By Tracy Moore,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
1980s teen bike adventure with sustained menace, peril.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
BMX Bandits portrays loyal friendships and the importance of sticking together in a crisis. Still, the main tension of the film pits kids against authority figures, showing the teenagers as smarter than the adults they are disobeying. Eventually, the teens realize they are in over their heads, but it doesn't stop them from disobeying orders again.
Positive Role Models
The teen characters in BMX Bandits come off as realistically headstrong and likeable teenagers caught in the sticky trap of budding autonomy and budding hormones. The adults are present, but not enough to intervene for the duration of the film.
Violence & Scariness
BMX Bandits contains sustained menace and peril, some realistic violence, and slapstick injury that could frighten young kids. In one scene, a masked man is stabbed in the eye with an antenna. In another, four masked men crash a van through a bank window and rob the patrons and employees at gunpoint. Elsewhere, characters are knocked down, punched out, and roughed up in a variety of antics gone wrong.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
The film contains some innuendo. In one scene, a woman in a revealing bathing suit and skirt is shown bending over and then being slapped on the rear. A biker tosses an unclothed mannequin into the air, and it lands, crotch-first, on a priest's face. A teen boy kisses a teenage girl briefly.
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Products & Purchases
The film shows early 1980s biker-related branding and accessories, such as Oakley, in a few scenes.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A man chugs a can of beer while riding on a boat, then tosses it into the water. A vagrant is shown visibly drunk and loitering with a bottle hidden in a brown paper bag.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that BMX Bandits is a teen freestyle bike adventure with enough realistic violence and peril to frighten younger kids, with lots of wild driving, scary masks, and sustained threats of violence. A bit of comic innuendo and drinking round out the iffy stuff.
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Where to Watch
Based on 2 parent reviews
Good 80s fun
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Watched it with my 5yo and we both LOVED it!
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What's the Story?
When two BMX riders bust up their bikes in a grocery store parking lot mishap, simultaneously costing a young woman, Judy (Nicole Kidman), her job, the trio take off on a fishing trip. But plans change when they stumble upon a stash of stolen walkie talkies and realize they can hawk them for the cash to repair their bikes. The scheme backfires when a band of bank robbers discover the whereabouts of their missing loot and are determined to reclaim it.
Is It Any Good?
BMX BANDITS offers an amusing return to '80s freestyle bike culture with some bawdy humor and adventure. Kids may enjoy those bike tricks woven throughout the film's action-driven plot, and some of those chase sequences -- particularly in a creepy cemetery setting -- are good for a thrill.
Parents may like the nostalgia rush, not to mention watching a very young Nicole Kidman in her first feature role. And the movie deserves a thumbs-up for portraying a teen girl character who's considered an equal in adventure, not to mention bike-riding, with her male peers, even if it's totally obvious she has a stunt double for all her best moves. But with endless pursuit sequences that quickly tire, it's a high price of admission just to see neon bikes and feathery hair.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how movies often portray teenagers taking the reins of a mystery or crime and solving it ably without the help of adults. Is this realistic? Have you ever ignored advice from your parents or an authority figure about how to handle something? What were the consequences?
The BMX bike riders pull some extremely risky moves in the film. Go online to read more about how much work, training, and safety precautions go into performing stunt tricks on bicycle in movies.
- In theaters: December 29, 1983
- On DVD or streaming: March 15, 2011
- Cast: David Argue, John Ley, Nicole Kidman
- Director: Brian Trenchard Smith
- Studio: Severin Films
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Adventures
- Run time: 88 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- Last updated: January 15, 2023
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