Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time



Tepid video-game fantasy flick tame enough for young teens.
  • Review Date: May 27, 2010
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Running Time: 103 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The most important message of the movie is that the bonds of brotherhood and family should be stronger than greed, competition, envy. The king also espouses the idea that a great leader does what's right even if it's not popular.

Positive role models

The king is a righteous and loving monarch who wants his sons to learn how to reign honorably (though he's in very few scenes). Dastan and Tamina lie occasionally, but they're ultimately brave and loyal, as are Dastan's royal brothers. Even the sheik and Seso act nobly after Dastan saves them from the Hassansins. Tamina wobbles between strong female figure and damsel in distress.


As in most action adventures, there are a lot of chase scenes -- in the desert or marketplaces or castles. There are definitely deaths -- due mostly to swords and knives, and in one case an assassination by a burning cloak -- but the violence isn't grisly or overly bloody. The threat of violence is always present, however, and the assassin squad is creepy and frightening. They use snakes and ninja-like sword skills to track down and kill their intended target. 


Some flirting, mild innuendo, revealing outfits, and a couple of rather chaste kisses. In one scene, a harem-like group of bikini-clad women appear.


Some mild insults like "trash," "illiterates," "slave," etc.


There are no product placements in the movie, but the movie could be considered one huge tie-in to the popular video game.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A character asks "Have you been drinking," when an archer misfires. Dastan looks a bit tipsy in one scene, but there's not a drink in his hand.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this fantasy adventure -- based on a popular, teen-rated video game -- is high on action, but relatively low on anything else potentially objectionable for young teens (though, like many big action movies, the marketing targets kids too young for this kind of action). The sexuality is limited to some obvious flirting (longing gazes and occasional chaste touching) and a couple of kisses, and strong language is virtually non-existent. Violence, however, is prevalent throughout the movie, with the protagonist constantly on the run, being chased, and having to dodge arrows, blades, flames, and snakes. Despite the amount of violence, it's still not as gory or bloody as comparable movies. Ultimately, the message of family and honor is a valuable one, and the lovely princess isn't just a damsel in distress. 

What's the story?

Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal) is an unusual PRINCE OF PERSIA; he's a street orphan the righteous King Sharaman (Ronald Pickup) adopts after seeing him act bravely in the market square. Fifteen years after his adoption, Dastan leads a charge on the sacred city of Alamut based on iffy intelligence. The beautiful Princess of Alamut, Tamina (Gemma Arterton) is betrothed to Dastan, but immediately after the announcement, King Sharaman dies wearing a poisoned cloak an innocent Dastan presented to him. On the run, Dastan and Tamina try to evade capture by Persian soldiers while they attempt to figure out which Persian member of court actually killed the king and protect a mystical dagger that can disastrously turn back "the sands of time."

Is it any good?


Based on the immensely popular video game, this action adventure will surely attract hardcore gamers, though how they will react to the movie version is yet unclear. What is clear is that this two-hour adventure is a take-off of basically every other swashbuckling epic in the genre (from 300 to Indiana Jones) with charming leads and heavy special effects.

Gyllenhaal and Arterton (who are ample eye-candy for those looking for biceps-and-abs or provocatively dressed beauty to ogle) at least look like they're having a good time fleeing sword-wielding assassins. A scowling and smirking Ben Kingsley never quite reaches the right tone as the double-crossing late king's brother, who is (obviously) the  real villain of the story. The incredibly talented Alfred Molina, however, is on hand as the sixth-century equivalent of a casino owner to provide funny socio-political zingers about taxes and government corruption. It's a shame the movie wasn't about Molina's opportunistic Sheik Amar, who organizes ostrich races people bet on, and his bodyguard Seso (English actor Steve Toussaint), a master knife-thrower. That would've been endlessly more compelling than this underwhelming video-game fantasy.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's message about family bonds and being a person of honor above all else. How did Dastan act honorably? What sacrifices was he willing to make to save Persia? Who in real life do you consider to be people of honor?

  • How does the movie compare to the video game? Are the same themes and quests involved? Do you think the movie is a giant advertisement for the video game, or does it stand on its own?

  • Princess Tamina is sometimes in need of rescuing, but is other times quite capable of defending herself, fighting villains. Which "version" of Tamina do you prefer? What do you think about her arranged marriage to Dastan?

  • Some critics have said it's wrong for white actors to play the main characters, who were clearly supposed to be Persian. What do you make of this?

  • The film's marketing and toy-tie ins are aimed at kids who are too young for the movie. How does this impact parents who think the movie is too mature for their kid?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 28, 2010
DVD release date:September 14, 2010
Cast:Alfred Molina, Ben Kingsley, Gemma Arterton, Jake Gyllenhaal
Director:Mike Newell
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Run time:103 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:intense sequences of violence and action

This review of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was written by

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Teen, 15 years old Written bybookreader4Christ May 25, 2013

One Of My favorites!

Honestly, I thought this movie was going to be really lame when my family and I rented it. Turns ranks in my top three! I think I've seen it at LEAST fifteen times. POSITIVE MESSAGES The Prince of Persia promotes qualities such as sacrifice, loyalty, bravery, and doing the right thing despite what the consequences may be. POSITIVE ROLE MODEL Dastan is brave, loyal, and strives to do what's right--no matter what. He loves and wants to protect his family and friends. Tamina is a strong woman, being neither a feminist or ditzy or flirtatious. She is willing to make sacrifices for the common good. VIOLENCE Lots of fighting. A few scenes--not overly so--can be gory (there is some blood). Overall, its just a lot of non-stop action scenes, and Dastan pulls off some pretty cool stunts. SEXUAL CONTENT There are some references to how the Persians have multiple wives (Dastan not included), and some women have mid-riff exposing outfits (Tamina included, once or twice). One scene where Dastan is looking at Tamina's necklace, and she thinks he's looking down her shirt. LANGUAGE None. DRINKING One spot where one soldier asks another, "Have you been drinking?". OVERVIEW All in all, a great movie! I hope they eventually make a sequel!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 13 years old Written byMovieReviewGuy July 1, 2011

Good for 13+

No language, drinking, drugs, or sex, but there is a lot of sword fighting, some blood, and just plain violence. Good for 13+.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent of a 17 year old Written bylinkking February 28, 2011
Thanks Violence, however, is prevalent throughout the movie, with the protagonist constantly on the run, being chased, and having to dodge arrows, blades, flames, and snakes. Despite the amount of violence, it's still not as gory or bloody as comparable movies. Ultimately, the message of familydrilling rigs


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