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Apollo 13



Thrilling, heartwarming, scary, and superb.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1995
  • Running Time: 140 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The team works together to find a way to solve their problem, save themselves, and emerge from a terrible situation. Teamwork, perseverance, and courage are themes.

Positive role models

Jim is heroic and brave, as are the other members of the team. On the downside, there's not much diversity; all of the professionals are white males.


Very tense, characters in serious peril.


One or two oblique references, including one to "the clap." A demonstration with a beer bottle sliding into a glass has sexual undertones.


Fairly frequent profanity includes "s--t," "damn," "bitch," "ass," "goddamn," and what sounds like "f--k."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking at party, lots of smoking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that it's a good idea to prepare younger kids beforehand by telling them what Apollo 13 is about; you may want to reassure them, since it is a true story, that the astronauts end up coming home all right. Be prepared for some very tense scenes when the characters are in peril, and note that everyone in Mission Control is a white male (and they smoke a fair bit, which is accurate for the era). Fairly frequent profanity includes "s--t," "damn," "bitch," "ass," and what sounds like "f--k." A demonstration with a beer bottle sliding into a glass has sexual undertones.

What's the story?

Two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks plays real-life astronaut-hero Jim Lovell in this true story of the APOLLO 13 mission to the moon that almost left three astronauts stranded in space when an oxygen tank exploded. Mission Control, thousands of miles away from the stranded astronauts, must figure out a way to get the men home in one piece.

Is it any good?


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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the way that Mission Control solves the problems happening thousands of miles away by re-creating the conditions inside the spaceship Apollo 13. Point out how the adults handle the strain, sometimes losing their tempers or blaming one another (or trying to escape blame), but mostly working very well together.

  • Discuss the real-life event that inspired the movie. Ask older family members if they remember the event. Kids who want to learn more can go to the library or conduct Internet research.

  • How do the astronauts and mission control team demonstrate teamwork, perseverance, and courage in Apollo 13? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 30, 1995
DVD/Streaming release date:December 1, 2002
Cast:Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise, Tom Hanks
Director:Ron Howard
Studio:Universal Pictures
Topics:Adventures, History, Space and aliens
Character strengths:Courage, Perseverance, Teamwork
Run time:140 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:language and emotional intensity

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Teen, 17 years old Written byKoOkYMoNsTa234 April 9, 2008


My friends and I recently viewed APOLLO13 in school and there was al ot of "blushing". There were numerous sexual double entendres/references with Kevin Bacon stating to a woman (with a beer bottle and round glass) "This is you, this is me. We thrust my baby (his penis) in and it zooms out (getting erect). Then there is the penetration. Everything's clickin', and the buttons are pushin'", and there is an implied sex scene with the camera panning away as things get raunchy. That suprised me in a PG rated film.
Parent of a 9 and 11 year old Written byjcpilot February 12, 2010
A great movie giving historical fact and showing kids to never give up. There are some curse words (S and A words) during some stressed moments in the movie. If you have mature children and have discussed these words, I think the great message of the movie outweighs the bad words.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written byAshnak April 9, 2008

Great Intense Movie for Kids

Hero movies are great for kids


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