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"VALKYRIE"
(2008) (Tom Cruise, Bill Nighy) (PG-13)

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


QUICK TAKE:
Drama/Suspense: Various disgruntled officers and others attempt to stage the assassination of Adolf Hitler and takeover of the German government during WWII.
PLOT:
It's 1943 and Claus von Stauffenberg (TOM CRUISE) is a colonel in the German army who's been badly wounded in Tunisia. While proud to serve his country, he's come to dislike what Adolf Hitler (DAVID BAMBER), the Nazi party and the SS have come to stand for, as well as their actions. Accordingly, he's drawn the attention of Major-Gen. Henning von Tresckow (KENNETH BRANAGH) who's been leading the underground resistance movement against the fuehrer and even attempted but failed to assassinate him, barely avoiding being connected to one of many such plots. Undeterred, he and war hero Gen. Friedrich Olbricht (BILL NIGHY) recruit von Stauffenberg in hopes that he'll help them modify Operation Valkyrie, Hitler's plan to have a reserve army, overseen by Gen. Friedrich Fromm (TOM WILKINSON) and directly controlled by Maj. Otto Ernst Remer (THOMAS KRETSCHMANN), at the ready.

After sending off his wife, Nina (CARICE VAN HOUTEN), and their children to safety, von Stauffenberg and his personal assistant, Lt. Werner von Haeften (JAMIE PARKER), along with the assistance of retired Gen. Ludwig Beck (TERENCE STAMP), resistance leader Dr. Carl Goerdeler (KEVIN R. McNALLY) and Col. Mertz von Quirnheim (CHRISTIAN BERKEL), among many others, attempt to rewrite Valkyrie's operational status in 1944. Their goal is to make it appear as if the SS has assassinated Hitler and thus turned enemy of the state, and then use his reserve army to take out the SS.

Of course, that means they have to kill Hitler first, and with the aide of Gen. Erich Fellgiebel (EDDIE IZZARD), von Stauffenberg and von Haeften manage to make it into the "Wolf's Lair," hoping to get close enough to the supreme commander in order to set their assassination and coup plot into motion.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of anyone in the cast or movies about WWII, they probably will.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For violence and brief strong language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • TOM CRUISE plays the German Colonel, badly wounded in Tunisia, who's recruited by other officers and officials to lead a coup against Hitler and the SS. Despite knowing the potential consequences (that force him to send his family off to safety), he accepts and carries out that plan, determined to succeed at all costs. He uses a little profanity.
  • KENNETH BRANAGH plays another military officer who tries to kill Hitler (thus taking great risks for his own well-being) and helps convince others that von Stauffenberg is the man they need to complete their task. He smokes some.
  • BILL NIGHY plays a general who's also in on the plot, but is nervous about the overall plan, especially his direct involvement in evoking the now modified Operation Valkyrie. He briefly uses strong profanity.
  • TERENCE STAMP plays a former German officer who's instrumental in organizing the attempted coup.
  • TOM WILKINSON plays von Stauffenberg's superior who has inklings of the pending assassination attempt and does nothing to stymie it, but is quick to be against it once it's set into motion. He smokes some.
  • THOMAS KRETSCHMANN plays the officer in charge of Hitler's reserve army who simply follows orders, initially unaware that he and his regiment are an integral part of the master plot.
  • JAMIE PARKER plays von Stauffenberg's assistant who directly helps carry out the attempted assassination by bombing.
  • EDDIE IZZARD plays another officer in on the assassination attempt whose job is to cut off communication links in Hitler's compound once the coup begins.
  • DAVID BAMBER plays Adolf Hitler, the obvious villain and target of the attempted assassination plot.
  • KEVIN R. McNALLY plays one of the chief architects and leaders of the resistance movement.
  • CHRISTIAN BERKEL plays a colonel brought in to help with the plan. He works directly for Olbricht and is concerned about that man's hesitancy to execute their part of the coup.
  • CARICE VAN HOUTEN plays von Stauffenberg's wife who must take the kids and go off into hiding before the coup begins.
  • 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:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this dramatic thriller that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of at least 1 "f" word, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Briefly seen making out is observed, as is a briefly seen classic statue that shows bare breasts. Violence consists of a sequence of WWII fighting (with people wounded or killed), a bomb wounds or kills others, there's a suicide and another implied one, and retaliation killings (firing squads and piano wire hangings).

