Today’s Prayer Focus
Oscar®Oscar® Winner for Best Sound editing,
NOMINEE FOR: Best Picture, Actor in a leading role, Adapted screenplay, Film editing, Sound mixing


American Sniper

MPA Rating: R-Rating (MPA) for strong and disturbing war violence, and language throughout including some sexual references.

Reviewed by: Raphael Vera

Moral Rating: Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Adults
Genre: Action War Biography
Length: 2 hr. 14 min.
Year of Release: 2014
USA Release: December 25, 2014 (limited—4 theaters)
January 16, 2015 (wide—3,555 theaters)
January 30, 2015 (3,885)
DVD: May 19, 2015
Copyright, Warner Bros. click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Warner Bros. Copyright, Warner Bros. Copyright, Warner Bros. Copyright, Warner Bros. Copyright, Warner Bros. Copyright, Warner Bros.
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Warner Bros.

sniper protecting brothers-in-arms

how to face moral dilemmas

Copyright, Warner Bros.

war in the Bible

What is the Biblical perspective on war? Answer

physical and psychological toll of war

PTSD—Is it possible to shake-off Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as easily as Chris Kyle seems to at the end of this movie?

FEAR, Anxiety and Worry—What does the Bible say? Answer

Operation Iraqi Freedom

Navy seals

Copyright, Warner Bros.

death often comes unexpectedly

death and the final judgment

experiencing the death of close friends

fear of death

friendship and loss between men

murder of the real Chris Kyle on February 2, 2013 at a shooting range

SUICIDE—What does the Bible say? Answer

If a Christian commits suicide, will they go to Heaven? Answer

Copyright, Warner Bros.

IRAQ—What is the significance of Iraq in the Bible? Answer

Featuring Bradley CooperChris Kyle
Sienna MillerTaya Renae Kyle
Brian Hallisay … Captain Gillespie
Luke Grimes … Marc Lee
Jake McDorman … Ryan Job
Max Charles … Colton Kyle
Kyle Gallner … Winston
Brando Eaton …
Keir O'Donnell (Rodney Bingenheimer), … Jeff Kyle
Sam Jaeger … Captain Martens
See all »
Director Clint Eastwood
Producer Warner Bros.
Village Roadshow Pictures
See all »
Distributor: Warner Brothers Pictures. Trademark logo.
Warner Bros. Pictures
, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company

As a young boy, Chris Kyle is seen protecting his younger brother from a bully. Expecting to be punished by his dad, the elder Kyle, instead, explains that there are “those who are blessed with the gift of aggression and the over powering need to protect… the rare breed that live to confront the wolf,” and, in doing so, he predicts correctly Chris’ role to come as the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history.

A now grown up Chris (Bradley Cooper) and his brother are ranch hands by day, and rodeo cowboys on the weekend, when the sudden attacks of 9/11 change everything. Inspired to defend America, Chris sets his sights on becoming a U.S. Navy SEAL, while his brother, along with thousands of others at the time, likewise enlist in America’s fight against terrorism.

The rigorous and exhaustive Navy SEAL training is touched upon just enough to show the indomitable spirit of the men, like Chris, that refuse to quit and finally make it, to join this small cadré of elite warriors. Soon after graduating, he meets a girl who will one day be his wife, Taya (Sienna Miller). At first, she tries to stereotype him as just a typical SEAL, but one thing she says forces him to question, “Why would you say I’m self-centered? I’d lay down my life for my country.” When she asks “why,” he would do that, he responds with a matter of fact, “Because it’s the greatest country on Earth, and I’d do everything I can to protect her.”

After they marry, her struggles to raise their kids while he is away become as much a part of the story as the battle scenes from his numerous tours, so graphically portrayed that they will surely be the most talked about parts of the movie.

Based on Chris Kyle’s own autobiography, “American Sniper” director Clint Eastwood manages with painstaking realism to vividly capture the heart of a real American hero, faults and all, as well as a fleeting glimpse, because that is all it can ever be to someone not ‘over there,’ of the very real harm soldiers face daily, and the physical and emotional toll it takes on even those that survive.

