21 Bridges

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
21 Bridges Movie Poster Image
Parents recommend
Decent NYC cop drama has violence, language.
  • R
  • 2019
  • 99 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 6 reviews

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Looks at moral conflict between taking a little extra to get by and having a decent life vs. having integrity and doing the right thing (the movie very definitely takes the latter side).

Positive Role Models & Representations

Andre Davis is shown as a caring man with strong integrity/loyalty to family, who has no tolerance for crooked cops. That said, he's also known as an officer who's not afraid to fire his weapon in the line of duty (he's said to have killed eight perpetrators).


Lots of guns and shooting. Many characters die. Beating with blunt objects. Character's eye shot -- gory face. Blood spurts, gurgling blood. Car crashes. Characters hit by car, bus. Boy at his father's funeral.


Brief, mild sexual innuendo.


Strong language, with many uses of "f--k," "motherf----r," "s--t," "balls."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Secondary characters are drug dealers. 300 kilos of cocaine shown. Character tests cocaine quality. Character shows an AA chip and says he needs a scotch. An elderly woman's "meds" are referred to. Background smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that 21 Bridges is a drama starring Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther) as a New York City detective who's on the trail of cop killers. Expect lots of violence, including guns and shooting, many deaths, someone getting shot through the eye (blood and gore shown), blood spurts, beatings with blunt objects, car crashes, and a young boy enduring his father's funeral. Language is also very strong, with many uses of "f--k" and "s--t." Cocaine is part of the plot: 300 kilograms are shown, and criminals try to move 50 kilograms of it (one of them tests it for quality). There are references to AA and to prescription medications, as well as background smoking and brief, mild sexual innuendo. Despite some weak parts, the movie has a brisk, vigorous middle section, and it's passable enough entertainment for mature viewers.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJess3 December 14, 2019

Action packed- fast paced.

Good movie, fast paced, full of action. Great actors. Keeps you guessing the entire movie.
I’d say children over 13yrs, if mature enough. Some language, violen... Continue reading
Adult Written byjohnfight122 December 24, 2019

this movie was DA BOMB (:

wow this movie had a great flow to it and just bam bam bam bam bam that's all the fact that the movie was just non stop and nothing every stopped maybe for... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byExiled Universe February 12, 2020

Worse than expected.

Well when i first saw the trailer right before i saw the movie i thought it was gonna be good and it might be like black and blue which was good, plus in the tr... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byMaria_Galeeva March 13, 2020

Amazing movie

I really enjoyed the movie. Watched it with my parents and they seemed to like it too. There are no sex/love scenes and a lot of violence and use of swear words... Continue reading

What's the story?

In 21 BRIDGES, criminals Ray (Taylor Kitsch) and Michael (Stephan James) show up for a job: stealing 30 kilos of cocaine. But when they get there, they find 300 kilos instead. They're also interrupted by a quartet of cops. Ray shoots eight police officers in all, and the pair escapes. Police detective Andre Davis (Chadwick Boseman), who has a history of shooting perpetrators, is called in to find the two cop killers. Paired with narcotics detective Frankie Burns (Sienna Miller), Andre orders the city of Manhattan closed off, giving him only four hours to find them. He and Frankie follow their noses and piece together the clues, but as they get closer, Andre learns that something isn't quite right inside the police force.

Is it any good?

This New York City cop action drama has a bit of a stiff start and a somewhat silly ending, but in between, it's a brisk, no-frills entertainment, thanks mainly to Boseman's star charisma. 21 Bridges begins with an attempt to explain young Andre's motivations, which isn't really followed up -- or really needed. Then there's an awkwardly written scene of grown-up Andre being interrogated by Internal Affairs. But after that, things get going very quickly, and director Brian Kirk -- a TV veteran (Game of Thrones, Penny Dreadful, etc.) making his feature debut -- keeps the ball rolling.

For most of the movie, the action is fairly clean, interactions are brief, and Kirk makes excellent, colorful use of Manhattan, from villains' lairs to the underbellies of restaurants and hotels. Boseman is well paired with Miller, who's tough and relentless while looking a bit shabby and ratty; she certainly isn't defined by her looks or gender. The two cop killers, likewise, are more than just sneering bad guys. They have a history and a shorthand, and they're smart and scared. It's all pretty good until the final showdown, which does have one or two interesting themes but then throws it all away on a rush job. Still, Boseman is commanding from start to finish, and 21 Bridges is a passable enough entertainment for fans of the genre.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about 21 Bridgesviolence. How strong is it? Does it seem excessive or necessary to the story? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • How are drugs depicted? Are they glamorized in any way? Are there consequences? Why does that matter?

  • Is Andre Davis a role model? Why or why not? How does he demonstrate integrity?

  • What's the argument for being a crooked cop and taking a little extra to make life easier? What's the argument against that? Which side does the movie seem to fall on?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action thrillers

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

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