Story

On 8 May 1945 the end of World War II is declared, and Londoners are out on the streets to celebrate. A Royal Night Out is a fictionalised account of what happens when the Princesses Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon) and Margaret (Bell Powley) leave the palace to join the party despite the concerns of their parents, the Queen and King (Emily Watson and Rupert Everett). 

Themes

War; drugs and alcohol; gambling; crime; death

Violence

There is some violence in A Royal Night Out. For example:

  • Because the movie is set at the end of World War II, characters talk about the violence of the war and people being killed. 
  • Elizabeth’s friend Jack gets thrown out of a pub.
  • When Margaret tries to leave a pub, the man she is with grabs her arm to make her stay. Jack punches him, and Elizabeth hits him over the head with a can so Margaret can get away. 
  • Soldiers hit a stuffed Hitler doll with pipes and sticks. 
  • Soldiers start punching Jack. They start to drag him off, but Elizabeth orders them to stop.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, A Royal Night Out has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under eight years. For example:

  • The movie shows many drunk people, which might be scary and confronting for children. 
  • There are many large crowds of people, who are shouting and drinking. The princesses often get lost in these crowds, which is quite scary. 
  • One of the pubs that the princesses go to is in a dark and scary part of town. When Elizabeth is walking down an alley, a man lunges at her and she screams and runs away. This part of town is described as ‘the murder capital’ of London.
  • Some of the scenes show buildings that have been bombed in the war.
  • One disturbing scene shows a dead horse being cut up for meat. 
  • Jack vividly describes the death of his friend in the war. This is sad and might be scary for children.

From 8-13
Children in this age group are also likely to be scared or disturbed by the scenes mentioned above.

Over 13
Younger children in this age group might also be scared or disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above.

Sexual references

A Royal Night Out includes some sexual references. For example:

  • Men on the streets often call the princesses ‘darling’ or ‘sweetheart’ in a provocative way.
  • There are frequent references to the men ‘getting some action tonight’ or having ‘certain expectations for this evening’.
  • The princesses meet some women who refer to themselves as ‘working girls’.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

A Royal Night Out shows some use of substances. For example:

  • This movie frequently shows people drinking alcohol and getting drunk, and also smoking. The princesses are 19 and 14 years old, and they’re also shown drinking. Margaret, who is 14 years old, gets very drunk and has to be pushed along in a wheelbarrow.
  • A man drugs Margaret’s drink, and she starts to feel dizzy and unwell.

There are also some scenes that show people gambling.

Nudity and sexual activity

A Royal Night Out has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:

  • There is a sex scene between an officer and three women. It shows the man half naked with a woman’s legs around his neck.
  • At midnight everyone starts kissing, and a stranger kisses Elizabeth on the cheek.
  • A soldier runs through a hotel in his underwear.
  • Elizabeth and Margaret enter a brothel, which is disguised as a pub. The mostly naked women in the brothel have only small amounts of material covering their nipples and genitals. 
  • Elizabeth and Jack kiss as they say goodbye.

Product placement

None of concern

Coarse language

A Royal Night Out has some coarse language.

Ideas to discuss with your children

A Royal Night Out is a comedy drama that gives an interesting insight into London on the night World War II ended, as well as an imaginary account of what might have happened to two British princesses that night. 

Adults and older teenagers who enjoy historical fiction are likely to enjoy this movie. Because of the movie’s sexual references, scary scenes and substance use, we don’t recommend this movie for children under 14 years. We recommend parental guidance for slightly older teenagers.

These are the main messages from this movie:

  • Accept people for who they are, not because of their status.
  • The future belongs to everyone, not just those in power.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include kindness, independence and acceptance of others.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about the:

  • history of World War II and its effects on society
  • difficult lives of teenagers growing up as part of a royal family.