Munich: The Edge of War Parent Guide
The writing is taut, the pacing is crisp, and the tension doesn't let up for a minute in this historical thriller.
Parent Movie Review
In any list of catastrophically misguided utterances, Neville Chamberlain’s “Peace for our time” must rank near the top. Desperate to avoid war with Nazi Germany, the British Prime Minister had flown to Munich to meet with Hitler, sacrificing Czechoslovakian territory to avert a conflict. Returning home to jubilant crowds, Chamberlain brandished a signed non-aggression pact, reassuring the British people that he had achieved “peace with honour…peace for our time.”
Tragically, Hitler cared little for the agreement, describing it as a “scrap of paper”. Within a year, Hitler was on the march, and England was pulled inexorably into the vortex of the Second World War. Chamberlain has since been consigned to the dustbin of history, marked as a dupe or a fool, eclipsed by his legendary successor, Winston Churchill.
Munich: The Edge of War is a period drama set in the momentous days of September 1938. It centers around the fictional character of Hugh Legat (George MacKay), private secretary to Neville Chamberlain (played with weary pragmatism by the great Jeremy Irons). Legat is quietly ambitious, deftly waiting on the Prime Minister and absorbing increasing responsibility. His life turns upside down when MI6 (Britain’s foreign intelligence service) informs him that he must accompany the P.M. to Munich so he can meet with an estranged German friend from his years at Oxford. Paul von Hartmann (Jannis Niewöhner) has a critical document to share with the British and Legat is a natural choice to receive it. Legat, however, is not a natural spy, and as he travels to Germany, he learns just how dangerous Hitler’s Third Reich has become…
This film is a reminder that no one does period drama better than the Brits. The writing is taut, the pacing crisp, and the tension doesn’t let up for a minute, but it’s the casting that really shines. The UK’s acting bench is breathtakingly deep and this film’s talent doesn’t stop with Irons and MacKay. With secondary roles being filled by Alex Jennings, Nicholas Farrell, and Mark Lewis Jones, this production has a superfluity of talent. If you love historical films or spy movies or solid dramas, this is as good a choice as you’re going to find. And having it streaming for free on Netflix mere weeks after its theatrical release makes it an irresistible choice.
The only downside here comes with some negative content. Surprisingly there is very little on-screen violence and no sex aside from brief kissing. There is an extended scene of a university party involving excessive alcohol consumption, which is treated lightheartedly and results in significant intoxication. There is also some profanity, including two sexual expletives.
Content issues aside, Munich: The Edge of War, is a great choice for adults and mature teens who want a film that gives them something to think about. In particular, it brings Chamberlain’s legacy into sharp focus, and will likely spark heated debates after the movie about how this doomed Prime Minister should be assessed. Even viewers who aren’t history buffs will find the movie fast paced enough to keep them on the edge of their seats.Directed by Christian Schwochow. Starring Jeremy Irons, Jessica Brown Findlay, George MacKay. Running time: 123 minutes. Theatrical release December 31, 2021. Updated December 31, 2021
Watch the trailer for Munich: The Edge of War
Munich: The Edge of War
Rating & Content Info
Why is Munich: The Edge of War rated PG-13? Munich: The Edge of War is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for some strong language, thematic elements, smoking and brief violence.
Violence: A fistfight takes place on screen with people being punched, thrown, and pushed against a wall. A man spits in someone’s face. Jews are publicly bullied and humiliated on the street. There is mention of a woman being thrown out of a window and having a star of David carved into her back: this is not seen. There is frequent mention of war. A woman pushes and slaps her husband. There is talk of a political assassination: a pistol is seen. A soldier puts a man in a headlock.
Sexual Content: A married couple briefly discuss “going upstairs” in a hotel. Intoxicated university students kiss each other. An unmarried man and woman kiss; sex is implied.
Profanity: There are * swear words in the film, including a dozen terms of deity, four scatological curses, nine minor curse words, a crude anatomical term, and two sexual expletives.
Alcohol / Drug Use: There are frequent scenes of adults smoking, as would be historically accurate for the time period. Adults frequently consume alcohol in social situations. There is an extended scene of university students getting very drunk, urinating in a river, and kissing.
Page last updated December 31, 2021
Munich: The Edge of War Parents' Guide
What do you think Chamberlain’s legacy should be? Do you think he was right to sign the agreement with Hitler? Do you think he was duped or do you think he bought time for England to prepare for war?
Wikipedia: Neville Chamberlain
History Extra: Did appeasement cause the Second World War?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
The film is based on Munich, a novel by Robert Harris.
Chamberlain also gets a gentler treatment in Nicholas Milton’s 2019 work, Neville Chamberlain’s Legacy: Hitler, Munich, and the Path to War.
Churchill’s attempts to raise the alarm about Nazi Germany were largely ignored in the 1930s. He tells his own story in The Gathering Storm. The second of William Manchester’s three volume biography of Churchill, The Last Lion, focuses on Churchill’s lonely years as his warnings went unheeded and England’s rearmament programs lagged.
Related home video titles:
Britain’s preparations for war are at the center of Castles in the Sky, a true story about the invention of radar.
The British struggle to crack German codes during World War II, until they bring Alan Turing on board. The Imitation Gamedetails his brilliant solution – and his later persecution by his own government.
Neville Chamberlain’s nemesis and successor, Winston Churchill, is the subject of Darkest Hour, a film that follows the Prime Minister during the Dunkirk crisis.
Chamberlain’s determination to forge a peace with Germany arose out of his memories of the horrors of the Great War. To understand what shaped his commitment, you can watch 1917, War Horse, or They Shall Not Grow Old.