The Pacific

Movie review by
Will Wade, Common Sense Media
The Pacific Movie Poster Image
Parents recommend
Intense drama for older teens about less-known side of WWII.
  • NR
  • 2010
  • 400 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 17 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 9 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The message of this show is clear: War is hell. The realistic battle scenes show the enormous human cost of battle, and show how even the survivors are rarely left unscathed.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The young men who went off to war demonstrate the entire range of reactions to battle, from abject cowardice to terror to noble self-sacrifice, though the main characters tend toward the latter. The soldiers might tease each other mercilessly, but when the bullets start flying they all have each other’s backs. Their fear during combat is entirely understandable, and their quiet bravery is often inspiring.

Violence

This wartime drama features numerous grisly combat sequences using machines guns, handguns, knives, and bombs. There are close-ups of mangled corpses and wide shots of beaches strewn with corpses and body parts. The battle scenes are very realistic, and the mayhem and carnage are all shown here.

Sex

Some episodes -- though not all -- include sex scenes, including female nudity. Soldiers often talk about missing female company.

Language

A good bit of swearing, including unbleeped uses of “f--k,” “s--t” “piss,” “screw,” and “bastard.”

Consumerism

A few mentions of specific products, including Ford cars and Johnny Walker whiskey.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Many characters smoke cigarettes, as was common in the era, and the soldiers often drink.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this powerful World War II drama, which follows a group of soldiers through the island-hopping campaign in the Pacific theater, includes realistic battle scenes that are quite intense, and show the confusion and terror of combat, as well as the terrible human cost. There are plenty of grisly images during and after skirmishes, along with a good bit of swearing and some smoking and drinking. The series is intense, and might be a bit too much for young teens, but it offers an unsparing look at war for older teens and adults.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byWhat About Now January 7, 2020

Powerful WWII drama is much better, much more brutal than Band of Brothers.

THE PACIFIC is an intense and powerful depiction of the grueling Pacific Theater of Operations during WWII. The miniseries is based on the memoirs of several so... Continue reading
Adult Written byAmateurMovieLover December 10, 2019

Amazing Series

I’ve Re-watched The Pacific several times over the years, and every episode is still as amazing as when I’ve first seen it.

The brutality of war, especially d... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byIn corruptible February 19, 2018

Pretty good for 16+

This TV show is quite enjoyable, with realistic violence and, I'm not going to say it shows what war is really like, because it could have been better with... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bylfbear13 February 16, 2018

Really Not For Kids

I pushed to watch this with my family and 14 year old brother, though I regret it.

For HBO War fans, know that the Pacific is far, far more graphically violen... Continue reading

What's the story?

When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, the youth of America rushed to enlist. Defending their country seemed like a noble undertaking and their spirits were high, at least until they reached the battlefields of THE PACIFIC. Most G.I.s understood the basics of the European campaign -- they knew the places where they were fighting and they felt like they understood the enemy, but the war in Asia was totally different. This stunning series follows three Marines, Robert Leckie (James Badge Dale), Eugene Sledge (Joe Mazzello) and John Basilone (Jon Seda) through the war, as they battle an unfamiliar enemy on tiny islands that nobody had ever heard of. As they work their way closer to Japan, the boys who enlisted become combat-hardened men, and learn that the horrors of war exact a heavy toll even on those who survive unscathed.

Is it any good?

This gritty film is not always pretty to watch, but it’s an amazing look at an important chapter of history. The Pacific is the companion series to HBO’s Band of Brothers, which followed a World War II Army unit across Europe. This series follows the same format and comes from the same team, executive producers Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg. Based on books by actual veterans of the Pacific campaign, the series offers a realistic, and generally historically accurate, look at the other side of the war: the campaign that took place far, far away.

The series brings the viewer tight into the jungles of Guadalcanal and the beaches of Peleliu, where terrified soldiers faced off against the determined Japanese in some of the bloodiest battles of the war. The harrowing and realistic combat scenes showcase the horrors of war, as well as the often-noble reactions when ordinary soldiers go way beyond the call of duty in valiant, and sometimes vain, efforts to save their comrades. Yes, some of the moments are dramatized, but for the most part The Pacific paints an accurate picture of wartime life.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about World War II. Was it a just war? Was it necessary? What do you think would have happened if the United States had not entered the war?

  • How does this series, and especially the battle scenes, compare to some of the classic World War II films that often glorified combat? Why do you think there are so many more films about the war in Europe than the fights in the Pacific?

Movie details

For kids who love drama

Our editors recommend

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