Giant-sized end-of-the-world scenario too scary for tweens.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Review Date: October 30, 2005
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 1998
  • Running Time: 151 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Since the asteroid hurtling toward Earth is just a random act, the movie doesn't really have an overt message, but a smaller one is the sheer self-preservation instinct that humans have. A number of people combine forces to save the lives of everyone else on the planet; it's a good example of teamwork and problem-solving.

Positive role models

The movie likes to play with the idea of the scruffy, outcasts becoming the movie's heroes, so it's arguable whether any of them make good role models. For example, Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis) is cantankerous, quick to anger, and overprotective of his daughter, but underneath, he's a genuinely good man who sacrifices everything to save the ones he loves.


Contains heavy fantasy violence, with giant asteroids crashing into earth, and massive destruction. Several characters -- both major and minor -- die onscreen. One character tries to shoot another with a gun, and the scene is played for laughs. There is also plenty of verbal sparring and arguing.


A.J. and Grace are seen in bed together, twice, with plenty of flirting and kissing, although the movie makes it clear that they are in love and are planning to marry.  One character goes to a strip club, though no nudity is seen. Michael Clarke Duncan's bare behind can be glimpsed in one shot.


We hear at least two uses of "s--t," plus "ass," "damn," "hell," "horny," "Jesus" and "God."


The movie Star Wars is mentioned at least once.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters sit in bars, though no one actually appears to drink onscreen. There is also some discussion of the various drugs that characters have tried in the past (including horse tranquilizers).

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie was a hit summer blockbuster from 1998 about an asteroid that threatens to wipe out the Earth; only a team of scruffy, outcast drillers can save the day. It's a very typical, traditional disaster movie, with massive amounts of destruction and the onscreen deaths of both major and minor characters. It contains middling amounts of language and some sexual situations, but the main concern is the intensity of the violence. The entire scenario -- the possible extinction of absolutely everything and everyone on Earth -- may be a bit too much for younger viewers.

What's the story?

A giant asteroid ("the size of Texas") threatens to wipe out everything and everyone on Earth. NASA chief Dan Truman (Billy Bob Thornton) cooks up a crazy, last-ditch plan involving a crack team of drillers, led by Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis). They will board a rocket, land on the asteroid, drill an 800-foot hole, and plant a nuclear bomb, splitting the asteroid in two before it can reach the Earth. Many complications arise, including overshooting the landing site, and a case of space dementia. But Harry becomes most perturbed when he realizes that his best right-hand man, A.J. (Ben Affleck) is secretly in love with his beloved daughter Grace (Liv Tyler).

Is it any good?


Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Michael Bay (The Rock, Pearl Harbor), ARMAGEDDON is a super-packaged product, designed and marketed rather than created. It's noisy, glossy, and excessive, and more than a tad simplistic -- but it's also nearly irresistible. It has a huge cast of stars and character actors, all playing instantly likeable misfits and outsiders that grab our affections and never let go.

The cliffhanger setups and payoffs come right out of the silent era, complete with ticking clocks counting down to the last second, but these creaky old devices still work like gangbusters. The movie's major drawback is that it cheerfully plays with the terrifying concept of the complete extinction of everything and everyone on Earth. Younger and sensitive viewers who think a little too much about this setup may find themselves lying awake for nights afterward.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the film's violence and destruction. Was it frightening, or thrilling? Why do you think it made you feel that way?

  • How would you feel if you found out the Earth was ending in just a matter of days? What would you do with the time? Would you risk everything for a chance to save the Earth?

  • The main characters, the drillers, were all misfits and outcasts, gamblers, drug users, womanizers, quick-tempered, foul-mouthed, etc. How did you like them as you met them onscreen? How much did you trust them with the fate of the Earth?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 1, 1998
DVD release date:January 14, 2003
Cast:Ben Affleck, Billy Bob Thornton, Bruce Willis
Director:Michael Bay
Studio:Touchstone Pictures
Run time:151 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:sci-fi disaster action, sensuality and brief language

This review of Armageddon was written by

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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.

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Adult Written byAshnak April 9, 2008

Great Hero Movie

They should make more movies like this.
Adult Written byGordan Freeman April 9, 2008

a beautifly filmed kinetic action film

Michael Bay's Armageddon is simply a great action movie. It has some of the best cinemotography and editing of all time.
Adult Written byrotnut March 30, 2011

f word

they say the f word once
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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