The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds And Snakes Parents Guide

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” is an upcoming American dystopian science fiction action film directed by Francis Lawrence, based on Suzanne Collins’ 2020 novel of the same name. Serving as a prequel to “The Hunger Games,” the movie explores the events that shape a young Coriolanus Snow’s journey toward becoming Panem’s tyrannical leader. The film features an ensemble cast, including Tom Blyth, Rachel Zegler, Peter Dinklage, Hunter Schafer, Josh Andrés Rivera, Jason Schwartzman, and Viola Davis.

Scheduled for release on November 17, 2023, in the United States by Lionsgate Films, the movie delves into Coriolanus Snow’s relationship with Lucy Gray Baird during the 10th Hunger Games, 64 years before the first film’s events.

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes Movie Details

Movie NameThe Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes
RatingPG-13 (Strong Violent Content, Disturbing Material)
GenreAction, Adventure, Sci-fi
Original LanguageEnglish
DirectorFrancis Lawrence
ProducerNina Jacobson, Brad Simpson, Francis Lawrence
WriterMichael Arndt, Michael Lesslie
Release Date (Theaters)Nov 17, 2023 (Wide)
Runtime2 hours 45 minutes
Production CoColor Force, Lionsgate
Aspect RatioDigital 2.39:1
View the CollectionThe Hunger Games

What is The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes about?

In the aftermath of a prolonged and devastating war with the Districts, the Capitol stands as a battered city, slowly recuperating from the clutches of victory. The illustrious Snow family, once a symbol of wealth and power, now finds itself grappling with adversity. The family’s fortune has crumbled, primarily due to the destruction of their munitions factory in District 13 during the war. General Crassus Snow, the patriarch of the Snows and a renowned war hero, led the Capitol’s forces until his tragic death in battle. In this trying time, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow, Crassus’s son and heir, his cousin Tigris, and their paternal grandmother, affectionately nicknamed “Grandma’am,” are battling dwindling resources and a grim future. Their grand apartment and prestigious social standing hang in the balance, but Coriolanus is determined to uphold the family’s motto, “Snow Lands On Top,” and restore their lost glory.

Coriolanus, recognized for his academic excellence at the prestigious Academy, is chosen to mentor a tribute in the upcoming 10th anniversary of the Hunger Games. This marks a significant change, as it’s the first time mentors are assigned to tributes and introduces elements like interviews and the charismatic host, Lucky Flickerman. However, Coriolanus’s initial disappointment quickly gives way to a sense of purpose when he is assigned the District 12 female tribute, Lucy Gray Baird. Lucy Gray, a member of the nomadic musician group known as the Covey, caught the Capitol’s attention with her defiant performance during the reaping and a daring act involving a hidden snake, further cementing her status as a captivating tribute. Coriolanus realizes that his success in the Games could be the key to securing the monetary prize he desperately needs to save his family’s apartment and pursue a university education.

As the Games draw closer, Coriolanus aims to make a lasting impression. A chance encounter locks him inside a transport vehicle with the tributes, leading to a precarious situation. Some tributes contemplate violence, but Lucy Gray’s intervention prevents a gruesome outcome. The transport vehicle drops Coriolanus and the tributes into the Capitol Zoo’s cage, where they seize the opportunity to captivate the Capitol’s citizens and gain their sympathy.

Coriolanus, demonstrating a growing fondness for Lucy Gray, starts sharing his meager food supply with her, as the Capitol neglects to provide for the tributes. Other mentors follow suit, but the experience varies widely. Sejanus Plinth, the child of a wealthy munitions magnate, struggles to connect with his tribute, Marcus. In contrast, Arachne Crane‘s cruelty towards her tribute results in a gruesome attack that eventually claims her life. The tragic events during the Games impact both tributes and mentors alike.

Clemensia Dovecote, Coriolanus’s classmate, faces immense distress after witnessing the horrors of the Games. Coriolanus takes on the task of completing an essay they were meant to do together, proposing ways to boost viewership for the Games. His inventive ideas, including a betting scheme and tribute sponsorships, pique the interest of the Head Gamemaker, Dr. Volumnia Gaul, although she drops the essay into a tank of genetically modified snakes. Coriolanus is forced to retrieve the pages from the snake-infested tank. A deadly incident involving Clemensia ensues, but her family and friends are left unaware of the true cause.

As the Games continue, Coriolanus and Lucy Gray grow closer, bonding over their shared experiences and challenges. A tour of the arena takes a tragic turn as rebel bombs detonate, claiming the lives of several tributes and mentors. Lucy Gray has a chance to escape but instead chooses to save a wounded Coriolanus. Their growing affection culminates in a heartfelt kiss, marking a turning point in the Games.

