Moving ensemble drama, but not an RFK biopic.
Parents recommend
  • Review Date: April 2, 2007
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 120 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

RFK is remembered as a moral beacon; fictionalized characters deal drugs, commit adultery, argue over race/class inequities, racism, and politics; references to political "dirty tricks" an assassin shoots and kills RFK.


Bobby Kennedy's assassination is re-enacted, with bloody results; other characters are also shot and collapse, gasping and bleed.


An adulterous liaison in a hotel room (embracing and kissing, then the door shuts); post-sex scene shows a man apologetic (presumably for his "performance") and a woman upset; brief, romantic sex scene between a young couple; characters (male and female) appear in their underwear; a young man appears naked during LSD trip (bottom visible).


Several uses of "f--k" (15+), plus the n-word and other language ("s--t," "hell," "son of a bitch," "damn," "ass," "Steppin Fetchit motherf--er").

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Lots of cigarette smoking and liquor drinking (several characters are drunk), also drug use (marijuana and LSD, which results in a "trip" represented in comic images of driving, flying, laughing).

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although this drama might spark some good conversations with older kids, it's probably not all that likely to interest them. A nostalgic recollection of 1968, its ensemble cast and "social problems" theme have earned it comparisons to Crash. It culminates in a distressing reenactment of Robert Kennedy's assassination, incorporating archival footage as well as graphic images of other shooting victims and the chaos caused by the event. A brief sex scene alludes to an adulterous affair; a second sex scene represents young, idealistic romance. Frequent smoking and drinking throughout the film, plus drug use (one character appears naked during an LSD trip). Language includes several uses of "f--k," plus the "N" word and discussion of racism against black and Latino communities.

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What's the story?

Despite its title, BOBBY isn't really about Bobby Kennedy (who appears in archival footage). Instead, it follows a loose group of characters staying at L.A.'s Ambassador Hotel on June 4, 1968, the day that Kennedy was assassinated. Using Kennedy as a symbol for what might have been -- clips from his speeches emphasize his inspiration and vitality -- the movie lays out the problems he might have solved in the lives of its troubled characters as they deal with issues of race, marriage, infidelity, politics, the Vietnam War, and the era's enlightenment via psychedelic drugs. As in Crash, separate stories overlap and occasionally collide. The star-studded cast includes Laurence Fishburne, Christian Slater, William H. Macy, Sharon Stone, Heather Graham, Elijah Wood, Lindsay Lohan, Demi Moore), Emilio Estevez, Helen Hunt), Martin Sheen), Anthony Hopkins, Harry Belafonte, Shia LeBeouf, and Ashton Kutcher.

Is it any good?


Bobby looks back with sadness and frustration, drawing clear connections to current events (the war in Iraq, troubled elections, continuing racial tensions). But it also offers resilient, even stubborn hope. If only we could remember the promise of 1968, Bobby proposes, we might find ourselves again. As the stories overlap and characters occasionally collide, director Emilio Estevez's very sincere, liberal-leaning, and occasionally flat-footed movie remembers RFK with reverence, feeling nostalgia for a promise unfulfilled.

While the many storylines vary in effectiveness and predictability, the finale -- Kennedy's arrival the hotel and the violence that follows -- is undeniably moving (even if the use of Simon and Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence" is decidedly heavy-handed). As the crowd gathered in the ballroom sees all too plainly, hopes abruptly run up against disappointment.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the film's premise -- that Bobby Kennedy represented a (lost) hope for change in the United States in 1968. Why did people think he was the answer to so many problems (such as Vietnam and the Civil Rights movement)? Is it fair to pin those kinds of expectations on any one person, even a possible president? How does the movie use archival TV images of RFK to draw parallels between his promises and the characters' activities? How does the inclusion of actual footage impact the viewer? What particular issues divide the characters, and how do they come together?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 16, 2006
DVD release date:April 10, 2007
Cast:Anthony Hopkins, Elijah Wood, Lindsay Lohan
Director:Emilio Estevez
Run time:120 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:language, drug content and a scene of violence.

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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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Teen, 15 years old Written bymia_14 April 9, 2008
Adult Written bykitode April 9, 2008

Very powerful movie - ok for younger with support

This movie is about Bobby Kennedy's assassination in 1968. If you read the comments on imdb, it's as though everyone had a different ending to the sentence, "but obviously the best part was..." This is an extraordinarily well-done period piece on a very difficult time in US history. I think it's important for students to see, but the themes touch on real issues of the time: there's drug use, and swearing, and extramarital affairs, and alcoholism, and everyone smokes, and racial violence....But the message is AWAY from those, not towards them. Political conservatives might feel it's politically oriented, though I think the vast majority of religious conservatives will enjoy the social messages delivered through speeches. Mature or urban teenagers will "get" the themes, but might be confused by the context. Luckily the movie is so good that parents can see it twice. The other thing - adults cry, a lot, at this movie. If your teen will be freaked out in a room full of crying adults - wait until it's on DVD.
Adult Written bysfriel April 9, 2008


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