All member reviews for War Horse

Common Sense Media says

Spielberg's sweeping horse drama is beautiful but intense.
 

Users say

(out of 74 reviews)
age 12+
 
Review this title!
Parent Written byclearbluemorning January 1, 2012
age 18+
 

This is a very disturbing movie, and not for kids.

I strongly urge parents to see this first before even considering bringing any children (any age). The movie was disturbing on many levels. The bodies being blown 20 feet in the air were graphic enough, but the tragedies happening to the horses were even worse and extremely torturous. I've read the horse was supposedly conscripted into the army, but actually the alcoholic father sold him after the game horse and son plowed his rocky land to save his farm after he drank up the payment again (plus he tried to repeatedly shoot the horse before that, so definitely a disgusting father image created). The mother is obviously an enabler of the father's alcohol use and tries to defend why he needs to drink, after he tried to kill the horse again). The war scenes show piles of rotting horses cast in piles after being worked to death or collapsing and then shot, and others' bodies littering huge fields after being mowed down by gatling guns. And then the torture and beatings and some cruel horse handlers, then hope that someone kind is going to help the horses, then a few minutes later that's gone and the horrors return. There is the scene of a 14 yr old boy and his brother being executed for desertion, the prolonged close-up viewing of a horse encased like a mummy in barbed wire...the face, the legs, the body, and the horse falling off the trench wall he tried to leap, landing on his back. And then he finally gets back to the British and they try to shoot him in the head just before his past owner finds him (owner temporarily blinded by mustard gas exposure and facing probable carcinogenous future. I spent much of the time saying Oh My God and debating if I should walk out or just keep frequently covering my eyes. I wish I had left. And the last ten minutes, when you think it's finally going to get some happier emotions going, you find out what happened to the Frenchman's granddaughter, so even that's spoiled. Despite a great score by Williams, and a "Gone with the Wind sunset" depicted at the end, this film might well give your children (and you) nightmares for a long time. I;ve had horses for decades, and see all the horse movies; this is by far the most horrific one I've ever seen. I cannot believe a director with children, knowing kids will probably go to this movie, would be willing to show these scenes to them. Be prepared to have some lengthy talks with the kids after seeing this. Better yet, skip it and go rent Secretariat or some other less horrific horse story. The few positive things in this movie are not enough to warrant showing it to your kids...or even you.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Parent Written byhoneyfox December 27, 2011
age 9+
 

Parents use own judgement for younger children

I am more controlling than most parents about what my kindergarten-aged boy sees but I did take him to see War Horse (he rides and shows horses). There were many elementary-aged children there since we live in a horsey area. I did some research and decided with preparation and subsequent conversation, he could see it. Honestly, I had no problem with the content in this movie. The worst parts were the trailers for other movies. The lessons learned in this story far outweighed the exposure to war scenes, and I don't allow gun play of any sort. Many young children are too sensitive to see these images but my son is very pragmatic and is sensitive enough to know war and violence are wrong but is not scared by the way Spielberg handles these scenes. For example, in the first charge, British cavalry use swords on German infantry. You see the rider slash with the sword and the person falls to the ground but you don't actually see the sword make contact. In the same battle, you see Germans get behind guns and shoot and then see riderless horses. Later you get a bird's eye view of the battlefield. He walks a fine line. In the end, I'd rather my son watch this than most of what is out there for children.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent Written byGifted Advocate December 26, 2011
age 10+
 

Awesome

Great movie for the whole family including Tweens, parents and grandparents. The war scenes were intense but toned down somewhat for children. Actually, a good movie for kids to get an idea of war was and is really like and how everyone, including children are affected. Amazing photography and visually beautiful. Bring tissues for mom!
Teen, 17 years old Written bydavyborn January 2, 2012
age 14+
 

This heart wrenchingly sad epic shows us that Spielberg is back on the top of his game, once again