Despite the initial negative publicity stemming from the Capitol deaths, the Hunger Games proceed. However, many tributes succumb to starvation, illness, injuries, including Sejanus’s tribute, Marcus, who meets a gruesome fate. Dr. Gaul successfully implements some of Coriolanus’s ideas to engage the Capitol’s viewers.

Sejanus, disillusioned and resentful of the Capitol and the Games, makes a drastic decision to become a martyr in the arena. Dr. Gaul orders Coriolanus to intervene, leading to a confrontation. In a life-threatening chase, Coriolanus is forced to kill one of the tributes in self-defense. The Games’ footage is altered to conceal their involvement in the deadly encounter.

In the meantime, Coriolanus makes a shocking discovery in Dr. Gaul’s lab, recognizing genetically modified snakes similar to those encountered earlier. Realizing their potential danger, he secretly places Lucy Gray’s handkerchief in the tank, hoping to protect her. As anticipated, the snakes are unleashed into the arena, causing havoc among the tributes. Lucy Gray ultimately emerges as the victor, thanks to the snakes and a powder compact given to her by Coriolanus, which she fills with rat poison.

Back in the Capitol, Coriolanus faces a confrontation with Dean Highbottom, who accuses him of cheating in the Games and stealing food from the Academy. Threatened with public disgrace, Coriolanus reluctantly joins the Peacekeepers and is sent to the garrison in District 12 for what could be a lengthy period of service.

In District 12, Coriolanus reunites with Lucy Gray, and their romantic relationship deepens. Sejanus, who has been conscripted into the Peacekeepers, harbors a growing resentment toward the Capitol‘s authoritarian rule. He hatches a plan to aid a group of rebels in escaping to an uncontrolled region north of the district.

Coriolanus sends a covert message to Dr. Gaul using a jabberjay, a genetically modified bird capable of recording and mimicking human voices. This message inadvertently leads to the deaths of Lucy Gray’s former lover, Billy Taupe, and Mayfair, who overhear a conversation between Sejanus and a rebel. In a tense turn of events, Sejanus is arrested and executed for treason, further complicating Coriolanus’s situation.

When Lucy Gray decides to escape to the North, Coriolanus makes a daring choice to follow her, despite being offered a spot in an officer training school in District 2. Fearing the repercussions of his involvement in the deaths of Billy and Mayfair, he sets out with her on their uncertain journey.

As they travel, Coriolanus stumbles upon the hidden murder weapons used against Billy Taupe and Mayfair. Realizing their potential as incriminating evidence, he faces a difficult decision – to bury the past and forge a new life or confront the truth. In a dramatic showdown, he chases after Lucy Gray with a rifle, but a snakebite and dwindling ammunition leave him uncertain of her fate.

Coriolanus disposes of the weapons and returns to the Capitol, where Dr. Gaul reveals her hidden agenda and offers him a place at the University under her guidance. He is also adopted by Sejanus’s parents, unaware of his role in their son’s death. Coriolanus’s ascent to power begins, marked by a series of calculated killings and manipulations that will shape the future of Panem.

One of Coriolanus’s initial steps towards consolidating power is a visit to the Academy to confront Dean Highbottom. Here, he learns the true origin of the Hunger Games. Dean Highbottom confesses that the Games were initially conceived as a theoretical experiment, never meant to become a grim reality. Crassus Snow, Coriolanus’s father, took the idea to Dr. Gaul, who turned it into the ruthless event that now plagues the nation. The revelation deepens Coriolanus’s resentment towards his father and further fuels his ambition.

Coriolanus, now consumed by a thirst for influence, takes the first life that will set the stage for his rise to power. He poisons Dean Highbottom’s drug stash, marking the beginning of a series of calculated murders that will shape his future.

As the years pass, Coriolanus actively participates in the design and execution of future Hunger Games as a Gamemaker. All evidence of the 10th Hunger Games is erased, and Lucy Gray, either dead or escaped, becomes an enigmatic figure lost in the annals of Panem’s history.

“The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” offers a gripping and thought-provoking journey through the complex and morally ambiguous world of Panem. It provides a fresh perspective on the origins of the Hunger Games, shedding light on the inner workings of the Capitol and the characters that will ultimately shape the nation’s destiny.

Suzanne Collins’ prequel immerses readers in a world where power, ambition, and survival intertwine in a thrilling and harrowing narrative. Coriolanus Snow’s transformation from a young and ambitious mentor to the formidable President Snow is a testament to the novel’s captivating storytelling and character development.

The book expertly explores themes of morality, authority, and the consequences of one’s choices. It challenges readers to examine the roots of tyranny and the human capacity for both cruelty and compassion.

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds And Snakes Parents Guide

Why is The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes rated PG-13?

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is rated PG-13 by the MPA due to strong violent content and disturbing material.


  • The film contains intense action sequences, which may include combat, fights, and confrontations. While not overly graphic, these scenes can be thrilling and may involve characters in perilous situations.
  • Some scenes may feature characters engaging in physical violence, such as hand-to-hand combat and the use of weapons.
  • There might be moments of suspense and tension, where characters are in life-threatening situations or facing challenges.


  • The use of strong language is generally limited in a PG-13 film. While there might be some mild to moderate profanity, it is not pervasive or extreme.


  • “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” delves into complex and often dark themes. It explores the dynamics of power, authority, and survival in a dystopian world. These themes may lead to thought-provoking discussions but should be considered when evaluating the film’s suitability for younger viewers.

Sensitivity to Disturbing Material:

  • The film features elements that could be unsettling or disturbing for some audiences. This includes themes related to authoritarianism, the consequences of violence, and moral dilemmas.
  • Certain scenes may contain disturbing imagery or situations that could be emotionally challenging for younger viewers.

Parental guidance is advised for younger audiences, and parents should use their discretion when deciding if the film is appropriate for their children. While the PG-13 rating indicates that it’s generally suitable for teenagers and older children, individual sensitivities and maturity levels can vary. To gain a more comprehensive understanding of the film’s content and its potential impact, parents can refer to detailed reviews and official parental guidance sources.

Who is in the cast of The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes?

Here’s the cast

Tom BlythCoriolanus Snow
Rachel ZeglerLucy Gray Baird
Josh Andres RiveraSejanus Plinth
Hunter SchaferTigris Snow
Jason SchwartzmanLucretius “Lucky” Flickerman
Peter DinklageCasca Highbottom
Viola DavisDr. Volumnia Gaul
Burn GormanCommander Hoff
Fionnula FlanaganGrandma’am
Ashley LiaoClemensia Dovecote
Isobel Jesper JonesMayfair Lipp
Dakota ShapiroBilly Taupe
Vaughan ReillyMaude Ivory
George SomnerSpruce
Carl SpencerSmiley
Scott FolanBeanpole
Honor GilliesBarb Azure
Eike OnyambuTam Amber
Konstantin TaffetClerk Carmine
Michael Greco and Daniela GrubertStrabo Plinth and Mrs. Plinth


“The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” is an upcoming dystopian science fiction film directed by Francis Lawrence and based on Suzanne Collins’ 2020 novel. Serving as a prequel to “The Hunger Games,” the movie delves into the early life of Coriolanus Snow, the future tyrannical leader of Panem, and his relationship with the Hunger Games tribute, Lucy Gray Baird.

Key Points:

  • Prequel Story: The movie serves as a prequel to “The Hunger Games” and provides insight into Coriolanus Snow’s transformation into the ruthless leader of Panem.
  • Ensemble Cast: The film features an ensemble cast, including Tom Blyth, Rachel Zegler, Peter Dinklage, Hunter Schafer, and Viola Davis.
  • Release Date: “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” is scheduled for release in the United States on November 17, 2023, by Lionsgate Films.
  • Plot: The story is set in a post-war Capitol, where the once-wealthy Snow family faces adversity due to the destruction of their munitions factory. Coriolanus Snow is selected to mentor a tribute in the 10th Hunger Games, forming a crucial connection with Lucy Gray Baird.
  • Themes: The film explores themes of power, survival, and the consequences of one’s choices in a dystopian society.
  • Rating: The film is rated PG-13 due to strong violent content and disturbing material, including intense action and combat scenes.
  • Parental Guidance: Parents are advised to use their discretion when considering the film’s suitability for younger viewers, given its themes and content.
  • Cast: The movie boasts a diverse cast, with actors portraying characters like Coriolanus Snow, Lucy Gray Baird, Sejanus Plinth, Tigris Snow, and more.
  • Future President Snow: Audiences witness the young Coriolanus Snow’s journey, which will ultimately lead him to become the authoritarian leader of Panem.
  • Complex Themes: The film challenges viewers with complex themes of morality, power, and survival in a dystopian world.

This prequel promises an engaging narrative that provides a fresh perspective on the origins of the Hunger Games, shedding light on the inner workings of the Capitol and the characters who will shape Panem’s future.