How old to watch The Passion - by Mel Gibson

My DD is 9, attends Catholic School, and is very familiary with the story of Christ’s Passion. I was considering watching the movie done by Mel Gibson with her during Holy Week, however it has been a few years since I watched it, so I can’t remember all the details.

Would you let your 9 year old watch this video as long as you watched it with her, or would you wait a couple years?

She is not overly sensitive or prone to nightmares.

I’m waiting until DD is preparing for Confirmation, so 7th grade, or in her case age 13. You might enjoy Frank Zaferrelli’s (sp) “The Greatest Story Every Told”. MUCH less graphic depiction of the passion of the Christ.

My son is almost 8 and I won’t let him see it until I guess he’s about 12-13.

I’m almost 40 and cannot watch it all the way through. :o

I was in the 6th grade (12 yo) when Sister Verena pointed tou our crucifix and said that they were all a lie ~ that Jesus would not have looked like that. She then described in great detail what truly would have happened to him. It really shook me up and stayed with me.

I took my children to see the Passion when it came out. My youngest was 12 and although she had seen and sobbed through Jesus of Nazareth this was much worse. The scenes that are the hardest, in my humble opinion, are the scourging and the actual crucifixion. Don’t get me wrong, the whole movie is tough but these were the hardest for my child at the age of 12 and she buried her head in my chest.

It is very graphic and it is also amazingly beautiful. The stations of the cross are clearly present and truly this movie is a masterpiece. For me, the fact that you are reading subtitles helps. A great teaching tool for all.

Pray on it!!

I might use “Jesus of Nazareth” instead, which I liked and is very good. It is also much less graphic. I didn’t watch the Passion until I was a sophomore in high school, and even then I thought it was pretty intense (although I was ready for it at that point).

You know your daughter better than any of us, though; perhaps the solution would be to rewatch the movie without her there, and then make a decision?

I will probably watch it with my brother and then decide if I think she should watch it, but I am leaning towards making her wait.

She’s not overly sensitive, but is still naive (in a good “9 year old” sense). I think the posters are right that it would be too graphic.

I will try the Jesus of Nazareth movie though - thanks for the recommendation!

Watch it again and decide. My 18 yr old dd still does not want to watch it.

The violence is not that much worse that what you see on shows like CSI.

So, if your child would watch or would be allowed to watch CSI or a show like that, then they’d be fine with The Passion of the Christ, but if not, then no - they are too young, still.

I don’t have kids, but if I did, I wouldn’t let them watch it until they’re “old enough to handle it”, which would depend on the kid. For some, it might be as young as 10 or 12, for others, maybe not till they’re 18 or 19. I watched it with my mother (who’s in her late 50s) and she had to look away during the scourging. And this was after we saw a “making of” documentary on PAX-TV, so while she had a rough idea of what to expect, it was still grueling for her.

Funny story I have to share: My mother and I saw The Passion in the theatre one evening, and we happened to go on a night when two youth groups were seeing it, so the theatre was full of teens/young adults. We were seated in front of this particularly chatty girl, who, before the movie started, was talking about how she’d seen X, Y, and Z-Horror Movies with her friends and how they “weren’t too bad”. Then the movie actually started, and during the more… painful scenes, the chatty girl kept saying “This is gross… this is gross… this is so bad!” So much for her mileage running long on strong content…

I decided that instead of letting my DD watch it, I’m going to make my Brother watch it with me:D
After I saw it the first time, I told him he should watch it becasue it was so powerful. He said he wanted to see it, but he knew it would be powerful and then he would have to start going to Church regularily again:shrug::hmmm:

Reminded me of the pro-choice chain of thought - I just didn’t get it!!

I would NEVER let a 9 yr old watch that. It would of course depend upon the person but I would almost say 18 yrs old.

I agree with those who say 12-13-14. If they are able to make/have babies, they ought to be able to take the brutality. Remind them that this is the sort of stuff endured by people in the tortune chambers of modern regimes.

Because everyone knows that horror movies are simply play-acting, that the gore is like catchup one might use on the playground. Even Gibson pretending to be William Wallace being disembowled might be disquieting, but in your mind that is Mel Gibson, so it is not “real.” But in the Passion, Gibson took unknown actors and subjected the one playing Jesus to the kind of abuse that vicious regimes do today. It is too real, because that is something that actually happens. “Reality bites.”

*Personally, 9 is young, to me. I would wait until 12. My dd saw it last year, she was nearly 12, then. Just my two cents. *

9 yr olds shouldn’t be watching CSI, either. :o

1 Like

I agree that 9 is probably too young, but it’s up to the parent.

