*batteries not included

  • Review Date: August 16, 2005
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 1987
  • Running Time: 107 minutes

Common Sense Media says

A good film the whole family can enjoy.
  • Review Date: August 16, 2005
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 1987
  • Running Time: 107 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The "bad guys" are threatening and senseless.

Violence & scariness

A gang threatens people with weapons; a character beats up another.

Sexy stuff

Although one scene shows a nude painting.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A character is shown binge drinking by himself.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film's overall content is very mild. However, there are some scenes of violence. One includes an arsonist burning down an apartment building. Another scene shows characters threatening others with axes and baseball bats. This film clearly depicts characters as either good or bad. Even young children will recognize what behavior is acceptable.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Set in an impoverished section of New York City, *BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED tells the story of honest, blue-collar citizens threatened with eviction to make way for a modern housing complex. The tenants find their prayers answered by an unlikely source: mechanical alien flying saucers. The saucers have the uncanny ability to restore the decrepit apartment complex and defend the tenants from their evictors. It's a quintessential movie of good people vs. bad people.

Is it any good?


Although the film often drags at points, its message is warm and heartfelt. The movie emphasizes the notion of standing up for one's beliefs. One major flaw is Jessica Tandy's character. Her performance as a senile wife is not credible as she teeters in and out of senility like a metronome. Attention is directed toward the struggles and triumphs of the characters. The relationships between the characters are mature, but not overly complex for a child to understand. *batteries not included features a unique plot and conveys an overall positive message that both children and adults will appreciate.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the importance of home. Why were the tenants willing to fight so vehemently against those who attempted to evict them? Parents could also highlight the importance of standing up for what you believe in.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 1, 1987
DVD release date:March 16, 1999
Cast:Frank McRae, Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy
Director:Matthew Robbins
Studio:Universal Pictures
Genre:Science Fiction
Topics:Robots, Space and aliens
Run time:107 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:thematic elements

This review of *batteries not included was written by

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.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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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, okay 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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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written bykitsabbe June 11, 2010
While I thought this was a cute movie when I saw it when it was first released, it was definitely NOT appropriate for my 8 and 6 year olds. I read the synopsis on here and saw that it didn't mention language being a problem. It WAS! There were all kinds of swear words and other expletives. It was terrible! Also, the artist painted a partially nude painting of Marissa showing her bare breasts. Again, definitely something I didn't want my children to see. Very disappointed that commonsense let me down this time. There was more violence in this movie than I think my children should view for entertainment purposes, too.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Parent of a 5 and 8 year old Written byINeedaDP July 18, 2010

Good story, not so good language

Like another reviewer, I too saw the film when it was first released and had good memories of it. However, once my family (including 8 and 5 yr olds) were watching it, it was apparent that the language was a problem. Several h***, at least one G-D, and at least one soab. That and the partially nude painting, along with the thug violence struck me as over the top for anyone under 12 yrs. Wish it hadn't been there, because it's a really good story that the whole family should have been able to watch.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Parent of a 6 and 14 year old Written bymmrichar April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

cute and clever marred by needless language and violence

most of the movie is great, but i was sorry we rented it for our family for two reasons: 1) the thugs in the beginning are excessively violent. it was well beyond what was needed for the storyline. it was so much, even our 14 yr old chose to go read a book within 10 minutes from the start. 2) they use every common expletive except the f-word at least once. how is that family fare? it's too bad, because it would have otherwise been a cute movie.


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