Tears of the Sun

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Tears of the Sun Movie Poster Image
Shamelessly one-sided with cheesy wooden dialogue.
  • R
  • 2003
  • 118 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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


Intense peril and battle violence, many characters killed, brutal murders.


Non-sexual nudity.


Very strong language including racial epithets.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie has very strong language (including racial epithets), intense peril, execution of non-military citizens, and brutal battle violence. Many characters are wounded or killed. A woman is mutilated.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byD-Fresh June 16, 2011

Excellent movie

This is a violent movie, but not over the top. Excellent demonstration of the willingness throughout history of American servicemen to give their lives to save... Continue reading
Adult Written byRmpshk January 27, 2019

This is what they do

I rely on common sense media (CSM) for insight into movies' "appropriateness." CSM is usually very trustworthy. But in this case very far from th... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byGood ole boy 17 June 12, 2014

Quite justified in its R rating but a good film

Let me give you the good first; Tears of the Sun is an overall good movie for a mature teen. It actually has a good message and is pretty moving. It is also a... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byActionmoviefan101 November 30, 2011

What the heck CSM?

Seriously... I don't know why CSM raged so much against this movie. I thought it was excellent. The action and the character development of AK was great to... Continue reading

What's the story?

In TEARS OF THE SUN, Bruce Willis plays Navy Lt. A.K. Waters, a guy who always completes his missions. His latest is the rescue of a gorgeous female doctor who runs a clinic in Nigeria that is in the path of rebel forces. For his own survival, Waters had shut down his emotions during this mission. But the beautiful doctor and the ravaged people taught him that what he should do is ignore his orders and put the lives of his men at risk. He and his men go into a town where the bad guys have killed almost everyone and just mow the bad guys down with machine guns. He puts his men at risk. Many are killed and the others are severely wounded.

Is it any good?

This movie feels like a script written for John Wayne that someone finally got around to filming 40 years later without any sense that times have changed. There are some good action sequences, but it is filled with clich&eacutes, shamelessly one-sided, has cheesy wooden dialogue, and a numbingly predictable plot. Waters defies American diplomatic policy going back to the Monroe Doctrine, and the point of the movie seems to be that this is unqualifiedly a good thing and that it is the job of a Navy Lieutenant to determine what our foreign policy should be and then just carry it out. There is no sense of the complexity of American intervention into a tragic civil conflict and no sense of the consequences of his choices.

A.K. may have learned to care, but that does not appear to be true of Willis. He does all right with the weary, man-of-the-world, let-me-handle-this moments. But, for example, when he is called upon to give a stirring "be a man" pep talk to a shaken Nigerian who has just seen everyone he cares about killed, the best he can do is bark, "Cowboy the **** up!" Monica Bellucci may be as talented as her press reports claim, but there is no way to tell that from her kittenish performance here.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how countries decide whether to intervene in other countries' fights. Does the movie intentionally comment on the current international situation? How well does or doesn't it make its case? Why did A.K. stop caring and when did he start again?

Movie details

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