Box art for Machine Gun Preacher

Machine Gun Preacher


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

4 stars

An outstanding movie that packs insanely powerful punch. It`s an inspirational classic of a rebel who found his cause. A genuine human drama that cuts you to the core with its realism and story. An utterly heartbreaking, inspiring and action-packed drama. A riveting, deeply moving and extremely powerful movie. Director, Marc Fosters best film since The Kite Runner, he`s a true artist and craftsman. An absolute triumph. An incredible and unforgettable film that shakes you, shocks you and inspires you. It`s spectacular in every way you can think of and is simply extraordinary. Gerard Butler gives the best performance of his career, an explosive tour de force performance that shines with his movie star caliber. Butler delivers in a massive way that's shows his power, passion, emotion and strength. Michael Shannon and Michelle Monaghan give fine performances. An embracing, compelling and astonishing piece of work. An exhilarating mixture of thrills, explosive action and deeply absorbing drama.

- allan913, Friday, November 23, 2012

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

2 stars

A decent film based on the life of Sam Childers. A good performance from Butler playing Sam who seems to hit rock bottom, rises up when he finds God and has plenty more ups and downs at home and in Africa as he tries to help the children of Sudan.

- Deano78, Sunday, August 12, 2012