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"THE FOG OF WAR"
(2003) (Robert McNamara) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Minor Heavy *Moderate Mild Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor None Minor None Mild
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
None Minor None Heavy Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Documentary: Former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara discusses his views on efficiency, war and his involvement in military matters regarding WWII, the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam.
PLOT:
In this documentary by acclaimed filmmaker Errol Morris, former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara discusses his personal and professional life as well as his views on efficiency, war and his involvement in military matters regarding WWII, the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're history buffs or just curious older teenagers, it doesn't seem too likely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For images and thematic issues of war and destruction.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • ROBERT McNAMARA appears as himself, discussing his personal and professional life where he admits to making mistakes but doesn't apologize for them regarding his involvement in military matters regarding WWII, the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam (that directly and indirectly led to many deaths).
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this documentary that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of a number of mild expletives, while some strong religious and colorful phrases are also uttered. Various bits of war-related archival footage is present (bombs dropping and exploding, planes being hit, etc.) with much of it seen from a distance and with no human aftermath. That said, there are some brief clips showing wounded and dead people, some with bloody/gory results.

    Some of that material may be unsettling for some viewers, as might McNamara's view of warfare and his involvement in various historical events. Beyond that, some archival footage also shows smoking and drinking. Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • McNamara talks about receiving a message from a man who was either drunk or under a great deal of stress.
  • There's mention of a person going out for a nightcap.
  • We see archival photos with wine and beer on a table where people were meeting.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see a brief montage of archival footage showing war wounded and dead, including a man who's missing part of the back of his head and other limp bodies being carried off.
  • We see a montage that shows brief and then split-second images of various war victims, with at least one being bloody.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Some may view McNamara as having a bad attitude for his previous actions that directly and indirectly led to many deaths in wartime (he only discusses them here).
  • There's material with FDR referring to the Japanese as "Japs" (during wartime).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Footage of warfare and its aftermath might be disturbing to some viewers as might scenes listed under "Blood/Gore."
  • We see a recreation of what McNamara reportedly did in testing car accidents where human skulls were dropped down stairwells to the floor below (to compare with why eggs don't break in their cartons - the visuals might be disturbing to some viewers).
  • There's talk, but no footage, of a Quaker who set himself on fire outside the Pentagon (and died) to protest the Vietnam War.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Bombs/Missiles/Nuclear bombs/Anti-aircraft guns/Rifles/Machine guns/Torpedo/Napalm/Tanks: Seen in archival footage including being used in wartime operations. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Hell of a fix," "Worked my tail off," "Dead-damn," "Damn people," "Wasn't worth a damn," "To hell with it," "You're crazy as hell," "Who in the hell?" and "A hell of a mess."
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A tiny bit of ominous music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 18 hells, 7 damns, 2 S.O.B.s, 4 uses of "My God," 2 of "G-damn" and 1 use each of "By God," "God awful" and "Jesus Christ."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • None.
  • SMOKING
  • We see footage or photos of various people smoking cigars or cigarettes in several scenes.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • None.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • How the information and details provided in this film relate to the current military actions in Iraq and elsewhere.
  • The meaning of the film's title.
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis.
  • The Vietnam War.
  • The Cold War.
  • The duties of the Secretary of Defense.
  • The tough decisions one must make as President of the U.S.
  • The comment that human fallibility and nuclear weapons will destroy nations.
  • The various rules that McNamara states a country must abide by during war as well as his questions: Are there rules to warfare? Does winning or losing a war make some actions taken during it moral or immoral? And how much evil must be committed in war to do good?
  • A military officer's comments that if America had lost WWII, we would have been prosecuted as war criminals.
  • There's talk of a Quaker who set himself on fire outside the Pentagon (and died) to protest the Vietnam War.
  • VIOLENCE
  • We see footage of bombs being dropped, machine gun fire from a chopper and anti-aircraft fire hitting a plane.
  • We see footage of a nuclear explosion (from a distance).
  • We see missiles hit and destroy an aircraft (from a very long distance).
  • We see a plane dropping bombs with resultant explosions (from a distance).
  • We see footage of another nuclear bomb explosion.
  • We see archival footage from the American Depression that shows people breaking windows in a building.
  • We see footage of more bombs being dropped and planes hit.
  • We see bombs hitting their targets (seen from very high in the sky) and there's talk of 100,000 women and children being killed (but we don't see any signs of that).
  • We see archival footage following a massive firebombing strike that shows complete devastation.
  • We see archival footage of various bomb explosions, a torpedo going through the water and then more bombing footage.
  • We see a brief montage of archival footage showing war wounded and dead, including a man who's missing part of the back of his head and other limp bodies being carried off.
  • We see a montage that shows brief and then split-second images of various war victims, with at least one being bloody.
  • We see troops carrying rifles while dealing with Vietnam War protestors. We then see shaky archival footage of pushing during such protests.
  • We see some napalm being fired.
  • We see brief footage of action from many wars, including machine gun fire in Vietnam and various troops moving across the battlefield in WWI with some dropping to the ground (presumably wounded or killed, but with no blood).



  • Reviewed December 3, 2003 / Posted December 26, 2003

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