Objectionable Content

Violence: Extreme. Soldiers and terrorists, including a young boy urged on by his mom, are shown getting maimed or killed by shots through the body and head via visible graphic wounds. Suicide bombers, explosions and fire claim many lives, although a scene where a terrorist, in order to make an example of anyone who dares help the Americans, starts drilling through a child’s head is perhaps the most excruciating to watch. Given the Middle East theater of operations, it is no surprise that the prevalent disregard for the sanctity of life allows such atrocities to occur. Upon breaking into one hideout, the remains of a tortured prisoner are found hangingm as are various body parts strewn about, including a head preserved by ice.

Language: Extreme. The following counts are approximates, as curses often came in barrages during firefights: “f***” (105), including 5 with ‘mothers’ added, “s***” (29), “a** (16), including “a**h***” (2), “bit**” (3), “balls” (2), “scum***,” “hell” (2), and God/Jesus’ name is taken in vain a total of 8 times. There are various sexual references made and implied (loose girlfriend, whor* preggers, knocked up, getting la**, blo*) and two other descriptions of male genitalia are said in a derogatory fashion. The secular world will argue for this by citing realistic dialog,™ but it remains both by God’s guidelines (Col. 3:8), as well as social norms, wholly inappropriate.

Sex/Nudity: No nudity is shown, with the closest thing being Taya breast feeding their first baby. Near nudity occurs more frequently. Chris’ early girlfriend is seen in her underwear, as she and her other boyfriend are quickly scrambling to get dressed, when caught by surprise. Taya sleeps with Chris before they are married and is shown in sexy underwear and later under sheets. She is also seen stretching her leg/foot under a table trying to excite Chris, and there is the playful banter alluded to earlier that, while normal for married couples, does not need to be included to convey their closeness. Adult subject matter, mentioned here and above, should preclude younger children and most teens from seeing this in theaters.

Alcohol is used by many of the soldiers while off-duty, and Chris, in fact, meets Taya in a bar. Toasts are made to the couple at their wedding, and Chris is seen drinking beer at home, though never to excess, and beer is later served at a barbecue.


The film opens with a Muslim call to prayer, setting the stage for the conflict to come. Although the United States does not have a war against the religion of Islam, the Islamic terrorists believe, with the encouragement of too many Imams, that they are justifiably waging a holy war against people of “the Book” (Jewish and Christian). This is a modern day example of what was prophesied in the Bible.

“They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God.” —John 16:2

A close friend of Chris falls in battle, and, at the funeral, his mother reads a letter he wrote before he died, referencing how he considers their effort a “wrongful crusade.” Chris’ opinion is, “That letter killed him.” I considered this a jarring wake up call that we all need to be fearless, or we will fail, whether it be on a real battlefield or the one that rages for possession of our heart, our mind and our soul, just as the Word of God tells us:

“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.” —Luke 12:4-5

Chris’ selfless character is inspiring when, in one scene, he leaves the relative safety of his sniper’s nest to help the Marines who are conducting the even more dangerous house-by-house search for terrorists. As Christians, this is a sobering reminder that we should all be prepared to do similarly to selflessly help others, if we are indeed to be called His.

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” —1 John 3:16

“For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone.” —Romans 14:7

Every time Chris is on leave, in-between his tours, the audience witnesses how the war affects him, as he is by no means exempt from a level of PTSD (post-traumatic-stress-disorder) that many other servicemen likewise suffer from. A psychiatrist recommends to him that the wounded at the VA (Veteran’s Administration hospital) could really use his encouragement, and it is there that Chris begins at last to heal. God would have all of us be in service to one another, and, in doing so, we will become more like the children of God he wishes us all to be.

“No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.” —1 Corinthians 10:24

“American Sniper” is a gritty, seriously realistic portrayal of a verifiable legend and director Clint Eastwood, to his credit, does not rely on expected clichés to make his point. A narrative that is, at times, uneven, it is still a compelling look at a very remarkable individual with a “punch to the gut” close that will be hard to forget. An admirable effort unfortunately marred by some heavily inappropriate content, I can only recommend waiting for a hopefully heavily edited, broadcast version before seeing.

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Moderate to heavy

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—I am a pastor and retired Army Infantry paratrooper. Let me start by saying the language is typical of the military and is offensive. The F bomb is used in just about every other sentence. This is also typical language of our younger people who are far from Christ. As far as the movie goes, it was one of the best I have ever seen and rivals “Saving Private Ryan.” The tension between an American with moral values and the evil he encounters is amazing. The movie truly depicts the majority of our military family and the desire they have to protect the world and each other.

Do not expect the world to act like the church. We are in the world, not of the world. There will be those that freak out over the language and violence. These are the sheep who will count the curse words, number of kills and act like there is no wolf. If this is you, stay home.

If you can look through this and see the heroism, dedication, and goodness of our men and women as they fight evil, please go. The theatre was full and at the end there was absolute silence as each person honored what they witnessed. Thank you God for those that stand on the wall of freedom.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
Rick Davis, age 63 (USA)
Positive—I must first say there was some profanity that was difficult to hear, but it was used to depict war in a realistic manner, therefore it was not gratuitous, like most movies these days. Other than that, I would say “American Sniper” was a great portrayal of an American hero. The movie was well made, with excellent actors who did a great job.

It was not just a war movie, but a human drama, and it did a great job of bringing the viewers to a place to understand what Chris and his wife, as well as other veterans, went through. Great movie if you can handle war scenes. Stay for the credits, as it will bring you to tears, but will make you proud to be an American.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Gloria, age 49 (USA)
Positive—This is easily one of the best movies I have seen in quite some time. I listed the morality rating as average, assuming this movie is for adults who know what to expect when seeing a war movie. There is a lot of violence, and some of it is extreme. The story itself is very compelling, and the acting is top-notch. It is very rare that a movie comes out these days with such high quality and the ability to tell a story, without tons of special effects. This movie reminded me of what our troops risk when they go to war, and I thank them deeply for what they do.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Jason, age 41 (USA)
Positive—I thought the reviewer did a fine job at communicating what to expect from “American Sniper.” However, I found the last paragraph aggravating. Yes, this movie is full of intense strong language and violence. You should keep that in mind, but be aware that Clint Eastwood did not fill the movie with offensive content for the sake of having it. Eastwood did an excellent job at turning a historically accurate book into a movie. The evil that is portrayed in the middle east is real, and I don’t believe it should be watered down. The language used is realistic.

As believers, it is important to monitor the content that we observe, but I don’t think it is right to water down reality. This movie may be a wake up to reality for some. For these reasons, I wouldn’t recommend anything but the restricted version of this film. I’m sure any TV version would still feature the majority of the film’s positive elements, but be aware that you will not see the film the way it is intended to be seen.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
Kellen, age 22 (USA)
Positive—I am the mother of three, youngest a son 16, and just watched this movie after listening to an interview with Chris” wife last night. I had a hard time sitting through the intensity of the movie, but am glad I did. My son wants to be in the military, and I wanted him to see the truth of what war looks like modern day.

I can’t stand all the foul language but recognize that is also a part of being in the military, and the stress of combat brings very relaxed manners and language. The ending was incredibly sad, but so powerful, and I am glad I was able to realize who the photos and video were of what I had seen on YouTube a couple years ago was for his funeral. The language I put as offensive so mothers would know not to bring their children.See all »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
Nancy, age 47 (USA)
Positive—“American Sniper” is the best, most insightful war movie I’ve ever seen. Yes, some scenes are difficult to watch, and, as a Christian, a mother, and a woman, I don’t like to hear profanity or view violence. But I understand this is a man’s movie and a window into war, and according to other reviewers who served, a very realistic representation of combat.

Unlike other war movies which focus on depicting historical events, this movie is very personal. The deep values of loyalty, protecting and serving is shown. The thankfully brief, yet graphic, scenes serve as sample glimpses of the kind of hellish incidents our troops face regularly. Director Clint Eastwood does not excuse or water down the evil actions of terrorists and insurgents. Finally! See all »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Tori, age 40+ (USA)
Positive—I knew going into the movie that it had an abundance of unnecessary F-words in it. For that reason, I told my wife that it’s best not to go see this movie. As a Born-Again Christian and Army Vietnam-era Veteran, I asked by brother to go see this movie with me, and he did. My Christian wife hates F-words in any movie, and so do I. I will not justify my going to see this movie, and I respect any Christian for not seeing this movie, because of the F-words.

The movie was well done (expect for the F-words) and showed the whole war in a very realistic manner. Clink Eastwood did a great job. He’s not a Christian, so I would expect him to put F-words in it—but way overdone. I was not a Christian in the Army, and we didn’t use that many F-words. It showed the sniper’s emotional toll during his four tours—way too many for any Marine.See all »
My Ratings: Moral rating: none / Moviemaking quality: 4
Robert Garcia, age 67 (USA)
Positive—Anyone who could say this movie is not up to standard needs a new life. Yes, it has the F-word a lot, but it is so realistic in today’s world, I didn’t notice it. It really does strike a nerve and for the 1st time in a long time; I actually felt moved by this story.

And as per the other descriptions, the cinema was in dead silence at the end with no one leaving talking. I was quiet for quite some time afterward.

Eastwood has done a remarkable job capturing the tension that these men endured and still endure today. Some of the scenes have you sitting on the edge of your seat especially the mongrel with the drill and other very dramatic scenes. To place ANY censorship on this movie is not on. It needs to be left as it is for all times…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Neil, age 61 (Australia)
Positive—Chris Kyle is known as “The deadliest sniper in U.S. military history.” Whether or not that is true, Chris Kyle was a hero and deserves a place of high honor in American history. Overall, the film “American Sniper” was very good. Bradley Cooper “s portrayal of Chris Kyle was, in my opinion, excellent. The movie was violent, but not gratuitously so, only what you would expect in a movie about soldiers in war.

Use of profanity was heavy and was probably the most objectionable, from a Christian perspective. I recommend this movie for anyone 15 years or older. If you are bothered by large amounts of battlefield violence or heavy use of profanity, you should probably not see this movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Austin, age 27 (USA)
Positive—I haven’t been to a movie theater since 1996, but I am very glad I saw this one. It is a very realistic war movie and shows what we are currently fighting against. I found the overuse of the f-word offensive, but I also understand it’s probably reality. If you can get past that, it is an incredible movie—one that you will always remember and probably want to see again and again (I do). It’s sad, awesome, sad, wonderful, patriotic—I wanted to stand up and heart salute at the end. In our theater, everyone clapped at the end.

I would not take children to see this—at least 18 years old. What clearly comes through is Chris’s dedication to his country, and how he dealt with his PTSD was incredible, in helping and loving others. He truly did lay down his life for his country. While I understand what the wife was going through, I kept saying, you married a SEAL, what did you expect?

Bradley Cooper was incredible; what made me see it was that it was directed by Clint Eastwood. Bottom-line: see it, take tissues, not children, and prepare to be changed.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
Mr. and Mrs. J. Ludwig, age 60 (USA)
Positive—Having heard all the buzz surrounding this movie, I knew it was one I just had to see. I’m so glad I did! This is an exciting, intense look at the military career of the most decorated sniper in U. S. Military history, Chris Kyle. The thing that impressed me the most was the acting. Bradley Cooper, who is also known for movies like “The Hangover” series, is absolutely incredible as Chris. As awesome as he is in the action sequences, he is even more brilliant in the scenes that show him at home, dealing with the effects of PTSD. At times, these scenes are the hardest ones to watch.

Also, major props to Sienna Miller, who plays his wife Taya. She does an amazing job conveying the struggle that I’d imagine any military wife goes through, raising a family at home, while her husband is off protecting his country. Besides these two, there was hardly anyone else in the cast that I recognized. However, they all did commendable jobs Major credit also goes to Clint Eastwood. He should have won the Best Director Oscar for this movie. He filmed it in such a way, that you felt like you were really there in the battle zone. He effectively maintains an intense mood throughout the movie. See all »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Jared, age 34 (USA)
Positive—Lots of F-bombs, granted. Have you listened to a bunch of truck drivers? Profanity isn’t reserved for cowboys, truckers, or soldiers (or females who are in the mood at a strong wind).

As a 20 year Army vet and lifelong Christian, I find the language typical.

The movie is compelling, and the death and blood-letting is accurate.

What is NOT accurate is the opposing sniper, Mustafa. We see him armed in the beginning of the movie with a Romanian PSL. This is a glorified AKM with a longer barrel. The barrel whip on a PSL is the stuff of legend. It is roughly a 4MOA rifle (will only shoot a 4 inch group at 100 yards). I do not believe that anyone could reliably hit a target 1000 yards away with a PSL, as the movie portrays.See all »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Greg T., age 65 (USA)
Neutral—This is a must see movie on some basis. The PROFANITY, however, is NOT needed. It is so very important for all, even children of some ages to have an idea of what happens in times of war, however, as a CHRISTIAN, most of all. I do not feel comfortable, nor would I feel comfortable in taking a small child to this type of movie. The acting, special effects, almost everything else is worthwhile, quality, etc.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Suzanna, age 46 (USA)
Neutral—As a Veteran of the Viet Nam era, I viewed “American Sniper,” as a war movie depicting the Iraq, Afghanistan generation of veterans. Most war films include bloody scenes, death, vulgarity and immorality. This is a film about the experiences of one veteran with a high body count and his dedication to country. There are millions of veterans with a story to tell. I witnessed nothing on screen that surprised me.

“American Sniper” is for entertainment purposes. It will not change perspectives regarding one’s views of immorality, or the morality of a soldier. “It is what it is;” a movie—just as “Platoon,” “Full Metal Jacket,” “GI Joe,” “Sands of Iwo Jima,” were a depiction of reality. Personally, I am more concerned with the violence on the streets of our cities and our country. I am more concerned with the daily depiction of immorality (cloaked as entertainment) on television screens, flashing across the airwaves 24/7. I’m more concerned that many of our political leaders exhibit self-serving childish tendencies, placing the esteem of their political persuasion above the good of every American citizen. America needs a cleansing.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
FJC, age 69 (USA)
Negative—I know that war is difficult, and I expected profanity. However, people are implying the swearing only takes place during the war. The swearing starts in the beginning, and the woman who was his girlfriend is sickening. It continues through his Seal training. And then it goes into the war. No one reads the Bible during the whole movie. Even the man who said he was thinking of being a pastor doesn’t share much or give Scripture to support negatively or positively about his feelings. Supposedly, there are “”no atheist’s in fox holes,” but I wouldn’t know this by watching this movie.

I respect our military and am thankful for the sacrifices they have made, but I’m disheartened by the movie. It is discouraging that commanders are swearing when explaining military strategy. Why is this necessary?

I know this was a patriotic movie, but I felt that the swearing took away from the reason for the war. I was numb after watching it and would encourage people who would like to guard their heart to stay away. I respected the military more before than after the movie, but I also need to pray harder for them, as maybe they don’t have enough Godly support. My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Katherine, age 52 (USA)
Negative—The language in this movie is so horrible, no one, particularly a Christian should watch it. Sadly—more and more exceptions are allowed by social conservatives, and I think we need to stand our ground (by standing on the Scriptures). I see many of these social conservatives are putting two things together, which are quite different. When we are talking about media, we are talking about two types of offensive words. One type the particular offense is against man—and the Second the particular offense is against God.

First, there are offensive words which are describing words that are—for the most part—culturally or socially unacceptable. This would include the F, A and S. This movie uses the F word 105 times! General principles of Scripture which indicate that we should not be offending people with our tongues (“as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise,” Luke 6:31). But more particularly, we are taught in Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth” (also see 1 Peter 3:10).

The Second type of offensive words are the violations to the Third Commandment. Exodus 20:7, Deuteronomy 5:11 — “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.”

This movie takes God’s name in vain 8 times! God makes a particular point here—because He knows that we have a tendency to excuse such things. But God promises that He will not forget such sins and promises certain punishment.

I don’t care of the movie has a thousand good lines and a million points of truth—if they take God’s name in vain—it’s the work of hypocrites. No movie, no song and no TV show should get a pass on this—and instead should be called out to repent.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Brian M Hanley, age 53 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—I am a 17 year old home schooled student, and I appreciated this movie. I didn’t enjoy it, I appreciated it. Yes, every other word they were swearing; yes, there were sexual references. But I would recommend this movie to anyone older than 15 who can handle extremely graphic destruction and death, because America needs to be educated on what war is—what death is. Anyone considering joining the military shoud see this movie, because words can only take you so far. Serving your country is something people have a hard time understanding, and this movie does an excellent job depicting what that means.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Nathan, age 17 (USA)
Comments from non-viewers
Negative—I tend to avoid combat movies. As a Veteran, there’s a dystopia to the illusion on the screen that can’t be appreciated by civilians. I read reviews instead—American Sniper in this case—30 or so across a variety of opinions including blogs where reader ‘comments’ are invited. The common rants of ideology speak to this illusion but reviews of Eastwood’s film written by Veterans (5) are far more telling and real. See all »
Steve Denning, age 67 (USA)

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