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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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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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?
For kids who love drama
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.