Apollo 13

  • Review Date: May 19, 2003
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1995
  • Running Time: 140 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Thrilling, heartwarming, scary, and superb.
  • Review Date: May 19, 2003
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1995
  • Running Time: 140 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

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, staying calm in the face of adversity, and believing in yourself 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.

Violence

Very tense, characters in peril.

Sex

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

Language

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

Consumerism
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 the movie is about, and you may want to reassure them, since it is a true story, that the astronauts did come home all right. Note that everyone in Mission Control is a white male (and they all smoke all the time). 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.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks plays real-life astronaut-hero Jim Lovell in this true story of the 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?

QUALITY
 

APOLLO 13 should be called "Smart and Smarter." In addition to the thrilling story, masterful performances, and impeccable technical authenticity, it is a heartening story of the triumph of smart guys with slide rules, a relief in this era of movies about characters who triumph by being dumb. Even though viewers know it 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. 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.

Movie details

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

This review of Apollo 13 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.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

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

Written byAnonymous October 4, 2014
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Apollo 13

========================================================= Sex/Nudity: Jack demonstrates the docking procedure of the spacecraft to a woman stating that he's the beer bottle and she's the glass as he inserts the bottle into the glass: "The thing that sticks out is called the probe...When you feel that thing slide in, and everything's clicking, it's like no other feeling in the world." Jack comes out of the shower and we see that there's a woman still in there. No nudity or activity, though, is seen. After Fred states that it hurts to urinate he says, "I think ol' Swaggert gave me the clap pissing in my relief tube." 3/10. ========================================================= Violence: There is a scene where a group of astronauts are blown into space. In the opening prologue there is a scene of the Apollo 1 fire and we briefly see the astronauts in the fire. 3.5/10. ========================================================= Blood/Gore: Fred throws up right after they make it into orbit. Some liquids and a few chunks of semi-digested food float about the cabin. 4/10. ========================================================= Profanity: There's 2 possible "f" words, along with at least 15 "s" words, 12 damns, 10 hells, 3 asses, 1 crap, and 7 uses of "G-damn," 4 uses each of "Jesus," 3 of "Christ" and "Oh my God," 2 uses of "God" and "Oh God," and 1 use each of "Jesus Christ" and "Swear to God" as exclamations. 5.5/10. ========================================================= Alcohol/Drugs: People drink champagne at the moon walk party and later Marilyn asks Jim if he's drunk. He says he is and that he's not used to the champagne. She also appears to be somewhat inebriated. Many empty beer cans are seen around Ken as he watches TV. 4/10. ========================================================= Smoking: Jim and few other people have cigars at the moon walk party, but none are seen smoking them. Gene smokes quite a bit as things get tense. Many people smoke in the background of several scenes, especially in the control room. The Mission Control staff celebrates with cigars. 5/10. ========================================================= Apollo 13 is one of my favourite movies of all-time, and is definitely worth watching. I give it 9/10. =========================================================
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 17 years old Written byKoOkYMoNsTa234 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

APOLLO13

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.
Adult Written byAshnak April 9, 2008
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

Great Intense Movie for Kids

Hero movies are great for kids
Parent of a 9 and 11 year old Written byjcpilot February 12, 2010
AGE
11
QUALITY
 
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

Poll

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

Essential School Tools