The Monuments Men



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.

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

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

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Parent of a 15 and 16 year old Written bySierraMom February 8, 2014

Monumental Movie

This is one of the most entertaining movies I've seen in a while. The movie itself is a great balance of funny, exciting, thought-provoking, and sad. The characters are fun, varied, and interesting as well as extremely likable. Despite the period-accurate constant smoking, strong values are portrayed by the characters, such as one married character who is (subtly) offered a one nighter and politely declines. That is as sexy as it gets—no kissing, no strip joints, and no gyrating, helpless females. The men all work together for an unexpected, powerful cause in spite of their obvious differences and see beyond those to grow as caring comrades. There is some violence, but no gore and the blood is minimal and yet sad at times. I love movies with a true, historical bent and this fills the bill with interesting scenery and accurate props from the times. There is some swearing, which comes across as funny and timely, more than just thrown into casual conversation, as in so many movies. Take your older kids. They will be entertained while learning something about history and geography, as well as some of the less obvious costs of war. My 16 year old daughter loved it as did I and my 80 year old mother. Can't say that about too many movies.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written byironkid21 May 18, 2014

Average World War II dramedy has its moments and boasts some great performances

I couldn't wait for The Monuments Men because along with it's really epic first trailer, it features one of my favorite movie duos, George Clooney and Matt Damon ("Oceans" Movies) and more awesome actors like John Goodman and Bill Murray! While it's not been very well reviewed by most, I didn't think The Monuments Men was that bad at all. Not that great either but still. I will admit though, that it was quite lacking in a few credentials like the what feels like an extremely rushed screenplay but despite that I can't say I was bored with this movie. The films' light tone while covering such a serious subject gets a round of applause from me for not getting too serious and giving quite a bit of funny one liners and great performances from its cast including George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, Cate Blanchett and John Goodman! They're performances are so great that it elevates the film in a lot of spots and have lots of great chemistry between some of the characters, particularly, Murray and Balaban and Damon and Blanchett! And the heartwarming conclusion left me in a good mood! Overall, I thought it was an okay movie that's a good rental at best!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 11 years old March 16, 2014

A Bit Disappointing, Good History Lesson

I thought that this would be better, as the topic is something I am interested in. There is some swearing, but only occasionally. The violence includes a disturbing scene in a hospital, with bloody patients all around. You also see 2 characters die. Claire Simone wants a man to stay the night at her apartment, but he doesn't. I thought that while the plot was weak, he actors were good.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing


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