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 11 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
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
Adult Written bytim44 April 9, 2008

this movies was great and very realistic

nicholas Cage does a great job in this film. the violence is very graphic but realistic. lots of people are killid with gun. some are killed brutally and graphi... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008
Teen, 17 years old Written byMikeybooth July 3, 2011

Good War Movie, adults and older teenagers ONLY

Very bad language, almost nonstop use of f**k and other obsenities throughout, there is quite a bit of violence, but in all fairness it's a war movie. Many... Continue reading

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

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate