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The Winslow Boy Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 75

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    Mamet illustrates that he can work as capably from someone else's script as he can from his own, and that his talent as a director is not eclipsed by his ability as a writer.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Mike Clark

    In the movie's high point, (Jeremy) Northam conducts an antagonistic interview with the boy, who eludes well-placed lawyerly traps.

  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune John Petrakis

    A pleasure to watch and also serves as a reminder of a time when "right over might" was at the core of a powerful country's credo. [28 May 1999, Tempo, p.5]

  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Sixty seconds of wondering if someone is about to kiss you is more entertaining than 60 minutes of kissing. By understanding that, Mamet is able to deliver a G-rated film that is largely about adult sexuality.

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  • 91

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly

    This genteel period piece invites a typically Mametian tension between its characters' stylized manners and their underlying motivations.

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  • See all The Winslow Boy reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 9+

Dialogue-heavy period drama too slow for most tweens.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this period drama is almost completely chaste. An adult couple shares one passionate kiss, and there is some discussion about adults embracing romantically, but otherwise the film relies on subtle romantic tension. The pre-World War I setting references the military and the possibility of war, but only as a background element.

  • Families can talk about honesty. In the movie, the boy claims he is innocent of the charge against him. Have you ever been accused of something you didn't do?
  • How does the boy make his family believe him?
  • Why does the family sacrifice so much just to prove the boy's innocence?

The good stuff
  • message true4

    Messages: With no evidence to support the teen's claim to innocence besides his word, the family sacrifices significant time, effort, and money to uphold his honor. The message that children are to be believed and that their dignity is something worth fighting for is powerful.

  • rolemodels true3

    Role models: Each character is devoted to his cause and passionate about doing the right thing. The daughter is a suffragette and she defends her position with strength. She's clearly very intelligent and engaged in the legal process, and she's also able to realize when her prejudices have led her astray.

What to watch for
  • violence false0

    Violence: Background references to war and the military. A few emotionally tense scenes, including parents arguing in front of teen.

  • sex false1

    Sex: One brief passionate kiss between adults. One discussion about adult man fooling around with adult woman.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Near constant smoking, though in a historical context. The young woman prides herself on "indulging" in smoking cigarettes to prove herself a feminist. Occasional drinking by adults.