A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Triumph over adversity, learning to work with others who are different from you.
Positive Role Models
The soldiers are brave and heroic, injured in the line of duty, although some of them have lost hope because of their conditions. Dr. Ludwig Guttmann -- a refugee from Germany -- is determined to help his patients enjoy their lives to the fullest with revolutionary methods, despite the xenophobia he encounters.
Different nationalities and gender balance, but no ethnic diversity among the cast. A German character is played by a British actor. Disabled characters played by able-bodied actors. Characters display symptoms of post-traumatic stress.
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Violence & Scariness
Flashbacks to wartime violence. Bloody injury shown. Some patients are traumatized because of their injuries. Reference to wartime concentration camp internment and death.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Patients shown shirtless and in their underwear while being treated. Simulated erection, brief and played for comic effect. Some other innuendo and discussion of sex.
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Language used includes "bloody," "bastard," "s--t," "piss," "bitch," and "bugger off." Use of derogatory terms for Germans, including "Kraut" and "Hun." Also "Taff" used for a Welsh person. The term "girly" is used when referencing someone's behavior.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters frequently smoke cigarettes socially. Some are treated with morphine for pain relief by medical professionals. Occasional social drinking in moderation.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Best of Men is an excellent British TV movie -- based on real events -- about the lives of World War II soldiers who suffered spinal injuries. The movie deals with difficult themes such as trauma and grief, but shows how severely injured soliders, aided by the pioneering Dr. Ludwig Guttmann (Eddie Marsan), overcame being written off by society. There is some portrayal of post-traumatic stress but, reflecting the era, it is not discussed openly. There is no graphic violence, but some discussion of wartime fighting and injury. Some of the patients suffer from bloody bedsores due to their injuries. Sex is discussed, although not in any great detail, and in the movie's lighter moments there is innuendo but nothing graphic. Language -- including "s--t," "bastard," and "bitch" is occasional with the only swearing in response to characters' growing frustration at their disabilities or recoveries. But there are some derogatory slurs made toward the German Guttmann. In keeping with the era, characters smoke frequently and drink alcohol socially on a couple of occasions, including homemade wine. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Inspired by a true story, this drama is a brisk but engaging retelling of how a German refugee doctor helped change the lives of British soldiers injured in WWII. In The Best of Men, Marsan launches himself into the role of Dr. Ludwig Guttmann, verbally sparring with anyone who questions his methods, often with a dash of deadpan humor. The film celebrates his revolutionary methods, which showed both his patients and the authorities that spinal injuries need not prevent people from living a fulfilling life.
Despite its modest budget and short runtime, the movie fills its cast with enough talent to deliver its mix of comedy and drama in way that feels authentic. Like Guttman, it doesn't treat its disabled characters with pity, gradually bringing them together as Guttman's tireless persistence and innovative methods begin to get results. There are few surprises to its neat, feel-good ending, but this is a story that deserves to be told. A closing montage of real-life footage and photos is further proof of the ripple effect caused by the remarkable resolve of all the characters that changed the way that we think about and treat people living with disabilities.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Our Editors Recommend
Movies with Characters Who Have Physical Disabilities
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