Parent reviews for The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Common Sense says

Holocaust drama sensitive, but never sentimental.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 54 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 192 reviews
Parent of a 7-year-old Written bykatilady6 October 22, 2009

Not for children, disturbing even as an adult

Oh my please do not let your children watch this movie. My husband and I saw it and were disturbed. This was what went on in that time period, yes but WOW is it disturbing. PLEASE PLEASE do not show it to your children.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written bydoglovermegan12 June 10, 2015

Take Caution for Young Viewers

This movie is incredibly sad and has a cruel twist of an ending to it. The story is told through the eyes of an 8 year old, giving us a rather limited view at first. As the story unfolds, we along with Bruno, start to see the war as it is. The movie tells it's story and portrays it's message straightforwardly, not hiding anything. It is because of this that caution should be taken for those who watch it. The ending won't leave your mind for a while, so get ready to discuss after watching.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult Written byAlcedona October 2, 2019

Not historically based

This is poorly researched fiction pretending to be about the Holocaust. As a teacher, what I find most upsetting is that, upon finishing this book or film, students generally express sympathy for "the little German boy who wasn't even supposed to be there." Through the addition of the propaganda video, students also express a belief that the German people had no idea what was happening in the concentration and death camps. The main idea that students seem to be left with is that it was so sad for the Nazi family, who lost their son even though he didn't deserve to be killed. What a terrifying and dangerous idea to leave with students or any age!
Parent Written byLightflow August 23, 2017

Parents need to understand this is a work of fiction

This is a compelling and heartbreaking movie, but because of the historical inaccuracies I'm worried it's detracting from the real stories of survivors. It can cause confusing images when you watch such a compelling movie and then the actual history doesn't match up. Just the idea that one could dig underneath the fence raises so many problems.
Adult Written byLaura_72 April 7, 2015

Excellent educational tool

This movie displays crimes against humanity. No blood. No openly displayed executions or murder. The movie heavily hints towards violence but the viewing is quite limited. What this movie shows is on a more psychological level. This movie reveals how innocence has no place in a world where humanity has turned barbaric. It reveals to us that when we make decisions that have the capability to destroy individuals, families and cultures that our choices have consequences and sometimes those consequences backfire terribly. This movie is not about the preservence of the human spirit. It is a deeper look into the evils that man is capable of. It offers no hope, but demonstrates that the consequences of taking from someone(s) what they value the most- freedom, life and happiness will in the end, can take those things from you as well leaving you asking "why?"

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Adult Written bywonder dove March 29, 2009

Powerful film, a must see!!

This film is powerful! I wasn't expecting it to be as good as it was. The story is heart breaking and the ending is quite shocking. It will stick with you for many days after watching! The acting is amazing especially coming from the child actors. Definitely a must watch for 17's and up, but appropriate for mature minded tweens. I will watch this one again!!
Parent of a 10, 12, and 18+-year-old Written bydolalee December 20, 2008

Beautiful and Thought Provoking

I would recommend this film highly for all adults and the more serious minded kids 12+. Not for light-hearted kids without knowledge of the Holocaust. This is a very moving reminder of the tragedies of the Holocaust. It reveals each family member's struggle to make sense of what the father is a part of. A couple of violent acts are understood, but not shown. Anyone with knowledge of death camps will be moved, but not shocked.
Adult Written bymuchkasmom November 30, 2008

A Must See!!

This is a beautiful, well made film about the Holocaust. It's advertised as a family film but young children will not understand some of what's going on. My almost 12 year old loved it although during our discussion she wasn't sure of exactly what was happening at the end. I think one has to have a bit of backgroud on the Holocaust.
Wonderful acting and a story that moves along keeping you on the edge of your seat all add to it's brilliance. One of the best films I've seen in a very long time.
Adult Written bywakr May 29, 2020

Empty, artless and gratuitously morbid

We know what happened during the Holocaust. There is no need to paste it on our screens in such a heavy-handed and obvious manner. This will disturb even young teenagers, and thanks to the simplistic script with its one-dimensional characters there is little to be gained from watching apart from visualization of the horror experienced by those unfortunate enough to be involved. Teachers take note - just because a movie is factually accurate doesn’t mean kids should see it. There is nothing to be learned here.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written byMomandcounselor2020 February 4, 2020

Most difficult movie to watch

Warning: Spoilers ahead ...This movie is well-made and ultimately disturbing. The ending is like a punch to the gut and has shock value. This is NOT an Anne Frank type of Holocaust movie. I believe it is particularly disturbing for parents. It deals with the consequences of parental action - something every parent can identify with - however, in this movie, the consequence is that the fathers order to send the Jews to the gas chamber ended in his own son going as well (bc he put on striped pajamas to go play with his friend in the camp). Very disturbing for a parent, but I am allowing my 12-year old to watch it (under supervision). I would say wait until 13-14 if your child has an average maturity level or is sensitive to stress. Good luck.
Adult Written bykbkbnkbb January 14, 2020



This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult Written byPam W. November 26, 2019

The cry of anguish at the end is for all the victims

If you've seen this film, then you know what happens at the end. If you know anything about the Holocaust then you know what happens at the end. So...this film is a beautiful requiem for everyone who died at the hands of the Nazis. I love that the film fades to black at the scene of the door to the gas chamber. I've read many reviews where people think this film is about feeling sorry for the "little German boy" in the striped pajamas. I think the cries of anguish represent the cries of every family of every victim. Why should we cry more over a little German boy than a little Jewish boy? Why should we cry over children more than anyone else in the gas chamber? At one point, everyone who died was 8 years old. Rather than pick this movie apart, I think those who watch should sit in silence for all the victims of genocide wherever they may be. The sight of Schmul and Bruno holding hands was endearing - facing whatever was to come together and not alone. This is a jarring and thought-provoking movie that all adults (and older teens) should see -- with some knowledge of the real Holocaust. Even Schindler's List didn't show the Nazis banging babies' heads against the wall or the ground or actually throwing them alive into the fires. Yes, this happened as well. And, like Bruno's mother's, our cries of anguish should wash over our souls for every victim.
Adult Written byamiliea November 19, 2019


This was a very good yet sad movie. Changed my outlook.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written byjulianna92 October 3, 2019

Heartbreaking but thought-provoking

Ah, the innocence of children. This film is about the unlikely friendship between two young boys during the Holocaust but I would not recommend it to younger audiences. It’s tragic, incredibly sad and it lingers with you for a while. There is violence but it’s neither gratuitous nor graphic, but the audience knows it’s there. It’s mostly about the two sides of the Holocaust: the family of the Nazi officer tries to cope and make sense of his new endeavor and the hardship of the Jewish prisoners. It doesn’t romanticize anything and the acting is outstanding. There is no nudity or sexual content.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Violence & scariness
Adult Written byMissLahlua September 17, 2019

Sad, but great movie!

I feel that this movie is very educational for age 11-11+. It teaches children at an early age not to repeat these types of things in the future. They covered up a bit of violence which I feel is good. But the movie is pretty sad.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Adult Written byRakan A. June 7, 2019

great but not for kids

Great movie, very accurate at times

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written bygia123 April 19, 2019

Breaks Your Heart

A great movie.
Parent of a 11 and 15-year-old Written bydad_of_2 March 31, 2019

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Violence & scariness
Adult Written bySavannah.Moonlight March 5, 2019

So Sad I cried but very good movie..

Its a great movie! But it will more than likely make you cry.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Adult Written bykassievanss February 1, 2019


This movie is a beautiful representation of what happened during this time period, but through a child's eyes. Very moving and very well done. Kudos to the film makers and actors. Brings tears to my eyes every time I watch it.