We Are Many

Movie review by
Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media
We Are Many Movie Poster Image
Activism docu may spark outrage more than inspiration.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 104 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

All about the power of protest, how change can occur when people come together to raise their voices. 

Positive Role Models

Offers extraordinary examples of compassion and teamwork across every stripe of humanity: people of every age, gender, race, religion, ability, career, and socioeconomic situation show up across the globe to try to stop the United States and England from starting a war with Iraq. 


News images of war, including bloody and/or lifeless bodies, bombs being fired, buildings burning, and adults and children crying among rubble. Discussion of what happened on 9/11. Police skirmishes with protestors.


A few uses of words including "ass," "bastard," "hell," and "oh my God."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that We Are Many is a documentary about the coordinated global demonstration that occurred on February 15, 2003, when millions of people took to the streets to protest the United States and Britain going to war with Iraq. The movie was made from a British perspective; for some U.S. viewers, hearing how other countries perceive the United States may be an unpleasant (but factual) surprise. The film shows U.S. and British military/political leaders admitting that the reasons for the war were doctored. Hearing that these governments intentionally lied to go to war could be unnerving for just about anyone, particularly a kid/teen. Facts about the war's heinous impact and body count are accompanied by images of bombs (presented in the context of children dying or losing a parent), bloody and lifeless bodies, and people crying in the streets. But the film also offers several positive messages about the power of demonstration and perseverance, as it points out that even though the global protest didn't achieve its first priority (stopping the war), it eventually led to other worthwhile outcomes. Expect some mild language, mostly on signs: "ass," "bastard," etc.

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What's the story?

On February 15, 2003, approximately 30 million people in 800 cities and 72 countries took to the streets to protest the impending Iraq War. It was the first ever global protest and the largest demonstration in human history. WE ARE MANY examines how a small group of organizers created a monolithic moment -- and how it changed the world, even if it couldn't stop the war.

Is it any good?

Check your goals before watching this documentary: For young political organizers, it may be inspiring, but for outraged youth trying to find their voice, it may be deflating. Yes, nearly 30 million people across all of the world's continents marched to show their opposition to the United States and Britain invading Iraq, recognizing the unwarranted death and chaos that the Iraqi people would absorb. But as history knows, President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair ignored the protestors' voices, and the ensuing war created a quagmire of unintended consequences. So any teens who are just getting ready to hop on the activism trail may find the movie a bit discourating.

All of that said, the message of We Are Many -- that a few regular people could organize something of such magnitude -- is earth-shattering. The protests created a passion for activism among many influential people who continue to change the world. And those people who did step out were proven right. Those are some of the threads in the pretty bow the filmmakers put on the protest to show it as a success; others are a stretch. The movie points to the United States and Britain consequently opting to stay out of the Syrian war as a direct result of the 2003 marches, but that's an apples-to-oranges situation. And the film's biggest drawback is that it buries a bombshell: A U.S. Defense Department bigwig and the lead UN weapons inspector at the time both say that the "weapons of mass destruction" ploy was intentionally cooked up. They say it was a deliberate lie that was knowingly pushed by top brass in the Bush administration. This revealing information is somewhat brushed over to keep the focus on the protest, but it's hard to focus on anything that's said after that admission is made. Add to that the fact that this documentary was initially released in 2014 and the powerful string-pullers in question still faced no consequences, and this film could just as easily extinguish the spark of activism as light it.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can discuss whether the global demonstration was a success or failure. If you deem it a failure, is there still value in documenting what occurred?

  • How does We Are Many promote perseverance, teamwork and compassion? Why are these important character strengths?

  • What does this film show you about groupthink and propaganda? What is the media's role when it comes to news literacy?

  • How does the kind of violence in this movie compare to what you might see in an action film? Which has more impactWhy?

  • What will you take away from this film? Did it inspire you?

Movie details

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