Outlaw King

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Outlaw King Movie Poster Image
Parents recommend
Brutal historical epic has graphic violence and nudity.
  • R
  • 2018
  • 121 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 1 review

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Shows courageous, determined effort to fight oppression. Promotes: resilience, self-sacrifice, teamwork, persistence against all odds.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Hero, reluctant at first, assumes leadership and calls upon his courage, compassion, integrity, perseverance, ability to inspire. His wife asserts her intelligence, forthrightness, fortitude to stand by his side; she endures the unendurable with quiet dignity and concern for others. Villains have no redeeming value.


Numerous bloody battle scenes -- swords, knives, spears, hand-to-hand combat -- result in high body count, blood-letting, impalement, mutilation. A heroic character unexpectedly stabs an enemy and watches him die. Horses (said to be unharmed during filming) are stabbed, speared, fall. In one sequence, a man is hung, sliced, with body parts emerging. A scene shows mutilated body parts hanging as an example for others who might rebel.


A couple engages in sex with partial nudity, including a woman's breasts, man's buttocks. The hero emerges from a pond fully nude.


Occasional profanity: "bastards," "hell," "pr--k," "f--k," "arsehole."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some celebratory drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Outlaw King takes place in the early 14th century when Scotland was battling England for independence. Immediately after the historical events depicted in Braveheart, the Scots united behind a new leader, determined to liberate their country from the oppression and tyranny of England's king. Violence is frequent and brutal. Multiple battles find hundreds of men in fierce battle using swords, spears, knives, fire, and hand-to-hand savagery. The scenes are bloody and gruesome, with mountains of bodies strewn across muddy, blood-soaked fields. Horses fall in vast numbers, some of them with bloody wounds. (Note: End credits announce that no animals were harmed during the making of the film.) A man is hanged, sliced, with his innards emerging. A rival is stabbed in close-up, the knife thrust into his body until he dies in his murderer's arms. One intimate scene shows a married couple engaged in sex and includes partial nudity: breasts and buttocks. There's a brief glimpse of male frontal nudity as the hero emerges from a pond. Infrequent profanity includes "bastards," "pr--k," "hell," and "arsehole," and one use of "f--k." Mature teens only.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBrigidArmbrust October 2, 2020
Adult Written byFrankie3211 July 25, 2020

Too often this happens...a movie with good potential unfortunately with gratuitous graphic violence and nudity

Why oh why do movie producers keep doing this! A movie with good potential but unfortunately the producers and directors force in gratuitous graphic violence a... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byLostPickle79 November 14, 2018


This movie is a tad harsh on kids. I suggest an older teen to watch this. I've got a mind that can allow the concepts of The Vampire Diaries, Riverdale(som... Continue reading

What's the story?

In the first years of the 14th century, a time of turmoil and savage territorial hostilities, a young Scottish aristocrat, Robert the Bruce (Chris Pine), emerged as a valiant and courageous leader in OUTLAW KING. William Wallace, the hero in Braveheart, who had boldly fought King Edward of England (Stephen Dillane), had been vanquished, leading to an uneasy truce with the British. But soon, the Scots found themselves once again oppressed and vilified. Rivalries within the ranks of Scottish leaders kept them at odds and ineffective until Robert, with only a few stalwart followers, asserted his leadership in a new fight for independence. Early efforts to gain support from their compatriots, though often violent and harsh, ultimately led to a ragtag army of Scottish allies. Still, they were outnumbered and ill-equipped to take on the powerful enemy led by the Prince of Wales (Billy Howle) and Aymer de Valence (Sam Spruell). A number of harrowing defeats only served to inspire the Scots. Cunning and passion became the force's most significant assets as they met the enemy at the thunderous Battle of Loudon Hill in 1307, a turning point in a war that seemed destined to fail. 

Is it any good?

Director David Mackenzie's wonderfully staged battle scenes and stirring story of unexpected victory will appeal to those who don't mind gruesome violence along with their authentic historical drama. Cinematography, editing, and most of the performances are first-rate, as well. Chris Pine does a fine job of suppressing his movie star good looks with an often blood-soaked patina of courage and smarts, and even a bit of ruthlessness. The romance that evolves in an arranged political marriage is as sweet as it is sometimes fraught with peril.

Outlaw King is long, with lots of characters to remember, sometimes repetitive battles, and a few one-dimensional players whose depravity or lunacy seem arch or formulaic. As a "sequel" of sorts to Braveheart, the movie's creators must have known that the violence quotient had to be high, and they've accomplished that. Still, after an individual is hanged and quartered, do we have to stay fixed on the shot long enough to watch his innards descend? Not for kids.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in Outlaw King. What emotions do you think the filmmakers were trying to elicit when they made the battle scenes so graphic and gory? Did your view of Robert the Bruce change after he killed John Comyn? Why or why not? Why is it important to be aware of the impact of violence on kids?

  • How did the filmmakers choose to portray Elizabeth (Florence Pugh), Robert's wife? In what ways did her behavior reflect a more modern female? How did Robert's treatment of her make him even more sympathetic?

  • Scotland's fight for independence took place over centuries. As recently as 2014, the Scots had a ballot referendum on becoming an independent country, which was defeated. Where would you go to learn more about the animosity between Scotland and the United Kingdom?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love history

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