Box art for Machine Gun Preacher

Machine Gun Preacher

  • Rated R
  • HD and SD formats available


Machine Gun Preacher tells the inspirational true story of Sam Childers, a former drug-dealing criminal who undergoes an astonishing transformation and finds his unexpected calling as the savior of hundreds of kidnapped and orphaned children.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 15
2 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Positive messages
3 out of 5
Positive role models
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
4 out of 5

Gruesome redemption tale made tedious by oversimplification.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this fact-based drama set mostly in war-torn Sudan includes several combat sequences and some especially gruesome images featuring torture victims. The main character (played by Gerard Butler) transforms from a biker-gang thug into a religious man over the course of the movie. He also swears constantly ("f--k," "c--ksucker," etc.), drinks heavily, and, in the beginning, shoots heroin. It's an inspiring story, though not a pretty one.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about Sam's story. What do you think about his transformation over the course of the story? Does the movie make more of an impact because it's based on a real person's life?
  • What is the movie's message about violence? How does Sam's decision to join in the warfare affect this message? What, if anything, did you learn about the political situation of Sudan in the real world?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Audience Reviews

2 stars

"Machine Gun Preacher" is the true story of Sam Childers(Gerard Butler). An ex biker who is released from prison finds god and decides he needs to act upon his new found faith. He goes to East Africa to help repair homes, and while there he decides to help the children whose lives have been ruined by an ongoing civil war. He helps build an orphanage, and leads armed missions to save children. It's a very inspiring story, but the movie is pretty uneven. Butler does good, but this probably could have been great with someone else in the lead. There's good action, but the religious aspects of the movie feel forced, and half the time you root for Butler and the other half against him. The way he treats his family really make you want him to stop helping the kids in Africa. It's like they want you to dislike the hero of the movie more than you like him. It just doesn't have a good balance to it. Overall, it's worth a watch, and I'm sure there's people that will like this a lot more than I do. But I probably won't watch this again.

- fb100000145236770, Sunday, March 4, 2012

1 star

it aims for the heart, but misses by a mile, Gerard seems to be going on a downward spiral.

- scottgreen96, Thursday, October 27, 2011

4 stars

"Beautiful. Tragic. Inspiring. Horrifying. Sad. Beautiful- these children and people like Deng and Marco keep fighting and not giving up. Tragic- so many is lost and tortured. Inspiring- Sam and his family and what they have done for so many. Horrifying- it falls in with tragic. The gruesome scenes of what the children endure and that this happens and still is happening. Sad- that these things happen in our world and most of all, to children. I wasn't sure what to expect with this film and I honestly didn't really know what the film was about or that is was based on a true story. It's a raw honest look at what one man did for hundreds of kids. He saved many lives and still is. I am in awe of him and what he has done for those children."

- LWOODS04, Wednesday, September 26, 2012