If they let the kids watch movies like “Saw” or even TV shows like “Breaking Bad” (where a HS chemistry teacher dying of cancer cooks meth to help his family pay his medical bills? and he kills a drug dealer and actually gruesomely uses acid to melt the body into liquid, bloody goop,… yes it’s TV!) then they should watch The Passion Of The Christ.

That is one of the biggest problems in our modern society, we are all living a fantasy to some degree. Some of our kids, not all, see constant graphic violence through video games movies and TV and they are numb to it.

My wife will watch a violent, gory movie or a horribly graphic show like “Breaking Bad” and try to see the positive message, but when she saw actual pictures of the aborted babies at a Pro-Life rally at Oregon State University, she was reviled and insulted? **(PLEASE WATCH THIS PRIESTS FOR LIFE VIDEO ON THE MOST COMMON ABORTION TECHNIQUE
Seems totally backwards to me. I understand that video games, TV and movies are not real, but their lies, violence and blatant hatred of Jesus and the Truth can change people’s attitudes. It desensitizes them and makes them feel like everything is ok.

Everything we do has consequences! Not just consequences for ourselves, but our actions impact our family, friends and other innocent people. They often impact them for all eternity and can be irreversible and horribly damaging!

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis Peccatoribus!


We watched it as a family for the first time when my youngest was 9. We talked about it throughout the film and he was fine. He now insists and has for the past 3 years, that we all watch it together on Good Friday. His faith is stronger now and it was a very good experience for him. He understands the sufferring that Christ underwent for our sins far better than I did at his age.

It depends on the child, but 9 is not necessarily too young, especially if you watch with the child and explain what is happening , and why, and talk about it as it happens.

I know I’m going to catch heat for this, but I don’t pay attention to what others think mostly…

I let my two older children see the movie BEFORE their First Communion. Four years ago, the second the movie came out on DVD, I purchased it and my 7 year old daughter watched it with us. Every Holy Week since then, we have taken it off the shelf and watched it together. This year I purchased the Blu-Ray (well worth it for all the extras!!!) and my 6 year old son watched it with us for the first time on Sunday. The part with Judas being tormented shook him, but other than that he was fine. In fact, he was asking questions, knowing what was coming next, and almost kept up with the subtitles. He made the link to the sorrowful mysteries of the rosary. I doubt it will be long before he asks to watch it again.

My children have tough nerves. I live outside of DC and have been to the Right to Life March twice. My kids have seen the pictures of aborted babies, and I told them “there is evil in this world that we cannot pretend that we don’t see”. I have a 5 year old daughter who will not be seeing the film anytime soon, as in her case, I know the horror will override the lesson.

I am an 8th grade CCD teacher with my wife. I told my students (half of whom had already seen it) to ask their parents to let them watch it. I believe every kid should see the film before Confirmation, and even earlier if they can handle it. Rated R from MPAA means nothing to me, given all the times they get that wrong.

I admit, my wife and I are different. I am white/Mexican. She is black. Our kids already have thick skin. We are both Army veterans. We have instilled senses of duty, honor, patriotism, and sacrafice in our children.

Well, if I was wrong, feel free tell me why. I am listening.


I’m going to step in here with a slightly different perspective.

I saw the movie in the theater when it came out. I sobbed almost through the whole thing, constantly thanking Jesus for the sacrifices that He made for me. I went back during Holy Week with a friend and saw a movie.

Last year we let our oldest two, then 12 and 14, watch with us. It seemed to have no affect at all on them. They are used to “movie violence,” being big fans of Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. They also watch other “guy movies” that I would veto but that get the OK from my husband. When the movie was over, they couldn’t understand why we had kept it from them for so long, but they weren’t eager to watch it again. They said it wasn’t any worse than other movies they had seen.

They didn’t get that it was real and that that is exactly what we remember at Stations of the Cross and at Mass. They saw it as just another movie, just another couple of hours in front of the TV set. They did not see it as a re-enactment of Christ’s passion, but as an afternoon’s entertainment.

When watching someone suffer becomes entertainment, I think it must be time to turn off the TV. When watching our Savior suffer and die so that we may go to Heaven becomes a way to while away some time, it is time for something more drastic. (If you have any ideas, I’m open to suggestions.:blush: )

PS These were the same kids who discerned the Sorrowful Mysteries when they watched The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

1 Like

Yeah, neither my daughter or anyone in our family watch CSI. I don’t even let my kids watch ICarley. Very disrespectful show, always seems to cut people down, especially adults. IMHO.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit