War Game

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
War Game Movie Poster Image
Tragic WWI Christmas story with profound themes.
  • PG
  • 2004
  • 29 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Beyond the divisions of war and battles between countries and their armies, there is a shared humanity that unites us all.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Will learns to see the humanity in the enemy he has been sent to fight.


While not graphic, the violence and horror of war is strongly implied. There are sounds and images of machine gun fire, bombs, and injured soldiers.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters are shown smoking cigarettes and pipes in a historically accurate setting. While an officer talks on the telephone, there is a close-up of the phone, with a bottle of booze and a half-filled glass next to it.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that War Game is not a typical holiday story and those looking for a feel-good tale will be disappointed. The beautifully told short animated film is set during World War I and serves as a comment on war and humanity. While there is no graphic violence, much of the action is set in the trenches; there is gunfire, rats, bombs, and casualties. The subject matter could be too intense for younger viewers, but for those mature enough to comprehend the deeper meanings of Christmas and peace, War Game should provoke discussion about history, warfare, Christmas, and how the three are often conveyed in popular culture.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMonera April 25, 2017

Very poignant movie, great introduction about war for kids!

I think the movie is great for kids actually, despite the sad parts. It shows the harshness of war but in a much more toned down way than adult war movies. It i... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byAlex A. December 2, 2017

A great and interesting movie

This movie shows WW1 from the point of view of a boy, who leaved his home to fight for his country, showing how war does not bring winners, but destruction, it... Continue reading

What's the story?

It is the beginning of World War I. Will and Freddie live in the English Countryside, two teenagers happy to live on a farm with their parents and play soccer with their friends. But when their country declares war against Germany, they feel the call to duty just like the rest of their friends. Despite the protestations of their mother (Kate Winslet), Will and Freddie enlist and end up in the trenches of France. They learn the harsh realities of war, but when a German soldier on Christmas day leaves his trench to start a soccer game between the two rival armies, Will and Freddie jump at the chance to forget about war and fighting, no matter how bleak each army's future seems.

Is it any good?

WAR GAME stands apart from other stories set at Christmas in that it conveys a profound message about the true meaning of Christmas without sentimentality. In less than half an hour, this animated film presents deep lessons on the realites of war, what Christmas represents, and a historical snapshot of trench warfare in World War I. That being said, War Game is excellent, but is not typical holiday fare.

Based on a book, the animation is quite distinct, and goes far to contrast the innocent pleasures of youth with the horrors of war creating a deeply moving experience.


Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how warfare is represented in this film. How accurate do you believe this film depicts the realities of war, and how does it compare to other films about war?

  • What are some of the ways the film presents its underlying themes? How does the animation affect the story?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animation

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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