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The Tragedy of Macbeth | 2021 | R | – 1.6.3

content-ratingsWhy is “The Tragedy of Macbeth” rated R? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “violence.” The Kids-In-Mind.com evaluation includes a couple of hugs and kisses between a married couple, several murders by sword with some blood shown, a man is murdered and his severed head is carried as a prize, we hear that women and children are murdered and see a child thrown to his death, a suicide, several arguments and threats of violence, mental illness, and some strong language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.


Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand star as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in this adaptation of Shakespeare’s Scottish play. It is a tale of ambition, murder, ruthlessness and madness, but also about struggling with one’s conscience and accepting the inevitability of fate. Also with Alex Hassell, Bertie Carvel, Brendan Gleeson, Corey Hawkins, Harry Melling, Miles Anderson, Matt Helm, Moses Ingram and Kathryn Hunter. Directed by Joel Coen. [Running Time: 1:45]

The Tragedy of Macbeth SEX/NUDITY 1

 – A husband and his wife hug and kiss in a couple of scenes. A woman lies back on a bed and says, “Unsex me.”
 A man sleeps wearing a nightshirt that reveals his partial bare chest.

The Tragedy of Macbeth VIOLENCE/GORE 6

 – A man with a sword charges toward another man that punches him in the face and shoves him to the ground; the other man is slashed on the cheek and he flicks blood on the other man’s face, dodges a sword strike and stabs the man in the back of the neck as he moves past him (we hear a slash and a crunch). Two men fight with swords, they slash and kick, until one man is slashed across the throat (blood sprays) and the other man is later seen carrying the dead man’s severed head. A man holds his hand over another man’s mouth; as he struggles to break free, the attacker stabs him in the throat and blood splatters on the attacker’s face (we see the dead man with a bloody neck wound) and we see two other man dead, lying in pools of blood in a neighboring room. A man slits another man’s throat and stabs another man in the abdomen (we hear a slash and crunch). Two men fight: one swings a torch and the other swings a sword, one a man is stabbed through the back (the blade pushes out through his chest) and he falls dead as he calls to a young boy to run.
 A woman is shown dead on the ground after presumably throwing herself down a long flight of stairs (we hear a scream). We hear screaming and see smoke filling the inside of a castle as two men enter a room where a woman tries to protect her young son; the boy is picked up by one man and thrown over a balcony into the flames and smoke below (we understand that everyone was killed and the property destroyed). A man threatens to hang a young man. Many men on horseback ride through a forest and a man calls, “Advance to war.” A man is shown on his knees and with his hands bound as another man raises a sword over his neck before pausing and offering the blade to another man, who declines (we do not see the man killed but hear a slash later).
 A man with a sword searches for a young boy hiding in a field and when he finds him, the boy breathes heavily in fear. Witches talk with deep growling voices in a few scenes; one witch moves like a bird and we see her limbs moving and twisting unnaturally, and she holds a severed thumb between her toes. A witch creates a potion in water, spits out a small severed finger (from an infant), and throws it in the water as a man watches and listens to what reflections of persons tell him. Three large blackbirds fly close over the heads of two men and squawk as the men duck. A man sees what he thinks is a dagger hovering in the air in the distance and when he reaches for it, we see that it is the handle to a door.
 A man talks about another man’s father being murdered. A woman calls out that traitors must be hanged as she tells her young son that his father is a traitor. A man yells, “Hang all those that talk of fear.” A man reports, “The queen is dead.” A man yells and seems to be imagining things that aren’t there in a few scenes; he yells and swats at a large bird until his wife opens a window and the bird flies away. A man yells and calls for a man’s property and family to be destroyed (including his children). A woman tries to convince her husband to assassinate another man. A man describes another man’s death and says that he was slashed from head to hilt and that his head was fixed on a pike. A man says, “Pluck out my eyes.”
 A man walking alone is shown with a trail of blood behind him; we see that he has a gash on his forehead and he falls to his knees asking for someone to help with his wounds. A man washes blood from his hands and dumps the water basin onto the floor while yelling. A woman collapses and a man catches her and carries her away. A woman walks in her sleep, washes her hands in water imagining that they are bloodstained, and wails deeply as a man and a woman watch her. A woman touches her hair and pulls out a clump.
 A woman lights a letter on fire after reading it and lets it float on the wind into the sky.

The Tragedy of Macbeth LANGUAGE 3

 – 2 sexual references, 1 scatological term, 2 anatomical terms, 9 mild obscenities, name-calling (killing swine, weird sisters, insane, devil, horrid, coward, dreadful, hags, witch, niggard, fools, mad fury, lily-livered boy, liars, traitors, fool, tyrant, hellhound), exclamations (great happiness, blasted, ah), 11 religious exclamations (e.g. devil, damnation, Heaven or Hell, God bless us, Beelzebub, Amen, God, God forgive us all, Good God, Holy Angel, merciful Heaven). | profanity glossary |

The Tragedy of Macbeth SUBSTANCE USE

 – A woman puts a sleeping draft into a man’s cup and he drinks it. People drink wine at a celebration.

The Tragedy of Macbeth DISCUSSION TOPICS

 – Love, betrayal, greed, ambition, fear, treason, trust, memory, secrets, guilt, suicide, malice, torture.

The Tragedy of Macbeth MESSAGE

 – You cannot escape your evil deeds.

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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