Valkyrie

Movie review by
James Rocchi, Common Sense Media
Valkyrie Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Tense, violent WWII thriller offers lots to talk about.
  • PG-13
  • 2008
  • 130 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 15 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 34 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Extensive discussion of the evils of Nazi Germany, as well as of concepts like treason and ethics. Discussion of the difference between political decisions, military orders, and ethical obligations. Discussion of the Holocaust. The film's protagonist is seen wearing a crucifix and praying.

Violence

Extensive violence, including war action, bombings, and shootings; near the end of the film, several men are executed on camera by firing squad, hanging, or other means. A bomb is set off in a small meeting room. A man commits suicide with a grenade. A character prepares a suicide capsule as a back-up plan when confronted. Bleeding and bloody wounds. Soem shots of wounded soldiers. Other shots of the lead character's mutilated body and hand with missing fingers. Some shots of a wounded eye in a healed state. Discussion of torture.

Sex

Some kissing. A statue with nude breasts is seen.

Language

Language includes one use of "f---ng." Other words include "bastard," the ethnic slur "dago," and "whore."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Extensive, historically accurate smoking. Characters also drink hard alcohol and champagne.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this tense World War II thriller based on a true story includes plenty of unflinchingly realistic, bloody violence (both on and off the battlefield), as well as several on-screen executions. The film includes extensive discussion of -- and assumes a certain familiarity with -- the crimes and history of Nazi Germany and could lead to lots of discussion with teens about topics like ethics, following orders, and more. Expect some swearing, drinking, and smoking.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySamLucas March 8, 2020

This movie is great!

First off I enjoyed this movie, it was interesting, entertaining, and told a different story about the Nazis during WW2. The main characters are good role model... Continue reading
Adult Written bySamLucas March 8, 2020

This movie is great!

First off I enjoyed this movie, it was interesting, entertaining, and told a different story about the Nazis during WW2. The main characters are good role model... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byDan Stone August 11, 2018

Good for history enthusiasts

A very good film if you are interested in history and the second world war. Requires ful attention as it is a fairly tricky film to follow but the special effec... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old April 22, 2020
This world war movie is a story of passion and risking lives to save the future of the world. Although its positive messages it has much violence and shooting,h... Continue reading

What's the story?

In 1943, wounded German officer Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise) comes home from service in Africa to serve in the Ministry of Defense in Berlin. There, a secret cabal of officers, civic leaders, and ex-military men inducts him into a secret plot to not only seize control of the German government, but also to kill German dictator Adolf Hitler. As the advancing Allies come closer and closer to Berlin, von Stauffenberg and his co-conspirators must act boldly without being discovered, risking certain death against the possibility that Germany might be released from the yoke of Nazi rule.

Is it any good?

Directed by Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, Superman Returns), VALKYRIE turns a lesser-known historical footnote into a gripping, well-executed thriller. Cruise is surrounded by a terrific cast (including Kenneth Branagh, Terrence Stamp, and Bill Nighy) as his co-conspirators, while Oscar nominee Tom Wilkinson plays a military commander trying to play both sides. After years of seeing German officers presented as bad guys in films, wrapping your head around the concept of German military men opposed to Hitler and his rule -- so opposed that they're willing to risk their lives and those of everyone they know -- is a tricky challenge.

Cruise is easy to watch -- von Stauffenberg is a cool customer constantly in danger of having the situation explode in his face -- but the real star of the film is Singer's superbly executed direction and engaging technical skill. Aided by Christopher McQuarrie and Nathan Alexander's screenplay, Singer pulls an unexpected amount of suspense out of a story with a foregone conclusion; we know the conspirators didn't succeed. But there's plenty of tension to be found in showing how they tried -- and exactly how they failed. Valkyrie is a remarkably well-crafted thriller with plenty of food for thought between the explosions and ticking-clock suspense.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the film's central conflict between political decisions, military procedure, and ethical imperatives. While the men who plotted to kill Hitler were guilty of treason, were they working toward a greater good? Do their ends justify their means? How would the second World War have gone differently if they (or someone else) had succeeded in assassinating Hitler? Families can also discuss the film's use of American and English actors to play German citizens -- a Hollywood tradition, to be sure, but also a curious phenomenon. Does it make the movie less believable? Why or why not?

Movie details

For kids who love thrillers

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