A Nightmare on Elm Street

Movie review by Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media
A Nightmare on Elm Street Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 17+

First feature for knife-handed horror idol Freddy.

R 1984 91 minutes

Parents say

age 14+

Based on 44 reviews

Kids say

age 13+

Based on 182 reviews

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+
Not that scary but pretty cool and very entertaining. It is quite violent but it doesn't look that realistic so most teenagers will be fine with it. Also the dream scenes have really cool atmosphere.
age 14+

A classic horror movie may fall short, but still knows how to entertain!

I decided to spend my Halloween eating some candy and watch a horror film — not any horror film, a classic one. I was either seeing Halloween or this but I decided to settle on Craven’s most noteable movie — a Nightmare on Elm Street. Since he is also known for making the Scream franchise, I was going into this with some hope and maybe a little scares. But it delivered hardly any of that — not that it was not entertaining, but it feel short on both lack of scares/violence wise. I know this film is a horror classic, and I truly respect that but for me it was a missed opportunity to not only make it more interesting but scarier. I guess my level of scariness gone up ever since I saw the movie Smile. Nothing is as frightening as seeing Smile in the theaters by yourself and being scared out of your shit wits. So if I am comparing this movie to Smile, it’s scares level was a 2/10. And also shockingly less violent and forest than I expected. I enjoyed this movie for what it was, but it lacked the energy and hype it gets out of it. I didn’t feel it; it more or less a slow burn horror ride that never really picked up its pace, and always had its slow momentous pace. It may have frightened fans when it first came out, but for me the scares were not scary — in fact (not to disrespect this classic horror film) it was laughable at times. I guess I am judging this movie in the Gen-Z’s eyes prospective and may not be too fair, but I my best not to judge movies from how poorly the graphics are or when it came out!! I can give it this: it does have a fascinating plot idea, and I love the whole dream sequence with Freddy Kruger. Any scenes with him in it always got the movie a bit more exciting. It’s a classic alright but in my eyes it fall short more than one way. Also, I feel like Wes other big franchise, Scream, started out better in a sense of way than this one. Although this one is famously known for Kruger l, I just enjoyed tue whole premise for Scream — even though it repeated itself in all 5 movies. But I do give my cap off to this: Wes made a classic here and I can fully truly respect that. It may lack the tension and scariness that Smile had but Smile will never amount to the classic that Nightmare on Elm Street has become in the pop culture world!!!

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing

Movie Details

  • In theaters: November 9, 1984
  • On DVD or streaming: August 11, 2001
  • Cast: John Saxon, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund
  • Director: Wes Craven
  • Studio: New Line
  • Genre: Horror
  • Run time: 91 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: gore, profanity, sexual innuendo, alcohol use
  • Last updated: November 16, 2022

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