Bad Boys Movie Poster Image

Bad Boys



Vulgar, violent explosion flick is for adults only.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The heroes seem fairly disorganized; they're always joking and fighting amongst themselves. Their main motivation is to retrieve the heroin to save their jobs and to avenge the death of a friend. They kill almost at random with no consequences. Nothing they do makes the world a better place, and no one seems to learn much of anything.

Positive role models

The main characters are definitely good people, loyal to one another and to their loved ones. But they are needlessly violent and vulgar, and not particularly the kind of police one would want to hold up as an example.


Lots of big, broad action-violence with car chases, explosions, guns, and fist-fights. There are plenty of guns, including some very big, very loud ones. Several minor characters are killed without consequences. Other characters are threatened with guns to their heads. There's some blood and gore, including a scene with a rotting corpse.


The movie has no nudity or sex, but it contains plenty of sexual innuendo and sexy situations. Married Marcus and single Mike are forced to trade places for reasons too complicated to explain, so there are lots of jokes about the married man and his wife being tempted by others. A half-naked girl shows up at Mike's apartment, and there are half-naked girls dancing in a club. There are also references to "working girls" and one minor character is actually a prostitute.


We get non-stop, all-out language of all stripes, including "f--k" and all its permutations, "s--t" and all its permutations, and "dick," "balls," "God damn," "bitch," "ass," "screw," "God," "Jesus Christ," "whore," "t-ts," "asshole," and "hump." The term "Negroes" is used, but not the "N" word.


Characters mention name brands several times out loud, but are never seen using or consuming said brands. They include "Coke," "Budweiser," "Bubblicious" gum, and "Skittles." "Arm & Hammer" baking soda is shown.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The heroes are narcotics cops. The bad guys steal an enormous amount of heroin from the police. This heroin is shown and mentioned many times (in "brick" form as well as powder), but only one minor character uses it. Otherwise, there is some minor drinking during a club scene, and another scene inside a liquor store (but no drinking).

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Bad Boys is the violent, vulgar debut feature of Michael Bay. Like most Bay productions, it's slick, exploitative, and lacks redeeming value. The heroes are foul-mouthed, violent Miami narcotics cops who are charged with recovering a huge pile of heroin. Some minor characters are junkies and prostitutes. There is no nudity or onscreen sex, but plenty of sexual innuendo. The profanity is non-stop, and the nonstop violence includes fist-fighting, guns, blood, and explosions (and one gory corpse).

What's the story?

In Miami, a gang of criminals successfully steals a huge supply of heroin from the police. It's up to narcotics cops Mike Lowery (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) to find the drugs to save their jobs. A prostitute friend of Mike's responds to a call from one of the careless criminals, and brings her friend Julie (Tea Leoni). The bad guys murder the prostitute, but Julie witnesses it and gets away. Due to a mix-up, Marcus must pretend to be Mike to keep Julie happy, and so Mike and Marcus must pretend to be each other, protect Julie, find the bad guys and the drugs, and avenge their friend, all the while trying not to blow up half of Miami.

Is it any good?


Making his directorial debut after a career in music videos, Michael Bay knows how to deliver a slick, good-looking film, colorful and filled with action. The film is also notable for its unique pairing of two African-American cops. But it also appeals to the lowest common denominator, and wallows in excessive violence and language, female stereotypes, drugs, product placement, and brain-dead sitcom humor. Bay's motto seems to be "bigger and louder."

Lowbrow Lawrence plays to his usual audience, but Smith hadn't yet found his sparkling star persona and comes across as a little arrogant here. Worse is the script concept that requires the two characters to pretend to "be" each other for the benefit of their murder witness. This leads to an excruciating series of fumbling, embarrassing jokes. Overall, the characters are not strong enough to provide any real emotional impact, and the violence and thrills are subsequently numbing.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the film's violence. Was it thrilling, or disturbing? How did it make you feel in the end?

  • What is the appeal of this type of movie? Is there any value to this type of film, or is it just entertainment?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 7, 1995
DVD/Streaming release date:June 27, 2000
Cast:Martin Lawrence, Tea Leoni, Will Smith
Director:Michael Bay
Studio:Columbia Pictures
Run time:118 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:intense violent action and pervasive strong language

This review of Bad Boys 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.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • A guilty pleasure for adults and older teens.
  • Great performances, but for adults only.
  • Mismatched cops spar in violent '80s action hit.

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

Teen, 14 years old Written byStevie111 June 9, 2012

Explosive Action Comedy Alright for teen action fans

This movie mixes action and humor. It could be seen by teens, the stand out is the language. Good movie
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written byfredn March 14, 2011
not very good.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Adult Written byMovieMan26 October 9, 2010

Fun, violent action flick is awesome for older teens

With plenty of firepower and wit, this movie keeps the audience's attention. It's no Oscar-winner, but it's certainly great for what it is: an explosion flick. Parents: There's lots of violence, most of it bloody, and action, most of it explosive. There's tension, murder, and continuous strong language. There's also some sexual references. Bottom Line: Great fun for older action fans. Thanks for reading! - Movie Man
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing


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