The Four Feathers

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
The Four Feathers Movie Poster Image
A decent film with some intense battle violence.
  • PG-13
  • 2002
  • 130 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Violence

Intense and explicit peril and battle violence.

Sex

None-graphic sexual situation; women stolen and forced into prostitution.

Language

Mild

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking and smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie has intense battle violence with graphic injuries. Characters are wounded and killed. There's brief nudity in a locker room and a non-explicit sexual situation. The portrayal of non-whites is less offensive than in previous versions of the story but still reflects the prejudices of the era. The enemy is referred to as "an army of Mohammedan fanatics" and "heathens," and the English think they must win because they have "nobler souls."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJegodby April 9, 2008
Adult Written byboone county April 9, 2008
Teen, 13 years old Written byVenezia December 17, 2012

One of my favorite movies!

My parents showed this to me for a second time and it was amazing. The first time, I was 11 when I saw it. I found it it was hard to follow but I understood i... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old June 7, 2013

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It is one of the best films i've seen and its not scary apart from some battle scenes.

What's the story?

In what is at least the fifth filmed version of THE FOUR FEATHERS, a soldier ordered to war resigns his commission. He has just become engaged to a girl he adores and the concerns of a battle on the other side of the world do not seem important to him. His friends and his fiancée send him four white feathers, accusing him of cowardice, and he fears they may be right. So he disguises himself as a native and follows his former regiment to the Sudan. He will not risk his life for the honor of his country, but he will risk it to protect his friends and to prove that they were wrong about him. This time, Heath Ledger plays Harry Faversham, the reluctant soldier, with Wes Bentley as his best friend, Jack, and Kate Hudson as Ethne, the woman they both love.

Is it any good?

Director Shekhar Kapur stages the pageantry very well, from the scenes of red-coated officers swirling their ladies around the dance floor to the marches, battles, and prison scenes. He does fairly well by his young stars. Their British accents may falter, but he knows how to work around their weaknesses and play to their strengths, especially Ledger's athletic charm, Hudson's delicate dignity, and Bentley's ability to combine strength and sensitivity.

Kapur is less sure of himself in handling the very traditional structure of the story and there are some oddly disjointed transitions that undermine what should be the most dramatic moments.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the movie's plot relates to current concerns about terrorism and the possibility of war. Both sides think that they are doing what God wants them to do. Is there any way to prevent war under those conditions? The director is originally from India. How do you think that affects his portrayal of an era in which British officers referred to non-whites as "wogs" and "heathens?"

Movie details

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