2001: A Space Odyssey Movie Poster Image

2001: A Space Odyssey



Kubrick's sci-fi masterpiece is still relevant.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Review Date: May 18, 2003
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 1968
  • Running Time: 141 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable

Characters in peril and some are killed.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is an eye-opening experience for older children, with much to ponder and push teens to a greater appreciation of the mystery of life and the universe. They should also be aware that this classic is slow-moving and it could lose audiences expecting a fast-paced sci-fi movie in a spaceship. Patience and a willingness to fall into the suspense of the film are necessary.

What's the story?

In this science fiction masterpiece, Stanley Kubrick tracks the odyssey of mankind, from the dawn of man 4 million years ago to the exploration of deep space. The film begins with a desolate time when our ape-like predecessors led frightened and brutal lives, scrounging for food and huddling against the cold night while wild animals howled in the distance. In a few short minutes, Kubrick has spanned the epochs, depicting the origins of tribes and the miraculous morning when apes awoke and learned how to use tools. With this ability, mankind was launched on its journey to the stars. On Kubrick's timeline, it is just a small next step to the exploration of the moon. And from the moon, mankind heads off to Jupiter. But what is triggering these immense changes? Why are humans evolving and what is their destiny? At transforming moments along this odyssey, a mysterious black monolith appears, drawing humans ever forward. But toward what?

Is it any good?


For children 12 or older, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY can be a mind-boggling experience. In a series of dramatic vignettes, it introduces children to cosmic mysteries and gives them an opportunity and an incentive to grapple with issues that span the millennia. Younger children may be impressed by the drama, the special effects and the beautiful music, but may have a hard time following the plot. In addition, they will lose patience with some of the longer segments dealing with space exploration. (The special effects used by Kubrick were revolutionary in their day, but will seem commonplace to children raised on Star Wars and Star Trek: The Next Generation).


Even 12-year olds may not appreciate the subtle references to political rivalries and intrigue on earth, the cover-up of mysterious developments on the moon, or the more ironic aspects of the clash between man and machine (HAL the computer plaintively crying that he is afraid and that he can feel his mind going is a poignant example). But most teenagers cannot help but be swept up in this film, which stretches their minds and gives them mysteries and uncertainty instead of endings where everything is neatly tied up with a bow. As kids strive to deal with the uncertainty of the ending, and fill in its gaps and illuminate its gray areas by drawing upon their own personality and sense of the world, they are on their way to appreciating greater and more mature forms of art.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about more subtle aspects of the film they might have missed: Why is the moment the apes use tools a turning point? What does the monolith represent?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 6, 1968
DVD release date:May 6, 1991
Cast:Gary Lockwood, Keir Dullea, William Sylvester
Director:Stanley Kubrick
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Science Fiction
Topics:Space and aliens
Run time:141 minutes
MPAA rating:G

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Parent of a 13 year old Written byLTM312 April 10, 2010

2001-not for everybody

"2001-A Space Odyssey" is a masterpiece of film making. Based on a short story by Arthur C. Clarke, the movie is at various times philosophical and literal, poetic and logical, possible and impossible. It used at the time cutting edge special effects that were not bettered until "Star Wars" came out, and has what is perhaps the most famous "jump cut" in cinema history. The story as seen on the screen is basicly divided into 3 parts-The evolution of Man, Man's conquering of outer space, Man's next evolutionary step to "Star Child." The middle section, the moon and flight to Jupiter, is probably the most coherent and beautiful part of the film. If your teenager has the expectation of laser battles and exploding planets, this movie is not for them. However if you have a child who has begun to ask "Why are we here?", "What is the point of life?" this film is for them. Directed by Stanley Kubrick, originally in 70 mm Cinerama, and stereo. Special effects by Douglas Trumbul and John Dykstra among othesr. Hey kids, models and film tricks. No computers were used.
Teen, 17 years old Written byoctober1985 July 20, 2009
There's nothing objectional, but young kids will be bored to tears.
Kid, 12 years old December 30, 2008

CSM Overreacted

Thematic elements are not really much of a problem then it CSM thought. Trust, it is one of the best films ever made (undoubtedly the best sci-fi by a llllllloooooooonnnnnnnnnggggggg shot). But really a yellow for violence you see one of those heart rate things go red and a body floating around horrible, right? The only problem is the pace, which some find annoying as heck, but I actually find it kind of soothing when I'm stressed.


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