Parents' Guide to

Apollo 13

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Thrilling, heartwarming, scary, and superb.

Movie PG 1995 140 minutes
Apollo 13 Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 24 parent reviews

age 9+

Great movie!

There is a decent amount of swearing, and an unnecessary shower scene at minute 20. Otherwise an excellent family movie.
age 12+

CSM review sucks

Interesting that Common Sense Media writes "note that everyone in Mission Control is a white male". What's the purpose of this comment? Is it a warning? Is it so people prepare themselves to be offended when they don't see "representation" in an historically accurate movie? Be better, CSM, and stop contributing to agendas intended only to divide us all.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (24 ):
Kids say (56 ):

In addition to the thrilling story, masterful performances, and impeccable technical authenticity, this movie is a heartening story of the triumph of smart guys with slide rules. It should be called "Smart and Smarter," a relief in this era of movies about characters who triumph by being dumb. Even though viewers know the Apollo 13 mission turned out all right, even though the technical material is dense and the action is confined to a space smaller than an elevator, the tension is breathtaking, as the astronauts and the mission control team in Houston try to think their way back home. Everything from duct tape to the cover of the flight manual to one of the astronaut's socks is used in this pre-McGuyver story, where mission control asks simply, "What's good on that ship?" and builds from there.

The legendary "Failure is not an option," said by Gene Kranz, head of Mission Control, when most people were certain the astronauts would never make it back, is worth discussing. So are the changes since you were your children's age. Note that everyone in Mission Control is a white male (and they all smoke all the time). They are amazed that a computer is small enough to fit into one room. And you may have to explain why adults who watch the movie laugh when the engineers take out their slide rules -- for kids today, they are more exotic than an abacus.

Movie Details

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.

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