Steven Spielberg's second holiday movie this Christmas is of course, War Horse. And, while I was greatly dissapointed, and still am with Tintin, this time around, I can happily and very gladly say that War Horse is yet another towering achievement for big time director Steven Spielberg. I really can't tell you how nice it is to know that a director such as Steven Spielberg is finally back on the top of his game, so even though I am still repressing Tintin, I know many people loved it, so I won't dwell too much on the past. and besides, War Horse is a beautifully made, powerfully filmed epic that had me wondering one of many questions throughout this masterpiece: Why do we not have enough World War 1 movies? Well, let's just hope to god that this movie will usher in a whole new legion of World War 1 movies. Spielberg directs War horse with such a good eye for touching, heartwarming and absolutely heart wrenchingly sad moments that it's just almost impossible for the vipers not to be completely lost in that little filmaking world of his. Still, despite the PG-13 rating that the film has been given by the MPAA, it is definitely not for young viewers or even very young teens: The movie starts off quietly and peaceful, and even lightheartedly, enough, but once the horrors of war begin, we see first hand what waited for them there, with extremely loud sounds of bombs being dropped and people dying everywhere filling the soundtrack, and with images of the dead and wounded filling the screen, these are extremely intense moments that could even be to much for some young teens, let alone tween's and children. Also, there is some infrequent drinking and alcohol consumption in the form of one particular and important main character, and finally, there is some infrequent but moderate British profanity throughout the movie, as well. So, if you wan't to see a real Steven Spielberg movie this Holiday Season, than skip Tintin and go see War Horse.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 11 year old Written bydpm December 26, 2011
age 11+
 

Excellent family film for older children

This movie has an excellent story line with positive messages. The main character is persistant and never gives up. The father does drink too much, but he is also loving and caring toward his family. There are many people throughout the film who show love and compassion toward the horse. This movie is very violent, and shows the realities of war. The ending is very inspiring and positive.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Educator and Parent Written byPbekk January 13, 2012
age 9+
 

Loved it, took my kids, no permanent scars.

I read the reviews here to see if I should take my 9 year old. While some were concerned, justifiably, about the movie's violence, I was pleasantly surprised that the message far outweighed the violence. After all, it IS called WAR horse! Considering the possibilities, Spielberg did a remarkable job of keeping the grittiness of war while still making the movie viewable by upper elementary kids. Besides, preventing wars by sheltering our children entirely from them is akin to preventing disease by never letting the kids out of the house: at some point, you have to let them build up immunity or they will be sitting ducks when they enter the real world. This movie is great fodder for starting discussions with your child. After we watched it, I asked my son if he had questions, and they were: why do they shoot wounded horses? And why did the soldiers take the grandpa and the girl's food? In the end, I was glad I went into this movie with my eyes wide open. If I hadn't had the background before going, I would not have enjoyed it nearly as much. And I was extremely glad to at least have a starting point to discuss war with my son. My only complaints have to do with some believability issues and the movie's length. But for a tweener with a decent amount of maturity, I wouldn't hesitate. The inaccuracies and suspension of belief are much more tolerable to the younger than they are to the older and wiser. I am a parent of a 14, 11, and 9 year old. I am a 20+ year teaching veteran with a Master's degree. I hope you have found my review helpful.
Teen, 16 years old Written byslash16 January 3, 2012
age 12+
 

war horse

its a very touching film that is great.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written byladybug798 January 1, 2012
age 13+
 

Beautiful, but lacking.

It's beautiful and stunning visually. The music is great. I was disappointed with the script. I found it a bit choppy. It doesn't have a good flow. It's 2.5 hrs long. Some scenes were slow and a bit dumb. I expected more heart between the horse and young man. It could have been better. The dialog was hard to hear and understand because of the accents. Because of the length and war scenes, it's more of an adult movie.
What other families should know
Great role models
Parent Written byBandksmom December 26, 2011
age 12+
 

Fantastic Movie for TEENS 12+

Great movie - BUT war scenes are INTENSE (not bloody but very realistic looking - and LONG), therefore, my recommendation is that this movie is for 12+ year olds only. The story is very heartfelt, but younger kids will be bored with the dialog and will not be able to sit still for the entire lenght of this movie. Don't be fooled that this is a "Disney-like" feel good movie - it is not. Beautiful photography and deep meaning. Teen boys and girls will like this movie.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Kid, 11 years old January 6, 2012
age 12+
 

oh, come on people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

oh, come on people!!! yes, i'm talkn' to all you other cridicts who did not like war horse!!!! THIS WAS THE BEST MOVIE I HAVE EVER SEEN IN A LONG TIME!!!!!!!!! WATCH IT NOW!!!!!!!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent Written byMovie_Mom January 5, 2012
age 13+
 

Awesome Movie!

