Samson

Movie review by
Michael Ordona, Common Sense Media
Samson Movie Poster Image
Bible-based tale has bloody beatings, eye-gougings, more.
  • PG-13
  • 2018
  • 106 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 4 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The overwhelming message seems to be "Might makes right, especially because our might is the will of God."

Positive Role Models & Representations

Samson's brother is very loyal. Samson himself is a legendary hero, but he uses violence to deal with many problems. The Philistines, especially the cold-blooded king, the homicidal prince, and the brutal and incompetent soldiers are all clearly meant to be seen negatively. As is Delilah, who's untrustworthy. The heavily Anglo (and Dutch, and South African) cast plays Middle Eastern characters.

Violence

Countless shots of people being bludgeoned to death, mostly with the jawbone of a donkey. Samson kills someone by stomping on his head. Lots of stabbings, plus eye-gouging, whipping, and beatings, and killing a lion with bare hands. A scene depicts thousands of people being murdered by collapsing a building on them. 

Sex

Kissing; images of men shirtless. Scenes take place in what appears to be a brothel.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking is looked down on, since Samson isn't supposed to drink, per prophecy. Other characters drink wine, though not to the point of intoxication. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Samson is a biblical epic about the legendary Hebrew warrior with supernatural strength (Taylor James). It's chockful of bloody violence. Most of this comes in the form of fatal bludgeonings with the jawbone of a donkey. But there's also head-stomping, lots of stabbings, apparent internal organ-smashing, whipping, and eye-gouging with a hot blade. That, though, is the main issue; there's no strong language, and sexual content and drinking are minimal. It takes some departures from the Biblical version of Samson's story.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byJoan D. February 18, 2018

Good job Samson

I think they did a pretty good job accurately depicting many scenes. There were no sex scenes and they adequately covered his proclivity to the women. Good eff... Continue reading
Adult Written byMari D. February 25, 2018

Samson Movie is Good to See

For families who like to see stories from the Scriptures made into movies, this movie did not disappoint at all. Although I need to brush up on all the details... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byLsalter1 February 17, 2018

Better than reviewed

In all honesty, I didn't go to see this movie. I went because all of the other movies were sold out. That being said, this movie is not a one star movie. I... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bySLCUT04 February 21, 2018

Good movie with a little too much violence.

Spoliers ahead!! My church did a song in the movie, so I went to see it with some church friends. I was expecting violence, but this! ( I am kind of sensiti... Continue reading

What's the story?

In SAMSON, Old Testament hero Samson (Taylor James) is born under a prophecy that he'll protect the Israelites from the Philistines. His loving father (Rutger Hauer), mother (Lindsay Wagner), and brother (Greg Kriek) support him as he falls in love with a Philistine woman named Taren (Frances Sholto-Douglas). But super-mean Prince Rallah (Jackson Rathbone), who has daddy (Billy Zane) issues, can't leave well enough alone, and his interference leads to lots of fatal beatings -- mostly doled out by Samson. Later, Delilah (Caitlin Leahy), who's been hanging around the whole time and is deeply in love with Samson, inexplicably betrays him. Wrath and many more deaths ensue. 

Is it any good?

This ain't your great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather's Samson; it isn't even your not-very-good grandfather's Samson. This film plays fast and loose with the Biblical legend, attempting to clean up some of the unsavory bits but keep enough bludgeoning to make Mel Gibson proud. Samson definitely lives in a Passion of the Christ-y world of extreme violence captured by way of lush cinematography, while attempting to do things like make the villainous Delilah sympathetic and Samson himself less of a homicidal maniac. But he still kills about 4,000 people -- 1,000 with the jawbone of a donkey, and at least one with a stomp to the noggin. Other key changes to the story include Samson's relationship with Taren being a love match, rather than a mission, and the skipping of one of his homicidal sprees. Also, probably due to modern awareness of animal issues, Samson's "fire-fox" stratagem (where foxes were literally lit on fire) is foggily conveyed.

The movie's character development and dialogue are straight out of a neighborhood pageant. And the villains are so very, very evil, killing people just for the heck of it. And bulging their eyes a lot. At least Zane, as the king, seems to genuinely enjoy chewing scenery. His response to Samson's warning of God's wrath (paraphrased here) -- "Are you threatening me with ... the weather?" -- is a rare highlight. And it's a pleasure just to see Wagner and Hauer. But as the main villain, Rathbone tries too hard. You can't blame him, considering the material, but a few notches up to full-on camp might have better served. Alterations and omissions aside, the film feels like a typical, if extremely violent, cinematic reworking of an Old Testament tale, complete with a heavily Anglo (and Dutch, and South African) cast playing Middle Eastern characters, with accents all over the place. The movie could certainly have benefited from more Zane-iness, but the seriousness of the brutality, along with the portentous music, tells viewers the filmmakers were in deadly earnest. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in Samson. Were you expecting this kind of content from a Biblical story? Does the violence in this film seem justified? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • What did you think of the changes made from the Bible story? Did you agree with them? Why do you think the filmmakers might have made those choices?

  • How does this story relate to you, or what truths about the world does it reveal to you, if any?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love epic movies

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate