Story

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith begins in the last days of the Clone Wars in the upper atmosphere of the planet Coruscant. Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) fly their Jedi fighters into battle against the droid army of the separatist forces. The two Jedi Knights are trying to rescue Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), who is being held prisoner by the evil Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) aboard a Star Ship. After fighting several battles and destroying many droid warriors, Obi-Wan and Anakin finally reach Chancellor Palpatine and confront Count Dooku. After a fierce light sabre duel, Anakin defeats the Count.

Following Palpatine’s rescue, Anakin is reunited with his wife Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman), who is now pregnant. Anakin starts having nightmares in which Padme dies during childbirth. At the same time Anakin is torn between his loyalties to the Jedi Council and his loyalties to Palpatine, because both want Anakin to spy on the other. Eventually Anakin tells Palpatine about his nightmares and his fear for Padme. Palpatine suggests that salvation lies in the Dark Side of the Force – if Anakin learns about the Dark Side, he can bring Padme back from the dead.

Anakin realises that Palpatine is the Sith Lord the Jedi Council has been hunting for, and denounces Palpatine to the Jedi Master Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson). Mace takes several other Jedi Knights to arrest Palpatine, but Palpatine quickly kills everyone except Mace. Mace and Palpatine continue the fierce battle, and Mace eventually starts to win. But before he kills Palpatine, Anakin arrives and begs Mace to spare Palpatine’s life. Palpatine says that Anakin’s wife will die unless he survives to teach Anakin about the Dark Side. Anakin kills Mace. Anakin submits fully to Palpatine, who is revealed as the Sith Lord Darth Sidious.

Darth Sidious convinces Anakin that all Jedi are enemies of the Republic and need to be destroyed. Anakin attacks the Jedi in their temple, slaughtering everyone, including the Jedi Council and the Jedi children. At the same time, Darth Sidious orders all clone warriors to turn on their Jedi masters and kill them. Only two Jedi survive this genocide – Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda. Anakin is consumed by the Dark Side and swears allegiance to Darth Sidious, who makes Anakin his apprentice and anoints him Darth Vader.

Darth Sidious sends Anakin/Vader to the volcano planet Mustafar to eliminate the separatist leaders. Padme can’t believe Anakin has turned to the Dark Side and follows him to Mustafar. As Padme’s Star Ship lifts off, Obi-Wan slips onboard. Padme confronts Anakin, but he believes she has betrayed his love. In a fit of jealousy, he uses the force to strangle her into unconsciousness. Anakin and Obi-Wan then attack each other mercilessly. Their battle continues across the volcanic surface of Mustafar until Obi-Wan finally defeats Anakin. Anakin loses both his legs and an arm. Lava washes over him and he is is consumed by fire. At the same time, Darth Sidious and Yoda fight their own battle. Yoda can’t defeat Darth Sidious, and he and Obi-Wan are forced into exile.

As the movie ends, Obi-Wan takes Padme to the planet Alderaan where she gives birth to twins, whom she names Luke and Leia. Shortly after the birth, Padme dies. On the planet Mustafar, Darth Sidious retrieves Anakin’s burned, ruined and barely alive body. After his body is rebuilt, Anakin makes his final transformation into the cyborg Darth Vader.

Themes

Good versus evil; betrayal; jealousy

Violence

Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith is best described as a bloodbath of dismemberment, destruction and carnage. There are many explicit images of violence and brutality. For example:

