I was in my early teens when this movie first came out, and absolutely loved it. I must have watched it when it came onto cable TV 20 times. The storyline about making good choices and the positive consequences of rising to meet challenges is well done and something I wanted my almost-10 year old daughter to see in a fun way. I knew the language was iffy and the storyline with the "terrorists" was going to be a bit hard to understand ("Mom, what's plutonium?" "Why are they going after that scientist with that large gun-thing?"), but she hears that language at school and in semi-bleeped pop songs that she listens to on the radio, and the news has far more sinister talk about terrorism and dying than this movie could ever present. Those pop songs on the radio also have all sorts of veiled references to bodies being together, making out, drinking, and watching women in various states of undress, so many of the scenes called out in other reviews are not such a big deal to my daughter (peeping tom, camping at the lake together, mom having the 'hots'). I've had to already do some age-appropriate explaining about healthy relationships around the *stuff* played on the radio -- that stuff in the movie was minor.
No, the real difficulty as we watched the movie was trying to answer questions about the scene at the dance where Biff is attacking Marty's mom in the car. Despite having spent the last 6 years talking about "healthy touch", "no secrets from Mom", and "private parts are private" with her, she was definitely disturbed at this scene. I did have to stop it and explain how he was trying to "touch her privates" and she needed to fight back hard and did the right thing by asking George for help when he happened upon it. So, given that I had already been laying the groundwork for avoiding sexual assault with my daughter (yes, unfortunately we live in a world that this is something to worry about), I was able to move through that scene with her. Honestly, after witnessing her reaction to that scene unfolding, I probably should have waited another year to watch this movie with her, and I am really glad that she wasn't watching this alone or just with friends. But, given the groundwork I've already done to protect her from real-life situations, overall it was okay and she took the main message from the movie.
I disagree with CSM's "ON" for 8 years old based on the sexual assault scene alone. I would "PAUSE" for 8-10 and be "ON" for 11 -- and the pause decision really depends on how much the parent has laid the groundwork for bullying behaviors and "unwanted touch" vs. shielding them entirely from that issue.