Chasing Great

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Not recommended under 10; parental guidance 10 to 12, due to scenes of sports violence and injury, and lack of interest for young viewers

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Chasing Great
  • a review of Chasing Great completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 25 October 2016.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 10 Not recommended due to scenes of sports violence and injury, and lack of interest for young viewers
Children aged 10 to 12 Parental guidance recommended due to scenes of sports violence and injury
Children aged 12 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Chasing Great
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild coarse language
Length: 105 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Chasing Great is a biographical documentary that tells the story of the rise to fame of New Zealand’s All Black rugby captain Richie McCaw. At the age of 34 Richie decided to retire at the end of the 2015 season, but wanted to go out with a bang by winning back-to-back World Cups, a feat that no team or captain had every achieved.

The documentary follows Richie through his final season as captain of the All Blacks, as well as providing a personal insight into Richie’s private life from growing up on a small town farm in New Zealand surrounded by family, then being sent to boarding school, winning a place on the All Blacks team, and finally becoming their captain.

The film provides anecdotes and reflections from family, friends and past coaches as well as depicting Richie’s struggle to cope with World Cup losses and how his response to personal failure made him stronger.  


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Sport and competition; fame; coping with failure

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • Throughout the film we see snippets of real life rugby games with rough body tackles and knocks. Some of this is shown in slow motion. A player is seen lying unconscious on the playing field following a rough tackle. Throughout the film we see brief images of players with bloody cuts to their faces, noses and ears, sometimes with blood running down their faces. In one scene we hear as past coach describe how Richie as a young boy knocked him to the ground when Richie tackled him, the coach fearing that he had broken a rib excused himself and went home.
  • An All Blacks coach talks about how when Richie first joined the All Blacks there was some tension between Richie and the other players and players warning the coach that they were getting close to bashing Richie. The coach had told the players that if anyone bashed Richie he would bash them.   
  • In the change room after losing a world cup, we hear reference to the change room as having the smell of death in a shed and hear the question asked “Has anyone fallen on their sword yet?

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • One scene depicts a fictional photograph of Richie as a giant caterpillar; we see the body of a caterpillar with the head of Richie McCaw. 

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In one scene we hear Richie talking about the loneliness of boarding school and wanting to go home.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Nothing of further concern

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

Nothing of concern

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Richie talks about having formed a relationship with a female sports personality and how the pair manage their relationship and sporting lives.

Nudity and sexual activity

Nothing of concern

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • One brief image of a family member with a serving tray of full champagne glasses; no one is seen drinking the champagne.
  • A brief image of supporters drinking beer at a game.
  • In one scene, in celebration of a victory, we see bottles of beer being shaken and the contents sprayed over players.  

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • cheating bastard; blimey; hell

In a nutshell

Chasing Great is an insightful documentary about an individual’s drive to succeed, and the personal challenges and pressures he had to overcome in order to be the captain of the All Blacks Rugby Team.

The film is full of positive life messages for everyone, not just sports players and fans. Rugby fans of all ages are likely to find the film entertaining and interesting but the film is likely to lack interest for younger children who may also be upset by the scenes of injury on the rugby field. It is therefore not recommended for children under 10, with parental guidance recommended for the 10 to 13 age group.

The main messages from this movie are:

  • Chase your dreams and never give up trying.
  • Make the most of every opportunity that comes along.
  • Competitive sports can help in developing a sense of identity.
  • Always look for bigger challenges as you develop

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Perseverance and self-motivation
  • Leadership

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • Richie talks about how men who come from his farming background are not encouraged to express their emotions or feelings. Parents may wish to discuss the effect this has on boys and men.