We Are Marshall

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
We Are Marshall Movie Poster Image
Conventional football drama doesn't quite score.
  • PG
  • 2006
  • 124 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 13 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 14 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Students, players, and coaches survive guilt and grief; one upset father ensures the university president's firing (then feels bad about it); arguments between both coaches and players and coaches and administrators eventually work out. Lots of emotional expression.


Plane crash occurs in an instant (an electrical zap on screen), followed by black screen, then shots of flaming wreckage in the woods; funerals show weeping, upset familes; football action is hard-hitting (bodies slam, fall, fly through the air in slow motion, with loud sound effects); painful injuries (moaning, crumpled players); some emotional arguments (in one, a coach yells at, then pushes a player to the ground).


Brief, passionate kiss by cheerleader-football player couple at the start of the film.


Mild language includes "damn," "hell," and "s--t" (spoken in grief, excitement, surprise, and anger).


Falls City beer.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Students drink beer (they get drunk) and listen to rock music in an effort to get over their loss.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that tweens and teens who like sports movies may very well want to see this emotional drama, which is based on a real-life 1970 plane crash that killed 75 people from a small West Virginia university, including football team members and staff. The crash is rendered in an instant (as an electrical "zap"); viewers then see flaming wreckage in the woods as firemen shake their heads (no bodies, just sadness). Mourning, often angrily expressed, takes place at funerals, over meals, and during football practice. The film includes some iffy language ("damn," "s--t," and "hell"), as well as tension among players, coaches, and boosters. In one scene, players drink a case of beer, bonding in their drunkenness.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byerinw2 November 2, 2014
Parent of a 6 and 8-year-old Written bydsloanak March 7, 2009

inspirational film.

This movie appeals to teens and adults alike. I think it is a inspirational film about a tragic accident and how a town overcomes. Love it and recommend it as a... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byCoolpool785 September 24, 2018

Well made movie is a tear jerker

I recommend this movie to drama/sport movie buffs. I understand if some don't like it. It touches on possibly triggering/depressing topics focusing on a pl... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old June 17, 2017

A Heartbreaking Movie About A Tragedy Which Destroyed A Team

We Are Marshall is about In 1970, Marshall University and the small town of Huntington, W.Va., reel when a plane crash claims the lives of 75 of the school... Continue reading

What's the story?

Based on a true story, WE ARE MARSHALL focuses on the recovery of the Marshall University football team and the surrounding West Virginia community following the November 1970 plane crash that killed 75 team members, coaches, and boosters. Although he's scheduled to be on the doomed flight from North Carolina, Coach Red (Matthew Fox) does his assistant a favor, putting him on the plane and driving himself home, completing a recruiting run on the way. Horrified that his decision led to the assistant's death, Red quits football, assuming, with everyone else, that the university will disband or at least suspend the program. But then, according to the movie, some surviving team members (who were injured that weekend, and so not at the game) ask to reinstate the program. University president Don Dedmon (David Strathairn) gives in to their demand, eventually hiring a new coach, Jack (Matthew McConaughey), who provides the yin to Red's yang.

Is it any good?

Conventional in every way, We Are Marshall is stuffed full of meaningful music and montages, but it rarely overcomes generic clichés.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of sports movies. Why do audiences like them? Families can also talk about how the different characters in the movie deal with the tragedy. What's the best way to honor the memory of the dead players and coaches?

Movie details

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Themes & Topics

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