The Four Feathers Movie Poster Image

The Four Feathers



A decent film with some intense battle violence.
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 130 minutes

What parents need to know


Intense and explicit peril and battle violence.


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



Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Social drinking and smoking

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."

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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:September 20, 2002
DVD/Streaming release date:February 18, 2003
Cast:Heath Ledger, Kate Hudson, Wes Bentley
Director:Shekhar Kapur
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Run time:130 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:violence and some sexual references

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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 it perfectly the second time when I hadjust turned 13. The battles can get very violent and when Harry is in prison, (spoiler alert) he poses as a dead person in attempt to escape, but he is thrown into a large pile of dead bodies. HIs attempt was successful but brutal. This is such an amazing movie, which makes you think about the themes. Also, there are a lot of things people can discuss. Was Harry really a coward? Should he have spoken when his friend had become blind? Was getting captured the right thing to do? It's just amazing, especially for intellectuals.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Adult Written byJegodby April 9, 2008
Kid, 12 years old June 7, 2013


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