War Horse 2011 (PG-13)

 

A touching story about a young man and his horse who both end up being dragged into WWI.  Even though it is mainly a horse story, it still has some value for learning about WWI.  Let’s face it; there are so few WWI movies that anything new is generally an improvement over what is available.  The trench warfare depicted in the movie is fairly accurate with a few minor exceptions.  At one point Joey, the horse gallops down a long straight trench.  This is unlikely because by that stage in the war trenches were built with zig-zags to make it easier to defend against intruders.  There were also some mistakes in the way some of the artillery pieces were fired.  Finally, in one scene there is an East Indian officer who is apparently a Sikh.  The other British officers confer with him about tactics as if he were an equal using an improper title for his rank.  This is highly improbable in the racially charged climate of the British Colonial era.  All of the German soldiers are shown wearing the spiked helmets known as the pickelhaube because it looked like the handle on the lid of a pickle barrel.  These helmets were not used in later stages of war because they made it too easy to aim at the wearer because the spike would sometimes stick up above the top of the trench. 

The movie is not excessively violent and has very little profanity.  I recommend that a few battle scenes be shown to give the general impression of how difficult this war was for those fighting in the trenches.  It is not necessary to show the film in its entirety in order to gain some historical value from it.

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