There Be Dragons

Theatrical Release: May 6, 2011
DVD Release: January 10, 2012
There Be Dragons


Arising out of the horror of the Spanish Civil War, a candidate for canonization is investigated by a journalist who discovers his own estranged father had a deep, dark and devastating connection to the saint’s life.

Dove Review

This story of different choices and their consequences is based on true events. The title, “There Be Dragons”, has a double meaning. It was used by the mapmakers of old to designate uncharted waters that may have unknown dangers or “dragons”. The term is also used by the filmmaker as a metaphor for the “dragons” in our own lives as we face struggles between good and evil. The central character, Manolo, writes his son and confesses there are some “dragons” in his background.

The story is essentially about two men who take different paths; one historic person, Josemaria Escriva (played convincingly by Charlie Cox) was canonized as a saint by Pope John Paul II. Father Escriva founded Opus Dei, meaning “God’s works”, a prelature of the Catholic Church. The film does a fantastic job in its artistic approach, helping us see Escriva through a different lens than Manolo (Wes Bentley) who grows up with Escriva, and takes a much different path as a soldier and spy, while constantly challenging the priest’s faith.

The story centers on war-torn Spain and the persecution of the Church and all those who represent Christ. The war is depicted realistically and graphically in the movie with shootings, the spilling of blood, explosions, fires and betrayal. Hard questions are asked such as why God allows pain and suffering and one boy asks, “Do we hate God now?”

This film delivers a compelling message that forgiveness is the gateway to freedom no matter how difficult the circumstances. The redemption of a hardened man’s heart is the movie’s shining depiction of God’s power to overcome hatred with forgiveness. Because of the redemptive theme, we are pleased to award “There Be Dragons” the Dove Faith-Based Seal, with cautions for violence and language. There is a stark realism in this film. Families should consult the content chart below.

Content Description

Sex: Kissing by a few couples.
Language: G/OMG-2; For G's Sake-1; A-3; D-8; B-4; S-1; H-2; Pr*ck-1; Slang for testicles-1
Violence: Several shootings and killings; blood is briefly seen flying out from back of man's head as he is shot; blood seen on faces and hands; a bloody baby is seen; guns held on people; explosions and fires; corpse of girl seen in casket; several corpses seen on the ground; brief scene of boy being whipped; a man is grabbed and punched; a woman is smacked; a church is set on fire and statues are knocked over; a priest is hit in the arm with a rock; a man shoots himself rather than executing a woman he loves.
Drugs: Almost continual cigarette smoking throughout film, which is accurate as it relates to history; some wine.
Nudity: Shirtless men; some cleavage.
Other: Questions of why God allows pain; a boy asks, "Do we hate God now?"; dealing with death and grief; many prayers; the calling of God is mentioned; Catholic mass and confession; a woman gives birth.


Company: 20th Century Fox Home Ent.
Director: Roland Joffé
Producer: Roland Joffé
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 110 min.
Industry Rating: PG-13
Starring: Charlie Cox, Wes Bentley, Dougray Scott
Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter