The New World

  • Review Date: May 8, 2006
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2005
  • Running Time: 150 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Poetic telling of John Smith and Pocahontas myth.
  • Review Date: May 8, 2006
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2005
  • Running Time: 150 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Old world and New World encounters are the subject of this movie. European settlers corrupt the land and abuse the Native peoples already residing in the "New World."

Positive role models

It is hard to call out anything in this film as role model worthy because of the incredibly culturally sensitive material being explored. Needless to say, wrongs of the past do not exist in a vacuum, and this film can certainly instigate a discussion between you and your teen about America's shared colonial past.


Battle scenes include explosions, spearings, shootings, and beatings.


Kissing and nuzzling in primitive setting; declarations of love.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some smoking and drinking by the Europeans; Native rituals involve hallucinatory images.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film is focused on a clash of civilizations, European and Native Indian, beginning in 1607. Depicted largely in metaphorical imagery of woods, fields, rivers, and the settlement called Jamestown, the movie shows the difficulty of intercultural communication. It includes battle scenes (with guns, spears, tomahawks, explosions, and bloody bodies), as well as long, lyrical (non-narrative) passages that might be uninteresting for some younger viewers.

Parents say

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Kids say

What's the story?

Ambitious and gorgeous, Terrence Malick's THE NEW WORLD revisits the myth of the circa-1607 romance between Captain John Smith (Colin Farrell) and Pocahontas (Q'Orianka Kilcher), revealing its characters' yearnings in landscapes and voiceovers. The romance occurs as Smith stays for months with the tribe -- whom the Europeans deem "the naturals" -- in an ostensible effort to help his own men survive, to win favor and learn strategies of living with the land rather than pitted against it. But even though Smith extols his hosts' communal values ("They no jealousy, no sense of possession"), he can't absorb them. Instead, he is bedeviled by his ambition, enticed by a new voyage to discover the Indies, leaving behind a lie for Pocahontas, that he's died at sea, so he never need return to her. Though she mourns for her lost love, she agrees to marry the solid, loyal, unexciting John Rolfe (Christian Bale).

Is it any good?


Malick's film is of two minds. On one hand, it refutes this pretty story by making Smith overtly a problem, an arrogant adventurer. On another, it offers poetic images to suggest she continues to love this white invader even after he abandons her.

Impressionistic as his films will be, Malick brings to bear on this saga a fascinated (and at times, fascinating) patience, as his camera wafts over natural woodsy scenes or dense rainfalls. Pocahontas warns John Rolfe, "There are things you don't know, things you could not guess." Ah yes, but her ripe mystery is so captivating that he can't not want her. However Rolfe or Smith or even you comprehend her, Pocahontas' tragedy is just this desire, that has so little to do with her.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the myth of John Smith and Pocahontas: given that she was probably 10 or 11 when they first met (and she saved him from death ordered by her father, a king), why might stories persist that theirs was a romance, based in mutual love and interests? 

  • How does this version differ from the 1995 animated Disney musical, Pocahontas?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 23, 2005
DVD release date:May 9, 2006
Cast:Christian Bale, Colin Farrell, Q'Orianka Kilcher
Director:Terrence Malick
Studio:New Line
Run time:150 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:some intense battle sequences

This review of The New World 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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  • 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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Teen, 16 years old Written bymoviefanatic411 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Good movie, but way too long

This movie is an excelent movie but 2 1/2 hours of walking around places is too much. It was gory durin battle scence but other than that it was okay. But kids 13 and under will get bored will all the nonsence. If you are learning it in S.S. they may enjoy it, but other than that, 14 and up.
Adult Written byChristc878 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

great historical movie

I like historical movies, so I liked this one.I showed a different picture of what the Jamestown settlement looked like than I imagined. I enjoyed the movie.
Teen, 13 years old Written byILuvCats November 3, 2011


I know it looks good but please don't watch it! When I watched this movie I was horrified! No site tells you that there are multiple scenes where sex is implied. The music in the movie is the same song played over and over again! This movie is not good to history! Don't watch this movie!
What other families should know
Too much sex


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