Beyond the Gates

2005 UR 1h 52m DVD

Beyond the Gates

2005 UR 1h 52m DVD
  • Overview
  • Details
As bloody genocide erupts in Rwanda in April 1994, a weathered Catholic priest (John Hurt) and a fresh-faced British schoolteacher (Hugh Dancy) are forced to decide whether to flee with their lives or tempt fate by staying behind. With thousands of Tutsis being slaughtered all around them, the choice seems easy, but thinking selfishly is anything but simple in this harrowing, well-crafted drama from director Michael Caton-Jones.
Clare-Hope Ashitey, Hugh Dancy, Dominique Horwitz, John Hurt, Nicola Walker, Louis Mahoney, Steve Toussaint, David Gyasi, Susan Nalwoga
Michael Caton-Jones
Widescreen 1.78:1
Spanish (Neutral), English
English: Dolby Digital 5.1
UR -
age 17+
Common Sense rating Not for kids
age 17+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that the violent images in this film about genocide in Rwanda are hard to look at, especially scenes of children's bloody bodies. While the killings depicted in the movie are, famously, conducted primarily by machete, most of these attacks actually occur just outside the frame, though the killers' intent and effects are clear (lots of bloody aftermath). Militia men appear in various states of hysteria, aggression, and drunkenness. In one very sad scene, a father asks the departing UN captain to shoot the refugees left behind so that they won't have to suffer death by machete. Some language, drinking, and smoking, and one character admits her own racism.

Sexual Content

Very mild flirting between Joe and Marie.


Brutal, frequent murders occur by shooting and -- mostly -- by machete (though most of the hacking occurs just out of frame, it's clear what's going on, and the blades are bloody); UN soldiers don't fight back against Tutsi militia members, who maraud with weapons, yelling and terrifying the Hutus; bodies shown frequently are bloody, decaying (flies buzz), and upsetting (several children's bodies appear explicitly); suggestion that nuns have been raped (Father Christopher covers their bodies in a particular way).


Several "f--k"s, plus other profanity, including "hell," "s--t," and "s--te."

Social Behavior

Brutal rebels are relentless in their pursuit of genocide; UN soldiers are ordered not to fight back; white Europeans are evacuated, while black Rwandans are left to be killed; the film indicts many official and personal decisions. Racism is an issue; one white, British character admits to her own racist beliefs.


Not applicable.

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Cigarette smoking and beer drinking.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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