Barbarians

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Barbarians TV Poster Image
Solid historical drama has lots of violence, sex, cursing.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 17+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The tribes battle for Germania, but the friendship between Thusnelda, Folkwin, and Arminius is also central to the series. Themes range from loyalty to betrayal and vengeance. 

Positive Role Models

Thusnelda is a strong-willed and courageous woman who often challenges women’s roles in her tribe.  She and Folkwin believe in fighting the Romans, but Arminius must negotiate his allegiance to Cherusci and his former friends, and a childhood spent being trained as a Roman citizen and officer. 

Violence

Lots of brutal, bloody violence, ranging from whipping and bludgeoning, to beheadings and crucifixions. Many of these moments happen on screen, while the aftermath (including bloody wounds) of others is what is shown. 

Sex

It features strong sexual content that includes simulated sex scenes and nudity. Marriage, prostitution, and other related themes are addressed. 

Language

Profanity includes "f--k," "a--hole," and "piss."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The Romans drink wine, and ale is also consumed. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Barbarians is a German-produced historical drama series and is both subtitled and dubbed in English. It features a lot of graphic bloody violence, like stabbings, beheadings, and crucifixions. There is also plenty of sexual content, including simulated sex scenes and nudity. Marriage, prostitution, and other related themes are addressed. Strong cursing includes "f--k," "a--hole," and "piss." There’s some wine and ale drinking, too.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJujurjan November 2, 2020
Adult Written byIamSahil November 2, 2020
Teen, 16 years old Written byOzark2008 October 8, 2021

RATED17+violence,sex,nudity, language.

HAS LOTS OF SEX AND VIOLENCE SCENES,BUT AN AMAZING THRILLER.
Teen, 16 years old Written byiliketowatchtv October 31, 2020

A lot of violence, some sexual scenes and nudity

I think that the minimum is a mature 17 year old. There is a lot of violence, as to be expected. There are beheadings and crucifixions and throats getting slit,... Continue reading

What's the story?

The German series BARBARIANS (aka Barbaren) is a historical dramatization of the events that led to the Battle of Germania’s Teutoburg Forest in 9 A.D. Cheruscan noblewoman Thusnelda (Jeanne Goursaud) is about to be married off to a prince of a rival tribe in exchange for five horses and a strong alliance. However, she is already secretly in love with childhood friend and Cherusci swordsman Folkwin Wolfspeer (David Schütter). Meanwhile, the Roman legions in the region, headed up by Publicus Quinctilius Varus (Gaetano Aronica), continue to demand more tributes from the tribes. The events that transpire soon reunites Thusnelda and Folkwin with their long-lost friend, Ari (Laurence Rupp), now known as the distinguished Gaius Julius Arminius. As tensions increase between the tribes and the Romans, the Cheruscans realize the tribes must come together in unity if they have any chance of keeping the Empire at bay. 

Is it any good?

This compelling episodic drama offers a somewhat accurate depiction of what led up to the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, which kept the Roman Empire from expanding into Northern Europe. The story of Thusnelda and Arminius is based on historical figures, but Folkwin Wolfspeer is a figment of the producers’ imaginations, and creates a narrative designed to add to the drama. This, combined with the inner-workings of tribal politics, and interactions with the Romans, is easy to get absorbed in. 

This series also features all the brutal violence and sexual behavior one comes to expect from these types of shows. Cast members’ desire to avenge some wrong, their sense of loyalty, and their willingness to betray one another in exchange for power or survival, make for some important (albeit expected) events within the story world. But while not completely original, it is because of these characteristics that Barbarians is so absorbing. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the true story of Thusnelda and Arminius. What parts of their lives does Barbarians get right? Why do you think the character of Folkwin Wolfspeer was created? Does it serve its purpose in the series?

  • Why are there so many historical dramas that feature bloody violence? Why do people find it compelling? Is it possible to offer a dramatic TV interpretation of a battle or war without including a lot of violent imagery?

  • Did watching this series spark interest in learning more about the era? What other historical period dramas have you watched? Can you draw any similarities between them?

TV details

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