Windtalkers

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Windtalkers Movie Poster Image
War film relies too much on relentless violence.
  • R
  • 2002
  • 134 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 13 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Violence

Extreme, intense, graphic, frequent battle violence, character deaths

Sex

None

Language

Very strong language including racist comments

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking and smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie has a great deal of graphic battle violence and very strong language, including racial epithets. The Navajo characters are portrayed as patriotic, brave, and dedicated.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySam M. November 14, 2017

a very silly movie

Story is well intentioned with themes of prejudice, acceptance and breaking cultural boundaries. Altho its really basic in its construction. Basic in character... Continue reading
Adult Written byfears_91 February 9, 2009

wow

this movie is freaking awesome and should be seen by children. they need to see the sacrifices that were made by people so that they could have freedom
Kid, 12 years old September 6, 2019

Mature teens can handle this movie

fun and entertaining, but does rely on violence. also, there is profane language, drinking and smoking.
Teen, 13 years old Written byBob9274 April 2, 2019

What's the story?

WINDTALKERS begins as Sgt. Enders (Nicolas Cage) is caught in the midst of battle. He is injured and witnessing the deaths of his friends is slowly driving him mad. His hearing loss could get him sent home, but he stays to keep fighting. He and Sgt. "Ox" Henderson (Christian Slater) are assigned to protect newly enlisted Navajo fighters Pvt. Ben Yahzee and Pvt. Charlie Whitehorse, (played superbly by Adam Beach and Roger Willie, respectively) whose abilities with the Navajo code are essential in the war. Enders is noticeably disgruntled at his new duties, but through a series of events he gains a mutual respect for the men he must protect. And a tough, bigoted soldier (Noah Emmerich) learns that the Navajos are actually good people when one of them saves his life.

Is it any good?

Unfortunately, John Woo's film focuses too much on the complicated, half-crazed Sergeant Enders rather than the Navajos recruited as Marines to use their language as military code. The movie does a disservice to the men it is intended to honor by perpetuating their marginalization and making the much less interesting Nicolas Cage character the main focus of the story. The events are often predictable, and the dialogue is not very memorable with lines from the Navajos like "I've never seen so many white men!"

Windtalkers follows suit of most post-Saving Private Ryan war films and tries to make its point by dousing us with relentless violence. On the plus side, Cage, Slater, and a solid supporting cast of character actors are all dependably good, and it's interesting to see John Woo's distinctive action style put into a war film. The culture clashes are never boring, and scenes where a peace pipe ritual is carried out on a cigarette and Henderson duets on a harmonica with Whitehorse's wooden flute are handled with sensitivity.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the way that Enders and Yahzee change during the course of the movie. They might also talk why the movie makers chose to focus on the Nicholas Cage character, rather than the Navajos in the title.

Movie details

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