The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Trilogy conclusion has thrilling, violent battle scenes.
  • PG-13
  • 2014
  • 144 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 16 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 86 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Even the smallest can be strong -- and the weak can be courageous. Reinforces the importance of keeping your word/promise/oath and of helping those in need rather than believing it's not your problem. Thorin's obsession with his treasure shows the corrupting power of wealth. As someone says in the movie, the world would be a merrier place if people valued other people above gold. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Many characters must rise to the occasion and decide whether to band together or think only of their own people. Bilbo stands up to Thorin and enlist help for the people of Lake Town. Bard leads the people of Lake Town to relative safety. The elf king allows the elves to fight even if it's not in their best interest. Tauriel may be the most skilled female ever in a Tolkien adaptation. Legolas fights honorably to defend the dwarves (and Tauriel) despite his jealousy and disappointments. Thorin becomes obsessed with his treasure to the exclusion of anything else. Characters demonstrate curiosity, perseverance, and teamwork.


The most violent of the Hobbit films: Huge battles with high body counts and brutal deaths. Many beloved characters die fighting their enemies (usually with swords and arrows), as do villains. Smaug kills countless residents of Lake Town as he murderously destroys it, setting fire to anything and anyone in his flight path. Some frightening, jump-worthy moments include Smaug cruelly targeting a man's young son (the dragon doesn't have a chance to kill him), the super Orcs battling the dwarves, Thorin threatening Bilbo, and the elves/wizards fighting the shadow of Sauron. Lots of intense, deadly confrontations between characters.


Kili and Tauriel continue their lingering looks and charged moments of connection, including an embrace, an "almost kiss," and a heartbreaking declaration of love. Legolas loves Tauriel, even if she doesn't return his romantic affection.


Insults: "coward," "stinking liar," "thief," "burglar."


No product placements in the film, but the Tolkien books and Peter Jackson film adaptations have plenty of tie-ins to merchandise: apparel, video games, Lego toys and board games, role-playing games and costumes, special editions of the books, electronics accessories, posters and other home accessories, and more.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Gandalf smokes a pipe more than once.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is the final (and most violent) installment in director Peter Jackson's three-part adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic fantasy novel -- and, as the title suggests, it features the biggest battle sequences of the trilogy. The most like The Lord of the Rings, this finale is all about epic confrontations: between Thorin Oakenshield who has finally reclaimed the mountain kingdom of Erebor for the dwarves, the elves and humans who want their rightful share of his treasure, and Sauron's orc army that's a threat to them all. This movie has the highest body count in the trilogy; all of the armies sustain losses, and many characters -- primary, secondary, and extras -- die, either in battle (via arrows, axes, swords) or from dragon fire. Some of the death scenes are brutal and particularly sad or disturbing, but ultimately this is a must-see for any family that has already seen the first two Hobbit films.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bybadgerz December 19, 2014

Extremely Violent - Disagree With 11 y/o Rating (no spoilers)

The violence in this movie could justify an R rating. It is nearly as violent as the movie "300". Decapitation after decapitation.

My 10 y/o son... Continue reading
Parent of a 9-year-old Written January 22, 2016

Very violent, unexpected brief swearing.

Ok, where do I start? There is TONS of realistic violence, including severed heads, dead bodies, and disturbing imagery of all types. Main characters are killed... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byShowman movie13 September 14, 2019

Intense, action-packed, and lots of battle scenes

It is good, and I enjoyed this movie ! There is lots of battle images that may frighten young ones! I think this is good-with good role models- but lots of viol... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old July 10, 2016

The Battle of Five Armies: Extended Cut

It's okay I guess. Making a whole movie out of a few pages from a children's book is kind of strange but fair enough. I haven't seen the original... Continue reading

What's the story?

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES picks up right where the last installment, The Desolation of Smaug, ended: Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) flees the Lonely Mountain and unleashes his murderous rage and lethal fire on the people of neighboring Lake Town. Bilbo (Martin Freeman) implores Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) to help, but the dwarf leader is becoming mad with gold lust and is obsessed solely with securing his treasure. After Bard (Luke Evans) leads the survivors of Smaug's assault to relative safety, he meets elf king Thranduil (Lee Pace), who has brought an army to secure the elf treasures from Erebor. But Thorin, much to Bilbo's horror, refuses to part with even one coin. And as the humans and elves prepare to fight the dwarves, an even bigger threat -- Orcs -- is headed to the Mountain to destroy all of the amassed armies.

Is it any good?

The production design, cinematography, and music are as always, ethereal and evocative. Although it still seems unnecessary for Peter Jackson to have expanded The Hobbit into three films, this culminating installment brings on all of the drama of high-stakes battle, the heartbreak of characters sacrificing themselves for one another, and the thrill of seeing such an epic tale finally (finally!) come to an end. Purists may scoff at the added details, but for the average viewer, the inclusion of Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) -- and Tauriel's doomed inter-species romance with Kili (Aidan Turner) -- makes for a more emotional final story. Because there are so many characters converging on the Lonely Mountain -- and because Thorin is too miserly and consumed with his gold to be anything but a tyrannical embarrassment for most of the The Battle of the Five Armies -- it's the secondary characters like Thranduil and Bowman Bard who drive the drama this last time.

Whether or not you already know what's going to happen, the finale is more of a nail-biter than its predecessors, since it's clear that not everyone (well, at least those that we didn't meet in Lord of the Rings) will survive the dragon fire and Orc steel. Jackson is less adept at humor than at battle (a couple of lines lead to unintentional laughter), but it's amusing to see Billy Connolly play a wise-cracking dwarf chieftain, and it's entertaining to once again witness Legolas' over-the-top gymnastics during his fights. There are a few tender moments and a few more that are utterly heart-wrenching, which is fitting, since Bilbo's story is both hopeful and bittersweet.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how The Hobbit compares to The Lord of the Rings. How are the stories similar (a hobbit continues on a dangerous quest, deals with the precious ring), and how are they different? Which adventure do you prefer, and why?

  • Why do you think the filmmakers decided to insert romance into the story? Does it work? What purpose do you think it's intended to serve?

  • For those who are fans of the book: Do you think an adaptation needs to be 100 percent faithful to its source material? What do you think of Jackson's changes to Tolkien's novel?

  • How do the characters in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies demonstrate perseverance and courage? What about curiosity and teamwork? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

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