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From Here to Eternity Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 13+

Classic characters fight, drink, smoke, and have affairs.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that by modern standards of sexuality, language, and violence, this classic film would not be considered objectionable, however, it still contains highly intense situations, including the mistreatment and death of some of its strongest and most likeable characters. There are multiple scenes of bullying, fist fights, and knife fights, though none is bloody or gory. Even the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is only moderately violent. Airplanes strafe the military compound in wide shots; rifles, machine guns and artillery are used to fight back, but very little in the way of “hits” or aftermath is seen. Sexuality is limited to passionate kissing, embracing and references to adulterous behavior. There is a great deal of drinking, drunkenness, and smoking throughout; in almost all instances it is seen as acceptable behavior given the time (1941) and place (a military compound in Hawaii).

  • Families can talk about issues of class raised by the officer/enlisted man hierarchy as well as Alma's story of being romantically rejected because she wasn't a "proper" wife. How are issues of class visible in the military setting? How do these issues affect romances and other plot lines?
  • Another topic for discussion is Prewitt's refusal to box. Prewitt explains his refusal to the other men, but they refuse to listen. Did Prewitt have any better options for addressing this issue?
  • What do you notice about the difference between modern movies and classics like this one? How have times changed? How are cultural changes reflected in film?

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: This film sets high standards for loyalty, courage, and patriotism. The people who live up to those standards are deemed heroic and noble.

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: Military personnel range from evil to divine and touch on everyone in between. Typical to the period, women are portrayed only as subsidiary, romantic partners used to move the male stories forward.

What to watch for
  • violence false1

    Violence: Several intense fist fights, a struggle using a knife and a broken bottle, and a second knife fight during which one of the combatants is killed off camera. Another character dies after a severe off-camera beating. Given the scope of the action, relatively little blood is spilled and severe injuries are not shown. Scenes, including some newsreel footage, of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is limited in scope and takes up only the last 10 minutes of the film: machine guns and rifles are fired; airplanes strafe the military compound, bombs drop, and some bodies fall to the ground.

  • sex false2

    Sex: Though this 1953 film contains perhaps the most famous screen kiss of all time -– Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr in a passionate embrace on a sandy beach as the tide rolls over them- – it’s actually tame by today’s standards. The kiss lasts a few seconds and then the camera cuts away. Two intensely romantic relationships build strongly and result in scenes of ardent kissing. Everything else, including adultery, is hinted at or discussed, but not seen.

  • language false1

    Language: There are a number of ethnic slurs: “wop” and “Japs.” No swearing or obscenities.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Multiple scenes of drinking and drunkenness. The soldiers drink heavily while not on duty and most of the major characters bond while inebriated. Cigarette smoking is pervasive.