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Miracle at St. Anna| 2008 | R | - 7.9.7

The film starts in 1983, with an elderly postal worker shooting a man buying stamps, seemingly for no reason, and moves to an incident during WWII when a small group of American soldiers found themselves stranded in an Italian village. The soldiers are black and they have to face not only the approaching Nazis but also racism from their white commanders. With Derek Luke, Michael Ealy, Laz Alonso, Omar Benson Miller, Pierfrancesco Favino, Matteo Sciabordi, Valentina Cervi, John Turturro, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Gandolfini, John Leguizamo, Kerry Washington, D.B. Sweeney, Omari Hardwick and Omero Antonutti. Directed by Spike Lee. [2:40]

SEX/NUDITY 7 - A man and a woman kiss, they remove each other's clothing (we see the woman's bare breasts and abdomen), they continue kissing and caressing each other and it is implied that they have sex.
 We see a man wearing a robe and boxer shorts (his bare chest and legs are visible), he walks through a room where a woman wearing a short negligee lies on a bed, and she invites him to join her (it is implied that they have had sex); he then sits on a chair in another room, she walks toward him (we can see her breasts and buttocks through the sheer fabric of the negligee), she straddles his lap and they kiss.
 A woman takes off her top to change (her bare breasts are shown), and a man watches and remarks about her beauty. A dead woman lies on the ground and her bare breast is exposed (an infant was apparently nursing and is now crying).
 Men and women dance together at a celebration.
 A man makes a suggestive comment by telling a woman, "Let me trim your garden," and a man makes a suggestive comment to a woman about the size of his endowment. A man makes a crude remark about a woman after having had sex with her. A woman over a loud speaker says, "I have two white biscuits here for you" (referring to her breasts). A young man makes a joking sexual proposition to a man.
 A woman wears a low-cut dress that reveals cleavage.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 9 - Many women and children are gathered in a square outside a church and they are mowed down by gunfire: we see blood spurt and bodies jerking as they are struck, a soldier then shoots those who are still alive with a pistol, and another soldier stabs a crying infant with a bayonet (we hear a crunch but don't see anything); the bodies are then doused with flammable liquid and apparently burned (we do not see the fire but we hear about it).
 A man is shot through the head (we see the entry and exit wounds and blood spurts out). Many people are shot while trying to hide from soldiers who follow them through narrow streets (we see very bloody wounds on bodies).
 A soldier is shot while walking through a field, blood spurts on a nearby soldier, others shoot back and forth, a grenade is thrown (a man's arm is blown off at the elbow and we see the bloody stump with exposed bone and tissue), artillery shells are fired and many soldiers are blown into the air (one man is shown with his legs blown off and we see one severed, blood covered leg and the blood covered stumps as the man screams). Many American and German soldiers are shot and killed (blood spurts and sprays) we see many dead and blood-covered bodies in a river after shooting stops and one dead body is shown with blood and brain matter on the back of the head.
 A man is shot repeatedly (we see bloody holes open in his body, he twitches and falls dead). Several soldiers are shot in a forest, and one is stabbed repeatedly after having been shot (we hear crunching and see the blows).
 A man cuts a man's jugular vein (blood spurts and the man dies) and slashes another across the neck. A man in a post office shoots a man in the chest (we see blood on his chest and he falls to the floor motionless), people in the post office run screaming and we see blood splatter on a counter. A man shoots a man in the chest during a heated argument (the man falls back dead and has a bloody spot on his jacket). Two soldiers shoot at each other, and one of them is struck and falls dead.
 A boy runs in fear and he is shot and killed (we see him with blood on his head and back). A boy is shot in the back (we see blood on his chest) and appears dead but he's alive.
 A jeep with soldiers in it explodes and burns, and another jeep is shot at and the two inside are killed (we se blood splatter on the windshield). A man drags a dead body down a stone path (we see a little blood on the body).
 Two men fight with punches and shoving. A man picks a man up by the throat and squeezes and the man gags and struggles (he's OK). Soldiers hold guns on each other and each side yells to convince the other not to shoot. Soldiers with guns enter a house and hold the civilians inside at gunpoint.
 A barn is struck a few times by artillery and a boy is trapped under rubble inside; we see him with a scratch on his face and he complains of pain -- there's a beam lying across his body but he's OK later. People throw many rocks and stones at the door of a house and call someone inside a murderer; a man comes out and fires a gun into the air causing the people to scatter screaming.
 Soldiers with weapons drawn walk through a field to the bank of a river. On a TV set a movie is playing and we see a soldier hanging from parachute strings -- he appears to be dead.
 We hear the voice of a woman over a loud speaker saying that white commanders don't care if black soldiers die and makes accusations that white men are raping their wives and children at home. A man talks about a boy having been trained to hate. An army commander refers to African-American soldiers as "waiters and shoeshine boys." We see posters with derogatory depictions of African-Americans and Asians.
 A man secretly spits in a water canteen, and hands it to another man who drinks from it. A man spits on a portrait of Benito Mussolini hanging on a wall. A man spills his coffee, drops his cup on the ground and it breaks. A boy licks a man's face and calls him a "chocolate giant."


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LANGUAGE 7 - About 22 F-words and its derivatives, 5 sexual references, 17 scatological terms, 8 anatomical terms, 27 mild obscenities, 19 derogatory terms for African-Americans, 3 derogatory terms for Italians, 1 derogatory term for the Japanese, name-calling (schmuck, wise guy, sniper bait, dummy, animals, uppity, murderer, swine, pigs, Uncle Tom, Loosey Goosey), 21 religious profanities, 10 religious exclamations.


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SUBSTANCE USE - People drink wine at a celebration. Men and women smoke cigarettes in several scenes throughout the movie.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - War, racism, miracles, heroes, legends, freedom, executions, war crimes, Nazism, Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Fascism, betrayal, sin, confession, love, terrorism.

MESSAGE - Revenge and justice are sometimes the same thing. Saving someone may eventually save you, even after many years have gone by.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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