    Some of that has bloody results, and those scenes and various moments of potential peril might be unsettling and/or suspenseful to viewers. Various bad attitudes are present, as is some tense family material. Some drinking occurs, as does some smoking.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Von Tresckow and another man plant a bomb in a container of liquor to be given to Hitler as a gift, but they then learn that it didn't go off. Later, von Tresckow is called into a meeting with a colonel who's after traitors, and that liquor-bomb gift is on his table. He states von Tresckow should have a drink, but the latter declines the offer, saying it wouldn't be proper.
  • Miscellaneous people drink at a meeting.
  • People drink in a restaurant.
  • Beck holds a drink.
  • A General has a drink.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • After a strafing run hits his vehicle, we see von Stauffenberg unconscious with a torn up and somewhat bloody shirt.
  • We see a miscellaneous wounded man in a military hospital wearing a bloody bandage.
  • Von Stauffenberg purposefully nicks his neck while shaving, resulting in some blood on his neck as well as a little on his collar.
  • A man has dried bloody cuts on his face following an explosion.
  • There's a brief handgun battle in a hallway where von Stauffenberg is hit in the arm. Later, we see a trickle of blood down his hand where it drips to the floor.
  • Several conspirators are shot by a firing squad (with a little bit of blood at the immediate point of bullet impact).
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Hitler and his forces obviously have attitudes.
  • Although doing the right thing in terms of world history, those plotting the assassination of Hitler and related coup from the inside are obviously guilty of treason in the eyes of their government.
  • Someone refers to Mussolini as a "dago bastard" (the term is the potentially offensive part, not who it's aimed at).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" may also be unsettling and/or suspenseful to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • Von Tresckow and another man plant a bomb in a container of liquor to be given to Hitler as a gift, but they then learn that it didn't go off. Later, von Tresckow is called into a meeting with a colonel who's after traitors, and that liquor-bomb gift is on his table, as is a handgun (that von Tresckow warily eyes). Von Tresckow, however, talks his way out of that (without acknowledging what's in the gift) and leaves the office with that under his arm.
  • Von Stauffenberg and his family retreat to the basement bunker or cellar during a bombing run, where the sound of distant explosions can be heard and the lights flicker a bit. A big and loud one then goes off nearby, startling all of them.
  • Von Stauffenberg manages to get a brief meeting with Hitler in hopes of getting the latter to sign a change of orders regarding the reserve army (a pivotal part of the coup's plan). One of Hitler's cronies says it isn't necessary, and von Stauffenberg runs the risk of improper behavior by urging the fuehrer to take a look at the order (he does, and then signs it).
  • We hear that the bomb and its timing detonator are not precise, thus worrying von Stauffenberg as he's the one who's going to use that in a later scene.
  • Von Stauffenberg arrives at Hitler's "Wolf's Lair" with a bomb in his bag, but someone takes that from him and places it under the table at the meeting, thus worrying von Stauffenberg (who leaves to make a call asking if he should carry out the plan despite not all of the targets being there). When the meeting is over, and everyone grabs their bags, von Haeften realizes the bomb bag is gone, and thus panics, until someone hands him the bag, unaware of what's inside.
  • Von Stauffenberg and von Haeften hurriedly try to prep their two bombs, with someone repeatedly knocking on the door (and even trying to come in once), stating that the meeting with Hitler has begun and that they should hurry. Von Stauffenberg manages to get one armed, but someone takes his bag and places it under the table at the meeting (that's suddenly been moved to another locale, thus threatening to undermine the necessary physics and resultant effects of the pending explosion). A pre-planned phone call then gets von Stauffenberg out of the meeting, and he exits the building. We briefly see the explosion both inside the room (where the heavy desk and people are blown back) and outside it. Von Stauffenberg and von Haeften then drive away, with von Stauffenberg having to bluff their way past a checkpoint where orders are that no one is to pass.
  • An officer puts what's presumably a cyanide capsule in his mouth in case he's to be arrested and/or executed, but neither occurs and he then removes that capsule.
  • Von Stauffenberg and his conspirators' plan slowly begins to unravel, starting with phone calls not going through, and then word to Remer (who's immediately in charge of the Reserve Army) that Hitler is alive and that those behind the coup are to be arrested.
  • A conspirator holds an explosive under his chin (to commit suicide) and awaits the explosion, but the scene ends before that occurs.