  • In the opening battle between a Republican army and an army of droids, ships explode, pilots tumble through space, pilots go up in flames, dozens of droids are burned in an oil fire, explosions destroy buildings, and bodies are hurled against walls. Obi-Wan is pinned unconscious underneath a section of wall.
  • Count Dooku’s hands are cut off, and he kneels in front of Anakin, holding up his stumps (there isn’t much blood and gore). Anakin cuts off the Count’s head, and there is an ecstatic look on Palpatine’s face. (The decapitation isn’t actually shown. Dooku’s body falls to the ground, and his head rolls away in the background.)
  • Obi-Wan battles the leader of the droid army, General Grievous. At one point, Grievous tosses Obi-Wan around like a rag doll. Later Obi-Wan rips open Grievous’s chest to reveal a beating heart, and then shoots Grievous with a laser gun.
  • The scene where Mace Windu and the Jedi try to arrest Palpatine is dark and brutal. Palpatine looks like a rabid animal as he leaps from his chair, attacking the Jedi with his light sabre. He impales one Jedi, and slices another through the chest (there isn’t much blood and gore). Later in the scene, Palpatine’s body is consumed by bolts of electricity. His face takes on a horrifying mummy-like appearance as the electrical current runs through his body.
  • Anakin kills many defenceless Jedi children. He stands in front of a room full of young children with his light sabre blazing and a bad look in his eyes. A very young boy asks Anakin what’s going on. Anakin fires up his light sabre, and it’s obvious that he is about to kill the child. There are later images of the same room littered with the bodies of dead children.
  • Anakin/Vader ruthlessly slaughters several separatist leaders. The scene is particularly brutal, with Anakin/Vader portrayed as completely lacking in remorse. One separatist begs Anakin/Vader to spare his life, but Anakin cold-bloodedly looks at him before killing him.
  • Anakin uses the Dark Side of the Force to strangle Padme into unconsciousness. He looks at her in a hateful way, then raises his hand as though pinching the air. Padme grabs her throat gasping for breath and collapses to the floor.
  • The final light sabre battle between Anakin and Obi-Wan is brutal and vicious. Anakin/Vader strangles Obi-Wan. They punch and kick each other, and strike at each other with their light sabres. At the end Anakin lies on the ground at the edge of a lava river. Both of his legs have been cut off, as well as one of his arms. As Anakin uses his remaining arm to crawl up the bank, the remains of his torso catch fire. The fire starts at the bottom and works its way up until his ruined body is engulfed. Finally a wave of lava washes over his burning torso. The last image is of a completely ruined body with the flesh left raw, burned and smouldering.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

In addition to the movie’s violence, many of the loud explosions, gunfire and sounds of raging battle are likely to scare young children. Also, some images and scenes could scare or even traumatise children under eight years. For example:

  • There are many scary alien creatures.
  • The leader of the droid army, General Grievous, is a metal skeleton droid with four arms and human internal organs. He looks like a giant insect and changes from a human-like posture to a spider’s. His overall appearance is repulsive, threatening and scary.
  • The humanoid Tion Medon has sharp pointy teeth, a very high forehead and ornately colourful skin. He looks like an alien vampire.
  • Obi-Wan rides a monstrous creature that looks like a giant dragon or frill neck lizard. Although the creature isn’t at all fierce, it might still worry younger children.
  • There are some very disturbing and creepy visual images of Chancellor Palpatine/Darth Sidious. After being defeated by Mace Windu, Palpatine crawls away from Mace in an unnatural and frenzied way, a bit like a rabid animal. The way Palpatine’s face changes is also disturbing. At one point, he ages very fast and his face looks shrivelled, burned, grotesque, toothless and mummified. His face is permanently and grotesquely disfigured, and this is when he takes on the face of Darth Sidious.
  • Padme’s death after childbirth is upsetting. Darth Vader is clearly heartbroken when he learns that Padme has died. This could be very confusing for children.
  • Young children might be scared and disturbed by Anakin’s change into Darth Vader. Anakin’s growing addiction to the Dark Side is a bit like a narcotic addiction. As the Dark Side consumes Anakin, his appearance gets more sinister, evil and dark. He skin becomes shadowed, he wears darker clothing with his head covered by a cloak, and his eyes become darker until they take on a demon-like appearance. 

From 5-8

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above. 

From 8-13

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above. 

Over 13

Children in this age group might also be disturbed by the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above.

Sexual references

None of concern 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

None of concern 

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern 

Product placement

None of concern 

Coarse language

None of concern 

Ideas to discuss with your children

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is the story of a classic battle between the forces of darkness and light. In this movie the forces of darkness win. This happens both on an individual level – as Anakin Skywalker changes into Darth Vader – and on a galactic level, when the Galactic Republic is overthrown by the Galactic Empire. The frequent violence, scary scenes and themes make it unsuitable for children under 15 years.

If you decide to let your children watch this movie, you could talk with them about the following issues (especially if your children are teenagers):

  • how and why the Dark Side of the Force corrupts Anakin and changes him into the opposite of what he values and believes in
  • how and why Anakin gets addicted to dark power and how it affects his life and the people around him
  • how Anakin justifies his betrayal of his closest friends and the murder of innocent people
  • how Anakin is used and manipulated by the Dark Side, and especially by Palpatine.