Parents' Guide to

The Last Full Measure

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Preachy script bogs down violent story of courage and valor.

Movie R 2020 110 minutes
The Last Full Measure Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 17+

Tough war story has too much violence

R: seqeunces of disturbing war violence/images with some bloody scenes and language
age 14+

Inspiring Movie

I saw the “The Last Full Measure” yesterday. To say it was an intense, emotional and moving experience is an understatement. This touched me on so many levels; as an Army Vietnam Huey pilot, a veteran coming home from war and as a Jolly Green Giant Combat Search and Rescue trained USAF Helicopter pilot. The grunts who were on the ground in Vietnam appreciated the helicopter crews but when you watch this movie you really appreciate the bravery and sacrifice of soldiers fighting the ugly ground war. As a proud former member of the USAF Air Rescue and Recovery Service (ARRS), watching the selflessness and incredible bravery of A1C Pittensbarger an Air Force Pararescueman (PJ) so honored and exemplified the Rescue credo “These Things We Do That Others May Live”. Highly Recommend

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (4 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

This well-intentioned, well-acted biographical drama tells a worthy story but suffers from formulaic dialogue and a surprisingly preachy script. Writer-director Todd Robinson's version of the events also includes inaccuracies about the reasons it took more than three decades for Pitsenbarger to receive his due. Stan's character is made up, too, but at least he serves the purpose of introducing the case and its merits. The movie's biggest problems stem from the overly didactic scripting. The acting is fine: William Hurt plays the older version of the helicopter pilot who agrees to leave Pits behind; Samuel L. Jackson is the infantry officer who blames himself for the ambush; Ed Harris is one of the Army soldiers Pits saves; and, in his final role, the late Peter Fonda plays a survivor suffering from lifelong PTSD. Unfortunately, what this esteemed group of older actors has to say doesn't always ring true: Everything feels like a poetic soliloquy on war and its traumatic impact on veterans.

This is inarguably an important story that deserves to be told. But it might better lend itself to feature-length documentary, because in The Last Full Measure it's hard to tell what really happened and what's creative license. Even real-life Medal of Honor winners have said there was much more to the story (but also that they're happy the movie had been made). There's no need for the flourishes of melodrama -- the telling of Pitsenbarger's incredible sacrifice is compelling enough. It's simply a shame the movie's good intentions and important source material aren't matched by the execution of the filmmaking.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate