War Dogs

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
War Dogs Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Humor mixed with guns, drugs, swearing in fact-based tale.
  • R
  • 2016
  • 114 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 11 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Much of the movie celebrates/laughs along with poor behavior, though eventually the behavior is -- for the most part -- punished. The movie is clearly also commenting on the relationship between war and profit.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Efraim lies to and cheats others, though he eventually pays a price. David is seduced into poor behavior; he enjoys his money and success for a while but ultimately decides that he values family and honestly above all. He's punished for his wrongs and rewarded for his change of heart. Women aren't presented with much depth or complexity.


Guns and ammunition play major roles in the plot. Guns are drawn and fired. Kicking, punching, beating, and slamming.


Naked male bottom shown. Scantily clad women dance in a nightclub. Several raunchy sexual references. Kissing. A man says that he's "with a prostitute" (but nothing is shown). A man answers his hotel room door with a scantily clad woman seen behind him.


Very strong language includes multiple uses of "f--k" and "s--t," plus "motherf----r," "a--hole," "bitch," "d--k," "c--k," "c--ksucker," "ass,"" "hell,: "tool," "retarded," "piss," and "cum." Middle-finger gestures.


Skype shown on computer screen.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Main characters regularly smoke pot and occasionally drink beer. Some cocaine sniffing. Drug dealers are shown. Some cigarette smoking; packages of cigarettes shown.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that War Dogs is an irreverent, fact-based comedy from the director of the Hangover movies about twentysomething arms dealers who landed a $300 million government contract in 2007 to supply weapons for U.S. allies in Afghanistan. So it's not surprising that guns play a large part in the movie's plot. And there's a fair amount of shooting, though very little blood or death. More often, characters are beaten up. The main characters also smoke pot frequently, as well as drink beer and sniff cocaine; there's also some smoking. Language is strong, with multiple uses of "f--k," "s--t," and more. Expect quite a bit of raunchy innuendo and sex talk, along with some other minor sexual situations, kissing, scantily clad dancers, and a naked male butt. Teens could be drawn in by stars Jonah Hill and Miles Teller, and though the characters' bad behavior is played for laughs, there are eventually (some) consequences for what they do, and the movie offers something of a satire on war and the economy that could inspire interesting discussion.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 12-year-old Written byMartha S. November 25, 2016

Great film for the whole family.

I think csm (common sense media) tells some fibs every once in a while. I recently watched War Dogs with my son and we loved it. I did not have to fast forward... Continue reading
Adult Written byJoey P. December 30, 2020

Interesting and fun movie

This movie was really fun the only reason it is 17 plus is because of severe language. If you watch without subtitles it will be hard to miss.
Teen, 14 years old Written byClorox bleach February 11, 2021

War dogs

I thought this movie was good and I recommend it.
Teen, 13 years old Written byLeonvol January 25, 2021

Scarface 2

This movie is soo funny . Jonah hill is played one of his best roles. The thing I like in this movie is that it has something funny almost every scene and the... Continue reading

What's the story?

In WAR DOGS, David Packouz (Miles Teller) is making a meager living as a massage therapist in Florida in 2005. When his girlfriend, Iz (Ana de Armas), announces that she's pregnant, David doesn't know how he's going to make it. That's when old pal Efraim Diveroli (Jonah Hill) -- who sells weapons, ammo, and other military equipment to the U.S. military overseas -- offers him a job. The pair's adventures take them to the Middle East, where they must physically drive a truckload of Derringers through Jordan to Iraq. But their biggest challenge comes when they win a contract to supply hundreds of millions of AK-47 bullets. A new contact (Bradley Cooper) sets them up in Albania, but there's a problem. Can the old friends survive this dangerous game?

Is it any good?

Gleefully irreverent, with a so-crazy-it-must-be-true vibe, this exuberant comedy manages to be wildly entertaining while simultaneously finding alarming cracks in the fabric of American society. Director Todd Phillips started decades ago with a punk rock documentary about GG Allin & the Murder Junkies, and he's at his best whenever he's able to keep up that kind of energy in his work (i.e. Old School, The Hangover, etc.).

However -- unlike the similar The Wolf of Wall Street -- War Dogs can't quite sustain its zing, and, like many Hollywood comedies, the humor flags as the filmmakers settle in to wrap up the story. De Armas plays an unfortunately typical "girlfriend" role, and there are a few too many rock songs on the soundtrack; perhaps tightening up those things could have quickened the movie's pace. But Hill gives a fascinating, hilarious performance as the consummate salesman who's as diverting as he is calculating, and Teller is a good match. As it stands, the movie is very funny -- and a little bit smart.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about War Dogs' use of guns and violence. Is there a detachment between guns and violence? How? What message does that send? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • How does the movie portray drugs and drinking? Are they glamorized? Are there consequences? Why is that important?

  • Can these characters be considered role models? What are their rewards? Their punishments?

  • What does the movie have to say about war, the military, and business in America? Does the movie inspire you to find out more?

  • How are female characters portrayed in the movie? What message does that send?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action and comedy

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