25th Hour Movie Poster Image

25th Hour



Engaging but violent drama. Not for kids.
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 135 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The main character is a convicted drug dealer; however, he feels remorse, is incredibly reflective about his life, and shows kindness and compassion for others. Almost every character has a major flaw, whether lusting for teenage girls, greed, or alcoholism, but these characters also reek of compassion and remorse for their own actions.


The film begins by showing a badly beaten dog and goes from there. It includes a murder and a very graphic beating of the main character.


Adults lusting after high school girls. Partial nudity (couple bathing together).


A lot of swearing both casually and in anger. Extended bigoted diatribe.


Red Bull and Guinness product placement.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The main character is a drug dealer. Teenage drinking and drug use.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie is meant for mature audiences only, and they may want to think twice about letting kids watch. Some older teens may be able to handle the violence, emotional distress, and questionable situations. The premise centers on the deeds of a drug dealer. The majority of the characters swear repeatedly. Almost every main character is placed in some kind of questionable situation (quasi-pedophilia, assault). Additionally, the film's New York setting and content evoke the memory of September 11th.

What's the story?

A big-time drug dealer for the Russian mob, Montgomery Brogan (Edward Norton) has one day left on the street before he heads to prison to serve a seven-year sentence. The film, told in partial flashback, chronicles his final day and the events that led up to it. Questioning his past, present, and future, Monty must make peace and some hard decisions before his morning ride to the joint. Far from alone, Monty suffers along with his innermost circle of friends and family. His girlfriend Natural (Rosario Dawson) is the object of both his affection and his suspicion. High school buddies -- a high-powered trader (Barry Pepper) and a squeamish high school teacher (Philip Seymour Hoffman) -- struggle with their feelings and Monty's expectations, while his father (Brian Cox) searches for ways to relieve his own personal guilt. What will happen in the 25th hour?

Is it any good?


Like many of Lee's films, 25TH HOUR uses stylized cinematography to effectively underscore the emotions of those who inhabit its world. Repeated takes of the same scene, shifts in lighting, and Lee's classic people mover shot highlight the helplessness or lack of personal agency of the characters. Excellent performances all around complement a visually stunning film. Norton (American History X, Fight Club) turns in yet another fantastic and controlled performance, while Pepper (The Green Mile, 61), Hoffman (Happiness, Magnolia), Dawson (Kids , Sin City), Paquin (The Piano, X2) -- as Hoffman's student and object of lust, and Cox (Braveheart, X2) add depth to Monty's character and the overall narrative. Despite the fact that 25th Hour is a quality film, parents should know that the drugs, violence, nudity, and language in the film make it inappropriate for kids under 18.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the racist diatribes in the film. Monty rages into a mirror about people of every race, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation; what does this moment communicate about changes occurring within Monty? Families may also want to talk about Spike Lee as a filmmaker -- both as today's most successful African-American filmmaker and as an artist who covers a wide variety of subjects.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 16, 2002
DVD/Streaming release date:May 20, 2003
Cast:Edward Norton, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rosario Dawson
Director:Spike Lee
Studio:Buena Vista
Run time:135 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong language and some violence.

This review of 25th Hour was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written byMovieLover4Lyfe May 26, 2010
I love Edward Norton and cannot sit still I'm so excited to see this movie!
Teen, 15 years old Written bywho3697cares July 19, 2009

e.g. Perfect for older kids, but not for tweens

Practically redefines what we think of prison.


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?