*batteries not included



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.

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

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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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Parent of a 9 year old Written bykaizenn January 17, 2015

The zero 'sexy stuff' rating is BS.

True, there is only the one painting scene. But it is full on naked boob and nipple. I had to have a long talk with my 9 year old daughter about it today. I don't miss you 80's, and your odd levels of inappropriateness. Oh yeah. About a dozen "God Dammit"s.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Educator and Parent Written byJeaugh May 31, 2012

Don't go on your childhood memory!

Do not go on your memory from childhood! I watched this with my 6 1/2 year old and this movie has too many adult subjects that are presented in a scary way... A boyfriend who leaves his pregnant girlfriend, Elder Abuse, Alzheimer's, Thugs who swear, threaten, and end up and almost killing sweet people by burning down their apartment complex! Need I go on!? Oh and flying saucers having "relations" and then little flying saucer babies come which are so cute until one comes out "not working" but it is upsetting and they have a funeral for it! Do not watch this movie with young children unless you are ready to address these topics and more.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Educator and Parent Written byTabytha January 25, 2013

It's not what you remember as a child!

I had fond memories of this movie as a kid. I've been watching 80s family movies with my children lately and I thought this might be good. I had forgotten much of the movie, and had just a general feeling of enjoying it. I came here for reviews and it seemed - from the front page review - that it was good to go. You can imagine my surprise when the swear words started coming. As well as the somewhat intense/scary scenes in which the 'thug' demolishes the elderly owner's restaurant and is incredibly rude to the people. There is another scene in which the thug and his cohorts bully and taunt a Very pregnant young woman - making cat calls, tugging at her, yelling at her, chasing her through the building etc. I sat a bit deer-in-the-headlights through those bits and hoped it would only go up from there. Thankfully it did, but I wish I had been prepared for those parts. Had I known, I'd have waited a while before showing it to my 9 and 7 year olds. :/
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing


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