The Eagle

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Eagle Movie Poster Image
Roman action epic comes across as grim, violent, and dull.
  • PG-13
  • 2011
  • 114 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 12 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Although the heroes take on an "impossible" mission, bravely standing up against the odds (and, in the process, restoring a son's faith in his father), the results of the mission bring back a symbol of one country's dominance over another -- and to accomplish these goals, the heroes must engage in all kinds of violence.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Marcus fights for his father's honor and stands up against a crowd to rescue a slave. He and the slave become friends, despite the fact that they're from opposite sides of the war. Marcus is a violent hero, but he learns something about the terrible nature of war over the course of the film, and ultimately it appears that he's on the right track.


Several battles and lots of fighting, with swords, blades, and bows and arrows, and some blood on view. People are burned and beheaded (off screen); viewers do see a severed head. Characters are also strangled, beaten, and severely injured. Viewers see hanged corpses, and a character guts a wild boar. Characters tell stories of battles and killings, and the remains of a "killing field" littered with skulls and skeletons are shown. The heroes kill, skin, and eat a raw rat. A grown man smacks a young boy across the face.


Language includes infrequent use of "fart," "pissing," "s--t," "damn," and "ass."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The main character asks for wine before enduring a painful operation on his leg. Minor characters pass around what appears to be an alcoholic, hallucinogenic drink.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this honor-and-freedom-themed historical action/drama set during Rome's occupation of Southern Britain has lots of fighting and violence. There are battles with swords, blades, and bows and arrows, as well as some blood, strangling, a severed head, and dead animals. Characters tell stories of bloody, exhausting battles, and a man smacks a young boy across the face. Language is minor (words include "ass," "fart," and "pissing"), and there's a little drinking -- but no sexual content. Although characters begin to doubt the need for war, that doesn't stop their penchant for violence.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written bytoddandleah September 6, 2013

What the Reviewer Missed

Once again Hollywood takes a wonderful story and mutilates it almost beyond recognition. This version has taken considerable liberties with the book "Eagl... Continue reading
Parent of a 18+-year-old Written byCheese and Bread May 4, 2016

Really good but not for kids

Sex/Nudity: 2/10 (naked dead bodies are hanging headless from trees) Violence/Gore: 8/10 (Violent battles, and some blood) Profanity: 3/10 (one use of s***hole... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bygoldenlion666 April 28, 2012
Teen, 15 years old Written byRobbyboyfye16 February 4, 2012


i saw this with my friend at his bday party and this was boring as crap

What's the story?

In 140 A.D., during the Roman occupation of Southern Britain, soldier Marcus (Channing Tatum) lives in the shadow of his disgraced father, who disappeared along with his entire legion many years earlier. In doing so, Marcus' father lost the "Eagle" of the title, a symbol for Roman glory. After being heroically wounded in battle, Marcus recuperates with his uncle (Donald Sutherland) and rescues a slave, Esca (Jamie Bell), from a deadly battle. Unable to live with disgrace any longer, Marcus decides to take Esca and journey into enemy territory to find the fabled Eagle, thereby restoring his father's good name and setting things right. What Marcus doesn't realize is that the journey will teach him more than he ever could have realized.

Is it any good?

The movie has a heavy, gray look, and it's mostly humorless. It delves into the battles with grim resolve (and choppy editing), and it's not clear whether the violence is supposed to be fun or cautionary (if it's the latter, then there's an awful lot of it, and it's tiresome). Fortunately, in his small role, Sutherland strikes a nice, cheerful tone that -- in larger doses -- might have made the movie more fun.

Oscar-winning filmmaker Kevin Macdonald (One Day in September) has had mixed results with his fiction movies (The Last King of Scotland, State of Play), and his rather impersonal approach doesn't suit this stodgy historical action movie. It takes a while to get going, and then its promising idea -- the "road trip" with the two enemies-turned-friends -- doesn't pay off. The film fails to really narrow its focus on these two, instead pondering larger issues, such as honor, glory, war, and freedom. The humans get lost in the shuffle.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's violence. Is it essential to the story? Why or why not? How does it compare to what you'd see in a horror movie?

  • What does the Eagle of the movie's title represent? Is it a good symbol or a bad one?

  • What does the hero, Marcus, learn over the course of his journey? Is he a positive role model?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

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