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News of the World | 2020 | PG-13 | – 1.5.3

content-ratingsWhy is “News of the World” rated PG-13? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “violence, disturbing images, thematic material and some language.” The Kids-In-Mind.com evaluation includes an implied sex scene, a hanged man on the side of a road, a couple of gunfights ending with men being shot and some blood shown, several attacks by groups of armed men on a man and a girl, a wagon tumbling down a ledge killing two horses, discussions of the murder of Native Americans by settlers and soldiers, discussions of the murder and abduction of settlers by Native Americans, a sandstorm, reports of disasters, and some moderate language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.


In 1870’s turbulent Texas, a veteran (Tom Hanks) makes a living by traveling from town to town and reading stories to gathering crowds from newspapers from all over the world. When he encounters a 10-year-old (Helena Zengel) taken by the Kiowa people six years earlier and raised as one of their own, he inadvertently becomes responsible for returning her to her surviving family. Also with Ray McKinnon, Mare Winningham and Elizabeth Marvel. Directed by Paul Greengrass. Several lines of dialogue are spoken in Kiowa and German with English subtitles or translation. [Running Time: 1:58]

News of the World SEX/NUDITY 1

 – A woman lies in a bed wearing a night dress that reveals her bare shoulder and a man sits fully clothed in the room at a desk (it is implied that the couple had sex). We see a shirtless man’s bare scarred back to the waist.

News of the World VIOLENCE/GORE 5

 – A man on horseback finds an overturned wagon with bloodstains on the ground leading to a tree where a man has been hanged; we see glimpses of the man through leaves, with a sign attached to his chest that reads, “This is a white man’s country.”
 Three men on horseback chase a man and a girl riding in a horse-drawn wagon, which gets stuck on a rock, and the man with the girl push past it and try to hide between rocks: the three men find them, shoot at them, the man’s hat is shot off and we see blood on his head, and the men shoot back at each other while hiding among the rocks; a boulder is pushed down toward the three gunmen and one man is shot and falls to the ground (presumably dead), one man moves toward the man and the girl as the girl runs away, one man reaches for his gun and the other shoots him, and a gunman walks on top of a rock formation and the other man hides under the rocks and shoots him (blood sprays and the man is thrown). A man and a young girl run to a carriage to leave a town and two men hold guns on them; one man holds the first man, the other punches him in the stomach and kicks him when he’s on the ground, holds a gun to his head and when he cocks the trigger the gunman is shot from off-screen (we see blood as he falls back); a young man then shoots both men (blood sprays).
 A man and a young girl in a horse-drawn wagon drive along a sloping road, the man tries to slow the wagon by engaging the brake, but it snaps off and the wheel breaks, throwing them off the wagon and the horses and the wagon tumble over the edge (we see one horse dead and the other whinnies in pain before the man shoots it (off-screen). A man and a young girl walk through rough terrain and the girl falls to her knees exhausted; the man carries her and puts her down when he thinks he sees horses running on the other side of a ridge, not realizing that it is a sandstorm blowing toward them; dust and debris are all around them until the man collapses and cannot find the girl (they recover after the storm moves past them).
 Men gathered in a street fight and we see punches landing and men falling to the ground. Several men with guns surround a man and a girl riding on a narrow road; they are questioned and taken to a camp where people are shown skinning buffalo and treating their hides (we see many carcasses with exposed bloody tissue). Three men approach a man and a young girl and one man offers to buy the child; when the man refuses the offer and shoves one of the men against a wall, soldiers intervene and take the three men away. A young girl walks into an abandoned house, we see arrows in the walls, what looks like blood splattered on the walls, and bedding soaked in blood (we understand the girl’s family was killed there).
 A young girl is tied at the ankle to a post in the ground and a woman explains that the girl runs away; a man unties her. A young girl runs away from a woman and she and two men search for her in the dark and rain and one man finds her climbing a ledge to call across a river to a tribe of Native Americans walking on the other side; the girl moves close to the edge over the raging river below before the man grabs her and pulls her to safety. Soldiers approach a man on a road, take his gun and search an overturned wagon near him; they return his weapon and leave without incident. A man chases a young girl near where a man is found hanged and he grabs her by the arm, she screams and bites him on the hand. A man buries a man and places a cross in the dirt. A young girl screams and fights a woman trying to put a dress on her and the girl shoves her away (there are no injuries). A man wakes in a panic when he thinks a young girl has run away.
 A woman describes, in gruesome detail, the murders of another woman and her family by Native Americans and that they took a young girl who “thinks she’s an Indian now.” A man reads a document about a young girl stating that her family was killed and she was rescued from a Native American tribe after the tribe was attacked. A man reads an article about Texas being welcomed back into the Union if they agree to the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution and people in an audience yell and grumble and are confrontational with Union soldiers in the room. A man reads a newspaper article about a meningitis epidemic that killed 97 people in two months. A man reads an article about a ferry sinking and another about a railroad expansion. A man reads an article about a man dying and being buried and coming back to life just as a wedding was taking place in the churchyard. A man says of a young girl, “She has a wild look about her.” A man says of a young girl, “She’s got a curse on her.” A woman speaks to a girl and tells a man that the girl’s family is dead and that the girl’s hair is cut short because she is in mourning. A man complains about being a poor man fighting a rich man’s war. A man tells another man that they attacked men on a road and they, “Scalped ’em real good.” A girl sings about buffalo dying and that they should make a stand “or fall forever.” A young man says that a man shot his brother (we do not see this). A man reads an article about a coalmine fire that killed many men. We hear that a woman died from cholera and a man says that she died because of a curse on him and that her death was judgement for all that he had seen and done in a war. A man visits the grave of his wife and grieves.
 Men and women trudge through rain and muddy roads in a couple of towns. A herd of cattle is moved through a town’s central road. A shirtless man is seen with scars on his back. A girl puts coffee grounds in her mouth and spits them out making a face at the taste. Cleaned skulls of animals are loaded into a storage container.

News of the World LANGUAGE 3

 – 2 scatological terms, 1 anatomical term, 5 mild obscenities (1 mouthed), 3 derogatory terms for Native American people, name-calling (strays, rich Yankee-type, scum, demons, dummkopf, loud mouth), exclamations (I’ll be [mild obscenity deleted]), 4 religious profanities (GD), 4 religious exclamations (e.g. Thank God, Dear God, Thank The Lord, My God, God’s Curse On Me). | profanity glossary |

News of the World SUBSTANCE USE

 – Men drink from bottles in one scene.

News of the World DISCUSSION TOPICS

 – Post Civil War south, racism, Native American relocation, hard lives lived by settlers in the west, death of family, circle of life, rejection, family.

News of the World MESSAGE

 – In order to move forward you must first remember, and then make new memories.

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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