Parents' Guide to

The Pacific

By Will Wade, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Intense drama for older teens about less-known side of WWII.

Movie NR 2010 400 minutes
The Pacific Poster Image

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What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 18 parent reviews

age 17+

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 soldiers who served and follows the (mostly separate) stories of U.S. Marines Robert Leckie, Eugene Sledge, and John Basilone through their service. I have watched the entire show three times and it keeps getting better. War violence is intensely and graphically portrayed, with all the blood, severed limbs, and exposed bowels you would expect from an accurate portrayal of 20th-century warfare—plus some grisly surprises (such as a Marine casually tossing pebbles into the open skull of a Japanese corpse, with bloody rainwater splashing out with each hit—a gruesome spectacle that is actually described in Sledge's memoir). The combat scenes are loud and frenetic, thus capturing (as well as any film can) the confusion and terror of war. None of the violence is glamorized at all, but rather it is portrayed as terrifying, fast, and brutal. Language includes frequent use of f*ck and every other lesser profanity (no uses of c*nt as far as I have detected). There is some sexuality and some nudity (breasts, buttocks, and one non-sexual instance of male genitalia). Because it is often compared to BAND OF BROTHERS, I will say that THE PACIFIC has WAY more gore, profanity, and nudity, and is overall WAY more personal and intense. The show gives the clear message that no one leaves war without being seriously damaged, and it gives the impression in the end that the ones who live may be more damaged than those who fall. Soldiers struggle to hold onto their humanity, and become increasingly more brutal toward the enemy. The series really focuses on how the characters gradually become more haunted and traumatized by their experiences, and both their immediate horror and their lasting trauma are palpable. It’s a heavy downer, and I think this is a major reason why so many people prefer the more uplifting BAND OF BROTHERS. THE PACIFIC is less about the bonds formed among soldiers and more about the trauma of the individual. It is, therefore, both more difficult and more powerful than BAND OF BROTHERS. I highly recommend THE PACIFIC over BAND OF BROTHERS because it offers a much deeper and more powerful look into the individual lives of the men who fought and died for America in WWII. Also, I strongly recommend reading Leckie's memoir "Helmet for My Pillow" and Sledge's "With the Old Breed at Peleliu and Okinawa." Both are haunting and very personal memoirs that help to flesh out the stories of the marines even more.
age 13+

the pacific review

I am a captain in the Coldstream guards. I think the sex in the movie is not needed to make the film good but ignoring the sex the film is really explaining what real war is like. I think it is inappropriate for my youngest daughter but I think it is fine for the other two. so this is the point from a real soilder. hope I helped

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (18 ):
Kids say (12 ):

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.

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