A very good movie - the story was wonderful with Albert being what a yong man should be - hardworking and faithful. The war scenes were a bit intense, this is the only reason my youngest(8) will not see this until it comes out on DVD and I can skip those scenes. I highly reccommend this movie for teens - it was a story that kept you in it. A wonderful movie!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 12 years old December 25, 2011
age 12+
 

Sad as Heck

Very sad, very violent, and one of my new favorite movies.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent Written byGrandma S January 5, 2012
age 18+
 

Too Intense, Too Cruel, Too Violent, Too Long

This movie is way too intense for children. I covered my eyes during at least three scenes because of blatant cruelty to the horses. The war scenes are interminable - they simply go on forever. I was exhausted when I left the theatre. The movie was poignant but not enjoyable. If your teen is at all sensitive I would not let them see this movie. Another reviewer gave good advice when she suggested parents see it first and then decide how appropriate it is for your children.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent Written byThanksDad January 1, 2012
age 12+
 

Wouldn't have taken my son, but not why you think

I took my 8 1/2 son to see War Horse and had done some research ahead of time (at this website(YA!)). The violence was not prolific throughout. There was only one extremely violent scene towards the end were you see what the WWI trench warfare was really like. I talked with my son about it afterward and that seemed to be ok. He has seen Iron Man, and other more cartoon violence, but this one was more realistic. What I would have done differently in not taking him, is viewers really need to have a basic knowledge of WWI history to understand what is going on better. And not to just "you will enjoy it more if you know it, but it really doesn't matter", you do really need to know WWI history to know what is going on. However it is very basic history is what you need. It was between the England and Germany (know what there helmets looked liked) and time is spent is france (that is what her accent is so that is where they are). An 8 year old hasn't been exposed to that in school so I had to explain to him what each scene was because (spoiler, kind of) you follow the horse through the war. It was a very good movie but I wouldn't have taken him, had I known this.
Kid, 11 years old June 22, 2012
age 13+
 

An instant classic!

Amazing movie about war, loss, and love. Spielberg's best since E. T. There are some violent war images including abuse to horses and a horse falling onto a barbed wire fence. There are also explosions, dead bodies of two young boys, an execution, and other war related deaths. Most killings are off screen or implied. This movie is an excellent peace off work. An instant classic. There is no sex or language except for some mild flirtations. 13 + on pg-13 for intense sequences of war violence 2hrs and 22 mins
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent Written bymzing5 June 16, 2012
age 9+
 

It's a very good movie for people and children of all ages.

I read many of the reviews on this site before watching War Horse with my children (ages 5, 7 and 9). I was worried about how graphic the scenes were going to be, but I was pleasantly suprised. There were battle scenes and human/animal executions, but there were all very tastefully done. There were no close ups of blood and gore. My children are frightened easily by those things and did not cringe at all at this movie. In some cases, the horror of the war scenes were so well hidden that they had to ask me what just happened. For example, a soldier was riding a horse in one scene, and the next scene the horse was running alone with sounds of gunfire in the background. Frankly, I've seen more physical violence and inappropriate behavior in Bugs Bunny or Tom & Jerry cartoons than this movie. The kids also picked up on the courage of the horse, the compassion that it had for others and the compassion others felt for it. I was glad the movie was able to reach them on those levels. Those are the things they took away from the movie; they didn't focus on the violence. Overall, I think 9 yrs and up can watch it easily. It's fine for kids younger as well, but you may have to explain some parts to them. I highly recommend it.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Kid, 12 years old February 15, 2012
age 12+
 

Amazing movie!

There was a scene where Joey cut himself on the barbed wire but that is only rubber.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 15 years old Written bymoviefan115 January 23, 2012
age 13+
 

Poor Joey :(

Congratulations, Spielberg for you directed a movie worthy of the levels that made Schindler's List and E.T. timeless classics. Though it was too violent for a family movie, it's very beautiful, and has the right ingredients for a great film. The real star is Joey. He plays a horse so convincing, hopeful, and tragic that the Academy should give him an Oscar along with Winter, Uggie, and Cosmo. My only concern is that it may too be intense for younger viewers, but it will be an excellant choice to watch.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Adult Written by425182 January 23, 2012
age 18+
 

Don't see if you are an animal lover!!

What about the violence that happened to this horse? I am a grandmother and I walked out in the middle of the movie because I just couldn't stand all the things that happened to this horse. If you are an animal lover, please think twice!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 12 years old January 21, 2012
age 12+
 

Amazing Movie!!!

War Horse is an AMAZING movie.But it is rated PG-13 for a reason.The movie takes place WW1.It's about a teenage boy named Albert who has raised his horse,Joey,since he was a colt.When Albert's family hits hard times,Albert's dad sells Joey to the army.Albert then joins the army in hopes of finding him.Albert's dad frequently gets drunk.It also shows two young soldiers getting shot for going AWOL.(Why would they come after two boys???)And British soldiers invade a German camp,slashing at anybody in their path.None of the British survive(machine guns),except for the general,who gets taken as a prisoner of war.Horses get shot when they can no longer be used.Joey's friend since the beginning of the war dies in a very sad scene.One scene includes German missiles being dropped on the group of soldiers that Albert is in.GREAT movie,but plenty of violence.Pause before taking your kid to see it.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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