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 41 reviews

Kids say

age 13+

Based on 173 reviews

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 18+

Like Freddy Kreuger the film is iconic

What can I say really about Nightmare on Elm Street. It has been said that it is a horror classic, Freddy Kreuger is iconic and it is an all round great film. I have to say, I agree. Is it a perfect movie? Not quite, the characters are not that well developed, but actually with everything else done so well that is a small gremlin. The film is shot in a non-cheap and atmospheric way with good editing and lighting that is never too dark or dim. The music also helps to enhance the mood without being too obvious, the script is smart, the story is compelling but what Nightmare on Elm Street really succeeds in doing is how it incorporates its scares. There is gore, but it is not used in a cheap and excessive way, and there are some genuinely suspenseful touches. The ending is surprising and very shocking. The acting is good, this is all about Nancy and she is very believably played. Johnny Depp went on to do better things but he's also fine. I'll remember Nightmare on Elm Street though for the terrifying performance of Robert Englund, Kreuger is now an iconic villain and after you see how Englund interprets him you would say justifiably so. And Wes Craven directs efficiently. Overall, the first of the series and the best and most iconic of the series. The sequels were mixed with a lot of gore and silliness and not much heart and suspense and the remake is not worth bothering with. 10/10 Bethany Cox

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much swearing
age 11+
its not that bad. It may look very scary because freddy has knives for fingers but it was made in the 80s its not that bad the blood looks like markers. There is a little bit of sex but it was off screen and there is some language

This title has:

Too much sex

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: August 2, 2022

Our Editors Recommend

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

See how we rate