The Monuments Men

  • Review Date: February 7, 2014
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 118 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Fact-based adventure with a few bloody battle scenes.
  • Review Date: February 7, 2014
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 118 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Is a painting or statue worth a human life? Stokes and his men set off on an important mission to find and protect the artifacts that define Western culture, items that would be a terrible blow to humanity if they were lost or destroyed during war, and some circumstances force them to address this thorny question. 



Positive role models

Stokes and the rest of the Monuments Men enter World War II, assigned not to kill or destroy, but to protect invaluable objects of art. It's a noble task, made more difficult by the death and destruction that surrounds them. 


Several scenes feature wartime violence, including explosions and gunfights. One scene takes place in a battlefield hospital filled with bloody and dying soldiers. A few characters are shot, sometimes at close range. 


Very tame flirting between two people who are thrown together during wartime, though the man chooses to be faithful to his wife. 


Occasional swearing, including "sh-t," "hell," "Jesus Christ," and "goddamn." 

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Many people smoke cigarettes, which was typical at the time. Some scenes feature people drinking wine, champagne, cognac and other beverages in social situations.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Monuments Men is a fact-based war drama that feels like a cross between Ocean's Eleven and Saving Private Ryan and features some of the same actors. Expect some wartime violence, including some close-range shooting, and scenes with bloody and injured soldiers. Characters smoke frequently and drink occasionally, and there are a few swear words sprinkled throughout the high-stakes action.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

As World War II raged in Europe, Hitler and his generals systematically plundered the greatest artworks of Western civilization, sending millions of paintings, statues, and other valuable pieces back to Germany. Based on a true story, MONUMENTS MEN stars (and is directed by) George Clooney as Frank Stokes, a historian who leads his team (dubbed the Monuments Men), a special unit assigned to find and protect the stolen art. The all-star cast includes Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman, and Bill Murray as scholars-turned-soldiers who brave the battlefields in search of lost treasure.

Is it any good?


The Monuments Men is jaunty, lively and yes, entertaining, and will appeal to teens who are fans of the big-name actors and enjoy an exciting mix of peril and adventure. Bill Murray and John Balaban might have smaller parts, but they're fantastic as treasure hunters, and deserve their own spin-off.

Nonetheless, the movie subverts its mission of convincing the audience that saving art is a big enough story to keep them engaged. Its tone is dissonant -- irreverent, yet serious. Perhaps it's not serious enough, because this mix almost makes it seem as if the filmmakers had doubts about convincing the audience about the seriousness of their endeavor -- Clooney's character, Stokes, makes speeches directly addressing this -- and hedged their bets by trying to be both tongue-in-cheek and earnest. The denouement feels flimsy, the big quest doesn't feel as weighty as it should. Plus, the film lacks a strong narrative arc, moving the action by following the unit from one point to the other while failing to build up any serious stakes.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the moral issue that comes up in the movie. Do you think it's worth sacrificing a your life to protect a piece of art? What value does art bring to society and culture?

  • What do you think the world would be life if the Monuments Men had failed, and so much irreplaceable art was lost forever?

  • What's the tone of the movie? Are we supposed to take the men seriously? What would have made this movie better?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:February 7, 2014
DVD release date:May 20, 2014
Cast:Cate Blanchett, George Clooney, Matt Damon
Director:George Clooney
Studio:Columbia Pictures
Topics:Adventures, History
Run time:118 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:some images of war violence and historical smoking

This review of The Monuments Men was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 10 years old December 10, 2014

Not a good movie

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 10 years old December 5, 2014

Not too iffy.

Great movie! 4/5 stars. Violence: 3/5 Language: 3/5 Drinking: 3/5 I didn't expect there to be too much swearing but there was more than I expected. Common Sense said a 2/5 language. That made me think there wasn't much in language. Along with the violence. It has great and important messages about culture.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much swearing
Kid, 10 years old December 3, 2014

The movie is pretty good

It does say words like damn,hell,and s--t but it is not innapropriate at all.It has lots of positive role models and messages.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing


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