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(2011), PG-13 [PG(13)*] (2hr 0.5min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
October 2, 2011
Octber 4, 2011

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2011), PG-13 [PG(13)*] ... I cannot remember one better

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Sherwood Pictures, Provident Films, AFFIRMFILMS, TriStar
Director(s): Alex Kendrick
Producer(s): Michael Catt, Larry Frenzel, Stephen Kendrick, Jim McBride, Justin Tolley, Dennis Wiemer
Written by: Alex Kendrick, Stephen Kendrick
Cinematography/Camera: Bob Scott
Film Editing: Bill Ebel, Steve Hullfish, Alex Kendrick
Production Design: Darian Corley
Viewed at Showbiz Cinema 6, Granbury, TX

First, please understand that while this Summary / Commentary section may be and sometimes is subjective (except, of course, for the Scriptural applications), the CAP Analysis Model (the Findings/Scoring section of our report) is completely insulated from my opinions. The fully objective scoring cannot be affected by my opinions since the investigation standards used are set and prescribed and have been since the development and testing of the model in 1995/6. What I say in this Summary / Commentary section cannot alter the scoring. Now let me take a few moments and offer my subjective feelings about this film.

My wife and I have been mom/dad to 42 children. Yes, forty-two. Two biological sons and 40 foster kids. From the 40 foster kids we adopted eight. Such a calling and history may have a tendency to make this film exceptionally special to me but out of more than 1400 films so far I cannot remember one better than Courageous. There was not an adult dry eye in the theater. Not even mine which set inside sockets atop a 280-pound hulk accused of dragging his knuckles who can bust three 12" x 12" pine boards sandwiched together with one forward punch. Yeah, I am a real tough guy but if I had not been setting in a chair at the theater I might have been on my knees. Courageous, not made by Hollywood, might be the finest film I have ever seen. The story and its sub-plots form a seamless weave of cinematic fabric performed by mostly unknown but yet top-notch performers who appeared to be fully submerged into their parts, not just collecting a paycheck. And, believe it or not, Courageous has a great "something to say" ... courageously.

Let me share with you a couple impromptu interviews with people exiting the theater. I introduced myself as a film "reviewer" and asked for comments from those who had just seen Courageous. There was not a single negative comment. Some of the folks still had misty eyes but were able to say "outstanding" and "superb." Indeed, it was I who struggled with my ability to speak due to still surging emotions. One lady said [about future moviegoers] "You'd better bring a box of tissues, one or two tissues won't be enough." I agree.

This film really works. And works well. In Albany, GA four small town cops and a struggling handyman share their lives with each other both professionally and as fathers and family men. The film deeply delves into the intertwining of the lives of these men and their strengths and weaknesses, their happiness and devastating sorrows and their successes and failures. Their families are presented as an integral and essential part of their lives. Their connections with their children -- the focus of this film -- are as real as a film portrayal can get. As famous as "The Love Dare" became from Fireproof, the "Resolution" presented in this film may actually improve the paternal mettle of fathers ... of courageous fathers.

There is no techno-gadgetry or CGI flash in this film. It is portrayal of the real world with real characters in real situations, struggling with real heartaches and enjoying real triumphs and joys. Alex Kendrick, the director, plays Adam Mitchell, a Corporal on the Dougherty County, GA Sheriff's Department. Other fellow officers included David Thompson (Ben Davies) who had just completed his first year with the department and was still a "rookie" to the seasoned officers. New-hire Nathan Hayes (Ken Bevel) is an eight-year veteran from another department. The forth veteran officer of the pentangle is Shane Fuller (Kevin Downes) who is divorced with a son. The fifth man of the pentangle is handyman Javier Martinez (Robert Amaya) with wife and two kids.

Adam, with a nine year old daughter, Emily (Lauren Etchells) and a 15 year old son, Dylan (Rusty Martin) struggles with his wife, Victoria (Renee Jewell) to improve his relationship with Dylan. Adam has let himself become engrossed in life's affairs. While he is close to his daughter his relationship with Dylan is estranged. The family structures of the other men are similarly solid and troubled at the same time. It is Adam who comes up with a resolution which I will not reveal. It is for your discovery. All five men and their families participate n the resolution.

Not one use of profanity. Not one abuse of God's name. No one in bed with anyone. No "boiler room" humor. No flesh ripped out of a body. No drunken teenagers. None of the content typical of many PG-13 films. Courageous earned a final score of 80 out of 100 which places it solidly in the scoring range earned by PG-rated films in the comparative baseline database (68 to 86 out of 100), thus the CAP designator of "PG(13)*", meaning a film that earned a CAP PG-equivalent final score but was rated PG-13 by the MPAA. I suspect the MPAA slapped a PG-13 label on it because of the drug references and the sequence of intense police action involving a gun battle. But the PG-13 may instead have been due to the strong faith-based content ("thematic content"), including praising Jesus. Courageous earned PG- or G-equivalent scores in everything (I, S, D, O, M) except Wanton Violence/Crime (W) where it earned a R-equivalent score. No gore and no guts are spilled but there is enough violence for the magnitude of the violence content to be equivalent to the violence content found in some R-rated films.

If you get to watch this film, see if you can find how many times Adam tells the Sheriff "I love you?" And note the stellar performance of Robert Amaya as he participates in a "gotcha" with a hardcore criminal emceed by Adam and Shane. There is some superb and clean humor in this film.

From our Vice President:

Courageous was a very enjoyable movie -- action, romance, humor, drama, and good performances by a largely unknown cast. As far as I'm concerned, though, the best thing about the movie has little to do with the story itself, or the production quality, or even the characters themselves per se. The best thing about Courageous is that it does such a good job of portraying the way "real" Christians live, love, and work, with far greater accuracy than Hollywood films have never been able to achieve. And no wonder! Courageous was made by "real life" Christians, whose pursuit of excellent filmmaking is wrapped up in their pursuit of Christ Himself--and the movie challenges the viewers, in a very positive way, to engage in that same passionate pursuit. The vast majority of Hollywood filmmakers can't do this, because they don't get it. They don't understand Christians (and may even hate them), because they have no relationship with God, and they don't understand what love is really about.

Would you watch a documentary on Africa, made by someone who had never been to Africa? Likewise, if you're going to take in a movie about Christians, why not pick one that portrays Christians in a realistic way? Why consume Hollywood's warped view of the world, when you can choose something fulfilling, something with a heavy dose of truth, something that carries a powerful message of hope and purpose, something that challenges you to be a better person? Courageous is all that, and more.

I am one more time going to violate my own policy and recommend this film: recommend that every father watch this film but that the father evaluate the content revealed by this report prior to letting any of his kids watch it.


Following are brief discussions of the content per individual CAP investigation area. As always the Findings section of this report is the best source for discovering the full accounting of the content of this film.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 20 out of 100
While all other investigation areas found content to be G- or PG-equivalent, the violence and crime content of this film is equivalent to the same in many R-rated films. There are two gun battles with one of them very intense. A baby is abducted as the result of car theft. Adam is beat senseless by a criminal called T.J. (T.C. Stallings) who, by the way, gave another stellar performance as he growled at being subdued and captured. These are just a few of the matters of violence and/or crime. For a full accounting of the violence/crime content please see the listing in the Findings section.

Since the violence is as intense as it sometimes is, it might be fruitful to His Word to remind us all what God warns about violence. As only one example of His many admonishments against violence and the emotions that often lead to violence, in Proverb 16:29 God warns that violence is "catching." He warns that violence can lead one "into the way that is not good." And, as surprising as it may seem, hundreds of years later man has plagiarized God's Word by four professional public health agencies jointly publishing warnings that viewing violence in and as entertainment, especially by the young, might lead to, among other things, real life violence and to believing violence to be an acceptable way to settle conflict.

Violence is an inescapable texture and fiber of police work. But it is up to you to decide when or whether watching it in and as entertainment is fit for your family. That is why we tell you about the "negative" content of films: that you might be in a better position to make an informed moral decision whether a piece of entertainment work is fit.

Impudence/Hate (I) - 83 out of 100
The only matters of impudence and/or hatred found include encouraging abortion, coaching to deceive [Rom. 16:17 - 18] and teen disrespect of his father [Exod. 20:12].

Sexual Immorality (S) - 97 out of 100
The only matter related to sexually immoral behavior is that which caused the pregnancy of David's girlfriend. While a baby is in no way immoral, that which brought about the baby is immoral if the parents are not married. Summed up, God's Word against sexually immoral behavior tells us that any sexual contact (sight and sound as well as touch), conduct or activity outside a monogamous heterosexual marriage is immoral. Whether we believe it or not. Whether we like it or not. Whether we care or not. And I did not write the Rules. The One who spent three days in Hell so you and I wouldn't have to spend one moment there did.

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 83 out of 100
The teen son of one of the quintessential officers get's involved in a illegal drug gang. Though no illegal drugs are seen in this subplot it involves dealing in and possession of illegal drugs. However, in another subplot Shane steals illegal evidential drugs confiscated by the Sheriff's department to sell for money and in that subplot we see Shane handling illegal [stage] drugs. [Hab. 2:9]

Offense to God (O) - 97 out of 100
T.J calls someone a "fool." God has some harsh words for those who call their brother "Thou fool." [Matt. 5:22]

Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
In the gun battles many shots are fired but no one is murdered.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Prov. 16:29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good. [The issue is the violence, the 'way that is not good' no matter how "small" or "fantasy" or "justified" the violence might seem, and its "leading" effect on the observer. "A violent man" can be any character of any age, any gender, human or not in the act of committing (demonstrating in the case of entertainment) violent behavior/action whether for good or evil OR the violent behaviors/actions themselves. Such exposure can and does embolden the viewer into aggression, especially youth. It took years for the American professional health community to finally affirm, probably without knowing it, that which God told us in 1 Cor. 15:33 below. See also Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children: Congressional Public Health Summit for more information. Their findings include:
    --> Children who see a lot of violence are more likely to view violence as an effective way of settling conflicts. Children exposed to violence are more likely to assume the acts of violence are acceptable behavior.
    --> Viewing violence can lead to emotional desensitization towards violence in real life. It can decease the likelihood that one will take action on behalf of a victim when violence occurs.
    --> Entertainment violence feeds a perception that the world is a violent and mean place. Viewing violence increases fear of becoming a victim of violence, with a resultant increase in self-protective behavior and a mistrust of others.
    --> Viewing violence may lead to real life violence. Children exposed to violent programming at a young age have a higher tendency for violent and aggressive behavior later in life than children who are not so exposed.
    Further, God speaks darkly of violence 56 times in the Old and New Testament of the KJV.]
  • Rom. 16:17 - 18 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
  • Exod. 20:12 Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. [This is one of the Ten Commandments!]
  • Hab. 2:9 Woe to him who builds his realm by unjust gain to set his nest on high, to escape the clutches of ruin!
  • Matt. 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment [krisis: accusation, trial]: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca [senseless, empty headed: a term of reproach among Jews at the time of Christ], shall be in danger of the council [any session or assembly or people deliberating or adjudicating]: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool [moros: impious, godless], shall be in danger of hell fire.

    Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry

  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend what is vile, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it.]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    Courageous (2011) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 20 out of 100
  • car theft
  • police action violence, repeatedly, some intense
  • baby abduction as the result of the car theft
  • injury
  • protective firearms
  • felony evasion
  • gang beating as initiation into a criminal group
  • unseen traffic fatality as a critical element of the story
  • effective portrayal of pain by loss, repeatedly
  • corrupt cop
  • intense police action involving a gun battle, repeatedly

    Impudence/Hate (I) - 83 out of 100
  • teen disrespect of parent, twice
  • hatred of police with hand gesture of gunfire to kill
  • teen full of anger and hate

    Sexual Immorality (S) - 97 out of 100
  • pregnancy by immoral sex

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 83 out of 100
  • theft of evidence - drugs with intent to distribute
  • drug possession and dealing

    Offense to God (O) - 97 out of 100
  • one use of "Fool!" [Matt. 5:22]

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
  • none noted

    Interested parties, send us your proposal. Your link will appear on each new analysis report prepared during the desired period and, once placed on a page, will not be removed.

    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    * CAP Equivalence to MPAA Rating Scale:
    Please note our new manner of indicating a film's Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating in comparison with the CAP equivalence such as "PG-13 [R-13]." The first term is the Motion Picture Association of America's (MPAA) rating. The second term [in brackets] indicates that which the film earned under the CAP analysis model. In the example, "PG-13 [R-13]" indicates the MPAA rated the film PG-13 but the film earned a CAP final score in the scoring range earned by R-rated movies in the comparative baseline database. Other comparative terms used might be "PG [13-PG]", "G [PG-G] or even 'PG-13 [PG]" as was the case for Alien vs Predator. I doubt there will ever be a "G [R]" used, but only time will tell. The CAP analysis model is Rock-solid. The MPAA is not.

    The current CAP to MPAA** nomenclature is:

    For G rated Films with
    G equivalence: G
    PG equivalence: PG-G
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-G
    R equivalence: R-G<
    For PG rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-PG
    PG equivalence: PG
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-PG
    R equivalence: R-PG
    For PG-13 rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-13
    PG equivalence: PG(13)
    PG-13 equivalence: PG-13
    R equivalence: R-13
    For R rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-R
    PG equivalence: PG-R
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-R
    R equivalence: R
    For NR rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-NR
    PG equivalence: PG-NR
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-NR
    R equivalence: R-NR
    ** G, PG, PG-13 and R are registered trademarks of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

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