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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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(2006), PG [G-PG*] (1hr 36min)

Analysis Date
CAP Final Score
CAP Influence Density
November 30, 2006
87 out of 100

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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.

(2006), PG [G-PG*] -- ... is one of too few of Hollywood's examples of the Truth being told truthfully ...

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): New Line Cinema
Distribution (US): New Line Cinema
Director(s): Catherine Hardwicke
Producer(s): Marty Bowen, Wyck Godfrey, Enzo Sisti, Tim Van Rellim
Written by: Mike Rich
Cinematography/Camera: Elliot Davis
Music: Mychael Danna
Film Editing: Robert K. Lambert, Stuart Levy
Casting: Priscilla John, Mindy Marin, Juliette Ménager, Shaila Rubin
Production Design: Stefano Maria Ortolani
Art Direction: Maria-Teresa Barbasso, Marco Trentini
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6

The Nativity Story  is not really a PG in comparison to the PG films in the comparative baseline database. It is certainly a "hard" G, but not a PG nonetheless. But that this film is worthy of a G rating does not mean parental guidance may be relaxed.

With a final score of 87, The Nativity Story  falls at the very bottom of the scoring range earned by G-rated films (87 to 100 out of 100) in the baseline database. That score makes this film a "G-PG", meaning a PG-rated film that earned a G-equivalence.

Due to the extent of the violence in The Nativity Story  it earned a red CAPCon Alert light which means (as related to violence) " should give somber and earnest inspection to the report: that you should review it very thoroughly with much attention to detail with extra special attention to the listing in the Findings/Scoring section." (see CAPCon Alerts).

Since this report is being posted before the first showing of The Nativity Story, I am not going to go into the usual level of detail to summarize the story. Also, most of us already know the story of Joseph and Mary to some degree if only from the words of many Christmas time songs. If you do not know the story, since this film is one of too few of Hollywood's examples of the Truth being told truthfully I would rather you see it for yourself than me trying to summarize it here. Besides, it is not my job to tell you whether a film is fit for you and your family. That is your decision. We just tell you about the content so that you might be in a better position to make an informed moral decision whether a film is fit for your family.

Suffice it to say The Nativity Story  is the story of Joseph (Oscar Isaac) and Mary (Keisha Castle-Hughes), from betrothal to the Birth. As the tagline says, "...the true meaning of Christmas." It includes many of the fine details of the real story including the angel Gabriel (Alexander Siddig); Zechariah (Stanley Townsend) and Elizabeth (Shohreh Aghdashloo), cousin to Mary, parents of John the Baptist; Zechariah's temporary inability to speak until Elizabeth said their son's name is to be John; the Magi wise men Balthasar (Eriq Ebouaney), Melchior (Nadim Sawalha) and Gaspar (Stefan Kalipha); Herod (Ciarán Hinds) who was the one responsible for forcing Joseph and Mary to flee Bethlehem with baby Jesus to escape Herod's infanticide and his equally evil son Antipas (Alessandro Giuggioli); many more of the events Joseph and Mary experienced. The background period details are excellent and attention to day-to-day period detail appears unequaled in film.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
Though definitely "sanitized", the violence in the story is true to the violence of the time such as Herod's heinous order to kill all two year old and younger boys hoping baby Jesus would be one of them. While there was no gore seen nor was there seen even one instance of a blade touching a child, the implications of a sword striking and killing an offscreen child are strong enough to warrant your serious consideration as to whether you want your little ones to see this matter in and as entertainment. While this movie is amazingly accurate to the Bible accounting of the story of Joseph and Mary, it is still a movie. It is not the Bible. Though it happened, the Bible did not show soldiers thrusting swords at children. It just tells us about it.

This investigation area found the greatest amount of content to cause loss of points. While each instance of violence is not nearly as extreme or graphic as many of Hollywood's modern films, the topic of the violence and the number of them clearly make this film equivalent to some R-rated films in violence. Issues such as Herod's unfair taxation gain [Hab. 2:9], stealing children to collect on debts [Matt. 25:40] and three crucified bodies added up to losing almost two thirds of the starting 100 points. [Ps. 141:4]

In one instance men were preparing to stone Mary to death in accordance with Mosaic law but an angel intervened. That gives me a chance to do a little opportunistic preaching. I promise I'll keep it short.

There was another case where a woman - a prostitute - was going to be stoned in accordance with the Mosaic law. But Jesus Himself intervened. He said to the men standing around with rocks in their hands "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." [John 8:7] When the would-be executioners each dropped his missile and walked off, Jesus forgave the woman. Note that Jesus did not argue the law, the judgment which had been passed nor the prostitute's guilt. He argued our authority to execute the prostitute. Note also that while Jesus forgave the prostitute of her sin He did not  forgive the sin. He forgave the doer but not the deed. Prostitution is just as sinful now, after Jesus forgave the prostitute of it, as it was before He forgave her. He even reminded her of the sin of prostitution and  showed her He was not afraid to call a sin a sin by telling her to "Go, and sin no more."

The point to this? If you use that "Let he who is without sin be the first to cast a stone" to counter accusations of guilt, use it carefully. Guilt is not the issue in John 8:7.

Impudence/Hate (I)
Matters of hatred in this film were so shrouded in violence they were incorporated into the Wanton Violence/Crime investigation area. For example, Herod threatening Antipas' life if Antipas did not comply could have been incorporated into either the Wanton Violence/Crime or the Impudence/Hate investigation area. But the CAP analysis model will not permit any one instance being incorporated into more than one investigation area. No duplication is assured. Whether the matter was incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime or Impudence/Hate would not change the final score, just the investigation area score distribution.

No instances of profanity, youth screaming vulgarities at parents or defying them and the like were noted.

Sexual Immorality (S)
No instances of sexual immorality were noted in the entire 96-minute film.

Drugs/Alcohol (D)
Likewise no drugs or alcohol were noted. The beverages used may have been wine and probably were but there was no indication or suggestion of the drink being alcoholic.

Offense to God (O)
In one of the arguments a comment was made that belittled the Gospel and how believers of it were weak. A palm reader made an appearance by coaxing Mary to take one of her cakes "for the baby" then taking her hand to read her palm.

Murder/Suicide (M)
The only instance of murder noted was the portrayal of soldiers using swords to kill babies. [Rev. 22:15]


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.


  • 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!
  • Ps. 141:4 Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil, to take part in wicked deeds with men who are evildoers; let me not eat of their delicacies. [I doubt very seriously that your child seeing these three men hanging on crosses is going to make your child(ren) go out and crucify someone, but the point is let not the heart be drawn to evil by images of it.]
  • John 8:7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
  • Rev. 22:15 Outside [of Heaven] are the dogs, those [unforgiven] who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • 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.)

    The Nativity Story (YEAR) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • stealing children to collect on debts
  • government brutality and unfair taxation practices
  • action violence
  • two bodies tied to trees
  • threat to kill son for noncompliance and admission of killing two other sons
  • preparation for a stoning
  • three crucified bodies
  • thwarted theft
  • ordering mass murder of children
  • unfair taxation practices

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • None noted

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • None noted

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • None noted

    Offense to God (O)
  • belittlement of Gospel and believers
  • palm reading

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • murder (actual act unseen) of many children - no gore

  • Christian Educators Association International



    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 more than eight 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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