Parent reviews for Back to the Future

Common Sense says

'80s time-travel favorite; some violence, bullying, cursing.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 87 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 185 reviews
Adult Written byAmymom June 22, 2009
Your ratings were misleading. As to sexual content, there were scenes involving a boy looking through binoculars at a girl while she was undressing in her room!, a scene where a boy was about to sexually assault a girl in a car and numerous allusions to sex. This should have rated at least a 3 on your little icons. The violence that was most disturbing involved a boy shoving the girl (hard) who he had attempted to sexually assault. That is not "flirting and kissing". The language was also much worse than your review lead me to believe.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Language
Drinking, drugs & smoking
Parent of a 6 year old Written bykurtray February 4, 2009

PG-13, definitely

I agree whole-heartedly with other recent reviewers who were caught off-guard by the language, violence and adult themes. This was one of my favorite movies when it was released in the 80's. I was cringing as I watched it with my 6 and 9 year-olds... and my disapproving wife! We had to turn it off.
Parent of a 4, 9, and 12 year old Written byshadowfc January 17, 2009

Parent Guidance DEFINITELY suggested!

Firstly - this movie is a childhood favorite of mine. I thought my kids might enjoy it. WARNING: I do not agree at all with the Common Sense review of this movie. Be wary of movies that came out before the PG-13 rating. This movie definitely would have gotten one due to the language alone. An occasional light swear word I can deal with, but I counted at least half a dozen "S" words, the Lord's name was taken in vain throughout, not to mention the frequent use of "b4st4rd" and "son-of-a-b". I watched with my 12 year old daughter and just cringed because I'd forgotten how loose the language is! Other parental items to note: the main character (who is 17) and his girlfriend plan to sneak away together on a camping trip, which the main character's parents approve of at the end. The main character also swears and drinks. PLEASE do yourself a favor and re-watch this movie before you allow your children to watch. NOT for kids under 13!
Parent of a 7 and 8 year old Written byJazzLad February 20, 2013

Some quantifications

*** Language *** Some reviews mention 'mild swearing' and some mention 'constant swearing' so how does a parent know who is right? Here are some statistics pulled directly from the subtitles: sh** is said 4 times, d*** 16 times, bas**** 5 times (why can the main review type that word but I cannot?), a** 3 times including used once with the word hole, hell is said 8 times, b**** is used 3 times, God is used as an exclamation 12 times including twice followed by the word d***, Jesus is used as an exclamation 9 times including twice followed by Christ. These were just the words it occurred to me to search, this is 58 different instances (not counting compound swears twice) of profanity/taking the Lord's name in vain - even if the latter doesn't bother you (not everyone is Christian), it is still 39 times. In addition to this, other reviews mention numerous examples of name calling (like peckerwood). *** Violence/sexual content *** Sorry to lump these together, but in the case of this movie, there is overlap. Doc is killed/appears to be killed by terrorists with automatic rifles. Marty's dad is a peeping-tom in a tree with binoculars (watching Marty's mother in a state of partial dress). Marty suggests he pretend to date-rape his own mother so that his father can be a hero and rescue her. Biff attempts to rape Marty's mother. None of these were particularly graphic. *** Positive messages *** Marty is a great kid who (generally) tries to do the right thing. *** Final thoughts *** An edited version of this movie could be great for kids and adults alike. In my opinion, the language it is too pervasive even for me to want to watch it with my wife without being edited (at 112 minutes long, it averages something I do not want to hear every 1min 53sec [not including name-calling] - worse than many PG13 and even many R rated movies). If people taking the Lord's name in vain is particularly offensive to you (as it is to many Christians), you will likely be quite offended by the pervasiveness of that in this movie - at 19 times it averages once every 5min 53sec. I also found it interesting that Common Sense Media says the movie has content age-appropriate for 8 year olds, but yet there were 31 usages of words that they do not allow in their reviews. I do not claim this review to be comprehensive, an apologize if I have offended anyone's sensibilities - but please note, the movie is more graphic than this review of it (if the review offends you, do not watch the film!).

