Parents' Guide to

Machine Gun Preacher

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Gruesome redemption tale made tedious by oversimplification.

Movie R 2011 123 minutes
Machine Gun Preacher Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 6 parent reviews

age 16+

Amazing True Story

I loved this movie. The first half hour is a bit hard to watch but it's part of Sam's real life and most of it is important to see to understand the kind of bad person he was before he got saved. For him to turn his life around the way he did is not natural... it's supernatural.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
age 10+

Excellent true story! Hollywood took some liberties

The true story of Sam Childers and his ministry in Sudan is absolutely incredible inspirational stuff. Unfortunately, Hollywood took some liberties. They show Sam going "over the edge" and even losing his faith for a period. His never actually happened in Sam's actual life. The film also indulges a bit much in Sam's former life. The grit and reality if the film is powerful and Gerard Butler delivers an amazing performance but the film could have done much better if the sensuality scenes and brutal violence and language was lessened a bit for Christian audiences. Overall, though, still a very powerful and moving film certainly far better than most cheesy Christian films.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (6):
Kids say (3):

This is an inspiring tale based on a true story, but it's not a good movie. There's nothing subtle about the way it characterizes Sam. First he's really, really nasty. What viewer will sympathize with someone who screams terrible epithets at his wife in front of their young daughter? But once he becomes a good guy, he's really, really nice. The rebels in Africa: very bad. The soldiers fighting them: definitely in the right, but outgunned and sorely in need of support.

Of course Sam will help them. It's the right thing to do, at least in this movie where there are no shades of gray. The truth may be somewhere in the middle, and at least one minor character calls him on it, labeling him a mercenary. But she's eventually taught a lesson by the rebels, so we know not to take her dissenting views too seriously. The film tells us almost nothing about the political situation in Sudan, but the fictional Sam Childers sure makes the real one seem like a noble fellow.

Movie Details

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