Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith Movie Poster Image
Anakin moves to the dark side in moody, graphic sequel.
  • PG-13
  • 2005
  • 146 minutes
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 92 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 234 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Unlike other films in the series, the messages in this installment aren't quite as clear, perhaps because the storyline focuses so sharply on a leading character's fall from grace, so the movie must embrace shades of grey in terms of morality. At the same time, the lines between good and evil are clearly defined, even if evil seems to win in the film's final act.

Positive Role Models & Representations

These are the same brave, self-sacrificing, noble characters we have come to know from previous films. But because the film's story chronicles a leading character's descent into evil and darkness, there are far fewer strong role models here.

Violence

As with other entries in the series, the violence in this film is primarily centered around sci-fi battles in space and characters using blasters and laser swords. But there are a few powerful moments of specific violence -- for example the off-screen death of children and the beheading of a central villain. Perhaps most graphic is the final visual transformation of the film's hero into an iconic villain, which begins with the character burning on screen in a lava pit before being grafted to robotic arms and legs, all while visibly squirming and screaming in pain. It's a disturbing sequence; only you know if your kids are ready to experience it.

Sex

Two of the film's leads are secretly married, and there are occasional romantic moments and mild kissing. The female lead is pregnant and gives birth on screen near the end of the film in a relatively antiseptic sequence with no graphic depictions of the birthing process.

Language
Consumerism

Although there's no real-world product placement in the film, this series is known for its extreme merchandising, encompassing everything from toys and books to backpacks, clothing, and school supplies for children.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Revenge of the Sith is the third and final film in the Star Wars prequel trilogy and contains a few moments of graphic violence, as well as the transformation of a beloved character from good to bad. The movie chronicles the fall of Anakin Skywalker and his transformation into Darth Vader. The plot and characters grapple with some complicated moral issues and occasionally embrace shades of grey. In a sequence of surprising detail for a Star Wars film, viewers see Anakin burn in a pit of lava, with his skin turning into cinders. We recommend extreme caution and consideration when deciding whether younger children can handle viewing something that's this emotionally and graphically violent.

User Reviews

Adult Written byamheusser April 9, 2008

Are you kidding?!

I can't believe there has been no outrage over the issue of Anakin killing frightened children!!!! The scene was left intentionally vague, but then was cl... Continue reading
Parent of a 8 year old Written bySteven Matthews August 14, 2009

Too Violent

The scene with Anakin being burned and then some sort of horrible squirming figure left behind is too much for young children.
Kid, 10 years old August 9, 2010
if you have a kid under 10 that wants to see this, only let them if there a huge star wars fan. its violent, with notstop starfighter battles, lightsaber duels,... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written by8colony8 February 1, 2011

Wonderful!!!

A great movie! There is lots of fighting. Anakin gets burned severely, showing graphic injury. Sidious gets scarred by lightning. One guy gets an arm cut off, b... Continue reading

What's the story?

REVENGE OF THE SITH shows how young, ambitious, and idealistic Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) is convinced that using the dark side of the Force will benefit his community and Padmé (Natalie Portman). They have married in secret (as a Jedi, he's supposed to remain single); to make matters even dicier, she's now pregnant with the twins Luke and Leia. Anakin's desire to not to lose Padmé (and, oh yes, to gain power) leads him to the dark side -- and his destiny of becoming Darth Vader.

Is it any good?

The origin story of the infamously heavy-breathing, black-caped villain Darth Vader isn't uninteresting, but neither is it innovative. Anakin's motivations are conventional (even if he doesn't bother discussing his decisions with Padmé, not showing his very capable and intelligent partner much respect). In fact, the movie's most compelling angle is that Anakin is so young that his thinking is immature: Afraid of loss, he can't accept what happens and so changes the shape of the entire galaxy essentially to get his way.

Like the other Star Wars movies, Revenge of the Sith is filled with great special effects: Though the futuristic urban sets look rather flat, the space-fighting scenes are very video-gamey. Yoda is especially well rendered here, and a scene in which Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) rides a giant lizard and battles enemies in a multi-legged mechanical vehicle is lively and sometimes funny but also involves violent fighting, which might worry some younger kids. As much as this story focuses on Anakin's dilemma, the secondary characters are often more compelling, especially Obi-Wan, again revealing patience, wisdom, and charisma, and Padmé. Palpatine is convincingly vulnerable just before he becomes utterly fearsome, but Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) and Senator Organa (Jimmy Smits) have very little to do, embodying the predominant problem in the Star Wars franchise -- too much emphasis on technical displays and "universal" plotting, and not enough attention paid to character details.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith's violence impacts the story. Was it disturbing to watch Anakin's transformation into Darth Vader? Why or why not?

  • How does this movie compare to others in the series? Do you think each movie should be equally intense, or was it OK that this film be more violent and darker than the others?

  • How does Anakin deal with anger in this movie? What are some other options for managing frustration and disappointment? What are the two sides of the Force?

Movie details

For kids who love sci-fi

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