World Trade Center

  • Review Date: December 13, 2006
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 125 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Inspiring 9/11 account too much for younger kids.
  • Review Date: December 13, 2006
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 125 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Characters cope with traumatic circumstances with resolve, courage, and compassion.


A shot of the hole left by one of the planes shows flames; a tiny figure appears from a long distance, jumping/falling from one of the towers; scenes of the collapsing towers are disturbing (loud noises, chaotic editing, cuts to black screens); people emerge from towers bloody and dazed; TV image of United Flight 93 crash site in Pennsylvania; men lying beneath rubble are plainly injured (they have trouble breathing, lose consciousness, describe their crushed knees and other damage; a trapped man fires a gun into the air, then dies.


A couple appears in bed together during a white-lit, happy flashback (some kissing, much laughing).


One "f--k;" other profanity used by injured men.


Mention of Target, CVS aisles show glimpses of products.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters smoke cigarettes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film isn't appropriate for younger kids and may be too much for sensitive teens. It includes explicit images of the World Trade Center Towers collapsing, mostly from inside the buildings (with crashing/exploding sound effects). It also features potentially upsetting television footage and recreations of Ground Zero, the air filled with smoke and dust, with fires burning. Early on, you see a body falling from a tower (and cops' horrified reactions); later, several men are crushed by the falling building; one dies on screen, gurgling blood from his mouth as another observes (again, horrified). At the hospital the victims' injuries are visible (broken limbs, bloody faces). Family members waiting for news are tense and sad, and some argue; a woman cries about her lost son; a pregnant woman vomits; some characters smoke cigarettes and use occasional harsh language.

Parents say

Kids say

Is it any good?


September 11th remains a difficult day to remember, even as it's increasingly mythologized and recast in media images. While it may not be time for all viewers to see the images of devastation in Oliver Stone's World Trade Center, others will appreciate the uplifting point as it focuses on a small group of people to recount a vast tragedy.

Will and John's story is more effective than the heavy-handed representation of Marine Dave Karnes. A kind of military guardian angel, he looks at Ground Zero and proclaims, "It's like God made a curtain with the smoke, shielding us from what were not ready to see." It's an outsized, quintessentially Stoneian moment (think: Willem Dafoe dying with arms outstretched in Platoon), resolutely apolitical and burdened with mythic meaning).

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the relationship that develops between the two survivors, John and Will: How do they keep each other alive by sharing personal stories? How does the community get through the waiting and grieving? How do the kids react to their fathers' unknown status? How do their mothers answer their questions in ways that are honest and also comforting?

  • Families can also talk about their own recollections of the day and answer any questions kids may have about the tragic events.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 9, 2006
DVD release date:December 12, 2006
Cast:Maria Bello, Michael Pena, Nicolas Cage
Director:Oliver Stone
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Run time:125 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:intense and emotional content, some disturbing images and language

This review of World Trade Center was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 14 years old Written bySummerLuvr810 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
Teen, 15 years old Written byethandavid26 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
Parent Written byLt8810 September 13, 2010


Very, very disturbing and violent. Extremely depressing and traumatic. There are so many deaths and the profanity isn't the worst. Not recommended for 13+ and under.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing


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