A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Through mentoring, Dan evolves from a cocky, disrespectful guy with an appetite for casual sex, junk food, and drink into a better person. Socrates demonstrates compassion for difficult people and even refuses to fight his way out of a robbery. (But some of Socrates' stunts -- like sitting in the rafters of a gym -- shouldn't be emulated.)
Violence & Scariness
Dan suffers a leg fracture from a car accident in a clinical close up. He also gets a mild taste of Socrates' martial-arts skills, but the older man later refrains from using violence in an alley brawl and mugging.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Glimpses of the hero in bed with assorted girls (suggestive of his manly jock status on campus).
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Products & Purchases
A big plug for Texaco gas, and there's a natural tie-in with the books (and seminars) of author Dan Millman.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Social drinking. To Dan's surprise, Socrates doesn't abstain (which one might expect of a mentor type).
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that although the content in this inspirational sports drama is fairly mild -- the hero parties a lot and sleeps with a string of women in the beginning but eventually transforms his life -- it won't be interesting to most kids and tweens. It's better suited to teens who are prone to thinking about self discovery and analysis. The somewhat-New Agey tale is based on a true story and deals with big issues like inner emptiness and the meaning of life -- not exactly light entertainment. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
There's something sweetly sincere about how PEACEFUL WARRIOR sticks to self-improvement. Especially when you consider how often storytellers in and outside of Hollywood tend to conjure up simplistic antagonists -- aliens, drug smugglers, serial killers, vampires, orcs, hostile commie gymnasts from the USSR -- as obstacles for a flawed or uncertain hero to overcome. Dan's conflict is with himself, end of story.
That said, the dialogue is often hokey and preachy, the special effects and soundtrack music work a little too hard to tell viewers things they might have figured out on their own, and the film feels long at 120 minutes. On the plus side, Nolte gives a pleasantly low-key performance as the curmudgeonly Socrates; a lot of his Obi-Wan/Yoda/Master Splinter stuff is pleasantly unpredictable. Will watching Peaceful Warrior make you a better person? That's hard to say, Grasshopper. But it probably won't make anyone worse, and that's something of an achievement.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.