The film Lone Survivor was released nationwide on January 10. We want to give parents all the resources to make an informed decision and offer as much advice as we can as you consider if your child should see this movie. While ‘Lone Survivor’ is rated ‘R,’ I know that this is a movie that I would have pushed my parents to see when I was younger.

Lone Survivor is based on the real events that took place in the book written by a former Navy SEAL who experienced the events first hand, Marcus Luttrel.

Basic Info:

Director: Peter Berg

Stars: Mark WahlbergTaylor KitschEmile Hirsch

Rating: R

Run Time: 121 min/ 2 hours 1 min

Is Lone Survivor violent?

Yes, this movie strives to give viewers a realistic reenactment of the events that happened in 2005. From the trailer alone you can see the intensity of the gun fighting as well as the bloody and beaten men. However, the movie is much more cringe-worthy then the trailer shows. The movie does not shy away from the gun fights in any way. You will see individuals being shot and the bullets going through bodies in several scenes. There is one scene where a soldier loses several fingers and you see his disfigured hand. While you should already assume the worst during the gun fights, I feel obligated to mention one scene in particular where a soldier is out of ammo and essentially at death’s door. As he is leaning against a tree, the Taliban keep their distance and try to shoot him from afar. They miss twice, but the third shot hits the soldier in the head and this scene is very disturbing. There is another scene early on in the film where the Taliban wants to make an example of someone who helped the Americans by publicly executing him by decapitation. There are two scenes in the movie where the soldiers need to jump down mountainsides. While this may sound inconsequential, they are two of the more brutal scenes in the movies. The camera slows during both these scenes to capture the carnage as the soldiers come into contact with trees, boulders, sharp rocks, and other parts of nature that tear at their bodies. One soldier suffers a compound fracture during this scene and you do see the bone coming through the skin. I’ve watched movies that have made me cringe before, but the realism and the brutality in this movie made it difficult to watch.

Is Lone Survivor educational?

The movie will educate you on the processes and training of the Navy SEALS. The opening sequence of Lone Survivor is a slide show of clips and images showcasing the grueling training SEALS must go through to earn the title. After watching this movie I had a newfound respect for our servicemen and women and the conditions that they willingly subject themselves to on behalf of their country.

The movie also depicts the citizens’ fight against the Taliban. It reminds the audience that not all Afghanis are evil and that many are Pro-American.

Is there foul language?

Yes. This movie uses the ‘F’ word in almost any way you can imagine, and it is used often.

Your child should see this movie if:

  • They have read the book. As violent as the movie is, it was based on a book. The book goes into much more detail about the SEALs training and the author’s personal story of why he wanted to join the Navy in the first place. The movie mainly focuses on one particular mission.
  • They have an interest in the military. The directors worked with the author (who has a small cameo in the movie) to ensure the movie was as authentic as possible.  The film has been praised for its accurate portrayal of the conditions for the military in Afghanistan.

Your child should NOT see this movie if:

  • They are uncomfortable with death and extreme blood and gore. I cannot stress enough how violent this movie is. There is gun fighting, hand to hand fighting, explosions, and murder.
  • This is a movie I would strongly recommend that you see first to determine whether or not you would allow your child to see it.

We will continue to add to the list of films we review for parents. If there are any films that you would like to know more about, please let us know in the comments.

Check out our post on other recent movies:

12 Years a Slave

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

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