A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that there are some intense scenes in this retelling of the legend of John Henry, but it is well-done and designed not to be overly upsetting.
What's the story?
This installment of Shelley Duvall's series tells the legend the greatest steel driver who ever lived. Danny Glover plays John Henry, who can do the work of four men, driving steel through mountains to build the railroad. When the boss buys a steam drill, it looks as if the men on John's crew will be out of work. But John challenges the drill to a contest, and in a dark and gripping sequence, he battles against it for ten straight hours.
Is it any good?
The legend of John Henry has the potential to be very upsetting, but this version has bypassed the worst parts of the story in favor of inspiration and heroics. The acting is very good, particularly Glover and Lynn Whitfield as his loving wife. The story moves slowly in parts, but the lessons about perseverance and sticking up for the little guy are inspiring and moving.
We are spared seeing John Henry die with his hammer in his hand, an ending that can be traumatic for children. Instead we get a tale of bravery, love, and friendship that will speak to viewers of all ages.
Talk to your kids about ...
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
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.
Streaming options powered by JustWatch