The Lost City of Z

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Lost City of Z Movie Poster Image
Dense, intelligent, mature, yet measured adventure drama.
  • PG-13
  • 2017
  • 141 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 5 reviews

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Characters go up against impossible odds to find something that may or may not exist. Raises questions around the idea of when to quit/not to quit when pursuing something that may never be accomplished.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main character is brave, resilient, and persistent; he perseveres, unwilling to give up in his quest. But he sacrifices many things along the way, including watching his family grow up and grow old and missing out on helping to raise his children.


Arrows pierce a man's chest. Bloody wounds. Blood in water. Guns and shooting. Fighting. Hunting sequences, animals shot. Men falling from horses. Scars. Man vomits.


Topless native women. Brief, mild innuendo.


A use of "goddamn," and a use of "bastard."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking from flasks. Smoking. A character's (unseen) father is said to have been a drinker and a gambler, having disgraced the family name.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Lost City of Z is a a fact-based historical adventure/drama about the search for a lost Amazonian city. Originally rated R but edited to get a PG-13, the movie has sporadic but strong violence, including guns and shooting, bloody wounds, hunting sequences (with animals killed), arrows piercing a man's chest, fighting, and other iffy images. Topless women native to the Amazon are shown, and there's brief mild innuendo. Language includes "goddamn" and "bastard." Characters occasionally drink from flasks and smoke, and one character's father is described as a drinker and a gambler who ruined the family name. Even though it might come across as an exciting jungle adventure, the movie is slow, dense, and mature, and it's unlikely to excite many teens. Charlie Hunnam and Robert Pattinson co-star; the movie is based on the book by David Grann.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byHazel D. August 19, 2017

Beware - this is a bit grim

Not mentioned in the main outline and warnings for this movie are a man getting eaten by Pirahna fish and a body being cooked over a fire by cannibals. Although... Continue reading
Adult Written byRobyout June 8, 2019

Good plot, but rather dull

It is not a bad movie, graphic or otherwise. Yes there is nudity, but mostly skin, and yes boobs. But anyone over the age of 10 has seen worse in games they pla... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old February 22, 2019

Calm down, people!

This isn’t that bad, guys.
Teen, 16 years old Written byCinemArtist7 November 29, 2017

Great Adventure Tale

Fantastic and inspiring film. Just watch out for some action sequences with mild violence and some nonsexual nudity from native peoples.

What's the story?

In THE LOST CITY OF Z, which is based on a true story (covered in the non-fiction book by David Grann), Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam) is military man who becomes interested in finding an ancient lost city hidden in the Amazon. Accompanied by Corporal Henry Costin (Robert Pattinson), Fawcett finds his first trip dangerous -- they face starvation, deadly natives, and vicious wildlife -- but it reveals significant clues. The second trip is hindered by the presence of James Murray (Angus Macfadyen), who's unequipped to handle the rigors of the jungle, uses up extra provisions, and endangers the mission. The third trip Fawcett makes with his son (Tom Holland), and the outcome is a mystery.

Is it any good?

James Gray makes intelligent, good-looking, grown-up movies that are admirable but somehow rather reserved; this real-life adventure tale is a more sprawling work, but the result is similar. Gray (We Own the Night, Two Lovers, The Immigrant) is steeped in the cinema of the 1970s, and The Lost City of Z feels more like Werner Herzog's Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972) than it does Raiders of the Lost Ark. Yet it lacks Aguirre's madness; it's missing the kind of enthusiasm or obsession that might help drive a movie like this.

But there's no denying that it's expertly made. The Amazon footage is harrowing and realistic; you can feel the bugs buzzing around, as well as the supreme heat, humidity, and exhaustion. The images have a high-class, measured realism and complexity of character; no one here is merely a hero or a villain, not even Macfadyen's Murray, whose scenes are the film's most primal and emotional ones (you really want him to suffer for his crimes). This movie requires a little bit of thinking and involvement, but it's worth the effort.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about The Lost City of Z's violence. How much is shown vs. not shown? Which has more impact? Why? Does exposure to violent media make kids more aggressive?

  • How does the movie handle drinking and smoking? Are there consequences for substance use? Why is that important?

  • How familiar were you with Percy Fawcett? What do you think really happened? Does the movie make you want to look into the story further?

  • What seems more important: a search for a lost city or spending time with your family? How does the movie answer this question?

  • The movie is deliberately more thoughtful and less exciting than an Indiana Jones-type adventure. Did you like it more or less?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love drama and adventure

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