War with Grandpa, The

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Not suitable under 8; parental guidance to 13 (slapstick violence, adult themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for War with Grandpa, The
  • a review of War with Grandpa, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 8 December 2020.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not suitable due to slapstick violence, adult themes and some mild coarse language.
Children aged 8–13 Parental guidance recommended due to slapstick violence, adult themes and mild coarse language.
Children over the age of 13 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: War with Grandpa, The
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild themes and coarse language
Length: 98 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Ed (Robert De Niro) is getting older and his daughter, Sally (Uma Thurman), convinces him that it would be safer and better for him if he moved in with her and her young family. The only catch is that their house isn’t quite big enough for an extra person and it means that 11-year-old Peter (Oakes Fegley) has to give up his room and move into the dusty old attic. Peter is so annoyed by this that he declares war on his grandpa. At first, Ed ignores the declaration of war but after Peter pulls some mean tricks, he decides that he needs to retaliate, and the rules of engagement are drawn up. What starts as a series of witty and comical pranks soon escalates into total mayhem, and Peter and his Grandpa must find a way to make peace with each other. Not only do they find peace, they end up closer than ever.


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.

War; Family; Growing older; Slapstick comedy; Pranks and practical jokes.

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 frequent slapstick violence for comedic effect in this movie including:

  • A jar of marbles spills onto the floor and Ed, an elderly gentleman slips and falls roughly to the ground.
  • Ed kicks violently at a security guard who is trying to restrain him.
  • Sally chases after a teenage boy. Pins him to the ground and holds her fist up to his face as if she is about to punch him.
  • Peter hides explosives in a chair and it detonates whilst an elderly man is sitting in it, shooting him high into the air.
  • A very rough game of dodge ball where people get hit frequently and hard.
  • When Ed gets quick-set filler on his face and it starts to go hard, he begins hitting himself in the face to try and get it to come off.

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:

  • The mother is terrified when she discovers a snake in the car.
  • Peter sees a mouse in the attic room and is also spooked by a bird flying in.
  • There is a school bully who does mean things to Peter and speaks to him in a teasing and mean way.

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 addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Children of this age are unlikely to find this film scary, but may find the level of violence in the pranks (which are quite mean) a bit disturbing.

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.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • Children of this age are unlikely to find this film scary, but may find the level of violence in the pranks (which are quite mean) a bit disturbing.

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 further of concern.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references and mild romance in this movie, including:

  • Three older men walk in a park and one of them is ogling young women who are running past. One man says, “Those yoga pants are going to kill me”.
  • Ed starts a relationship with a woman he meets in a store. There is some mild flirtation and then they go on a date and are seen holding hands.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Several scenes where a character loses his pants and exposes himself accidentally.
  • A teenage girl is constantly berated by her mother for having her boyfriend around and apparently kissing him. In one scene they jump up from the couch as if they have been fooling around and don’t want to get caught. In another they are caught kissing each other passionately.

Use of substances

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

  • Adults spike their own drinks with alcohol from a hip flask.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Damn
  • Boobies
  • Dumb
  • Butt
  • Junk (private parts)
  • Hell
  • Wise ass.

In a nutshell

The War with Grandpa is a silly slapstick comedy that will give 8 to 13-year-olds a giggle. However, parental guidance is recommended for this age group as there is a lot of slapstick violence and pranks which in real life could potentially cause severe injury or death but seem to have very mild consequences in this film.

The main messages from this movie are that war is not something to be glorified and it only brings misery; and that different generations have much to offer each other.

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

  • Playing by the rules.
  • Learning to make sacrifices for the good of others.
  • Learning to compromise.
  • Standing up to bullies.

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

  • Why War should never be glorified.
  • What different generations can offer one another.
  • The real-life consequences of playing pranks and practical jokes that hurt or injure others.