War Horse parents guide

War Horse Parent Guide

War is never a pretty thing and though sanitized in many ways, director Steven Spielberg's movie brings a more balanced but sobering look at World War I to the screen.

Overall A-

Albert (Jeremy Irvine) has a deep bond with his horse Joey. So when the animal is sold to the British Cavalry, the boy also enlists in the World War I effort, in the hopes of saving his equestrian friend.

Release date December 25, 2011

Violence C-
Sexual Content A-
Profanity B-
Substance Use C+

Why is War Horse rated PG-13? The MPAA rated War Horse PG-13 for intense sequences of war violence.

Run Time: 147 minutes

Official Movie Site

Parent Movie Review

War is never a pretty thing and though sanitized in many ways, director Steven Spielberg’s movie brings a more balanced but sobering look at World War I to the screen.

Before the conflict begins, Albert (Jeremy Irvine) lives in a pastoral setting in the English countryside where he and his parents (Emily Watson, Peter Mullan) eek out a living on a rock-strewn, tenant farm. Then one day in a match of one-upmanship fueled by alcohol, Albert’s father Ted buys a young horse at auction. Albert names the colt Joey and begins to train him for the saddle and plow. But with bills piling up, Ted sells the horse to Captain Nicholls (Tom Hiddleston) when the war breaks out. When the army sets sail, Joey is shipped to France along with the rest of the soldiers.

Too young to join the ranks, Albert vows to find his animal and bring him home as soon as he is able. In the meantime, Joey sees the confrontation from behind both enemy lines where he and the audience meet good and bad soldiers on either side.

Based on a fictionalized children’s book by Michael Morpugo, the battle depictions are much more graphic and intense than anything described in the novel. Prolonged portrayals of hand-to-hand combat involve bayonets, automatic guns, tanks, grenades and gas warfare. Humans, as well as animals, endure injuries and harsh treatment. (Two soldiers are shot for leaving their posts.)

Yet looking through the unbiased eyes of this horse conscripted to service, audiences will find sacrifices made by men and beasts fighting for their country’s cause. And in the middle of the chaos reigns the love of one young man for his horse.

Directed by Steven Spielberg. Starring Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, David Thewlis. Running time: 147 minutes. Theatrical release December 25, 2011. Updated

War Horse
Rating & Content Info

Why is War Horse rated PG-13? War Horse is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for intense sequences of war violence.

Violence: A goose chases people. A horse kicks a man and knocks him over. A man threatens to shoot an animal and mistakenly aims a gun at his son. A horse drags a boy. A woman threatens a man with knitting needles. Repeated intense scenes of war violence include shooting, stabbings and charging of soldiers. Dead and injured humans and animals are shown. Some blood is shown. Characters engage in trench warfare. Men are gassed. Medical personnel treat wounds. Two characters go AWOL and are later executed. Animals are worked until nearly dead and then shot. Explosions occur on the battlefield. A character uses a hand grenade. An animal is entangled in wire. Characters talk about people who have been killed.

Sexual Content: Young adult males make brief sexually suggestive comments. A man worries soldiers will assault his granddaughter.

Language: The script contains infrequent profanities and some name-calling.

Alcohol / Drug Use: A character consumes alcohol often and is occasionally portrayed as drunk. Other men infrequently drink and smoke.

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War Horse Parents' Guide

What compels Ted to up his bid against his landlord at the horse auction? What factors contribute to his actions?

Does meeting soldiers on both side of the conflict make this film different from many war movies? How does it make the story more realistic?

Albert says our lives are made up of big days and small days. How do big days change or impact a person’s course? What are some of the big days in your life?

This movie is based on the children’s book War Horse, by Michael Morpugo.

Home Video

The most recent home video release of War Horse movie is April 3, 2012. Here are some details…

Home Video Notes: War Horse

Release Date: 3 April 2012

War Horse releases to home video in a 2 Disc (Blu-ray/DVD) or 4 Disc (Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy) Combo Pack. These sets include:

- War Horse: The Journey Home

- A Filmmaking Journey

- Through the Producer’s Lens

- Editing and Scoring

- An Extra’s Point of View

- The Sounds of War Horse

Related home video titles:

The relationship between humans and horses is also explored in the films Black Beauty, Flicka, Seabuscuit and The Black Stallion.