  • All of the retaliation killings at the end of the film (listed under "Violence") might be unsettling and/or suspenseful to viewers.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Machine guns/Bombs/Fighter planes: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound or kill others and/or cause property damage. See "Violence" for details.
  • Guards carry machine guns in various scenes.
  • Von Tresckow and another man plant a bomb in a container of liquor to be given to Hitler as a gift, but they then learn that it didn't go off.
  • Von Stauffenberg's boys do some sparring with play swords.
  • Von Stauffenberg arrives at Hitler's "Wolf's Lair" with a bomb in his bag, but someone takes that from him and places it under the table at the meeting, and thus he doesn't get the chance to use it.
  • A conspirator holds an explosive under his chin (to commit suicide) and awaits the explosion, but the scene ends before that occurs.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "F*cking Berlin," "Damn thing didn't go off," "Whore" (not meaning a woman), "Balls," "What the hell /for/have you been doing?" "What in God's name?" "Dago bastard" and "You idiot."
  • It's possible the film could inspire troubled kids to try their hand at some sort of assassination attempt (not necessarily regarding someone famous).
  • Von Stauffenberg leaves one of his fake eyeballs in another man's drink to get his attention and force a meeting with him.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • Von Stauffenberg and his family retreat to the basement bunker or cellar during a bombing run, where the sound of distant explosions can be heard and the lights flicker a bit. A big and loud one then goes off nearby, startling all of them.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of suspenseful, ominous and heavily dramatic music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 "f" word, 3 damns, 2 hells and 1 use each of "Dear God," "For God's sakes" and "What in God's name?"
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We briefly see a miscellaneous couple making out (clothed) in a restaurant.
  • A briefly seen classic style statue shows bare breasts.
  • We see a shirtless male swimmer.
  • SMOKING
  • Von Tresckow and Fromm each smoke several times, von Quirnheim and Fellgiebel each smoke once, and a number of minor and miscellaneous characters smoke in several scenes, while one also holds a cigar and another kills a mosquito by burning it with his lit cigarette.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Knowing the potential repercussions toward him and his family should the coup fail or be detected before it's carried out, von Stauffenberg sends his wife and kids off to an undisclosed locale. Later, he makes attempts to contact them via the phone, but never gets through.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The historical accuracy and/or artistic license taken with the truth in this retelling of a true story.
  • WWII, Hitler, Nazism, the SS and such.
  • Von Tresckow stating that they (German officers) have to show the world that they're not all like Hitler and his cronies.
  • The comment that nothing is the best thing to do when there's no clear choice in a decision.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Planes drop bombs and shoot machine guns at von Stauffenberg's military division, with tanks and trucks exploding, and soldiers and officers wounded or killed, the former including von Stauffenberg. He then gets into a jeep or similar vehicle with another man in the back, when a fighter plane makes a strafing run headed directly toward him. The bullets hit people in the path and then his vehicle that explodes, sending him flying out, and we see him unconscious with a torn up and somewhat bloody shirt. Later, and a result of that, we see that he lost an arm, several fingers on his other hand, and an eye.
  • Von Stauffenberg and his family retreat to the basement bunker or cellar during a bombing run, where the sound of distant explosions can be heard and the lights flicker a bit. A big and loud one then goes off nearby, startling all of them.
  • We see an imagined view of Hitler's bunker exploding from a planted bomb, seen from the outside.
  • A bomb goes off inside a meeting, blowing back a heavy conference desk as well as people around it (very briefly seen).
  • There's a brief handgun battle in a hallway where von Stauffenberg is hit in the arm. Later, we see a trickle of blood down his hand where it drips to the floor.
  • A conspirator holds an explosive under his chin (to commit suicide) and awaits the explosion, but the scene ends before that occurs.
  • A conspirator is allowed to commit suicide by an arresting officer. He puts the gun to his head and pulls the trigger, and we hear the sound, but don't see any blood.
  • Several conspirators are shot by a firing squad (with a little bit of blood at the immediate point of bullet impact), while another is prepped to be hung/strangled by piano wire, with several dead people next to him having already suffered that fate. We also hear that hundreds more were executed, but none of that is seen.



  • Reviewed December 9, 2008 / Posted December 25, 2008

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