Finest hours, The

image for Finest hours, The

Short takes

Not recommended under 10, parental guidance recommended 10 to 12 (scary scenes)

classification logo

This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Finest hours, The
  • a review of Finest hours, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 8 March 2016.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 10 Not recommended due to scary scenes
Children aged 10 to 12 Parental guidance recommended due to scary scenes
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: Finest hours, The
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes
Length: 117 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The Finest Hours is based on a true story set in 1952. An oil tanker is stuck in the ocean during a violent storm and is split in two, leaving the crew stranded. The only people that are available to help them are four members of the Cape Cod coast guard.

Bernie Webber (Chris Pine), Richard Livesey (Ben Foster), Andy Fitzgerald (Kyle Gallner) and Ervin Maske (John Magaro) embark in a small lifeboat in freezing temperatures and over giant waves to save the oil tanker crew. Meanwhile, on the oil tanker, Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) is desperately trying to organise the crew to help him keep the boat from rapidly sinking. 


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.

Natural disasters - storms and shipwrecks; death; separation from friends and family

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.

No person to person violence but men are seen being thrown and injured as the small boat is tossed in the waves and the oil tanker breaks up.

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.

There are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of eight, including the following:

  • There are several anxiety-provoking scenes where the small life boat is struggling to get over giant crashing waves. It looks as if the crew might die at several points but they do not.
  • The scenes where the large oil tanker is crashing about on the waves and then breaks in half are quite scary. While the oil tanker is crashing about on the waves, inside the ship is being flooded with water and objects are being tossed about. Several crewmen narrowly miss being hit in the head.
  • A man is killed trying to jump from the oil tankers to the life boat. However, no blood or gore is shown.
  • The townspeople talk about how some men died in a storm the previous year and suggest that the coast guard are going on a suicide mission.

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.

Children in this age group are also likely to be scared by the above-mentioned scenes

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.

Children in this age group may also be scared by the above-mentioned scenes

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 for this age group

Product placement

Coors beer

Sexual references

Miriam and Bernie engage in light flirting

Nudity and sexual activity

Miriam and Bernie kiss twice

Use of substances

Social drinking at a bar

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Jesus and God used as profanity; jackass; screw; hell; shut up

In a nutshell

The Finest Hours is an inspiring action movie based on the true story of the US Coastguard’s greatest small boat rescue mission. It is an intense film which brings to life the force of nature and the risks taken by people at sea. The film is not recommended for children under 10 and parental guidance is recommended for children up to 12 due to the scary scenes.

The main messages from this movie are to trust your instincts, be brave and do the right thing.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss the importance of not blindly following authority figures and using your own judgement to make decisions.