Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Pompeii Movie Poster Image
Historical epic is light on plot, heavy on carnage.
  • PG-13
  • 2014
  • 102 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 13 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Facing death is easier when your friends and loved one are beside you. Also, stand up for what you believe in.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Though Milo is a slave, he refuses to surrender his dignity and instead is willing to make great sacrifices to help a friend and the woman he loves. Cassia is a strong young woman who's unafraid of standing up for herself.


It's a gladiator film, so there's near non-stop violence. Men use swords, spears, knives, and other weapons to kill, stab, and pummel each other. Sometimes they batter people with their bare hands. There are piles of corpses left at the end of several scenes, though few of the deaths are gory. A massive volcanic eruption destroys a city and kills most of its residents in extensive, explosive scenes. Some scenes show ash-covered corpses after a volcanic eruption.


A few suggestive comments as a woman examines a man. One scene shows a couple kissing passionately.


One character calls a woman a "bitch," once.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some scenes show people drinking wine at parties.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Pompeii is a gladiator tale set in the last days of the doomed Roman city, and is very heavy on combat and carnage. Gladiators fight to the death, soldiers massacre villagers, prisoners batter each other over petty slights, and numerous scenes end with piles of corpses in the background. There's hardly any swearing, sex, or drinking to interrupt the fight scenes, just lots and lots of death.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bylastjedi5 September 24, 2016

this film choose the right prespective but was poorly done

I hate hate the roman empire which would be a reason to like this movie since the Romans are the antagonists. but this film is poorly made.
Parent of a 10 and 10-year-old Written byAngelosA February 23, 2014

Too much Killing!

Killing scenes are so much overused that in the end the whole movie becomes boring and predictable for adults. The real phusical events of Pompeii destruction... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old April 21, 2021

Great Movie 4.5. A Lot Like Gladiator

This movie is really really good. it is a lot like gladiator. it has a lot of violence and role models.
Teen, 17 years old Written byPiccidily April 10, 2020
I just want to say to the small minority of dim witted users that at the period of 69AD when Pompeii was a state of Rome. Pompeii shared the same interests of... Continue reading

What's the story?

Milo (Kit Harington) is the only survivor after Roman soldiers massacre everyone in his village of horsemen. In POMPEII, he eventually grows up to be a champion gladiator who leaves a pile of corpses in his wake whenever he sets foot in the arena. Cassia (Emily Browning), the daughter of a nobleman, falls for Milo, but their dangerous romance means he has incurred the wrath of a Roman senator (Kiefer Sutherland) besotted with Cassia. As Mt. Vesuvius erupts, the couple must find a way to escape him and their doomed city.

Is it any good?

Pompeii is set in the Roman city, but doesn't really feel like a historical drama. The gladiator characters provides a reason for scene after scene filled with hand-to-hand combat sequences, and the neighboring volcano justifies some big-scale fire-and-flood destruction. Somewhere in there, the filmmakers manage to squeeze in an improbable love affair between a handsome gladiator and the daughter of a local nobleman, and their courtship unfurls like a modern-day dramedy, complete with a star-crossed lovers storyline, stereotypical parents (the dad complains of her having too much luggage, a complaint that doesn't feel like it belongs in a period movie) who may not understand their affections; a best friend to confer with, and a lecherous politician (Sutherland, not his best role) who wants what he can't have.

Pompeii loses steam long before the historic eruption quickens the pace of the movie. The parts don't meld together to create a coherent tale; they just serve to stitch together the fight scenes, which are intense and brutal, but hardly original. See it for the 3D eruption, which is quite impressive.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about history in movies. How does Pompeii compare with other historical epics? Does it seem accurate? Does the natural disaster take a back seat to the story unfolding within the city.

  • Do you think the many, many scenes of battle should have earned the film a stronger MPAA rating? What methods did the filmmakers use to lessen the impact of the violence?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love history

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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