This title contains:

Positive messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Language
Consumerism
Parent of a 6 and 8 year old Written bydnpseattle August 17, 2013

Pay attention to what's written in the CSM review: language, sex and violence

Just want to highlight a few things from the CSM review above which I glossed over and regret now. Pay attention to: 1) "there's also implied unwanted sex, but nothing serious happens." True, but it is still difficult to explain to an 8 year-old what's happening and why the guy isn't accepting No. Several scenes of this including in the school cafeteria ("You know you want it!" -- want what, dad?), the diner and finally in the car (Is he trying to kiss her? What is he doing to her? Why is she laying down in the car?). The peeping Tom bit was also difficult to explain (What's he doing? Why is that boy looking at that girl with his binoculars?). 2) "Strong language includes a couple memorable uses of "s--t," as well as "[email protected]," "[email protected]," "a--hole," and a couple of racial slurs (sp00ks)." That should set your alarms off...I didn't pay attention. Additionally, there was good use of "hell," "son of a b1tch" along with frequent uses of "J3sus Chr1st" and "G0ddammit." 3) The scene where Doc is shot by terrorists is pretty intense. There's no blood, but Doc is shot at close range with a machine gun. You see his body being pelted by the bullets and he falls down. Kids don't know that he'll be ok, so it can be very disturbing. Finally, 4) my 8-year old can read pretty well. When Marty returns to 1985 he checks out the signs and billboards around him. The camera shows a XXX adult movie shop advertising something about 'sex orgy' (Dad, what's an or-gee?). All in all, the film made me cringe. Had I watched this with my kids when they're older, I might have had less of an issue with it. In the end, I'm sorry we didn't turn it off and regret letting my kids watch it. Back to the old Disney movies for us!

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Language
Drinking, drugs & smoking
Parent of a 8 and 10 year old Written byLA mom November 28, 2009

Good movie for older kids

We watched this movie with our 8 and 10 year olds because we remembered it as a fun movie. We were shocked by the language - my kids learned lots of new words. It is a great movie that unfortunately has inappropriate language and sexual inuendos (going away with your girlfriend for the weekend and lying to your parents about it?) I should have waited until my kids were a little older to show them this movie.

This title contains:

Sexy stuff
Language
Consumerism
Parent of a 17 year old Written byJayhoff January 28, 2010

Humor for children, content more mature. Funny for adults too.

In this case csm grossly understated the sex (Teenage boy in underware in a girls bedroom, attempted molestation in car, multiple cleavege shots...) Children should be old enough to handle this. It would have been nice to know this before we saw the film.

This title contains:

Sexy stuff
Language
Parent of a 10 and 15 year old Written byvolvomom November 13, 2010
I remember watching this movie multiple times as a teenager and loving it, however it was only after watching it with my girls that I was surprised by all the bad language. While I know those words are out there, we don't allow them in our home. I read the reviews and thought there would be two or three, but instead found them sprinkled throughout the film. It's a great movie with a fun plot and some funny scenes, but beware of the car scene where Biff makes unwanted advances toward Lorraine in the car. We did fast-forward through that part based on other reviews. If your kids are a little older, this might be okay, but if your kids are young you may want to wait with this one.

This title contains:

Language
Positive messages
Adult Written byCritical-Dad April 9, 2008

Shocked from a family man director like Spielberg

The story is great, the acting is enjoyable -but the foul language and sexual attack scene in the car was difficult to explain to my daughters. This film introduced my kids to the words: sh--, dam, Goddammit, bastard, and son-of-bitch -sorry, but these do not clasify as "mild lauguage" words to me. Have the mute button in hand if you decide to rent it with your kids.
Educator and Parent of a 9 and 11 year old Written byMom and movie lover September 26, 2009

Bad writers use bad language in what could've been a good flick!

It could have been a really good movie -- too much unneeded bad language. Every single swear word there is was used prominently in the movie. What a waste.

This title contains:

Language
Parent of a 7 and 9 year old Written byscaissie June 29, 2014

Sexual Assault and Language

I love this movie and thought it would be great for my 7 and 9 year old. Unfortunately, it had been a long time since I'd seen it. There's a scene where Biff is trying to sexually assault Marty's mom. That scene alone is enough to make this movie inappropriate for anyone under 13. There's also a lot more strong language than I'd like.

This title contains:

Sexy stuff
Language
Parent of a 9 and 11 year old Written bySJMa September 13, 2013

I used to trust Common Sense...

I wrote this review a few weeks ago but somehow it seems to have gotten lost... At any rate, I can't BELIEVE the rating for this movie. The dating violence, the weed smoking, the drinking, the swearing... this is definitely NOT a movie I want my kids to see until they are at least 16 and we can have a serious talk about all these things. I used to recommend Common Sense wholeheartedly but after being misled by this review I will not do so again. Really sad about this.

This title contains:

Sexy stuff
Language
Drinking, drugs & smoking
Adult Written bythehappy May 19, 2012

more upsetting for kids than CSM suggests

I feel completely let down by common sense media with regard to the suggested age range of 8 for this film - there isn't just "suggested" unwanted sex... the scene involves a young woman shivering and crying for help as a guy has her held inside of a car and tells his pals it's not a "peep" show. she is terrified and he has her in lying down position. what am I supposed to tell my 8 year old that's all about?? No. it doesn't come to anything. But, I was very uncomfortable watching the scene with my 8 year old. I agree with other parents that the appropriate age for this film is at least 10. The cussing is rampant btw! The sexual innuendos between the characters are pretty strong
Adult Written byMike Amster July 21, 2011

8 years old......Really?!?!?

8 Years old ?!?!?!?!?! Not even taking the language into account or the graphic murder of Doc, who feels that a central plot theme that involves attempted date rape is appropriate movie for 8 year olds? Parents beware.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Language
Adult Written byRockybalboa211 February 26, 2011

Families should only see the television version (censored)

Ok, simply this is a beautiful heart felt time traveling movie. Possibly the single greatest movie of the entire 1980s! It revolves around young man named Marty Mcfly who is considered by many to be a loser. He has a beautiful girl friend named Jennifer though that believes in him, yet Marty is truly down and out about his life. This all changes when his friend old Doc Brown invents a Time Machine out of a 1985 DELOREAN!! Doc Brown invented the time machine with his families fortune. Libyan terrorists show up and are trying to kill Doc Brown since Doc Brown needed stolen plutonium to power the time machine. Marty fearing for his life takes the time machine back to November 5th 1955. Upon reaching 1955 he realizes that he needs more plutonium to get back to 1985. The rest of the film is very interesting in that instead of the usual time traveling movie to get back home, Marty ends up preventing the single moment that his parents meet. Marty with the help of 1955 Doc Brown, spends the rest of the film trying to bring his parents back together and trying to get back to 1985. Overall this movie has a lot of heart and is very good spirited. Children under the age of 14 should not watch the dvd version (language), yet should watch the censored televison version. This version is perfect for the entire family! Overall a classic film that needs to be watched at least once in a person's life time! If you have children younger than 14 or 15 - (WATCH THE CENSORED VERSION ON TELEVISION)

This title contains:

Positive messages
Positive role models
Language
Adult Written bytasele July 11, 2011

Language

review totally down played language, what the review clams is "Occasional" I would say is frequent. Very disappointing. I am surprised nothing was mentioned on the movies rating

This title contains:

Language
Adult Written byCatalyst42 May 9, 2014

Read the parent reviews! Don't trust the CSM rating

My daughter is confused and upset about the attempted date rape scene, and the swearing is constant throughout. Having spent the last hour explaining why biff wouldn't let her out when she didn't want a kiss, and would he really have broken George's arm, I would think twice before trusting CSM ratings. Next time I will be sure to read the parent reviews! Definitely not for an 8 year old and even older kids might find adult themes disturbing.

This title contains:

Sexy stuff
Language
Parent of a 11 year old Written bybobsax August 27, 2010

Not at all okay for 8 year-olds . Good for at least 10 and up.

This age rating should be changed. If this movie was made today it would get a PG-13 for the language and the attempted rape scene.

This title contains:

Sexy stuff
Language
Drinking, drugs & smoking
Educator Written byAveril47 June 5, 2015

Funny Movie, but dated and language/sex issues

Hubs and I showed to kids last weekend since we had such great memories of seeing when we were younger. We did not remember the swearing or the attempted rape (mild, but confusing for sure)! Kids are 11, 8 and 7. Would say best for 12 & up, not under.

This title contains:

Sexy stuff
Language
Adult Written byAndrew Haxley February 22, 2011
Cool Movie Especially For Kids And Has Positive Messages Are Family Relationships! But The Violence Is Over The Top There Is A Scene Where Bullies Terrorize And Attack Marty Mcfly And He Screams And Runs From Them And They Run After Him And Then Try To Kill Him Not Bad! And There Is A Scene Where A Man Slaps Another Man In The Face And He Gets Hurt And A Man Bullies Another Man For Money And He Does Not Give Him Any! And Some Langauge Is Heard Including D--- And Son Of A B--- And Other Words! Some Stuff In This Movie Would Be Scary And Not Good For Young Kids to see Don't See This Unless You Can't Handle It!

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Language
Positive messages
Positive role models

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