The Sentinel

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
The Sentinel Movie Poster Image
Decent thriller with crisp performances. Teens OK.
  • PG-13
  • 2006
  • 108 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 4 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The villains outnumber the heroes, but heroes are mostly stalwart (save for the adulterers).


Shootings (body appears from overhead, blood on sidewalk beneath; another appears with blood on chest), chasing/running, knifing, explosions (Marine One, Presidential helicopter, shot down by missile); major, extended shootout at end, with President trapped in hotel stairwell and multiple bodies dropped.


A woman's bottom appears in close-up as she walks; a brief, passionate sex scene, with woman's blouse unbuttoned and kissing/embracing; discussion of illicit affair between First Lady and her Secret Service protector.


Minor language ("hell"), obscene finger gesture.


Starbucks, brand-stores in mall (Subway, Seattle's Best, Radio Shack).

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Ashtray filled with cigarette butts; question when an informant demands a million dollars: "What are you smoking?!" First Lady drinks whiskey.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie includes several high-octane action sequences, with multiple murders by shooting, knifing, and explosion. The violence can be aggressive and several bodies appear bloodied (including a man with his throat cut). Two characters engage in an adulterous affair, revealed when a third party takes high-tech surveillance photos. Some mild sexual references and language.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byDisney32135 May 31, 2021

The best Secret Service movie ever!

I think this is the best movie about the United States Secret Service that I have seen. Michael Douglas plays a guard who is accused of plotting to kill the pre... Continue reading
Parent of a 14-year-old Written byTsion August 1, 2009

Awesome Action Thriller...On Par With THE FUGITIVE...

This is an awesome movie. Jam packed with action, thrills, and edge-of-your-seat suspense, this is one of the finest action thrillers I've seen. Michael... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byTheresaL April 12, 2009
Teen, 16 years old Written bycyclone09 April 9, 2008

It's like the show 24, only in movie format

if you like the show 24, you will definately like this movie. it's really fast paced and exciting, and that probably suprises some people coming from a 15... Continue reading

What's the story?

In THE SENTINEL, Secret Service agent Pete Garrison (Michael Douglas) still has nightmares about taking a bullet for President Reagan. Assigned to protect the First Lady, Sarah (Kim Basinger) (with whom he is having an affair), Pete is stunned when a longtime friend (played by director Clark Johnson) is murdered on his front step. And he gets worried when a plot to assassinate the president emerges and he becomes the prime suspect. David Breckinridge (Kiefer Sutherland), who heads the Protective Intelligence Division of the Secret Service, is assigned to investigate the agent's murder, helped by newbie agent Jill Marin (Eva Longoria).

Is it any good?

This movie is quite pleased with its focus on boys' business, rendering it in terms that are at once clever, silly, and slick. The investigation leads to some predictable places, a set of would-be assassins with thick and also shifting Russian accents (they claim to be ex-KGB and threaten their mole's family with horrific violence), as well as several confrontations between David and Pete (including a chase scene on a ship and a verbal argument in Pete's apartment. Clark Johnson's direction is sharp, maintaining a quick-enough pace and smart camerawork, almost making you forget the preposterousness of the plot and easy-to-tell "real traitor." Shootouts and car chases make good use of DC locations and a G8 gathering in Toronto, though Pete's drive from Camp David into downtown Washington appears to take mere minutes -- impossible unless he's been zapped by a Star Trekian transporter.

The MacGyverish Pete out-gizmos his fellow agents with a few precise purchases from Radio Shack, and takes out a series of accented thugs to boot. More distractingly, his contest with Breckinridge never quite gels, as they so obviously admire one another, even with girls (the First Lady and the ex-wife) providing requisite hetero cover.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence that is so common in action movies. Is it realistic? Is it necessary to engage or thrill the audience?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

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.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate