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Parents' Guide to

A Nightmare on Elm Street

By Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

First feature for knife-handed horror idol Freddy.

Movie R 1984 91 minutes
A Nightmare on Elm Street Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 43 parent 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.
2 people found this helpful.
age 11+
Watch out for violence and gore there way Freddy Krueger kills people is funny but violent

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
1 person found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (43 ):
Kids say (186 ):

Part of this film's success was that writer-director Wes Craven made it at a time when banal, bloody copies of Friday the 13th (starring hockey-masked Jason) commonly filled theaters. Any teen-themed horror film that was even halfway original and imaginative would have stood out refreshingly, and this one did. A Nightmare on Elm Street's cast of teenage characters was a shade more sympathetic and well-drawn than Jason's victims.

The dream-attack gimmick (which is never really explained as clearly as it should be) makes for lots of shock scenes and visual surprises, teasing viewers about what is or isn't really happening, and filmmaker Craven also plants more sophisticated seeds of unease. Parenting and family life -- touchstones of reassurance and protection in horror movies like Poltergeist -- aren't sources of comfort here. Mothers and fathers killed Krueger and covered it up, and now the villain is punishing their children for it rather than them -- the old sins-of-the-fathers biblical warning (in slasher-movie clothing).

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 9, 2023

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