snuff, and smoke pipes. The medical use of morphine is discussed.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that, like all of director Quentin Tarantino's work, while this World War II adventure starring Brad Pitt is full of food for thought, it's also brutally violent, bloody, and full of harsh language. Expect cringe-inducing beatings, shootings, and more, plus a non-stop barrage of words like "f--k" and "s--t," constant smoking, and plenty of drinking. The film also takes lots of liberties with history and is very talky -- meaning that teens who watch might alternate between being bored to death and shocked by the gory parts. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byold dude1 January 22, 2010

pass it by

a real snooze fest the scalping of the german soldiers is a bit graphic for some but just a boring movie overall worst ww2 movie I ever saw
Parent of a 7 year old Written byMaxmum August 22, 2009

Cover kids' eyes at all costs!

Just checking in that 'Common Sense' prevails that this is not suitable for youth! For violence, language - not to mention historical inacuracy! For... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byelreader46 August 16, 2010

Perfect for the older crowd.

This movie was right on awosome. It was super violent with tons of mercilious killing, but the story line was right on. WARNING!! language issues.
Teen, 14 years old Written bySACYUC March 12, 2011

Good.

Pretty entertaining, but the first half an hour is extremely boring.

What's the story?

Set in 1944, INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS follows two parallel stories that quickly converge. In the first, an American group of Jewish soldiers called "The Basterds," led by hard-bitten Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt), carries out terror attacks against German troops in occupied France. Meanwhile, in Paris, a theater owner (Melanie Laurent) is approached by a heroic soldier (Daniel Bruhl) to host the French premiere of his propaganda film; what he doesn't know is that she, hiding her Jewish roots to keep safe, is also part of the resistance. As the American Basterds, the French resistance, and the German high command converge on the theater, it's going to be a premiere everyone will remember ... if they survive.

Is it any good?

Bizarre, bold, and bloody, there's no denying that Inglourious Basterds has all the vim, vigor, and excitement of Quentin Tarantino's other films. Detractors will call it an empty exercise in style over substance, and they won't be entirely wrong. But it's also a glorious exercise in style over substance -- a Valentine to the very acts of moviemaking and moviegoing, with the Nazi high command wiped out in spectacular fashion in a movie theater as the action playing out up on the screen begins to pale in comparison to what happens inside the theater.

Tarantino has said that the film is his fantasy of "how cinema can save the world," and while that's a naive sentiment, it's one that's played for action and laughs here. Pitt gives a blood-soaked comedic performance as the grunting, grim Raine, and he's matched by Christoph Walltz's Col. Hans Landa on the Nazi side. Featuring long, loopy conversations punctuated by brief bursts of bloody violence before culminating in a incendiary -- in every sense of the word -- finale, Inglourious Basterds ultimately has to be enjoyed as a piece of pure moviemaking energy. Fans waiting for Tarantino to make a film with the moral and artistic complexity of Jackie Brown or even Pulp Fiction will be disappointed, but those who know what they're in for won't be let down. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's violence. What's the impact of the brutal scenes? Does it make the violence feel surreal or more honest and authentic?

  • Are there limits on what soliders will and won't (or can and can't) do in the heat of the moment during wartime? Do soliders who participate in a genocide like that of the Nazis against the Jews deserve any mercy?

  • What does the movie say about the role of filmmaking, press/public relations, and storytelling as part of war? What role does film have in wartime? How can it be manipulated to meet those ends?

Movie details

For kids who love action

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