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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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 & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some kissing. A statue with nude breasts is seen.
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Language includes one use of "f---ng." Other words include "bastard," the ethnic slur "dago," and "whore."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Extensive, historically accurate smoking. Characters also drink hard alcohol and champagne.
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.