Notice: All forms on this website are temporarily down for maintenance. You will not be able to complete a form to request information or a resource. We apologize for any inconvenience and will reactivate the forms as soon as possible.

Content Caution

One Life 2024


In Theaters


Home Release Date




Bob Hoose

Movie Review

Nicky Winton, is a quiet, private man. Frankly, he’d probably be thought of as a pack rat by many people.

Nicky’s wife, Grete, certainly would shake her head knowingly if that subject came up. She’s always “gently” nudging him to sift through some of the papers and clutter he’s gathered over the years and then to get rid of some of it. There are boxes of stuff in the study, in the living room, in the bedrooms and stacked to the roofline of the tightly packed garage. Every desk drawer is jammed. Every closet crammed to capacity.

So … when Grete sets off on a bus trip to visit their very pregnant daughter, Nicky decides to do some house cleaning in her absence.

He digs out boxes. Tosses junk. Burns piles of papers. But one particular stashed-away briefcase gives him pause: The scrapbook inside that weathered and ancient bag contains documents and pictures more precious to him than nearly anything else in his long life. He started the scrapbook in 1938, some 50 years before, back when he was a quiet young man wanting to help before a looming war.

In those days, a power-hungry leader named Hitler had been given the Sudetenland in a conciliatory deal with England and France. And tens of thousands of terrified refugees had begun scurrying toward the capital of the Czech Republic.

Nicky was but a meager London broker, but he knew he had to do something to help those poor people. He wasn’t sure what, but even if it was just handing out food or filling out forms, he’d find something.

When Nicky first laid eyes on the filthy refugee camps strewn along the alleyways and streets of Prague, however, he instantly knew what his role would be: He must help the children. There were hungry children, sick children, children caring for abandoned babies. It was horrible.

Nicky declared that the kids could be transported to London. There, they could be given a place to stay, given help until the threat of looming war was past.

But everyone told him that the task too big, too complicated. It would require detailed paperwork, willing foster families, and a whopping cost of 50-pound sterling for each one.

Nicky, however, could not let it go. He must try. Just 10 kids. Or 20. Someone had to help. Most of the kids were of Jewish decent. And rumors about the Nazi’s treatment of Jews were swirling. So, Nicky started his quest.

And in 1987, a weathered and teary-eyed Nicky pages through his scrapbook. He looks closely at the pictures, the documents, the evidence of his struggles. He had saved many.

If only he could have done more.

Positive Elements

Nicky Winton is a selfless man. He turns away praise for his actions and gives credit for the rescue mission to many others who agreed to volunteer help and money. Nicky’s mother is a valiant warrior, too, as she wades through the endless paperwork and British bureaucracy.

The film points out the many in the British Council for Refugees in Czechoslovakia put their lives in danger to help others. Some were caught up in the war and killed.

[Spoiler Warning] Ultimately the concerted efforts on behalf of these children the lives of 669 of them before the Nazi’s invade in force. Nicky hoped to save thousands of kids, if possible. But we find out that, by 1987, some 6,000 people owed their lives to Nicky and his valiant efforts to transport children by train and arrange foster families. He is dubbed “Britian’s Shindler” and is knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

Spiritual Elements

Many of the refugee children come from Jewish families. And at first, some wonder why Nicky is focusing on them, suspecting foul play. A Rabbi asks Nicky: “I wonder why someone would take on this daunting task, for people to whom he has no real allegiance, in a place where he does not belong?”

Nicky says he does have some Jewish ancestry but considers himself an agnostic. Gradually, a number of Jewish families seek Nicky out in the hope of protecting their loved ones. A woman tells him that she and her husband would sacrifice for their kids even if only one or two of the children could go to England. Safety is the principal concern, even if they never meet again. “For a mother, that is everything,” she tells Nicky. Eventually, one of the trains transporting the kids is boarded by a Nazi soldier who mockingly laughs and says, “Why does England want all these Jews?”

In 1987, Nicky’s family members gather to celebrate Christmas. In 1938, a letter comes in amidst the donations of money that reads: “REFUJEWS GO HOME!”

Sexual Content


Violent Content

When Nicky first visits the Czech refugee camp, he sees sick and coughing children, as well as one child who appears to be dead.

We don’t see it happen, but people talk of adults being secretly dragged away and potentially killed by Nazi soldiers. As a result, Nicky meets a 12-year-old girl who’s taken on the job of caring for a young infant after the child’s parents both disappear.

We hear about the Nazis’ invasion of Czechoslovakia. And soon after, soldiers raid one of the trains carrying kids. They push passengers in the train station around and then drag children and their adult chaperones roughly out of the train cars. Back in 1987, we hear that 250 children were lost after that raid. In fact, someone says that during the war, 15,000 Czechoslovakian kids were sent to concentration camps; fewer than 200 survived.

After meeting an adult in 1987 who was one of his rescued kids back in 1938, Nicky goes off by himself and weeps intensely over all the children he feels that he failed to save.

Crude or Profane Language

We hear one s-word and one use each of “d–n” and “b—tard.” People also exclaim the British crudities “crikey,” “bloody” and “bollocks.” Someone calls out, “Oh god.”

Drug and Alcohol Content

We see Nicky drinking glasses of wine, beer and harder alcohol. His mother and a good friend join him on two occasions.

Other Negative Elements

A guy buys fake passport documents to replace papers that didn’t come through, putting the holders of those papers in danger.


We live in an incredible world, with access to safety and the riches of information and technology. But oddly enough, that abundance often leaves us with a very narrow and cynical view on life.

So it’s good to find films such as One Life that remind us to pause and consider some bigger and better things.

That said, this isn’t a “big” movie. One Life is a small, intimate and surprisingly lovely film about a man who, in his youth, tried to serve others and save innocent refugee children from the horrors of Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia.

Frankly, that’s not the type of pic that everyone will eagerly flock to. But between Anthony Hopkins’ underplayed-but-emotional excellence and director James Hawes’ craftsmanship behind the camera, this film offers simple, poignant and tender moments that are easy to settle into. (Despite its WWII flashbacks, there are only a few perilous instances and just a dash of foul language on hand.)

We each have but one life to live. A man named Nicolas Winton used a portion of his life to save the precious lives of others. And his inspiring story is well worth two hours of ours. Who knows, it might inspire some of us to broaden our perspectives and be more like him.

The Plugged In Show logo
Elevate family time with our parent-friendly entertainment reviews! The Plugged In Podcast has in-depth conversations on the latest movies, video games, social media and more.
Bob Hoose

After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.